(Long Island, N.Y.) All parties said the right things. Both boss and employer paid their respects to perhaps the ‘one that got away,’ yet professed nothing but happiness now that life goes on as usual. Such is life in the NFL.
It will in all likelihood remain behind closed doors what exactly occurred if and when the New York Jets contacted Peyton Manning’s representatives, but whatever was said must have been brief and to the point. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum had no problem saying that the team looked into every possible scenario to make improvements, and that included Manning.
“We looked at it, we had discussions internally,” said Tannenbaum. “But as events continued to unfold, we continued the negotiations with Mark (Sanchez).”
Those negotiations resulted in a three-year extension on Sanchez’s rookie contract, even though the incumbent starter had two years remaining on it. Tannenbaum never wavered from saying that the Manning topic never left the Jets’ offices, and that Sanchez’s extension discussions actually began several weeks ago while Manning was still a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
Entering his fourth year in the league, Sanchez is well aware of the business aspect of the NFL and played it safe when addressing the Manning issue. “I completely understand that the team has its obligation to consider all of its options,” he said. “But the best part about it is that they chose to stick with me.”
A certain first ballot Hall of Famer such as Manning does not become available on the open market very often, so it behooved Tannenbaum to at least consider bringing the veteran in. But one has to wonder if the contract negotiations were a safety net in case Manning was either traded to another team or decided against coming to New York. Unique timing to get the extension done, especially considering that Sanchez is coming off his worst season and was locked up already.
All things considered, the Jets are probably better off staying with the younger Sanchez and hoping that 2011 was an aberration and not a sign of things to come from the USC product. As far as he is concerned, though, it’s better to remember the bad than to forget it. Knowing how it felt will bring out the better in you.
“The plane ride from Miami after losing and not making the playoffs, not even giving yourself a chance to make the playoffs, those are the kinds of things that you think about and remember and you make sure that you write them down, and hopefully we never have to feel that way again.”
Manning will be in a new city and Sanchez back where he belongs. The one thing that we are assured of is that this will not be a repeat of the Brett Favre experiment – the one that didn’t work out so well for the Jets.
Chad Pennington was younger and showed that he can bring the team to the playoffs, but the Jets chose to roll the dice and bring in a proven veteran over him. Favre fizzled and was gone after one year, while Pennington led the Miami Dolphins to the AFC East division title before shoulder injuries caused him to retire early.
What would have happened if Pennington remained a Jet? We have the same answer if Manning became a Jet – we’ll never know.