Mark Sanchez is officially a member of the Eagles, who hope their new addition can avoid becoming the butt of any more NFL jokes.
Sanchez, creator of the infamous “butt fumble” after he collided with the rear end of his own offensive lineman, passed his physical with the Eagles and on Friday signed a one-year deal, the team announced. Per a league source, the deal is worth up to $4 million.
“I’ve said many times that we will always look to add quality players at the quarterback position,” Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said in a statement released by the team. “We consider it a key position in this game, so having the chance to add Mark to that group was a no-brainer for us.
“Mark has started 68 games in his career and has taken his teams deep into the playoffs multiple times, so we really like what he brings to the table from an experience standpoint. I also had the chance to see Mark play in college and have always had respect for his game and athletic ability.”.
Sanchez, who missed all of last year recovering from a preseason shoulder injury that required surgery, will compete with Matt Barkley to be the primary backup behind third-year QB Nick Foles.
Barkley and Sanchez both played at USC, with Barkley filling the starting void left when Sanchez declared early for the NFL draft and then went fifth overall to the Jets in 2009. Barkley went on to set school and Pac-12 passing records.
The big sticking point for the Eagles was Sanchez’s surgically repaired shoulder. The team needed to be sure Sanchez was fully recovered.
“You can never have enough talent at the quarterback position on your roster, so when Mark became available we immediately became interested,” general manager Howie Roseman said. “He was obviously a very highly-touted player coming out of USC and has had valuable experience in this league. He’ll have the chance to come in and learn the playbook, and we feel he’ll be a nice veteran addition to the quarterback room.”
Sanchez was released last week by the Jets, who last year moved onto Geno Smith. Sanchez became expendable when the Jets signed Michael Vick in free agency. Strangely, Jets coach Rex Ryan has a tattoo on his upper arm of his wife wearing a Sanchez jersey.
Sanchez, 27, started 62 games for the Jets and won four playoff games. His 94.3 postseason passer rating is ninth-highest in NFL history. In the regular season, he’s 33-29 and led the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in both 2009 and 2010. He has a career 55.1 completion percentage and 71.7 passer rating.
Sanchez's career went south in 2011 after a very promising beginning. He led the Jets to the conference championship game in each of his first two seasons, but the Jets finished 8-8 in his third season and 6-10 in his fourth, missing the playoffs each time.
The Jets then picked Smith in the second round and started a competition between him and Sanchez last summer. Sanchez was injured late in a preseason game that he didn’t start and wasn’t expecting to play in.
As a rookie in 2009, Sanchez set Jets rookie records for most passing yards (2,444) and most completions (196) in a season and became the first rookie quarterback in team history to start the team’s season opener.
He helped lead the Jets to their first AFC Championship Game since 1998, starting all three postseason games while completing 41 of 68 passes (60.3 percent) for 539 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions and a 92.7 passer rating. His 80-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Braylon Edwards in the AFC Championship Game at Indianapolis set a team record for the longest play in playoff history.
In 2010, Sanchez started all 16 games while guiding the team to their second-consecutive AFC Championship Game, completing 278 of 507 passes for 3,291 yards and 17 touchdowns en route to a 75.3 quarterback rating.