The New York Jets announced last night that they have signed quarterback Mark Sanchez to a three-year contract extension. Sanchez still had two years remaining on his original rookie deal, so he is now under contract with the team for the next five years. What does it say about the direction and attitude of the team?
There are essentially two thoughts on the Mark Sanchez extension: some love it, some hate it. Sounds a lot like the perception of Sanchez as a quarterback. To be clear, his current deal is now five years, $58.25 million.
In actuality, it's a very smart deal for the Jets. It lowers the amount of money they owe Sanchez this season. That opens up more space to sign free agents and be a real player once again for big-name players when free agency opens on Tuesday. Some look at the back end of the deal and don't think it makes sense, as it seems to handicap the Jets long-term.
Those people are forgetting that the NFL salary cap is expected to make major jumps in the next few years. The cap increases are tied to NFL revenue, so the salary cap will skyrocket in the coming years. This means two things:
- If Sanchez were to completely implode and the Jets were forced to move on, cutting him wouldn't cripple the salary cap. They have enough of a buffer with the cap increases to eat such a move on the back end of the deal.
- The Jets are showing foresight with this signing. Sanchez was set to hit the free agent market in 2014, right when the salary cap is expected to make a huge jump. That jump will greatly raise the price tags on free agents from then on. Now, Sanchez won't hit free agency until 2017. Some are comparing Sanchez's deal to the one Aaron Rodgers currently has, saying that Sanchez makes more money than him now. Again, it's called foresight. When other quarterbacks hit the market in 2014 and get astronomical contracts, the Sanchez deal will look like a bargain for a starting quarterback.
In some respects, this is another example of Rex Ryan sticking to his guns and doing it his way. Ryan has been adamant that Sanchez is his guy. By committing to him, Ryan isn't trying to ride Peyton Manning's coattails to a Super Bowl. He wants to do it his way – ground and pound offense and tough defense – with his guy at quarterback.
It's nice to see the Jets stay true to their word and stick with Sanchez. They are showing conviction and trusting their original assessment of him instead of letting one bad season completely sway their feelings on him and cause them to go for the quick fix.
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- The Jets have signed Mark Sanchez to a contract extension
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