The Jets were set to have a real and honest quarterback competition, and eventually David Garrard’s mere presence would have ended in Mark Sanchez finding employment elsewhere, or maybe chillin’ on a beach in September and spending his $8.25 million in guaranteed money on whatever GQ bros buy while bathing in sand (Fresca?).

Geno Smith would have easily won his dual with Mark Sanchez, and in theory jettisoning the loser of the worst QB competition in the history of such battles would be much easier with a veteran safety net firmly in place, taking the form of Garrard.

In theory.

The problem? Mostly this, just a few days into OTAs…

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

Try to maintain your composure upon learning that a 35-year-old who hasn’t been on the field for a meaningful football snap since the 2010 season — missing time due to back and knee surgeries — can’t properly function as a quarterback. Garrard came to the sudden realization that his knee won’t be able to take the pounding and abuse of football not long after he sounded pretty confident about his chances to win the Jets’ starting QB job.

Here’s what he said last week:

“As long as I’m healthy, as long as I’m able to continue to work with the team and don’t have setbacks with my knee or my back or anything like that, then I know that I have the ability to.”

Yeah, about that.

So now Sanchez is saved, maybe. The competition is down to two: a failed starter, and a developmental starter. Having Sanchez’s bloated salary sitting on the sidelines as a backup will still cause serious pain. But even greater pain will follow if Smith stumbles after winning the job — he’s a rookie quarterback, so he’s allowed to do that — and the Jets are then forced to roll with Greg McElroy for an extended period. Or (big gulp) Matt Simms.

Nothing changes here regarding the fantasy outlook of the Jets’ receivers, because every available option at quarterback even before Garrard’s pending retirement led to many facepalms. Santonio Holmes remains a low-end WR3 at best, while Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley will be passable flex plays.