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Making sense of the Sanchez cap hit

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As the Jets weigh their options regarding quarterback Mark Sanchez, some are suggesting that the cap hit associated with trading or cutting him would outweigh the cost of keeping him.

So let’s make sense of the cap situation, from three perspectives:  (1) if Sanchez stays on the team; (2) if he’s cut; and (3) if he’s traded.

If Sanchez stays on the team, the Jets will owe him a guaranteed base salary of $8.25 million and a workout bonus of $500,000 in 2013.  His total cap number of $12.853 million for next season includes a $2.5 million proration from a guaranteed payment made in 2010, along with a $1.6 million proration from the $8 million signing bonus Sanchez received in March.

If the Jets cut Sanchez before June 1, they can designate the move as a post-June 1 transaction (each team can do that with two players per year).  This would defer $4.8 million in dead money from the March 2012 signing bonus to 2014.  Because, however, Sanchez’s base salary for 2013 is fully guaranteed with no offset, the cap charge for 2013 would still be $12.353 million, with only the $500,000 workout bonus avoided.

Cutting him before June 1 without the post-June 1 designation would result in a cap hit of $17.1 million.  He would then be off the books for 2014.

A trade before June 1 would trigger an immediate cap charge of $8.9 million, along with any portion of the $8.25 million in guaranteed salary that the Jets would have to pay in order to make the trade happen.  If, for example, the Jets ship Sanchez to Arizona and the Jets agree to pay $5.25 million of the base salary while the Cardinals pay the remaining $3 million, the total cap hit for the Jets would be $14.15 million.

Perhaps the best outcome for the Jets would be to persuade another team to assume half of the $8.25 million base salary, which would allow the Jets to save some cash while also approximating the cap hit they’ll absorb if he’s on the team but not playing in 2013.

Of course, the biggest challenge could be finding a team that would be willing to pay more than $4 million for Sanchez in 2013, especially since his contract carries $11.5 million in compensation come 2014, $14 million in 2015, and $11.25 million in 2016.

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78 Responses to “Making sense of the Sanchez cap hit”
  1. mathomp3 says: Dec 19, 2012 3:51 PM

    Send him to Canada with Tebow!

  2. heydiddlediddlerayriceupthemiddle says: Dec 19, 2012 3:51 PM

    Mark Sanchez better buy his agent the most expensive bottle of wine he can find.

  3. raidersfolife says: Dec 19, 2012 3:52 PM


    As a Raiders fan, I thought we had it bad.

  4. hawkitnow says: Dec 19, 2012 3:53 PM

    Lol he’d be a downgrade from the train wreck they already have in AZ.

  5. tcostant says: Dec 19, 2012 3:55 PM

    I’m pretty sure the NFL has a rule that you can’t ship money or pay part of a salary to get a deal done.

  6. FinFan68 says: Dec 19, 2012 3:56 PM

    They will need to ask the new GM if he wants to keep Sanchez

  7. piratefreedom says: Dec 19, 2012 3:58 PM

    keep or cut: either way you are wasting the money but with cut at least you are saving a roster spot

  8. hehateme2 says: Dec 19, 2012 3:58 PM

    The jets are dreaming if they think this guy has much value. He’s a turnover machine leading the league with 50 TO’s the past 2 years!!

    Couple that with no leadership skills and an immaturity/fragile ego means the jets will probably be stuck with him for a while yet.

    Good times for all!

  9. kylexitron says: Dec 19, 2012 3:59 PM

    disregarding the cap numbers, as far as Sanchez himself is concerned, he looks lost and flailing.

    His best bet would be to get on a team with a veteran QB where he could sit for a year, recalibrate his game, and hopefully get a new start. Or at least somewhere with a good QB coach/coordinator.

    If he just goes to some other team who’s already dealing with a struggling QB, its going to be more of the same till he’s on the bench again.

    As a Seahawks fan, I would love to see him in arizona. It’s obvious they have no idea what they are doing when it comes to QB evaluation and training. If you thought the buttfumble was great wait till you see it in cardinal pink.

