The Jets have released QB Mark Sanchez.
It has been widely reported that the team owed Sanchez a $2 million bonus if he was on the roster March 25 and the Jets will save $8.3 million against the cap. Sanchez immediately becomes a free agent.
"I'd like to thank Mark for everything he's done for this team and me personally," head coach Rex Ryan said. "We were rookies together and had some early success, becoming the first rookie head coach and quarterback to go to back-to-back championship games. We experienced a lot together and I really appreciate Mark. He's a great player, a great teammate, and I wish him nothing but the best."
Sanchez, who posted a 37-31 record (including postseason) as a starter for the Jets, was the No. 5 overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft. He became the first rookie QB to win his team's first three games of the season since the Bengals' Greg Cook in 1969. The Southern California product established franchise rookie records with 2,444 passing yards and 196 completions and became the first rookie QB in team history to start his team's opening game.
Sanchez was spectacular in his first postseason run after the 2009 regular season, completing 60.3% of his passes with four TDs and two INTs as the Jets defeated the Bengals and Chargers on the road before succumbing to Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game.
The Green & White won 11 games his sophomore campaign as Sanchez threw for 3,291 yards with 17 TDs. Again, he thrived in the postseason, helping the Jets to road takedowns of Manning's Colts and Tom Brady's Patriots before a valiant comeback fell short against the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. In his second three-game run, he completed 60.7% of his passes with 5 TDs and just 1 INT.
The Jets haven't been back to the postseason since. Despite Sanchez setting career highs with 3,474 yards passing and 26 TDs and adding six rushing scores on the ground in 2011, the team faltered down the stretch with a three-game losing streak and failed to make the playoffs.
Sanchez turned the ball over an NFL-high 52 times in the 2011 and '12 seasons combined. He was benched after a five-turnover performance against the Titans in a 14-10 December loss and ultimately started his final regular-season game in the 2012 finale against the Bills.
Last summer, engaged in a quarterback competition with rookie Geno Smith, Sanchez was adapting well to Marty Mornhinweg's West Coast attack when he was injured in the third preseason game against the Giants. He was later placed on injured reserve and had a pair of surgeries — one on his right throwing shoulder and a minor arthroscopic procedure on his left knee.
Sanchez produced 10 comeback wins in the fourth quarter or overtime in his four Jets seasons.