When former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was released Friday night, his roller coaster NFL career took yet another turn. After becoming expendable with the signing of Michael Vick, Sanchez is seeking a new home to continue his career. Are the Cleveland Browns a potential destination for the five-year veteran out of USC?
The short answer: Maybe.
The long answer is a bit more complex, and there are two angles to look at in this situation. One of which is based on a fellow former Jet – new Browns head coach Mike Pettine. The new head man was the Jets’ defensive coordinator during Sanchez’s first four seasons, which included consecutive AFC Championship appearances in 2009 and 2010. While he may not be an offensive-minded coach, Pettine’s influence on the roster could help to put Sanchez in a Browns uniform as he reportedly thinks positively of the 27-year-old.
New Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is the other side of the potential scenario, and along with general manager Ray Farmer, Shanahan’s input should hold more weight when choosing offensive personnel. The name that’s repeatedly been brought up is Rex Grossman, who has been with Shanahan since he signed with the Houston Texans in 2009.
It’s been said that the Browns are seeking to bring in a veteran presence, but Sanchez shouldn’t be the solution. Look for the Browns to bring in a quarterback to mentor probable starter Brian Hoyer, not to compete against him. Grossman would serve as an extension of Shanahan and would be on the roster to advise Hoyer and whomever the Browns draft this May.
The last thing the Browns need is another season where fans are calling for the backup to become the starter. Having Sanchez in the mix could create a divide in the organization, which has been lacking cohesiveness, and the fans. In general, Cleveland should be on board with Hoyer, and understand that putting a potential rookie QB or Grossman on the field wouldn’t be ideal.
It’s still early in the process for Sanchez, and as of Sunday, rumors about where Sanchez will end up have been just that. Sanchez is actually younger than Hoyer, but a career that started out so promising has severely declined. He has time to get back on the right track, but Sanchez and his 33-29 record as a starter will likely become a backup wherever he lands.
Sanchez will end up on an NFL roster in 2014 in the attempt to restart his career. Although he would have a chance to play in a Browns uniform, Sanchez doesn’t appear to be a fit in Cleveland’s equation.