  10. vanmorrissey says: Dec 19, 2012 4:00 PM

    Brandt explained this on Tucker’s show this morning. Would have been a good deal had Sanchez performed at a top 10, even 15 level. Now, well, now is now. He didn’t perform so it looks a lot worse. Gambled, lost.

  11. trojanwarrior007 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:01 PM

    Tannenbaum should never have the opportunity to negotiate a contract after this screw up with El’ Dirty.

  12. sharksfan754 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:04 PM

    Although in case #3 you assume that someone wants to trade FOR him which is about as likely as the world ending in two days

  13. azarkhan says: Dec 19, 2012 4:06 PM

    his contract carries [8.75 million in 2013] $11.5 million in compensation come 2014, $14 million in 2015, and $11.25 million in 2016.

    All those millions for a QB with a rating of 67.9. Forget all their other stupidity, the Sanchez contract alone is reason enough to fire Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum.

  14. brutus9448 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:06 PM

    who would trade for sanchez in the NFL? Maybe a CFL team

  15. rockee3 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:08 PM

    Doing TV in a few years

  16. andylucksneck says: Dec 19, 2012 4:10 PM

    Biggest joke in professional sports. The NY Jets are a mess of a franchise.

  17. djp141 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:16 PM

    Just bite the bullet and cut him. The Panthers paid Jake Delhomme $12.5 million to throw interceptions for Cleveland. If they could do it, so can the Jets.

  18. jetsfaninjersey says: Dec 19, 2012 4:16 PM

    Another “great Tannebaum” move..the contract that keeps on giving….who would take him???
    His body of work speaks for itself…

  19. 6thsense79 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:17 PM

    And to think there were rumors of my Redskins giving up multiple top draft picks the year he came out to move up and draft him. We dodged a bullet big time.

  20. thejohnsmith1122 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:17 PM

    Trade two for one…Sanchez + Tebow for a conditional draft pick.

  21. kokomike says: Dec 19, 2012 4:17 PM

    If the Redskins can absorb an $18 million cap hit this year and contend, so can any team. Time for the Jets to stop crying.

  22. buckyhamm says: Dec 19, 2012 4:18 PM

    Trade Sanchez to Seattle, Jets would have to pick up $6 million of his contract. Seattle ships Flynn to NY, although I don’t really see an upside for Seattle lol.

  23. denverdude7 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:20 PM

    raidersfolife says:Dec 19, 2012 3:52 PM


    As a Raiders fan, I thought we had it bad.
    You do.

  24. gochargersgo says: Dec 19, 2012 4:26 PM

    So basically pay him to turn the ball over alot for themselves or pay him to turn the ball over alot for another team.

  25. jetsheartache says: Dec 19, 2012 4:30 PM

    thank you tannenbaum…

  26. sdelmonte says: Dec 19, 2012 4:30 PM

    I never thought I would see an Eddie Curry or Jason Bay contract in the NFL. Only in NY, I guess.

  27. dontasemebro says: Dec 19, 2012 4:31 PM

    I hope everything works out for both sides. Meanwhile I just took another pay cut, and have to get back to clipping coupons.

  28. fuglyflorio says: Dec 19, 2012 4:31 PM

    He may stink as a QB … but at least he’ll be stinking rich. Thanks Jets.

  29. crush1128 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:32 PM

    sanchez isn’t going anywhere, but tannenbaum, rex and sparano is another story

  30. daknight93 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:33 PM

    Jets are screwed either way with or without Sanchez and I can’t imagine any team trading for Mark..oh wait! Jags or cardinals are desperate for Qbs..

  31. rockthered1286 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:34 PM

    Come on guys, USC QB’s are always great, right? He’ll rebound just like the rest…

  32. Gordon says: Dec 19, 2012 4:35 PM

    So they’re basically stuck with him. Tannenbaum should be fired just for that, if nothing else.

