- Last Updated: 12:13 PM, December 22, 2012
- Posted: 12:53 AM, December 22, 2012
Mark Sanchez may not have a choice where he plays or what team he ends up with next season, but the Jets’ former franchise quarterback was noncommittal when asked whether he would like to return for another season with the team that drafted him.
“I really haven’t even thought about it,” Sanchez said after Friday’s practice. “I’m a Jet. That’s all I’ve known.”
It is what he may know for one more season, even if it’s not what he wants. Sanchez is owed $8.25 million in guaranteed money next season, and the Jets would have to pay off the majority of his contract in a trade or release him, which would result in a $17.1 million salary cap hit.
Though reports have surfaced the Jets will try to trade Sanchez in the offseason, the 26-year-old said he hasn’t thought about the prospect of being traded and would “assess all that stuff at a later date.”
Sanchez said he is just preparing for the final two games of the season, beginning with Sunday’s visit from the Chargers. Whether that will be as Greg McElroy’s backup or as the No. 3 quarterback behind Tim Tebow, Sanchez doesn’t know.
“[Coach Rex Ryan] hasn’t addressed the issue with us, so we’re just ready to play,” Sanchez said. “You have to ask coach.”
According to a source, Sanchez likely will be the No. 2 quarterback, but Ryan would not reveal his plans or whether he had made the decision privately yet. Ryan added all three quarterbacks could be active, which would make it the first time this season the Jets would have each quarterback dressed.
One question even gave him the idea to have Sanchez and Tebow both available and not say who is No. 2.
“It’s going to be a coach’s decision, and I’ll make that decision later,” Ryan said. “I’ve said there’s a possibility all three guys will be up. There’s a possibility two will be up. I’m not going to make that decision just yet.”
Is Ryan withholding the information to gain a competitive advantage?
“I don’t know. There could be [one],” Ryan said. “And you know what, the beauty of it is I don’t have to make that decision and I’m not going to.
“Everything that goes into it is what gives your team the best chance to win. You guys love that answer, but it’s the truth. At 6-8, maybe it’s not the answer you guys want or somebody wants, but it’s my answer and that’s what I truly believe.”“As disappointing as it is, I’m excited for him, if that makes sense. You never want to relinquish your job and just concede, but at the same time you want to root for our team, root for somebody like Greg.”
Either way, Sanchez’s preparation remains the same. For the first time in more than three years, the Jets will not have Sanchez start a game.
Over and over, he reiterated his job is to support McElroy, how he has been helping his former understudy in film sessions and how he still needs to be ready, just in case.
Even though two careers have been altered, Sanchez and McElroy both said the changed dynamic hasn’t been awkward. It’s just different.
“I wouldn’t say [the week’s been] normal, so in that way it’s been different, but you have to be a pro and do the right thing and that’s help Greg and prepare like I always do,” Sanchez said. “We’re close off the field, too. I think Greg’s a great guy and I think he’ll be ready for this challenge.
—Additional reporting by Brian CostelloFollow @NYPostsports