After David Garrard Quits, Mark Sanchez All But Assured Of Starting Job

After David Garrard quits the New York Jets, the team’s once-muddled quarterback picture suddenly becomes more clear.

That’s good news for Mark Sanchez.

The embattled quarterback looked all but assured to be losing his starting job at the end of the 2012 season. Sanchez was plagued by sloppy, inconsistent play all year and by the end of the season had been supplanted in his starting job by unproven rookie Greg McElroy.

Though McElroy failed to impress and could not hold onto the starting job — and Tim Tebow remained glued to the sidelines — it became clear that Sanchez’s days were numbered. When the team brought in Garrard in the offseason, it led many to conclude that the team would cut or trade Sanchez.

But now that David Garrard quits the Jets, the team will likely have no choice but to hang onto Sanchez at least through this season.

Garrard said a nagging knee injury is forcing him to quit the Jets.

Garrard wrote in a text message to’s Adam Schein: “Having to call it quits … My knee is not holding up. Continuing to swell after practices.”

The 35-year-old quarterback was expecting to compete for the Jets starting job.

“I was healthy all the way into training camp last year and for some reason my knee swelled up,” Garrard said just two weeks ago. “So I’m healthy now, and I’m going to be going after it. I’m not here collecting paychecks. That’s not what I’m about.”

The loss of Garrard means the Jets have only Sanchez, McElroy, rookie Geno Smith, and Matt Simms competing to be signal caller next season. Sanchez may have struggled this year, but did once lead the team to two consecutive AFC championship games. The other three have one NFL start combined.

Experts believe Sanchez will likely remain on as the Jets starter this season as the team prepares second-round draft pick Geno Smith for a starting role one day.

Though David Garrard quits the Jets, he would not say if he is retiring from the NFL.