  33. omniscient48 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:35 PM

    1. If he is shipped to Arizona, Larry Fitzgerald will commit suicide.

    2. Please identify the IDIOT responsible for signing Sanchez to that contract.

  34. prince5000 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:35 PM

    i don’t have a dog in this fight – but by reading that i think the Jets are stuck with this guy for two more years. and you don’t pay 8 million to a backup. at the very least you have to start putting any and all kinds of offensive weapons on this team, fire sparono, and hope for the best – because i don’t think he’s going anywhere.

  35. JackAcid says: Dec 19, 2012 4:38 PM

    The real winner in this? Sanchez’s agent.

    Only other deal that reeks of this much fail is the Bills Fitzpatrick deal.

    Both teams made huge, HUGE QB extension errors.

  36. patpatriotagain says: Dec 19, 2012 4:39 PM

    as a pats fan 2013 will even be more fun to watch than 2012. the only downside will be that they are going to have the #1 pick in the 2014 draft, with a better QB class available, and probably a better GM and head coach by then.

  37. mlenenski says: Dec 19, 2012 4:39 PM

    Just blame “the idiots calling the shots”…. the negative psychology crap only made Sanchez lose his confidence with the Tebow acquisition. He almost sucked on purpose.

  38. sail105 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:44 PM

    If the NFL was in the real world, where people are held accountable for their decisions, screwups and failings, Tannenbaum and unsexy Rexxy would have security standing at their desks while they packed a cardboard box of their possessions and would be ushered off the premises.

  39. zerole00 says: Dec 19, 2012 4:52 PM

    LoL, 500K workout bonus for those noodle arms?

  40. btowngetsdown says: Dec 19, 2012 4:52 PM

    It’s safe to say that Sanchez will be a Jet next year.

    Maybe the Jets keep Braylon, Hill learns how to catch, Holmes comes back strong and determined, Kerley keeps getting better, Keller gets re-signed on the cheap since he put up no stats this year, the defense gets tight like a tiger with Revis back paired with the now All Pro Cromartie, the D line starts to gel after a year of playing together, Scott gets shipped out and the Jets win the AFC East!

    Yes, I just got myself super pumped up!

  41. mwanamatapa says: Dec 19, 2012 5:02 PM

    Arizona may have quarterback issues but there is no way they are going to make it worse by trading for Sanchez. Even Lindley is better.

  42. m1000be says: Dec 19, 2012 5:02 PM

    The Jets can try and dump Sanchez if they want, but it looks to me he is the smart one. Either way, he collects millons of dollars. They can either have him warm the bench and pay him or release him, let him be paid and warm the bench elsewhere.

    Smart move.

  43. phaktor333 says: Dec 19, 2012 5:02 PM

    I firmly believe that Sanchez has what it takes to succeed from a physical standpoint, but he has been destroyed mentally. Reminds me of Scott Mitchell’s last few years in Detroit. He needs to find a place, if cut (because he has NO trade value), where he can sit and re-learn the game. A backup spot in Seattle or San Diego would be good; a long shot would be competing with Ryan Mallett to back up Brady. The last thing Sanchez needs right now is another starting gig in the league.

    He was bestowed a starting job by a group of men that had no idea of how to support or challenge a young QB and then later got by on winning with the prior coach’s players. The product that is on the field now wholly belongs to the regime that runs that franchise and it is indicative of where it is heading…nowhere.

  44. floriostoupee says: Dec 19, 2012 5:05 PM

    how does this contract NOT lose tannenbaum his job?

  45. marcinhouston says: Dec 19, 2012 5:10 PM

    But if they wait and cut him next winter, won’t they take a much bigger cap hit in 2014 than they would if they cut him now? It might not be worth saving $1 mil more in 2013 only to cost $10 mil more in 2014, you can’t think only of the present, sometimes its best to get the hard part over with.

