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Five months ago, Mark Sanchez was supposed to be the solution to the Denver Broncos’ quarterback vacancy, at least temporarily.
Though the Broncos never committed to him full-time, when they traded for Sanchez after Peyton Manning’s retirement and Brock Osweiler’s free-agency departure, he looked like the most qualified quarterback on the roster.
But by Week 4 of the preseason on Thursday night, Sanchez was glued to the bench, with second-year quarterback Trevor Siemian already named the Week 1 starter of the regular season, while rookie Paxton Lynch played the whole game. It was the second-straight preseason game that Sanchez didn’t play.
It appears that the writing is on the wall for Sanchez: He likely won’t make the roster.
Week 4 of the preseason is often a throw-away game except for end-of-the-bench players looking for roster spots. In the case of quarterbacks, starters almost always sit, while backups play to soak up reps. That Sanchez didn’t play in Week 3 or 4 seems to suggest that he’s not even on the radar as a backup. It also protects him from getting injured in case the Broncos want to cut or trade him.
If Sanchez is the Broncos’ third-stringer, then it makes little sense to keep him on the roster. By cutting him, the Broncos would not only get back the conditional seventh-round draft pick that they owe the Philadelphia Eagles, but they would also save the $3.5 million in base salary that they would owe Sanchez.
On Thursday, Sanchez was asked about his future, saying, “I have no idea, I guess I’ll find out [on Friday].” The Broncos have until 4 p.m. ET on Saturday to cut the roster to 53 players, but head coach Gary Kubiak said that there will likely be cuts on Friday, according to ESPN’s Jeff Legwold.
Sanchez said that he’s disappointed, as a competitor, by his regression from presumed starter to third-stringer, but will try to be supportive and help Siemian and Lynch.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes that Sanchez would likely be picked up for $1 million if he hits the free-agent market. But his chances of starting for another team, after failing to beat two players who haven’t thrown a regular-season pass in the NFL, don’t look good.