Jets lock up Sanchez through 2016

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (REUTERS/Joe Skipper)

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (REUTERS/Joe Skipper)

John Kryk, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:25 PM ET

Chill, New York Jets fans. It's not so bad.

The big-money contract extension the Jets gave their beleaguered quarterback, Mark Sanchez, late Friday night really isn't so big — or as big a deal — after all.

Many Jets fans had jumped off the Sanchez bandwagon last fall after his on-field regression in Year 3, coupled with the lack of faith in him expressed very publicly by his star receiver, Santonio Holmes. Fans were itching to move on from the Mark of Sorrow, and there were rumblings the team would be interested in Peyton Manning.

Once it became clear to the Jets late this week, however, that Manning wasn't going to give them so much as a sniff — and with no realistic ability to trade up to get Robert Griffin III in the draft — the team went all in with Sanchez.

Or part way in, it turns out.

The Jets gave Sanchez a three-year, $40.5-million extension on his contract that was to have expired after the 2013 season — with $20.5 million now guaranteed. Over the next five years, Sanchez is now set to earn $58.25 million.

Sounds huge, right?

The New York dailies replated the big news. And that breeze you felt across your cheek Saturday morning was the wind spawned by hundreds of thousands of newspapers being flung it outrage on porches across metro New York.

The New York Daily News tab went with a big sports cover photo of Sanchez, and the all-caps headline: "HE'S OUR MANN" ... only the second N was X-ed out.

Yeah, Peyton Manning is who everybody wanted. They kinda like their Mannings in the Big Apple.

Not everybody's upset, though. Jets centre Nick Mangold tweeted on Saturday, "Very excited to have @Mark_Sanchez with our team for many more years! On a side note, I'm happy he will still have to pay for dinners."

Actually, Mangold, you'd better book that dinner before the end of the 2013 season. That other man's gold might run out after that.

Manish Mehta of the Daily News reported Saturday that on the final two years of his original rookie contract, Sanchez would have earned $17.25 million, through 2013. The thing is, the Jets were unlikely to part with Sanchez before that contract expired anyway, even if they wound up benching him.

So the contract extension — with its $20.5-million guarantee — effectively will give the USC grad only another $3.25 million through 2013. Big whoop.

Breaking the new contract down even further, multiple reports indicated Saturday that Sanchez was to have earned $11.25 million this season ($8.5 million base salary, and $2.75 million roster bonus), and he will earn the same amount under the new deal. The difference is, in technical terms, that money has been converted to an $8-million signing bonus, with $3.25 million guaranteed salary, plus a $500,000 "workout" bonus — this, according to ProFootballTalk.com.

The reason I just turned your brains into mush with that last paragraph? To show that the new contract creates $6.4 million in cap room for the Jets this season. A-haaa.

If that wasn't the club's primary motivation for inking the new deal, maybe this was.

According to multiple reports, including by respected ESPN NFL business analyst Andrew Brandt, the new contract doesn't give Sanchez any guaranteed money past 2013. The team has the option to dump him after that season, or after 2014, or 2015, without having to give him another nickel.

And because most of the guaranteed $20.5 million is to be paid to Sanchez this year, they could trade him after the coming season — dangling the fact that he'd have only $8.75 million of guaranteed money outstanding.

Most fans, though, don't care about that crap. Jets fans who'd soured on Sanchez just wanted to see him ousted, math shmath.

But they're stuck with him — for at least this season. After that? We'll see.

 


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