When most of us heard about the NY Jets extending Sanchez's contract, this is the face we made.
As most of the football world was trying to decide if the Washington Redskins gave up too much to the St. Louis Rams to move up to the 2nd pick and grab Robert Griffin III, the Jets surprised everyone by extending their QB Mark Sanchez’s contract by 3 years and 40.5 million dollars. This came, of course, after the Jets expressed an interest in Peyton Manning who was officially released by the Colts last week. I think the general consensus is that this is a move to smooth things over with Sanchez so that he doesn’t feel so jilted knowing that the Jets have pursued a replacement.
I don’t understand this move. Yes, I understand the intention behind it. And I’d love it if someone would apologize to me with 20 million dollars in guaranteed money. But I think it’s one of a slew of mixed messages the NY Jets have ushered into the atmosphere. Last season, Mark Sanchez definitely wasn’t the only problem. As I’m typing this, the Jets are are shopping OL Wayne Hunter in hopes that someone, ANYONE, will take the backup-cum-whiffing-starter off their hands. And certainly Sanchez’s receivers deserved some blame as did a defense that was so scattered they were easily overcome by the Broncos late in the season.
But this extension is sort of like telling the whole team “it’s not Sanchez, it’s YOU” and that’s obviously not the case. Sanchez has shown he’s about as fragile as they come. Any lick of a pass rush seems to put his nerves on edge. The psychological moves the Jets keep trying in an effort to motivate Sanchez (like giving Mark Brunell extra reps) are becoming the stuff of legend. At some point the game on the field has to take precedence over these mental ones. If Sanchez had one year left on his contract it might make sense to throw him a little more security. But he had two years left and I don’t think it would have been too much to ask to have him complete next season without an extension given how he’s played so far. If he couldn’t do that without crumbling into a pile then he’s probably not the guy you want anyway.
Now you have a situation where Sachez’s APY is right below Roethlisberger’s and slightly above Aaron Rodgers’. Regardless of whether there is an “out” (like when the Skins tried to fool the world with the McNabb extension), if contracts are an indication of how a team feels about its QB the Jets just told the world he’s our guy and there’s no questions about it. Except, there are questions. Which makes this extension a puzzling move to everyone on the outside.
**Update: Andrew Brandt says the real increase of this contract is 2.5 million dollars. And that although 20.5 million is now guaranteed there’s a strong possibility that he would have gotten 17.75 million anyway. So…does this still work as an ego-smoothing gesture toward Sanchez???? Is there a point to this that I’m missing?