Pat Shurmur called it the issue of the day and something “fun” to talk about. That’s where Mark Sanchez now resides -- at the intersection of hypothetical trades and the chance, however slim, of something actually happening.
Barely a week ago, Chip Kelly said he would "listen to anything for anybody" when asked whether the Eagles might consider trading Sanchez. That was an imaginary scenario dreamed up by a reporter and bounced off the head coach to elicit a sound bite. But this weekend, after Rams quarterback Sam Bradford blew out his ACL for the second straight year, people began wondering if St. Louis might be interested in Sanchez as a possible replacement. Suddenly, the hypothetical blended into the possible.
“I think everybody should be interested in Mark Sanchez,” Shurmur said. “He’s done a good job [and] played well for us. He’s won a lot of football games in the league. I’ve said it before: He was sitting in the locker room at halftime of two AFC Championship Games [with a lead].”
Brian Schottenheimer was the Jets' offensive coordinator while Sanchez was making those deep playoff runs. Schottenheimer now serves in the same capacity for the Rams. If you’re looking to connect the trade conspiracy dots, that's a good string to tie from one end to the other.
Sanchez has looked excellent this preseason. He has a 112.5 quarterback rating to go with two touchdowns and an interception. Better still, he’s completed 80.6 percent of his passes over the first three games, tied for the best mark among quarterbacks with at least 14 attempts.
But while that might be attractive to teams in need of a quarterback, the regular season is almost upon us. Would St. Louis be willing to give up anything of actual value to bring in Sanchez so late in the preseason? Would the Rams really feel confident that they could get him up to speed quickly enough that he could make a difference, even with Sanchez being familiar with Schottenheimer? It seems unlikely -- especially because, if the Rams actually wanted Sanchez, they could have signed him this offseason while he was a free agent. Or they could wait until next offseason and sign him when he becomes a free agent once again.
The flip side is whether the Eagles would want to unload Sanchez. No Eagles quarterback has played a full season since Donovan McNabb did so back in 2008. Would the Eagles -- who have aspirations of repeating as NFC East champs and making a playoff run -- be comfortable with Matt Barkley under center if Nick Foles went down? In more macro terms, how much value do they place on the backup quarterback?
"I think it’s hugely important,” Shurmur said. “You see time and time and time again where the backup is thrust into a starting role. We’re watching it happen in St. Louis now; unfortunately Sam [Bradford] got hurt for the year. So now [Shaun] Hill is in and he’s got to go.”
He continued: “A lot of people should want him, but we have him.”