Little more than 48 hours ago, the New York Jets were one of the candidates to try to sign Peyton Manning, though they were considered a long-shot to land him.
Friday night, they turned their attention back to the quarterback who has been their starter for the last three seasons, signing Mark Sanchez to a contract extension.
In a conference call tonight, New York general manager Mike Tannenbaum acknowledged that the Jets inquired about Manning, but said talks with Sanchez’s agents had been going on for a couple of weeks, with the two sides coming to an agreement Friday evening.
According to reports, it is a three-year deal beyond his current rookie contract, which still has three-years remaining. The extension is for $40.5 million, $20.5 million of which is guaranteed, with $10 million in escalators, and he will make $58.25 million over the next five years (2012-16).
Though Sanchez’s numbers in 2011 – 308-for-543 (56.7 percent) for 3,474 yards, 26 touchdowns, 18 interceptions – were the best of his three-year career, his interceptions often came at the worst times. Sanchez was also sacked 39 times, a high number that can be attributed both to a leaky line and his propensity for holding onto the ball too long.
Judging by the reaction on Twitter, the Jets’ move to extend Sanchez was met with confusion by many and happiness from Patriots’ fans, who watched the quarterback complete just 55.4 percent of his passes (36-for-65) for 472 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions as New York went 0-2 against New England in 2011.
The Jets did not make the playoffs last season.
After the year ended in disappointment and turmoil, some Jets players asserted that Sanchez, the fifth overall pick in 2009, was coddled by the organization – and the extension would certainly seem to affirm that.
Sanchez will be working with a new offensive coordinator this season, as the Jets have hired former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano after parting ways with Brian Schottenheimer.