  46. green41563 says: Dec 19, 2012 5:11 PM

    The contract deserves some explanation. The reason why Sanchez got such a big extension was that he had a very high cap number remaining on his rookie contract, and the Jets needed room to try to improve the club. Had they not renegotiated, he’d have wrecked their cap the same way he stands to do now.

    In that respect, the Jets are among the last major victims of the old-CBA era. For example, Mark Sanchez got a five-year, $50.5 million contract when he was drafted fifth overall in 2009. But three years later, in 2012, the fifth overall pick, Justin Blackmon got a 4-year deal worth only $18.5 million.

    The numbers aren’t even close.

  47. nflfan555 says: Dec 19, 2012 5:11 PM

    Oh and by the way… you actually gave up a 4th for Tebow, it will take years for this team to be even remotely respectable. Right now I would rather be in Jag or Raider than a NYJ

  48. stull60060 says: Dec 19, 2012 5:17 PM

    The Jets would have won more games and saved a ton of money if they would have started Tebow instead of Sanchez and not given Sanchez that big $$$$ contract extension. Serves them right for lying to Tebow to get him there and then screwing him. They also screwed the Jet fans. Sanchez sucks and so do the Jets.

  49. cwk22 says: Dec 19, 2012 5:27 PM

    Sanchez is a failure as a QB, but gets an “A” in picking an agent who knows how to fleece idiots like the Jets! He is laughing all the way to the bench!!!

  50. whatjusthapped says: Dec 19, 2012 5:33 PM

    There should be absolutely no discussion of a trade. Trades are rare in today’s NFL and even rarer when the guy you are trying to trade sucks.

    So the other two options are on the table and the choice is simple. You got a player that isn’t worth a damn and its time to move on. Just take the cap hit and be done with it. In business, when a company has a negative cash flow and there is no way out, its best to stop propping up the company and close the doors. Same thing with the Jets. Ok, they are going to be in cap hell in 2013 but those are the consequences for signing him. Just take your medicine and move on. Its not like Sanchez is going to improve in 2013 and start playing like a real NFL QB. He was never any good to begin with.

  51. justintuckrule says: Dec 19, 2012 5:39 PM

    I thought Tannenbaum was a cap genius. If he can’t do something with Sanchez’ contract then MT is completely worthless.

  52. madczyk says: Dec 19, 2012 5:42 PM

    It didn’t make any sense when they did it and It’s biting them back now. Why in the world did they extend his contract?

  53. green41563 says: Dec 19, 2012 5:45 PM

    nflfan555 says:
    Dec 19, 2012 5:11 PM
    Oh and by the way… you actually gave up a 4th for Tebow, it will take years for this team to be even remotely respectable.

    Wrong. This isn’t 1992. In today’s NFL, any team can go from bad to good–and vice versa–in a fairly short period of time. As it stands, the Jets have played the season without Revis, without their best receiver, Santonio Holmes, and *with* a bottom-five quarterback, and they’re still probably going to win seven games or so.

  54. upperdecker19 says: Dec 19, 2012 5:55 PM

    $500K workout bonus? Is that to help him fit into tighter white jeans for GQ photo shoots?

  55. SeenThisB4 says: Dec 19, 2012 6:05 PM

    Wow! And I thought Drew Brees got a sweet deal!

  56. plymouth11 says: Dec 19, 2012 6:05 PM

    Sanchez has never been good so you’ll never move him – but you can replace him through the draft or FA and keep sanchez as a backup until his contract is up. If you get an offensive line and an offensive coach who is worth anything then you might have a chance.

  57. turboreattore says: Dec 19, 2012 6:08 PM

    it’s very difficult to say what is better fot the Jets in the Sanchez case. The only sure thing is the guy who gave Sanchez that contract deserved to be fired istantly.

