Now that the farce that was Super Bowl XLVIII is in the books, the NFL‘s attention can turn to heavy speculation about the draft as well as the free agent feeding frenzy that will begin in a few weeks. And the Oakland Raiders have a lot of questions to answer and a lot of holes to fill. Some fans feel there is no more pressing question than the quarterback position. While some are undoubtedly hoping that the team will land either Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel or by some magnificent stroke of fortune Louisville‘s Teddy Bridgewater, there are others in the Raider Nation who still believe that either Terrelle Pryor or Matt McGloin should get a shot to lead the way. But a rumor is emerging that might throw a wrench into everybody’s plans and that rumor has a name — Mark Sanchez.
Paul Guiterrez, the Raiders’ insider for Comcast SportsNet in San Francisco, is floating the idea that the New York Jets, not wanting to pay Sanchez’s $2 million roster bonus that comes due in early March, will release the much maligned quarterback and that he will find a landing spot in the Bay Area. It’s a rumor and should absolutely be taken with a grain of salt, but with his connections to the team and “insider” status, is it possible that he’s heard something that we haven’t? Possibly. Guiterrez also goes on to suggest that Josh Freeman could be in the quarterback mix as well. In a recent reply to a reader, he Tweeted:
“Using the Trent Edwards signing as a frame of reference, I see them looking at a game-manager-type, a QB that has mileage but not too much wear on the tread. Guys like Edwards or Josh McCown or Matt Cassel. I’ve already advocated scooping up Mark Sanchez if and when he’s cut loose by the New York Jets.”
Freeman makes a certain amount of sense. When Greg Olson was the OC with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Freeman had a few pretty decent seasons. 2010 was his peak year when he connected on 61.4 percent of his passes for nearly 3,500 yards to go with 25 touchdowns against just six interceptions. Freeman might have some upside or at the very least provide for a very competitive camp battle with McGloin and Pryor for the starting job.
Sanchez’s best year was also in 2010, but he has steadily regressed since then, throwing 18 interceptions in consecutive seasons and leading the Jets in a downward spiral from 8-8 in 2011 to 6-10 in 2012. He’s got a career completion rate hovering around 55 percent and has thrown 68 touchdowns against 69 interceptions. He also has a bad history of not being able to hold on to the ball, coughing it up 43 times over his career. He hasn’t shown the ability to be a “game manager type” as Guiterrez suggests the Raiders are looking for, and he has a very clear history of bad decision-making on the field. And all that is without even mentioning the infamous butt-fumble.
Freeman could be an interesting pickup. He could be the sort of low risk/high reward gamble the Raiders could conceivably take. Sanchez would likely be an unmitigated disaster. Yes, he led the Jets to back to back AFC title games. But that was in his first two seasons, and he hasn’t shown that he can be the sort of field general the Raiders need since then. If the Raiders are actually interested in Sanchez, they need to shake themselves and realize that even McGloin is a better option than that.
The idea that Sanchez could wind up wearing the Silver and Black should send a collective shudder throughout the Raider Nation. And though they can’t agree on much these days, the Raider faithful should at least be able to unify and rally around the belief that bringing Sanchez in as the starting quarterback is a really, really dreadful idea.