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Mark Sanchez Era comes to a close with Jets as AFC quarterback shuffle continues

03.21.14 at 9:04 pm ET
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The Jets decision to release Mark Sanchez and add Mike Vick brings this week’€™s quarterback carousel to an end.

Sanchez, who was a first-round pick of the Jets in 2009, was cut loose four days before a $2 million roster bonus was due to the USC product. He spent five years with New York, leading the Jets to back-to-back trips to the AFC title game in his first two seasons with the Jets. However, he was never able to hit the same heights, and sat out all of 2013 with a shoulder injury.

“I’€™d like to thank Mark for everything he’€™s done for this team and me personally,”€ Jets coach Rex Ryan said in a statement released by the team. “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.”

The Jets later announced they had signed Vick, a veteran who lost his starting job with the Eagles midway through the 2013 campaign to youngster Nick Foles. Vick, 33, inked a one-year deal to (presumably) serve as the backup to Geno Smith.

“€œIt means a lot to have the chance to come in and play for a great organization that had a lot of success last year and being on the brink of doing some good things,” Vick told the Jets’€™ website Friday. “Maybe I can come here and be an asset whenever my number’€™s called. I’€™m excited, I’€™m elated, and I feel like this is a great opportunity for me and my family.”

Those moves come in the wake of the Raiders decision to swing a deal with the Texans for Matt Schaub on Friday morning. The 32-year-old Schaub, who had been the starting quarterback with Houston for the last six-plus years, stumbled in 2013, throwing 10 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, including an interception returned for a touchdown during a league-record four consecutive games.

It was later revealed that the Raiders sent a sixth-round pick to Houston in exchange for Schaub.

“€œOn behalf of the Houston Texans organization, I’€™d like to thank Matt Schaub for the contributions he has made to this franchise on and off the field.’€™’€™ Texans executive vice president of football operations/general manager Rick Smith said in a statement. “Matt and his wife, Laurie have given so much back to the Houston community through their GR8 Hope Foundation and have really served as role models here in so many ways. ‘€œWe wish the entire Schaub family well in the future.’€™’€™

That move was made 24 hours after Houston signed quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year deal worth $7.5 million. Fitzpatrick is an NFL journeyman who has played for the Rams, Bengals, Bills and Titans. He enjoyed his best success with Buffalo, where he had three straight years of 3,000-plus yards and 23 or more touchdowns between 2010 and 2012.

All of these moves take place against the backdrop of the pre-draft process. Both Houston (which holds the No. 1 pick overall) and Oakland (No. 5 overall pick) were believed to be in the market for a quarterback with their first round picks, but after these moves on Friday, it’€™s debatable what they’€™ll do when the NFL draft rolls around on May 8.

Read More: Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez, Matt Schaub, Mike Vick
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