The New York Jets received surprising news today when quarterback David Garrard informed the team that due to swelling in his knee, he is deciding to retire. Considering he is 35 years old, hasn’t played a NFL snap in 2 years and missed all of last season with a bad knee, there is a limit to how surprising this news is.
The immediate assumption among many after early word broke that Garrard was leaving the team was of course “LOLJETS” circus based, including the following…
1 – A conspiracy to have Mark Sanchez play
2 – Garrard wanting no part of the Jets organization anymore
3 – A conspiracy to have Geno Smith play
In reality, an old broken down quarterback…broke down. It is a shame and disappointing but if you were putting that much stock in Garrard this year, you shouldn’t have been. He would have been a a nice mentor to have for Geno Smith but is replaceable. You could go sign Byron Leftwich to be a veteran mentor. He is a 2 years younger than Garrard and started a game last season. If you want more competition, you could consider Brian Hoyer, Tyler Thigpen or Vince Young (please, no). Maybe even trading for Nick Foles remains on the table?
In the immediate future, does this increase Mark Sanchez’s chances of making the team? Yes. Until the Jets sign another quarterback (if they do), it is more repetitions for him and he becomes the de factor veteran alongside Geno Smith. Sanchez can win this job with a strong summer and if Smith shows sign of being overwhelmed but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Rex Ryan showed no hesitance to starting Sanchez after 1 year of college experience and a decent summer showing in 2009. Why would he hesitate to start Geno Smith after 3 years of college experience and a decent summer, if he could put one together? Beyond that, you have a new front office who has no ties to Sanchez and will be looking for every reason possible to start Smith.
If I was betting on the Jets starting quarterback a week ago, I would have went with Geno Smith. Today, I’d still go Geno Smith.