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A week after benching him in a 7-6 win over the Arizona Cardinals, the Jets will start Mark Sanchez at QB on Sunday, the team announced today.If you just looked at his play this season, it’s a huge surprise.
But it’s not hard to understand why the Jets are so invested in Sanchez — they owe him a huge amount of money in next season, $8.25 million guaranteed.
Most NFL contracts are non-guaranteed, allowing teams to simply cut players without severe penalties when their performance starts to go in the tank. Teams can afford to shuffle through quarterbacks — benching player after player until they find a keeper — because there are no long-term financial strings attach.
The Eagles, for example, could demote Michael Vick without even thinking about it because only $3 million of the $15.5 million Vick is owed next year is guaranteed. They can just cut him.
The Jets have strings attached to Mark Sanchez, $8.25 million in strings, and they are giving him every opportunity to make that investment pay off. As a result, he has almost unmatched job security.
Here are his stats:
- He’s ranked 32nd out of 34 eligible players in quarterback rating
- He’s ranked 33rd in completion percentage, 27th in yards per attempt, and has thrown the 6th most interceptions in the league.
And it’s not like this is anything new, he was ranked in the bottom third of QBs in all those categories last year as well.
This certainly isn’t all Sanchez’s fault. The Jets have a flimsy offensive line, their best player (Santonio Holmes) is out for the season, and they lack talent at the skill positions.
But still, he has been really bad. Without that guaranteed $8.25 million staring the team in the face, it’s hard to see them keep giving him chances.
We should have seen this coming too. Immediately after Sanchez signed his three-year, $40.5 million extension in March, Jets beat writer Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star-Ledger smartly wrote that the guarantees in the contract essentially assured that Sanchez would be the starter until 2013.
They’re stuck with him, for better or worse.