  58. gizzmonic says: Dec 19, 2012 6:09 PM

    I hope the Jests find a way to get through this and get back to a level of competitiveness so ol Rex can keep his job. As a Pats fan it’s been fun to watch Rex get himself all jacked and pumped only to have it all crash and burn by playoff time.
    This must be how those ol Yankee teams felt when the Sox won a few games in May, only to watch the Yanks in the playoffs come September

  59. macwomack says: Dec 19, 2012 6:16 PM

    You are a QB needy team…. you want to make a trade for a guy like Cousins or Sanchez?

    Consider the dollars (i.e. cost benefit). No one should be trading for Sanchez without going for a guy like Flynn, Cousins, or even Kyle Orton first. All of them have reasonable contracts… so unles you are getting money or picks as part of the deal why would you trade for Sanchez.

    The Jets are stuck.

  60. macwomack says: Dec 19, 2012 6:21 PM

    I take it back … Cousins for Sanchez… Redskins pay Sanchez 3 million to take the sting out of the hit for the jets and they take 4 picks (2nd – 5th round). Such a deal would allow the Skins to essentially buy picks from the Jets…. of course Sanchez needs to void all future contract years to make it work.

  61. yevrag3535 says: Dec 19, 2012 6:25 PM

    His coach made him worse, he sucks…..

  62. 69finfan says: Dec 19, 2012 6:30 PM

    Tannenbaum makes Jeff Ireland look like a genius. Is there a door number 4 or 5?

  63. govtminion says: Dec 19, 2012 6:32 PM

    Honest question- the numbers per year at the end of the article, are those guaranteed amounts? Like, no matter what he’ll earn that money per year on this deal?

    Tannebaum ought to have his termination papers printed on the back of a photocopy of that contract, if so. It would be one thing if Sanchez had come out and played like a superman at some point, had an amazing year at some point like (as an example) Cam Newton had last year, or something over the previous few years that said this guy was going to become a true top-level QB. We’ve never seen that improvement from him- to give him that kind of money guaranteed is just numbing.

  64. patssteelersorgiants says: Dec 19, 2012 6:33 PM

    CFL! CFL!

  65. burgandy2260 says: Dec 19, 2012 6:39 PM

    What’s the penalty for being a crappy QB? Pete Carroll was right to say he wasn’t ready for the NFL and he obviously wasn’t! The 1st 2 seasons were mere luck on the newly formed REX RYAN Jets. After that is when he showed his true abilities or lack there of. The Jets not only destroyed 1 QB’s future this year but you can throw in Tebo to the mix because a year off in the league for most players is like life w/o parole. No team is going to want either one of these scrubs!

  66. patfanken says: Dec 19, 2012 6:41 PM

    People keep saying that the ‘cap is crap’, but the deterioration of the Jets has been largely due to their inability to sign virtually no one significant in FA the last few years, and its going to be the same again this off season.

    But the real story of the Jets collapse starts with the owner, who as always been know as a joke (BB couldn’t get out of Dodge fast enough, when Woody became the owner). Moves on to the GM, who created the cap mess and has to take a lot of the blame for the bad drafts.

    (Vernon Gholdston, perhaps the least overall production out of any top 10 pick in the history of the draft, and now Mark Sanchez) When you whiff on #5 and #6 in in a 3 year stretch, and then compound by having the fewest draft picks in the league over the last 4 years. That’s not good.

    Finally you get to the HC. He called the year’s team the most talented he’s had with the Jets. So that tells you all you need to know about his player evaluation skills. The offense is inept. The team looks disorganized. There is no accountability, both on and off the field.

    On the plus side, he can coach some defense….against bad teams. A this point good offenses beat him like a drum.

    That the triple crown of incompetence….and a once proud and respected rival is a national punch line.

  67. peikid says: Dec 19, 2012 6:43 PM

    One of the most costly apologies…I mean contract extensions….. in NFL history! Be shocked if it doesn’t cost Tannembaum his job.

  68. radrntn says: Dec 19, 2012 6:45 PM

    raiders had to swallow approx 20 million in dead money this year by releasing guys like kam wimbley, stanford routt, kevin boss, etc……sometime you just have to do what you have to do, bite the bullet and move on…for being able to do just that, I give reggie mckenzie props.

