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MARK SANCHEZ RECEIVES CONTRACT EXTENSION FROM THE NEW YORK JETS
Mon, 12 Mar 2012 08:59 AM EDT

The Jets made Sanchez one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL after a season in which they brazenly admitted they were never pleased with his rate of growth. Odds

The contract contains $20.5 million in guarantees for 2012 and 2013 and $40.5 million in “new” cash, bringing his total over 5 years to $58.25 million, according to sources. He will be able to make an extra $10 million in escalators.

The $58.25 million gives Sanchez the 7th-highest financial package among NFL quarterbacks, sources expounded.

The amount of money in the deal virtually assures that Sanchez will be the starter for no less than 2 more seasons. Sanchez, chatting with journalists for the 1st time since the season finished, stated that he wasn’t worried by the Manning speculation.

“Not at all,” he claimed. “The best part about it is they chose to stick with me. I am going to be their starting quarterback for the  following few years here and that’s exciting. I’m the leader of this team and I’m excited to get back.”

Tannenbaum said they decided after the season to extend Sanchez’s deal, which had two years remaining but no warranted cash. At the very same time, Tannenbaum never shut the door on Manning, fueling the conjecture the Jets were mulling a quarterback change. Scores

Maybe it was posturing to create leverage in the talks, but the Manning flirtation also promised to weaken Sanchez’s stature in the locker room. There was concern within the franchise about how Sanchez can handle it, resources claimed.

Early Friday afternoon, reports began to bring out that Manning began to take hiring trips and the Jets, as you might think, were not on his check-list.

Around 7 p.m., the Sanchez agreement was completed, according to Tannenbaum, who alleged they were in talks for several weeks.

“We looked into that possibility as somebody to add to our team,” Tannenbaum said of Manning, declining to characterize the level of attention. “We had discussions internally. We monitored the scenario. As events continued to unfold, we kept pushing the extension with Mark.”

Pressed regarding their interest in Manning, Tannenbaum asserted, “When a first-ballot, Hall-of-Fame quarterback turns into obtainable, you look into it.”

The extension is surprising because Sanchez failed to advance as the organization had been hoping, as the Jets finished a disheartening 8-8. Sanchez threw a career-high 26 touchdown passes, but he also suffered a career-high 26 turnovers, played poorly down the stretch and feuded with wide receiver Santonio Holmes. He was criticized by colleagues for being “coddled.”

1 or 2 days after the season, Tannenbaum acknowledged that Sanchez “didn’t play effectively.” So, why the long term commitment?

“We’ve won a large amount of football games with Mark as the staring quarterback of the New York Jets and that’s what actually anxious us,” related Tannenbaum, noting Sanchez’s 4 playoff victories. “It’s not a projection, it’s not a hope, and it is not an incremental leap of faith. Here is a 3-year body of work.

“That asserted we don’t have blinders on. It has got to improve and it will get better. We think he’ll become more consistent. Taking a long view of things, we’re thrilled and encouraged by the course of Mark’s career.”

Sanchez said his effort last season will fuel him and he also downplayed the well-documented rift with Holmes, saying he’s been “in contact with him for the entire offseason” and that he has visited Holmes at his home in Atlanta.

In public, the Jets always asserted they expected Sanchez to be their starter in 2012, but they kept the Manning speculation alive, maybe purposely.


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