New York Jets Salary Cap Page

An Overview of Mark Sanchez' Contract History

Since some people asked Im just going to revisit what Sanchezí old contract was, how it would have played out, and what changes occurred with the new deal and how that has impacted the decision making on the team.

As I have said countless times the rookie deal signed by Sanchez was a tremendous deal for the Jets because it gave them an out in 2012, just the 4th year Sanchez would be under contract. Most top 7 rookie deals under the old CBA didnít give an out until year 5 and many gave no outs at all. Under his prior contract Mark would have had the following cap hits charges on the books in 2012 and 2013:

Year Salary Cap Dead Money Cash Payout  Guaranteed Cash 
2012 $14,253,125 $5,006,250 $11,750,000 $0
2013 $8,503,125 $2,503,125 $6,000,000 $0
2014 $0 $0 $0 $0

As you can see there was no danger in keeping Sanchez on the roster in terms of dead money. The guarantees had all been paid out to Sanchez under the old contract and the Jets could have moved him at any time. Clearly the impetus for the extension is that cap figure for 2012. $14.25 million is a high figure and the Jets wanted to bring that number down. Despite the fact that no money was owed and Sanchez was coming off a poor season the Jets did not look or a restructure that gave Sanchez one more opportunity to prove he could play. Instead the Jets opted for a pure cap dump and in return guaranteed Sanchez remaining two years. Here was the new pay schedule:

Year Salary Cap Dead Money Cash Payout  Guaranteed Cash 
2012 $7,853,125 $20,346,875 $11,750,000 $3,250,000
2013 $12,853,125 $17,153,125 $8,750,000 $8,250,000
2014 $13,100,000 $4,800,000 $11,500,000 $0

As you can see Sanchezí cash payout in 2012 under the restructure was identical to his cash payout under the old contract. But the cap hit fell and in return the guaranteed payments rose. Why did it rise? It is anybodys guess. If you are not going to give the player a paycut why in the world would you need to not only guarantee extra money in 2013 but give the player a raise to boot? The Jets gave away leverage for nothing.

The times when you guarantee salary in the NFL are when you get something in return. For as much as we all criticize the decision to guarantee Bart Scott and Calvin Pace their 2012 salaries, both players gave up money. The Jets concession was to guarantee salary to match their concession to give up salary. Both sides benefit in theory, though nobody could have projected Scott to fall this badly. The Jets got nothing in return from Sanchez. He got the exact same payout.

The only logical reasoning behind it is the fact that the Jets believed too much in Sanchez. They believed he could be the QB of the future. If that was the case those last three years under contract would be considered cheap by QB standards. Itís the only possible way to spin it and if that was the case than Mike Tannenbaum whiffed so badly its hard to believe.

Remember if all the Jets wanted was cap relief they could have done what they did with Darrelle Revis and tack on voidable years to the end of the contract. Dallas did that with Tony Romo. The Raiders do it with everybody. That doesnít mean you guarantee anything in 2013. You simply say that you arenít keeping him under contract past that year so his free agency isnít impacted. If he hits in 2012 and 2013 then you pay more to keep him. If he flops he can find a new home. That makes all the sense in the world. This makes almost none.

What makes it worse is the way the season unfolded. If you look at the dead money on the original deal in 2012 and the new one in 2014 they are about the same. Thatís a team saying we need more time to decide. They are essentially deferring the same decision they had this year, from a cap perspective, into 2014. Keeping that in mind there is no way you can pull the plug on him before then. Except now Sanchez is so terrible its impossible to keep him in there once they get back home. Even if the Jets beat two bad teams in the next two weeks do you think anyone in the stands is going to cheer on Sanchez? Its one of those deals you cant wrap your head around.

What would have happened if the Jets couldnít work out a restructure and let the deal play out? Well the Jets gained $6.4 million in cap room with the move so they would have had to make that up elsewhere. They could have cut Eric Smith which would have saved the team just over $2 million in cap. When you replace his roster spot with a rookie that would make up 1.66 million in cap. That would have been enough for the Jets to stay all season under the cap and still make their signings of Yerimiah Bell and Laron Landry. They could have looked to some other players or relief such as Wayne Hunter.

As thing worked out the Jets will end up carrying over about $4.5 million in cap room from 2012 into 2013. For that added space Sanchezí 2013 cap hit rose by $4.35 over that of his original deal, meaning almost a complete offset, net 0 cap effect. The big difference is that in the old contract the Jets create an additional $6 million in room when they would have released him and now they are stuck with the monster cap hit with no escape. Releasing him now costs the team a whopping $17,153,125 in cap room instead of $2,503,125, an increase of $14,650,000. There are a number of ways that they can defer this hit until 2014, including paying him a big signing bonus and then releasing him as a June 1 cut or trading him, but that only hides the real effects of the move.

This will go down as one of the biggest blunders of the Jets organization, which is really saying something. The team basically pulled a Sanchez. They were down at the 3 yard line with a TD in sight and then threw a terrible interception off their back foot that got returned for 99 yards and swung the score 14 points. Thatís exactly what the Jets did with their cap with Sanchez.

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