When the Denver Broncos acquired veteran quarterback Mark Sanchez from the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this year, they gave up a conditional seventh round pick. However, if Sanchez fails to make the final roster, the Broncos owe the Eagles nothing.
And that's the way it's looking right now. According to Altitude Sports' Vic Lombardi, who's as plugged in to the happenings inside Dove Valley as anyone, the Broncos are expected to cut Sanchez, and it could come as early as Sunday.
Sanchez did not play in the Broncos third preseason game vs. the Los Angeles Rams. Trevor Siemian started the second consecutive game, after Sanchez started the opener in Chicago. The former top-5 draft pick has looked the part of the most experienced quarterback on the roster.
But the old turnover bugaboo has followed him to the Mile High City. In a relatively limited number of snaps, Sanchez has turned the ball over three times. One, a tipped interception. The other two were lost fumbles.
Here's the rub. Sanchez is on the brink of getting cut, not because of terrible play, but because of value. Trevor Siemian has locked down the starting gig. The Broncos can save $3.5 million on the salary cap, according to Over The Cap, if they part ways with Sanchez.
It doesn't make sense for the Broncos to have their highest-paid quarterback on the bench. It's as simple as that.
If you listen to what head coach Gary Kubiak said about Sanchez not playing Saturday night, it paints a different picture than the one Vic Lombardi and others are painting.
“I obviously thought about it all week long," Kubiak said Saturday night. "I sat down with Mark this morning before breakfast and I told him, I said, ‘Mark, I’m going to play Paxton second and if things go the way I think, if Trevor plays as long as I think he’s going to play, I’m not going to put you in there with four, five minutes left in the game.’ Bottom line, I have a lot to go off of on Mark. He’s played a lot of football. I needed to see these two other kids play again."
You could chalk Kubiak's words up to coach-speak. Or he could be telling the truth. The implication in Kubiak's words is that he's confident in Sanchez, but wanted to see what Siemian and Paxton Lynch could do with extended reps.
With neither Siemian or Lynch having ever started an NFL game, the Broncos would be taking a great chance in cutting Sanchez. If things go sideways in-season, the Broncos would need a veteran to step in and steady the ship.
If they cut Sanchez, the team could always look at bringing in another veteran, like former Kubiak disciple T.J. Yates, but the only thing a guy like Yates brings to the table is real starting experience—albeit underwhelming experience.
The truth is, Mark Sanchez had the opportunity to claim ownership of the Broncos starting job. He let it slip through his fingers.
Now, it's a matter of the Broncos figuring out what they believe is best for the team. And it might involve Sanchez not being on the roster.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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