Report: Jets Won’t Bench Mark Sanchez for Tim Tebow This Year Because of Sanchez’s Contract Extension

Mark Sanchez Tim TebowWhat’s worse than having to start a quarterback who stinks? Having to sit that quarterback and still pay him a lot of money.

The Jets are reportedly trying to avoid that ignominious scenario by getting their money’s worth out of starting quarterback Mark Sanchez after signing him to a three-year extension in the offseason. The Jets are hoping Sanchez will rise to form by keeping him in the starting spot at least this year and possibly for next season, Mike Florio of NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk reports.

The Jets extended Sanchez’s contract in March, shortly after Peyton Manning chose to join the Broncos over a host of other teams, including New York. Sanchez’s deal, which includes $20.5 million in guarantees in 2012 and 2013, put his five-year total pay at $58.25 million — the seventh-highest salary among quarterbacks.

The deal was seen by many as a way to ameliorate Sanchez, who had come under heavy criticism for his underwhelming performance in 2011. By giving Sanchez a cushy contract, the thinking went, he would have the vote of confidence needed to lead the team effectively in 2012 and beyond, while the Jets would have time to look at other long-term options.

But now it appears the extension was just as shoddy as some originally thought. Sanchez has been as bad as ever this year, and instead of the Jets having the flexibility to turn to an option like popular backup quarterback Tim Tebow, they feel the need to get their worth from the contract, according to Florio.

“Sources close to Sanchez believe that the quarterback’s recent contract extension means that Sanchez will be with the team, and in turn be the starter, through 2013 at the minimum,” Florio reports.

The Jets aren’t as solid on keeping Sanchez as the starter for that long, but they aren’t ready to go to Tebow — a point from which there would not likely be a return due to Sanchez’s history of sensitivity.

“Per a source with direct knowledge of the situation, the Jets don’t anticipate benching Sanchez this season,” Florio writes.

Sanchez has completed 52.9 percent of his passes this year for 1,736 yards, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions, with the Jets just 3-5. Tebow, who has had mixed results as an NFL quarterback, is a heavy fan favorite.

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