Yesterday, there were some massive changes in the backup quaterback world. Matt Schaub was offically traded to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for a 6th Round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and Michael Vick was signed to a one-year, $5 million deal by the New York Jets. With Vick signed on, the Jets happily added Mark Sanchez to the free agent market, cutting the long-haired, headband-sporting backup that was due to count $13.1 million against the cap this upcoming season.
Naturally, the media world went bolistic with the news of Sanchez’s release from the team; altough, to be fair, it is relatively rare that an extremely young, one-time successful quarterback hits the open market without any strings being attached. As a result, nearly every team without a competent backup, or starter, for that matter, was immediately connected with the potential signing of Mark Sanchez. That included the St. Louis Rams…
The connection is not hard to make between the Rams and Sanchez. The former top overall quarterback draftee had his greatest success under the play-calling of Brian Schottenheimer, including back-to-back AFC Championship appearances. Tack on the fact that Kellen Clemens was signed away to the San Diego Chargers, and you now have a seemingly nice fit for a seemingly vacant spot on the depth chart.
So, should the Rams be interested in signing Mark Sanchez?
Simply put: No.
For one, the St. Louis Rams still purportedly have some work to do on the free agent circuit, according to Les Snead following the Rodger Saffold signing. With the Rams currently sitting only $8.9 million under the salary cap, the prospect of signing Sanchez, plus another free agent, plus the incoming rookie class would not be feasible. That is especially true this offseason, with backup quarterbacks receiving ridiculously large contracts, such as the two-year, $7.5 million deal for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Sanchez would undoubtedly demand at least that much, likely somewhere in the $4 million to $5 million range. No room…
Secondly, the St. Louis have hinted on numerous occasions that they will likely target a young, moldable quarterback in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. With Sam Bradford and Jeff Fisher-favorite, Austin Davis, already on the roster, it would be hard to imagine maintaining four quarterbacks on the roster. Even with the potential “easy” release of Davis at any point in the offseason, having Sanchez running the second-team unit would seemingly defeat of purpose of drafting a developmental signal caller to groom in the system behind Bradford.
Lastly, considering the relatively low-key nature of Jeff Fisher, it is doubtful the Rams would justify the amount of media attention surrounding the signing of Mark Sanchez with the “value” he would bring to the roster. Moreover, much like with the Tebow signing in New York a couple of years ago, there will inevitably be some that will press for the idea of inserting Sanchez into the starting lineup at the slightest sign of trouble from Sam Bradford. With this being a “make or break” year for the former top overall selection, St. Louis should be giving their potential franchise quarterback every opportunity to perform, without the constant fear (or pressure from the media) of being benching lurking the back of his mind. The idea that competition breeds success at the quarterback position has yet to prove true in the modern NFL. That won’t magically change this year.
Between the inevitably large contract, the expected lack of roster spots headed into the regular season, and the unneeded attention that the signing would draw to the organization, there are more than enough reasons for the St. Louis Rams to shy away from the Mark Sanchez sweepstakes. Let Cleveland, Buffalo, and the rest of the quarterback-hungry franchises fight over him.
Tags: St. Louis Rams