It’s truly remarkable how quickly Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback Mark Sanchez was able to rejuvenate his NFL career. With just three preseason games working largely against second- and third-string defenses, a sixth-year veteran in possession of a 71.7 passer rating is now the hottest trade asset in pro football.
The moment news broke that St. Louis Rams signal-caller Sam Bradford was lost for the season to a torn ACL, speculation that Sanchez could be on the move was underway. In all honesty, though, why would the Rams want him?
Sure, Sanchez has had a great summer, completing 25 of 31 passes for 281 yards, two touchdowns and one interception during the preseason. That being said, does such a limited sample size at the hands of subpar competition erase the many years Sanchez spent as the literal butt-fumble of a joke around the league?
Why does anyone out there believe for one second the Rams think Sanchez can save their season?
For the record, St. Louis offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer should know better than anybody that’s an unlikely proposition. As it turns out, the Rams are built a lot like the New York Jets that Sanchez floundered with for so long—great defense, yet very little established talent at the skill positions. Sure, he knows the system, but remind me, how did that work out in the past?
To their credit, the Jets did reach a pair of conference title games under that duo. But ultimately, Sanchez never developed into a confident field general and Schottenheimer was eventually fired.
I thought it was telling that the Rams passed on an opportunity to sign Sanchez back in March. Instead, the club passed on Schottenheimer’s former pupil and signed 34-year-old Shaun Hill instead, for only $500K less—a fraction of the cost in NFL terms.
The Rams didn’t want Sanchez then. Now they’re going to trade a Day 2 draft pick to get him? When he’s on a one-year contract no less? Because a second- or third-round pick is probably what it takes to get this conversation started.
If you ask me, they’re better off keeping their picks, having whatever season they have with Hill or whoever under center, then taking a quarterback with what is almost certain to be an early first-round pick. I’m sure that’s the discussion the Rams front office is having upstairs.
Trade valuable picks for a guy who’s been a bad QB throughout his entire career up until July, then drop him in almost the exact same situation he was in when he stunk? On what planet does that make sense?
Of course, there’s also the not-so-minor detail that St. Louis could not even fit Sanchez under the salary cap at the moment—kudos to Geoff Mosher for picking that one out. It’s not the hugest of impediments to get around, but the fact is the Rams would have to release at least one player they possibly had designs on keeping.
It’s even been suggested Matt Barkley could be a possible trade target. However, the fact of the matter is it would be difficult for any quarterback to learn a new system at this late date in August, let alone a second-year quarterback with limited playing experience.
Plus, it might not be as easy to pry Barkley away as people think. With Sanchez heading back to free agency next year, it would appear Barkley will have a chance to step into that all-important backup role for Philadelphia in 2015. Would the team give him up for less than they paid to get him—fourth- and seventh-round picks?
There’s no doubt the Rams would like to come by another quarterback if they could, but if these are the best solutions, why bother?
For what it’s worth, Sanchez doesn’t want to go to St. Louis, telling reporters he’s happy in Philly. Likewise, the Eagles are happy to have avoided the Rams’ plight, signing and grooming a reserve people actually have a little faith in, perhaps even too much faith.
More to the point, what has Sanchez done to become such a hot commodity that other teams suddenly believe he can save their season? I’m not convinced his value is nearly as high in the eyes of NFL folks as it is the media and fans right now.