Yes, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez will earn $20.5 million in guaranteed money in 2012 and 2013 as part of his new contract. The fact, however, that Sanchez already was due to earn $17.75 million over the next two seasons has prompted one league source to characterize the move as a “lipstick and powder” deal.
For an extra $2.75 million, Sanchez gave the Jets three straight option years, allowing the team to keep him if he finally realizes his full potential — and to cut him without further investment after the 2013 season, the 2014 season, or the 2015 season.
The contract also could be called a glorified restructuring. Per a source with knowledge of the details, Sanchez’s $11.75 million base salary for 2012 has been converted to an $8 million signing bonus, a fully-guaranteed base salary of $3.25 million, and a $500,000 workout bonus.
The move creates $6.4 million in 2012 cap space.
In 2013, Sanchez will receive a fully-guaranteed base salary of $8.25 million. In 2014, Sanchez is due to receive a $2 million roster bonus on the 15th day of the league year and a non-guaranteed $9 million base salary. In 2015, there’s another $1 million roster bonus due on the 15th day of the league year, plus a non-guaranteed base salary of $12.5 million. In 2016, Sanchez is due another $1 million roster bonus on the 15th day of the league yeaar, plus a base salary of $10.75 million. Workout bonuses of $500,000 apply in each year of the deal.
The contract contains $10 million in potential escalators, based in part on Super Bowl appearances and/or victories.
Given the organization’s apparent mixed feelings about Sanchez, getting the extra money and converting all of it to a guaranteed payment was a good career move. He could have been dumped after 2012, with the $6 million due next year forever gone.
Still, it likely wasn’t an accident that the news of this one came late on a Friday night. It’s hardly a big-money, long-term commitment.
Which actually will be regarded by plenty of Jets fans as good news.