The long-anticipated end of quarterback Matt Sanchez’s run with the New York Jets came to an end on Friday with his release while the Jets were opting instead for Michael Vick. The immediate question, based on comments by Bears general manager Phil Emery, was whether Sanchez’s next stop should be in Chicago with the Bears.
Sanchez’s best times in New York came while current Bears quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh held that position from 2009-12, during which time Sanchez, the No. 5 pick of the 2009 draft, was helping get the Jets to AFC Championship games his first two seasons. Sanchez then became a turnover machine the next two seasons before missing the entire 2013 season with a shoulder injury.
The unknown is whether the Bears may take a flyer on Sanchez because Cavanaugh knows him from New York, or take a pass for precisely the same reason: because Cavanaugh knows him from New York.
Emery did leave the door decidedly unlocked for a Sanchez or reasonable facsimile thereof:
“At some point we’ll probably bring in a bunch of veterans after this wave of free agency—this first and second wave—and we take a look at who’s still looking for an opportunity,” Emery said this month, “and we’ll bring them in and we’ll try them out and we may sign another one.”
A salary cap reality is that there is only so much money that can be parked in one position group. The Bears weren’t in position to even make a competitive offer for Josh McCown, and Sanchez may still cling to the delusions that come with your name being the fifth one called by Roger Goodell on draft day.
The Bears quietly signed Jordan Palmer in the days before free agency, securing a backup who’d impressed coaches both as an emergency fill-in late in training camp when Matt Blanchard was injured and again later in the season as insurance while Jay Cutler was in and out of sick bay.
But Emery, despite not going into seasons with two veteran backups on his rosters, was not ruling out another vet coming in to compete with directly with Palmer.