If you're a quarterback for the New York Jets, you better watch your back.
The Jets released Tim Tebow on Monday, one year after signing one of the league's most popular and polarizing players, in the first move of what is expected to be a quarterback circus in the Meadowlands.
“We have a great deal of respect for Tim Tebow,” said Jets head coach Rex Ryan in a Jets press release. “Unfortunately, things did not work out the way we all had hoped. Tim is an extremely hard worker, evident by the shape he came back in this off-season. We wish him the best moving forward."
The end of Tebow's career in green is also the latest warning for Mark Sanchez, who could be cut before June 1st. If he is released afterward, the Jets will have to pay more than $8 million more.
The Sanchize –nicknamed for being the supposed Jets franchise quarterback– has struggled mightily the last two seasons and could be on his way out. Sanchez has 52 turnovers combined in the last two seasons, and has lead the Jets to a 6-13 record in the last 19 games.
Rumors of Sanchez's departure intensified after New York drafted its quarterback of the future Friday night, Geno Smith, stunning many who thought the Jets might go with Sanchez and David Garrard in training camp and play out the season. With Smith suddenly in the mix, the future could be now.
"My goal is to be a franchise quarterback," the former West Virginia quarterback declared Saturday. "But as of now, there's lots of work to be done."
The Jets certainly would like to see that happen soon.
"My job is to compete," Smith said at his introductory news conference at the team's practice facility.
Smith might be in line already to start, even though the Jets have five quarterbacks on the roster with Smith, Sanchez, Garrard, Tebow, Greg McElroy and Matt Simms.
"We talked about that just a little bit as far as reps," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. "I know you can do it with three, now there's got to come a time where you need to make a choice, the timing is important as well. So everything we do is important. It's got to be very well thought out and very well planned."
Mornhinweg said he has spoken to Sanchez about the team's decision to draft Smith — and, in effect, put his job and spot on the Jets' roster in jeopardy.
"He understands this is a competition now, so let's rock and roll," Mornhinweg said. "Here, we have four, even more, maybe six, and I hope they're all thinking, 'Hey, I have an opportunity to go win a job.'"
The Associated Press contributed to this report.