Former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez didn't stay on the free agency market long. He was scooped up by the Philadelphia Eagles, where he'll join a cast of Pac-12 characters at quarterback, according to Jason La Canfora.
Under the direction of former Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly, Sanchez will likely compete with fellow USC Trojans alum Matt Barkley for the backup role behind Pro Bowler and former Arizona Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles. Sanchez will fill the void left by Michael Vick's departure. Vick was signed by the Jets to replace Sanchez.
Sanchez, 27, was the fifth overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft and started in all but two games in his first four seasons in the NFL. After consecutive trips to the AFC Championship Game in his first two years, Sanchez had the best statistical season of his career in 2011, followed by a significant drop off in 2012.
It was during this stretch of time that fans gave up on Sanchez, according to John Butchko of SB Nation's Jets blog, Gang Green Nation:
Most of us came to the realization he was not the Jets' savior at some point in 2011 or 2012. It was a painful realization. We had pinned so many of our hopes to this guy. We had wanted to believe. We put our stock in the promise we saw, not in the warning signs that only with hindsight we realize were there all. He was supposed to be an elite talent. He loved the Jets. He was a likable guy. Very few have a bad word to say about him.
After developing a reputation for being clutch with four road victories in the postseason of his first two seasons, Sanchez showed signs of improvement in 2011 with a career-best 3,474 yards passing and 26 touchdowns to 18 interceptions. However, the previously top-ranked defense finished 20th in the NFL in yards allowed, and the Jets were left on the outside of the playoffs looking in.
In the following year, the wheels fell off for Sanchez, as he once again finished with 18 interceptions, but only 13 touchdowns. The season was plagued with calls from fans for Tim Tebow to start and included the infamous Buttfumble, along with the benching of Sanchez in the following week in favor of Greg McElroy.
His 2012 campaign saw him throw for 2,883 yards, 13 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, with a completion percentage of 54.3. What made that season much worse than those numbers look: He also had a whopping nine fumbles, a career high. In fact, in four years of starting, he had 26 fumbles to his name. He was remarkably bad at holding onto the football, and often lost it in the most hilarious of ways.
Last season, Sanchez didn't even get a chance to start. The Jets conducted a quarterback competition of sorts, but everyone knew the job was going to rookie Geno Smith. New York has its own issues there, as Smith played only marginally better than Sanchez in some areas and worse in others -- he posted 12 touchdowns against 21 interceptions. Both Smith and Matt Simms took meaningful snaps at quarterback in 2013, but not Sanchez.
At the end of the day, the Eagles are getting a guy with a career completion percentage of 55.1 with 68 touchdowns and 69 interceptions. The stats are not on Sanchez's side at this point, but it's worth noting that he's only played for the one team thus far in the NFL, and competing for a backup role in Philadelphia might actually be a good thing for him. Working with Kelly can't hurt, either.