Mark Sanchez contract written with possible 2014 release in mind

The Jets did not have much luck trading up for Mark Sanchez. They might take another tact this year. Credit: Getty Images
The Jets intentionally avoided guaranteed money in the final three years of Sanchez’s last contract.
Credit: Getty Images

Jets fans have given the team, and in particular former general manager Mike Tannenbaum, a hard time for the five-year contract extension given to Mark Sanchez before the 2012 season.

But it was the way the extension was structured two years ago that the Jets had the flexibility to release Sanchez last Friday.

When the Jets gave Sanchez a new contract in the offseason before their 2012 campaign, they essentially gave him an additional three years on his rookie deal. A team source tells Metro New York the dollar amount did change for Sanchez in 2013, with an additional $2.75 million in “new money” added into the contract, along with higher guaranteed dollar amounts.

In short, after 2012, the deal the Jets and Tannenbaum struck gave them a three-year fixed price, non-guaranteed extension, which gave them all the flexibility. The flexibility was there to cut Sanchez without hurting the team.

The rationale for the timing of the deal in the spring of 2012 was simple, the source said. Sanchez was coming off a 2011 campaign where he threw for 3,474 yards and had 26 passing touchdowns and 18 interceptions. While the turnover number was high — he also had four fumbles that season — the Jets thought he was turning a corner. The source said that with the addition of offensive coordinator Tony Sparano that offseason — a coach known for running an offense that limited turnovers and mistakes — the thought process was that Sanchez’s one glaring weakness could be corrected by some new coaching. And after consecutive AFC Championship game appearances in 2009 and 2010, the logic seemed to hold at the time.

A downturn in 2012 followed by a preseason shoulder injury that cost him all of the next year was enough to see Sanchez cut this year.

The desire to ink Sanchez to the extension with two years left in his contract was done with this offseason in mind, when his original rookie deal would be done and there was a fear among management that Sanchez might hit the open market. Quarterbacks such as Matt Schaub and Matt Ryan were set to become free agents last offseason and the Jets made the calculated risk of giving Sanchez, fresh off that 2011 season, an extension they estimated would be “$8 to $9 million less per year” than the top-tier quarterbacks would earn.

But it was the contract put in place by the maligned Tannenbaum that gave the Jets the flexibility this offseason to release Sanchez. All the guaranteed money was in the first two years of the deal and all options were held by the Jets after those first two seasons and not the player, the source said.

With the move to cut Sanchez, the Jets saved $8.5 million in cap space.

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.


Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.


VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.


New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.


Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement…

(Reuters) - A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion,…


Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.


MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.


James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…


Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…


Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400


This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…


Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…


Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…


Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…