With rosters cut to 75 and one preseason game left to be played, Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez still has a job in Denver. Whether he will when the rosters move to 53 on Saturday remains to be seen.
“I’m not going to go into that,” coach Gary Kubiak said when asked about Sanchez’s status by reporters on Tuesday. “We have to put our team together by Friday, Saturday basically for us. You never know what’s going to happen. Like I’ve said, Mark has done a great job. We can count on him. He’s preparing. He’s been great as a person and a teammate. That’s all you can ask. We’ll see.”
Kubiak needs Sanchez to play in the preseason finale, since starter Trevor Siemian will be kept out of harm’s way. Kubiak said the goal is to give first-rounder Paxton Lynch 60 to 70 snaps before putting Sanchez in the game late.
The risk for the Broncos is obvious. If Sanchez suffers a serious injury, the Broncos will be on the hook for the full amount of his $4.5 million salary.
The Broncos have been shopping Sanchez. They reportedly spoke to the Cowboys, who balked at absorbing all of Sanchez’s salary. With Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater likely out for the season, the Broncos possibly will be able to trade Sanchez to Minnesota.
For his part, Sanchez doesn’t want to leave.
“I want to be here,” Sanchez told reporters. “I love being here. I’ve gotten to know these guys and embrace this community. I’ve had a great time here. Who knows about anything on the outside? I’m focused on getting ready for Carolina. All of that stuff, whether it’s contract stuff — I’ve been hit up a lot with questions about contract or trades and there is a business side to this, but I’m just focused on playing. That’s why you hire an agent. They handle all of that stuff and they’ll let me know.”
Sanchez said he is using “Jedi mind tricks” to block out the noise about his status.
“I don’t need that affecting how I prepare and affecting any kind of decisions you make on the field and affect any way that you can help this team,” Sanchez said. “I don’t need to be thinking about, ‘Well man, should I be here? Should I work out hard? Should I try? I have to be here. I have to be in the moment and I have to be focused. I think that’s fair to the other players. If things don’t work out the way that you want, you can’t just act like a crybaby and cause a problem. That’s not right. I just don’t think that’s the professional way to do it, so I’ll help Trevor [Siemian] in any way that I can. It’s a good thing he’s a likable guy. It could be a lot worse, so it’s good.”
It’s not good overall for Sanchez, who carried the No. 1 job through the offseason and into training camp and the preseason. He may have to take less money to stay, and there’s a chance the Broncos will cut him in order to avoid owing the Eagles a seventh-round pick and re-sign him after Week One.