Behind the Mark Sanchez Extension
Based on a report by Profootballtalk.com we now have a better idea of what exactly the Jets did with Mark Sanchez’ contract. In the grand scheme of things the
deal really amounts to nothing more than another small opportunity for Sanchez with a large amount of dollar figures tacked on at the end to make for a big media report.
Prior to the extension Sanchez had two years remaining on his contract at a total pay out of $17,750,000, none of which was guaranteed. There was a chance he could have raised that total by about $1.5 million depending on playoff wins and performance. Had the Jets moved on from Sanchez the dead cap hit this season would have been just over $5 million.
Under the new agreement Sanchez receives a two year cash payout of $20,250,000, which is not a large boost if you assume the team would have made a deep run in the playoffs and Sanchez played decent during the course of the season. Essentially the Jets gave Mark the “we believe in you” bonus and put those additional escalators in the contract as firm dollars.
The real reason behind the contract was to defer the cap charges that Mark was expected to carry in 2012. Sanchez originally was scheduled to count for $14.25 million against the cap in 2012 and $8 million in 2013 provided he earned no escalators, a total of $22.25 million in cap dollars. Under the new deal Sanchez’ 2012 figure should fall to $7.85 million. It could be slightly lower if the report of $20.5 million in full guarantees is correct. For that report to be correct the Jets would have had to guarantee $1 million of Sanchez' workout bonuses in 2012 and 2013. The total cap charge for the two years will be $20.706 million, close to $2 million less than he was set to receive on his prior contract.
The backend of the contract means little. The dead money in 2014 should be between $4.8 and $5.4 million, not much different than the $5 million dead charge the Jets would have incurred had they cut him today. If he plays really well the average cap charges of about $14.2 million will put him somewhere near the Tony Romo class. If he fails to play well he will be cut.
So look at this contract as nothing more than an opportunity for a 2 year audition for the job. It does probably mean the Jets will not be bringing in a real veteran backup that can replace him this year. He is probably saved from that until 2013. But in 2014 the option to release an underperforming player will be very real and will probably carry a head coach and general manager with him if it occurs.