Mark Sanchez has endured an inconsistent and mostly disappointing NFL career, but following his release from the New York Jets, the Philadelphia Eagles have granted the talented quarterback a chance at redemption. The Eagles announced the deal on Friday:
Brian Costello of The New York Post first reported the deal was done:
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports initially reported Sanchez would sign with the Eagles on Thursday:
Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports confirmed the original report:
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported contract details on Friday:
Mehta also mentioned an odd coincidence about the new deal:
The fit was immediately talked about from the moment of Sanchez's release. Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com reported Wednesday night that Sanchez would join the Eagles, barring any red flags in his physical related to his surgically repaired shoulder.
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman commented on the signing, according to the team's official press release:
"I've said many times that we will always look to add quality players at the quarterback position," said Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. "We consider it a key position in this game, so having the chance to add Mark to that group was a no-brainer for us. Mark has started 68 games in his career and has taken his teams deep into the playoffs multiple times, so we really like what he brings to the table from an experience standpoint. I also had the chance to see Mark play in college and have always had respect for his game and athletic ability."
"You can never have enough talent at the quarterback position on your roster, so when Mark became available we immediately became interested," said Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. "He was obviously a very highly-touted player coming out of USC and has had valuable experience in this league. He'll have the chance to come in and learn the playbook, and we feel he'll be a nice veteran addition to the quarterback room."
Jane McManus of ESPN noted that Sanchez was clean shaven, having gotten rid of the mustache and headband he'd sported at the end of his tenure in New York:
Sanchez will be the primary backup for Nick Foles, creating something of a pseudo trade between the Jets and Eagles. Former Philadelphia backup Michael Vick signed a one-year deal in New York last week, which led to Sanchez's release.
When the Jets chose Geno Smith in the second round of last year's draft, it was apparent the franchise was ready to move on from the concept of Sanchez as the long-term starter. Nevertheless, Sanchez competed with Smith and was slated to begin 2013 at No. 1 on the depth chart, but he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the preseason finale.
The offense designed by coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was ideal for Sanchez's skill set, since he has shown precision on short passes in the past and flashed brilliance when he has had to make quick decisions. Too often, though, Sanchez has forced the issue, improperly read defenses or held the ball too long, resulting in numerous sacks, interceptions and overall poor play.
Sanchez at least kept things classy in his departure from the Big Apple, expressing gratitude for the opportunities he had under center with the Jets on his WhoSay account:
As woeful as Sanchez has been on the field at times, he has been as composed as anyone off of it, handling his trying situation with grace and professionalism. That should serve him well moving forward, and it had to be a big contributing factor as to why the Eagles decided to sign him.
It's difficult to project how Sanchez will perform in his new environment, but he will be out of the massive New York media spotlight and relegated to a backup role, at least for the time being.
One of the strangest aspects about Sanchez's resume is that he has performed poorly as a 71.7-rated passer in the regular season, and ESPN's John Buccigross notes the 27-year-old has the worst QBR since he entered the NFL:
But Sanchez has four playoff victories, too. In the postseason, Sanchez has thrown nine touchdowns to just three interceptions with a 94.3 passer rating (h/t Pro-Football-Reference.com).
The Jets didn't do a very good job of surrounding Sanchez with premium talent at the skill positions over the past few years, either. ESPN Boston's Field Yates alluded to how disastrous previous general manager Mike Tannenbaum's draft classes were:
New GM John Idzik wasted no time in his first year at the helm to put Sanchez on notice, and to imply that he was going in a new direction with Smith. Whether Smith pans out remains to be seen, as he had an uneven rookie campaign of his own and now the veteran Vick is in the fold.
An enigmatic legacy has seen Sanchez struggle when the stakes are low and elevate his level of play in the most critical moments. Despite the horrendous numbers in his four years as a starter, there is evidence to suggest Sanchez could eventually thrive if he gets another chance to start.
Before that can happen, though, he must get acquainted with a backup role, which he was able to acclimate to through injury last season with the Jets. Sanchez now has experience being a mentor, yet he's still young enough to turn his career around and get back onto the NFL gridiron full time.
This is the first time Sanchez has changed teams, so there will be an adjustment in that regard. All he has to do is continue working hard and prepare as if he is the starter so that if he gets a second chance, he'll be better prepared to capitalize on it.