I had a lot of questions pertaining the Jets possible trade of QB Mark Sanchez as reported by Pro Football Talk. While I still think that Santonio Holmes makes the most sense for both sides as a throw in for CB Darrelle Revis lets examine some of the reasons why the Jets would make the trade:
1. Cap and Cash Space
If the Jets were to trade Mark Sanchez without any contract modification they would transfer to the Buccaneers $8.25 million in fully guaranteed base salary and $500,000 in workout bonus money, saving the Jets from paying another $8.75 million to the struggling QB.
Sanchez currently carries a cap charge for the Jets of $12,853,125, 2nd highest on the team. Between signing bonuses, salary advances and guaranteed salary it would have cost the Jets $17,153,125 in dead money to release Sanchez. If traded, however, the salary guarantees will move to Tampa leaving the Jets with just $8,903,125 in dead money, creating $3,950,000 in cap room for the Jets.
2. Offsetting some of the cap space lost to Revis
Trading Revis will cost the Jets $3 million in cap room plus the cost of the additional draft pick that replaces him. I have estimated the cost of the 13th pick in the NFL draft to be $1,828,000 in cap in 2013, making the trade of Revis cost the Jets $4.828 million in cap room. Sanchez’ net cap savings of $3.47 million (assuming he is replaced by a player earning $480,000) makes the cap effect of the Revis trade much more reasonable to the Jets.
3. Preparing for 2014
I heard a lot of comments, specifically on ESPN this afternoon, about how this does nothing to help the Jets now. Free agency is over and the Jets would give the QB away for nothing. What has to be realized is that the Jets are in a full scale rebuilding mode. While not to the level of the Raiders rebuild, the Jets essentially have no roster in 2014. As of the 11th of April the Jets had only 33 players under contract in 2014. Of those 33 players 3 have almost no chance of being on the team in 14 (Sanchez, Holmes, and Tim Tebow) and 11 are non-bonus longer shot types to remain. Functionally we are looking at probably 25 players plus 6 or 7 from this years draft, putting the Jets in a clear position to rebuild the club via free agency and the draft.
The offsetting cap space created by include Sanchez in the Revis trade would allow the Jets to carryover more salary cap money to 2014 that can be used to be more active in free agency. Moreso it eliminates $4.8 million in dead money that would be on the books in 2014 if the Jets carried him until then. So in essence the Jets cap space is going to be inflated by $8.75 million next year if they can include Sanchez in a trade.
4. Eliminating the Ugly Scene During the Season
As a long suffering Jets fan I can tell you that the treatment Sanchez received last season was probably worse than any QB in recent memory which is saying something when you consider the struggles the Jets have had. Whether it was or wasn’t all Sanchez’ fault the last two years the fact is the fanbase thinks it is. IMO, the Jets benched Sanchez last year as much to avoid the home field response as it was to try out Greg McElroy. If the team has lost faith in Sanchez there is almost no need to deal with the negative PR associated with him trotting out on the field, especially in the event he is backing up David Garrard. Garrard hasn’t taken a snap since 2010 and is an injury waiting to happen. I remember when the crowd booed Chad Pennington coming in for relief when Jay Fiedler got injured in 2005. That will seem like nothing compared to what would happen if Sanchez is the backup and forced into action.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.