Is money protecting Mark Sanchez's job?

October, 1, 2012
10/01/12
11:28
AM ET
Tim Tebow and Mark SanchezDoug Murray/Icon SMIMark Sanchez, who costs the Jets five times as much as Tim Tebow, struggled in Sunday's loss.
The New York Jets played one of the worst games in their history Sunday, getting shut out and accumulating less than 150 yards of total offense in a game for the first time in 35 years.

After another bad performance by quarterback Mark Sanchez, MetLife Stadium filled with boos and chants of "Tee-Bow." Around the country, Twitter was abuzz. Was it finally time to give Tim Tebow a chance?

Jets head coach Rex Ryan has maintained throughout the season that Sanchez, who went 13-of-29 for a measly 103 yards with an interception and a fumble on Sunday, is still the team's starting quarterback. He continued with that theme after the game.

"I think Mark is the answer," Ryan said. "Again, time will tell."

Ryan also has said that he won't be pressured by the media and that the financial commitment the Jets have to Sanchez has nothing to do with his continued starting role.

Aside from his first pass thrown (a 9-yard completion that ended with a fumble and the 49ers gaining possession), Tebow once again was missing from the game plan Sunday. His stats so far this year? That one pass for 9 yards and 38 yards rushing.

Ryan might say it's not about the money, but when you look at the numbers, the Jets most likely will give Sanchez the benefit of the doubt for a while.

As part of his new contract extension, Sanchez received an $8 million signing bonus and a $500,000 workout bonus in 2012. Sanchez also has made $764,704, having been paid four weekly salary installments of $191,176 based on a $3.25 million salary.

That brings Sanchez' total cost to the Jets this year, through yesterday's game, to $9,264,704.

Now, let's look at Tebow. As part of his contract, he pulled in a roster bonus of $472,000 this year. His salary is $1.1 million and the Jets are paying off $1.5 million of the $2.53 million they agreed to pay the Broncos to compensate them for the advance the team gave Tebow. That means each game the Jets are paying the Broncos $88,235 and paying Tebow $64,706 for a total Tebow cost of $152,941 per game ($611,764 for four games). Add the roster bonus to that total and you can see that yesterday's game pushed the total Tebow investment over the $1 million mark -- $1,083,764 to be exact.

So the Jets already have paid Mark Sanchez 8.5 times more than they've invested in Tim Tebow this year.

Now let's look at future commitments. The Jets have guaranteed Sanchez $11.75 million for this year and owe him another $8.75 million next year for a total guarantee of $20.5 million. The Jets will pay Tebow $1.1 million in salary this year and the Broncos $1.5 million. Next year, the Jets owe the Broncos $1.03 million for Tebow. Total commitment? $3.63 million.

That's more than five times less than what they owe Sanchez.

Even though the Jets deny it, it's hard to believe this type of math isn't affecting Tim Tebow's ability to get on the field behind center more regularly.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter

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