Mike Tannenbaum says hindsight is 20/20, especially when it comes to Mark Sanchez's contract extension.
"I don't think I'd sign a quarterback to an extension knowing that he'd have 26 turnovers," Tannenbaum said with a smile Thursday during his media tour, which began on NFL Network's "NFL AM." "That may be one of the reasons I'm sitting here with you guys."
Tannenbaum, who re-signed Sanchez to a five-year, $58.25-million deal last March, failed to mention that Sanchez had the same number of interceptions (18) and fumbles lost (eight) in 2011 as he did in 2012.
Instead, Tannenbaum explained that his approach always has been to draft a solid "core" of players (i.e., D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold) and later sign them to extensions "when it makes sense for both sides." But the Jets, who are $23.1 million over the 2013 salary cap, are handcuffed to Sanchez because of that hefty extension. Now it's up to new general manager John Idzik to figure out how to add depth to a mediocre offense while on a budget.
"Obviously, he didn't play as well this year, we didn't coach as well this year, we didn't get him as good players this year," Tannenbaum said. "But if we're sitting here a year or two from now, I still think Mark's going to be a good, credible quarterback in the NFL."
So will Sanchez be the Jets' starter in 2013?
"I think Mark's going to be there,'' Tannenbaum said. "Obviously, that's somebody else's decision now. But I wouldn't be surprised if they brought other people in as well.''
Tannenbaum also was complimentary toward his former backup quarterback, Tim Tebow.
Although the Jets touted Tebow as an explosive playmaker who would thrive in the Tony Sparano-led Wildcat, Tebow averaged fewer than seven offensive snaps a game and threw only eight passes. But with Jacksonville no longer a landing spot for Tebow, the Jets could have difficulty trading him. Nevertheless, Tannenbaum doesn't believe Tebow's career is over.
"This is a guy that was successful in high school, won championships in college," Tannenbaum said of Tebow, who was rendered a nonfactor during what likely was his only season with the Jets. "He's the type of person, he's either going to be successful as a pro quarterback or die trying.
"Obviously, there are some skills he has to work on; he has to be a more consistent thrower from the pocket -- we all know that. The accuracy. But with that, there are things he brings to the table. And we'll see how the offseason unfolds.
"He brings a lot to your team, and we felt . . . by getting him on the field, he would be able to make plays. Obviously, it didn't work out, and I wish Tim well."