Sunday, December 30, 2012
Mark Sanchez wants to stay in N.Y.
By Rich Cimini
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- After two weeks of declining to discuss his future, quarterback Mark Sanchez said Sunday he wants to remain with the New York Jets.
"Of course, of course," he said after the 28-9 loss to the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. "I mean, this is where it all started, this is where we've had a bunch of fun playing a ton of games, almost 40 wins for Rex [Ryan] and I. We know we can be successful here, so hopefully things work out. If not, I just can't speculate. We'll see."
Sanchez signed a three-year, $40.5 million contract extension last March that would keep him with the Jets through 2016. The deal includes an $8.25 million guarantee for 2013, which means it's highly likely he will return.
The Jets will look into the possibility of trading Sanchez, sources have said, but the organizational stance could change if a new general manager is in charge. To trade him, they'd probably have to eat most of the guarantee, plus there would be an estimated salary cap charge of $13 million.
If Sanchez plays for the Jets in 2013, his cap charge would be $12.8 million.
"I mean, I'm contracted here, I want to be here," he said. "That's all I've known is a Jets uniform. I plan on playing here forever, so who knows?"
Sanchez, who regained his starting job because of Greg McElroy's head injury, was typically inconsistent in the season finale Sunday. He committed two turnovers -- a strip-sack fumble and an interception that was returned 20 yards for a touchdown. Sanchez stared down receiver Jeremy Kerley on the interception, making it easy for Bills linebacker Bryan Scott to pick off the pass.
Sanchez finished the season with 26 turnovers in 15 games (18 interceptions, eight fumbles lost). In the last two seasons, his turnover total was a bloated 52.
"Not my best," he said. "I know I'm better than this. That's what I'll focus on this offseason, getting better."
The Jets (6-10) lost wide receiver Santonio Holmes to a season-ending injury in Week 4. His security blanket, tight end Dustin Keller, missed eight games with injuries. He was surrounded by a patchwork receiving corps. His most accomplished receiver the last three weeks was Braylon Edwards, whom the Jets reacquired off the scrap heap.
Sanchez also dealt with the Tim Tebow distraction. He said "it's not an excuse," but he also didn't sound thrilled with the unusual quarterback dynamic.
"He comes with a big fan following," Sanchez said.
On Sunday, Sanchez was under duress at times and completed only 17 of 35 passes for 205 yards, including a terrific 40-yard pass to Kerley. He was drilled on the play, yet dropped the pass in perfectly on a long sideline route. Such plays happened too infrequently.
"We just didn't execute, and it starts with the quarterback," Sanchez said. "I've got to be better."
Not long ago, Sanchez was the future of the franchise, the first pick of the Ryan-Mike Tannenbaum administration. Now everything is uncertain.
"Coach Ryan is a fighter," Sanchez said. "He wants this thing bad, just like I do. We've had our taste of success here, a couple of deep playoff runs where we were really a quarter or a half away from a Super Bowl, almost twice."