It wouldn’t be all that shocking if Mark Sanchez isn’t a member of the Broncos come Sept. 8, when Denver opens the season against the Carolina Panthers at home.
Sanchez, who had the inside track to be the Broncos’ starter when the team traded for him in March, has struggled in two preseason games. He’s committed three turnovers in a little more than two quarters — first a pick against the Bears, then two fumbles deep in 49ers’ territory.
Now it appears second-year player Trevor Siemian is the favorite to win the job; head coach Gary Kubiak announced earlier this week that Siemian will start in Denver’s third preseason game against the Rams on Saturday.
Depending on how Siemian performs with the starters — and if rookie Paxton Lynch can continue his solid play — it’s very possible the Broncos cut Sanchez.
Only $1.1 million of Sanchez’s $4.5 million salary this season is guaranteed, so if Denver decides to part ways with him before the Sept. 3 deadline, they’d save $3.4 million. This would provide some salary-cap relief for Denver, which has the sixth-least cap space in the NFL, according to overthecap.com.
There’s another incentive, too. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter pointed out Tuesday, the Broncos wouldn’t have to surrender the conditional seventh-round pick they traded to Philadelphia for Sanchez if he doesn’t make the roster.
Seventh-round picks aren’t all that valuable, but you never know.
The downside to cutting Sanchez is that the other two QBs on the roster, Siemian and Lynch, have played all of one NFL snap between the two of them. We don’t know with any certainty what they’re going to do in a real game.
The book on Sanchez is out. He turns the ball over a ton — 1.4 times per game in six seasons. Those turnover issues, plus an extremely team-friendly deal, are why he might not make Denver’s Week 1 roster.