  69. azarkhan says: Dec 19, 2012 6:56 PM

    The Sanchize has turned into The Sanchito.

  70. drunkenagitator says: Dec 19, 2012 7:09 PM

    Hang in there, Jets fans. the best part of every Jets season is coming: Feb. thru August. Only 8 more months til the SB talk begins!

  71. EJ says: Dec 19, 2012 7:13 PM

    Mark Sanchez was a decent QB coming out of college. He had a decent arm, good mobility, a good sense of the game and what was expected from him and a level head.
    What killed Sanchez was not himself, It was Rex Ryan. Ryan built this kids head up so big I’m surprised he could still walk. Giving a player confidence is one thing, but what Ryan did to Sanchez went way too far. Ryan also never really built up the offense around his QB, but expected the same from him. No real big time receivers, no QB friendly RB’s and never really put much of an Offensive line together. The recipe was never going to come out the way Ryan wanted with his Defense first mentality. Success was not an option for Sanchez.

  72. EJ says: Dec 19, 2012 7:16 PM

    Sanchez can still succeed in this league. He just needs an Offensive minded coach to work with.

  73. kellij666 says: Dec 19, 2012 7:29 PM

    Wow! And I thought Drew Brees got a sweet deal!

    he did, but the difference is he’s a proven winner. all sanchez has proven is that he sucks. i think that having rex ryan as ruined any chance sanchez had of developing into an nfl qback. ryan has ruined this franchise and it’s gonna take a long time to right this ship.

  74. bills4 says: Dec 19, 2012 7:50 PM

    Question. When has he ever played good enough to warrant the huge contract. This guy sucks very much please!!

  75. quadya says: Dec 19, 2012 9:03 PM

    Sure is funny the Yets are the laughing stock of the AFC East and yet the Dolphins are the team that this site likes to rail on all the time.

    Look for the phins to make several off season moves with the extra cap space they have along with a ton of picks in the first few rounds. I love Philbin (the anit Rex) and our defense is good enough to keep us in games. Get Tannenhill a few more weapons and we’ll have the Patriots at least looking in the rear view mirror and sweating a bit.

    phins up!

  76. chattanola says: Dec 19, 2012 9:28 PM

    Wow, what a mess. Looks like the Jets are gonna hurt which ever way they deal with Sanchez. Who the Sam Hill in the Jets’ hierarchy green-lighted this contract?…and why? fer cryin’ out loud. A public shame.

  77. larrybiv says: Dec 19, 2012 9:38 PM

    I have quite a few ideas/scenarios. 1. Extend his contract again similar to Bobby Bonilla’s through the year 2025. 2. Sit the bench lifting hotdog’s to his grinning mustachioed face(hey, he has to EARN that 500,000. Workout bonus, right?) 3. Force a little humility down his throat, and make him bow to a more worthy, old fashioned “real” football player like Tim Tebow, who would do “anything” to help his team win. Should’ve listened to Coach Carroll, he was trying to educate Mark, while saving him from being Rich and Ridiculed. Just my take.

  78. green41563 says: Dec 19, 2012 10:06 PM

    I’ve watched every game Sanchez has played for four years. The idea that he was ruined by Rex Ryan is absurd. The simple, boring truth about Mark is that he’s just not any good. Sure, he *looks* the part, and that’s part of the problem. He’s what Parcells used to call a “lure”: the type of guy who would flash in workouts and at practice and do *all* the things good quarterbacks say and do off the field. He’d memorize the offense cold; he’d look great throwing the ball in shorts; he’d be the first one in and the last one out.

    Mark throws a fairly strong ball; he’s athletic; and he’s smart. But the bottom line is that quarterbacking is primarily about two things: (1) finding the open guy; and (2) putting the ball between his numbers. And Mark is terrible at those things. Awful. Most times, he just doesn’t throw the ball to the right guy, and when he does, it’s often offline.

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