Mark Sanchez likes the team, the coach, the offense. He’s with the Philadelphia Eagles now in what essentially was a swap with Michael Vick.
Bounced out of New York after the Jets signed Vick last week, Sanchez has moved down turnpike and signed a one-year contract with the Eagles on Friday.
“I’ve said many times that we will always look to add quality players at the quarterback position,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said.
Sanchez, in his sixth year in the league, will be added to a mix of quarterbacks that includes Nick Foles, Matt Barkley and G.J. Kinne. In college, Barkley succeeded Sanchez at Southern California.
“I’m not stirring up a controversy,” Sanchez said at a news conference. “I’m here to help this team win.”
Kelly called the signing a “no-brainer.”
“Mark has started 68 games in his career and has taken his teams deep into the playoffs multiple times, so we really like what he brings to the table from an experience standpoint,” Kelly said. “I also had the chance to see Mark play in college and have always had respect for his game and athletic ability.”
Sanchez spent last season on injured reserve after tearing the labrum in his right shoulder in a preseason game. He led the Jets to the AFC championship game his first two seasons in the NFL before struggling the next two. Sanchez had an NFL-leading 52 turnovers in 2012-13.
“This team, this coach, the kind of offensive firepower they have, it’s just an exciting element to being here in Philadelphia,” Sanchez said. “I think coach Kelly really is on the cutting edge of the NFL He’s one of those guys that really has an exciting vision for the future. I think he is on a constant pursuit of a competitive edge.”
Sanchez was the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft. He had seemingly beat out rookie Geno Smith for the starting job in a preseason competition last August before getting hurt.
Sanchez’ departure in New York came as no surprise, but completed a stunning downfall for the quarterback who once drew comparisons to Joe Namath after helping lead the Jets to consecutive AFC title games in 2009 and 2010.
Sanchez struggled with consistency after that, and the lasting image of his time with the Jets came in 2012 when he fumbled after running into the backside of guard Brandon Moore. It was returned for a touchdown by New England’s Steve Gregory in front of a national television audience on Thanksgiving night and infamously labeled “The Butt Fumble.”
Sanchez’s injury last year cleared the way for Smith to start every game. Sanchez had three years remaining on his contract, but his $13.1 million salary cap number for next season – and $2 million roster bonus due Tuesday – made it unlikely the team would keep him at that amount.
Sanchez has thrown 68 touchdown passes, 69 interceptions and lost 20 fumbles. His career completion percentage is just 55.1 and his passer rating is only 77.1.
While Vick will compete with Smith for the starting job in New York, Sanchez comes to Philadelphia as insurance. Foles had a breakout sophomore season and led the Eagles to the NFC East title after replacing an injured Vick in Week 5. Foles threw 29 touchdowns and only two interceptions in 11 starts, including a playoff loss to New Orleans.
“You can never have enough talent at the quarterback position on your roster, so when Mark became available we immediately became interested,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said.
Roseman pointed to Sanchez’s “valuable experience.”
“He’ll have the chance to come in and learn the playbook,” he said. “And we feel he’ll be a nice veteran addition to the quarterback room.”