Mike Tannenbaum denied his decision to extend Mark Sanchez’s contract had anything to do with boosting the quarterback’s confidence. Nor was the extension – which guaranteed the streaky QB $8.25 million in 2013 – a means to make up for the Jets brief flirtation with future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.
“That is totally not true,” the Jets former GM said during an ESPN radio Tuesday on Radio Row in New Orleans. “It basically came down to this: we wanted to build through the draft as much as possible, keep our good, young players. So, extend Darrelle Revis, extend Nick Mangold, extend D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Mark is only one of five quarterbacks on the entire planet to win 30 games in his first three years. He won four road playoff games, he came off of a season after 2011 with 32 touchdowns – 26 threw the air, 6 rushing.
“Now, obviously, based on the way he played this year, that decision doesn’t look good right now. But with that said, Mark’s 26 years old, he’s durable, and football’s really important to him. And let’s see how the rest of his career plays out.”
As of now, Sanchez is slated to be a member of the Jets in 2013 – but that’s mainly because the money he’s owed precludes the Jets from dealing him. The quarterback followed up an inconsistent 2011 campaign with an abysmal 2012.
But, as they say, hindsight is 20/20.
When pressed on his decision to extend Sanchez’s contract when there were still two years remaining on the deal, Tannenbaum went back to listing the quarterback's accomplishments in 2011.
“He did score 32 touchdowns, we were 8-5, we were eliminated in the last-half of the last game in Miami," he said. "And again, with any deal that we make, it had nothing to do with Peyton Manning or the guy’s feelings. It was a business decision that it’s going to be good for us in cost-certainty and it’ll be good for Mark with security with a guarantee.
“Obviously, sitting here in January 2013, that decision hasn’t lived up to what we had thought. But we’ll see how it plays out for him and the Jets moving forward. But that was our thinking going into it.”
As disastrous as the Tim Tebow was, many point to the Sanchez extension as the true nail in Tannebaum’s proverbial coffin. But the former Jets GM – who said he’s already been contacted by “some teams” about opportunities – doesn’t see it that way.
“You would have to ask Woody exactly what his thinking was,” Tannebaum said of his firing on Dec. 31. “At the end of the day, we didn’t win enough games. So I can’t imagine it was on one singular decision.”