The New York Jets will start rookie second-round draft pick Geno Smith as their quarterback in Week 1. Smith will start under center for the Jets match-up on Sunday against Tampa Bay.
Mark Sanchez in 2009 was the last rookie quarterback to start the season opener for the Jets.
While the Jets tried to downplay the decision in recent days it became clear that the team would start Smith after Sanchez was ruled out with a shoulder bruise. Sanchez is expected to miss multiple weeks.
Jets officially announce that Geno Smith will be Week 1 starter… to the surprise of nobody. #nyj
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) September 4, 2013
Sanchez will be the highest-paid backup in the NFL, earning a guaranteed $8.25 million — part of a 2012 contract extension that prevented the team from unloading him in the off-season.
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The presence of Sanchez on the sidelines will serve as a reminder of just how far the Jets have went off course in recent years. After back-to-back appearances in the AFC Championship game the Jets have fallen in the AFC East led by 52 turnovers from Sanchez over the last two seasons.
Smith should be on a rather long leash at starting quarterback as the Jets will look to dump Sanchez at the end of the season.