- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 11, 2009

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - Mark Sanchez’s right hand was plenty warmed up after his second minicamp practice of the day. After all, the New York Jets’ rookie quarterback needed to sign all six copies _ 47 pages each _ of his new, eye-popping contract.

“This is just the beginning,” Sanchez said Wednesday with a big smile. “I’ll be working everyday to justify this contract.”

The Jets signed their franchise quarterback to a five-year deal that could be worth up to $60 million, including $28 million guaranteed.

“It’s only the tip of the iceberg,” Sanchez said. “There’s so much more I want to accomplish. This doesn’t assume that you’re going to be successful. It’s going to take a lot of hard work.”

Agent David Dunn said the deal is worth “around the $50 million mark,” but could reach as much as $60 million with incentives. That makes it the richest rookie deal ever given out by the Jets.

“We’re thrilled about the deal and I think the Jets are, too, and that’s exactly what you want,” Sanchez said. “Both of us on the same page and a great relationship, and hopefully the first of many (contracts).”

Detroit gave quarterback Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick and the only other first-rounder to sign, a six-year contract worth up to $78 million with $41.7 million in guarantees. While Sanchez’s deal falls short of that, Dunn said doing the contract for five years instead of the usual six for top picks satisfied both sides.

“I think from the Jets’ standpoint, there’s probably a little bit less money at risk,” Dunn said. “And from our standpoint, I think $28 million in guaranteed money will tide him over fine for a while. And, obviously, he reaches free agency a year sooner.”

From the moment he was drafted by the Jets fifth overall in April, Sanchez insisted to his representatives _ Dunn, Andrew Kessler and his brother, Nick Sanchez _ that he wanted the negotiations to be taken care of quickly and not set up a potential holdout situation.

“It sends the right message,” Sanchez said. “It’s not in my makeup to hold out like that. That would’ve just been terrible for me. This just eliminates that whole factor. I’ll be there Day 1, ready to go and compete. It’s going to be a good time and a competitive time.”

Sanchez led Southern California to a Rose Bowl victory over Penn State with a record-setting performance in his final college game. He’s competing with veteran Kellen Clemens for the Jets’ starting job, up for grabs after the retirement of Brett Favre.

“This allows for two things,” Sanchez said. “First, it’s one huge thing behind me, a big weight lifted off all of our shoulders. They know that I’m all about football and that’s all that I have to focus on now, and that’s the best part. Secondly, it allows me to get involved in the community here and back home. That’s great, too.”

New York’s last two top picks, linebacker Vernon Gholston and cornerback Darrelle Revis, reported to training camp late while trying to negotiate deals.

“We had some discussions a few weeks ago,” general manager Mike Tannenbaum said of Sanchez’s representatives. “I give them a lot of credit. We were trying to create a sense of urgency, even though it’s still early. … We didn’t think there was any need to wait if both sides could create that sense of urgency and if both sides could come up with a deal that was good for both sides.”

Sanchez, who went 14-2 as a starter with the Trojans, has been impressive at times during organized team activities and minicamp practices, showing poise, confidence and good decision making.

The Jets made a bold draft-day move to get Sanchez, acquiring the fifth pick from Cleveland, and former coach Eric Mangini, for their first-round pick, their second-rounder (No. 52), and defensive end Kenyon Coleman, safety Abram Elam and quarterback Brett Ratliff.

“From here on out, it’s about football,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “He’s a great young man who has been working hard since he got in here and I’m excited that we have him in the fold.”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide