Mike Tannenbaum Transcript (03/09/12)

Opening Statement…

MIKE TANNENBAUM:  Thanks for joining.  I want to apologize for everyone waiting so late.  We had this done about three hours ago, but I had a preexisting personal commitment I just simply couldn’t break, and I’m very sensitive to everyone’s time and the commitment you make for the organization and covering us so thoroughly, so I apologize. With that said, I’m really excited to announce that we have reached an agreement in principle on a contract extension with Mark Sanchez.  We’re really excited about that.  Just to give you some background, we’ve been in negotiations with Mark and his representatives now for several weeks.  Once the season had ended, we talked about it internally, and feel really good about Mark as our starter.  He’s done a lot of good things for us, 31-22 as a starter.  Like all players, there are definitely areas to be improved upon, but with that said, with a three year body of work, we felt good about the direction of Mark and Rex as the head coach-quarterback combination. Going back several weeks, back to Indy, Ari Nissim and Jackie Davidson led the negotiations and we were excited we’re able to come to a conclusion and reach an agreement in principle. As everyone knows, when Peyton Manning, a first ballot Hall-of-Famer became available, just like I do every day, and I’m committed to it, we looked into that possibility as someone to add to our team.  We looked at it, we had discussion internally.  We’ve monitored the situation.  But as events continued to unfold, we kept pushing the extension with Mark in terms of the negotiations with him and his representatives, and we’re really excited where it ended, which is Mark is going to be our starting quarterback and has signed an extension for years to come. With that, I’d be happy to answer any questions.

 

On length of Mark Sanchez’s extension and if it was odd trying to extend Sanchez while looking at Peyton Manning…

TANNENBAUM: Well, again, we signed him to a five-year deal.  It was just one of those things where when we ended the season, Mark as a young player whose arrow was up, just like with Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, David Harris, guys that are our own guys, guys that we’ve drafted, guys that have the work ethic and the commitment, those are the types of guys that we want to keep in our program.  Mark was a guy we had identified that we’d like to sign to an extension.  Like I said, we started several weeks ago. But part of my responsibility is when other opportunities come along, we have to investigate it, and that’s what we did.  We looked into Peyton Manning, who obviously is a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, tremendous person, tremendous player that we all know, and we looked into it.  But again, like I said, as events continued to unfold, we continued the negotiations with Mark, and what’s important for us is where we are tonight, which is Mark is our starter, and we’re excited about 2012. From my standpoint, it’s Mark and Rex, and they’re going into Year Four, and in talking to Woody about it, we just feel really comfortable and excited that we have stability at those two positions and look forward to them working together and leading us.

On what he saw from Sanchez to give him an extension…

TANNENBAUM:  It’s based on the whole body of work.  It’s based on the person, the work ethic, and again, when you look at what we believe in as a team and the success of our team, we really feel that he fits in line with the David Harrises and the rest of our guys, that he’s a young player, and like any other young player, there’s some inconsistencies that have to get better.  To Mark’s credit, he’d be the first one to tell you that, and he’s a perfectionist.  But with that said, we’ve won a lot of football games with Mark as a starting quarterback of the New York Jets, and that’s really what convinced us, Rex, Woody and I.  It’s not a projection, it’s not a hope, it’s not an incremental leap of faith, it’s here’s – a three year body of work. And again, with that said, we don’t have blinders on.  It has to get better, and we think it will get better, and we think it’ll become more consistent going into Mark’s fourth year.  But taking a long view of things, we’re excited and encouraged by the trajectory of Mark’s career.

On if they agreed to the extension with Sanchez in principal conditionally on not bringing in Manning…

TANNENBAUM:  Well, I think Mark can certainly speak for himself.  As I said, we’ve been working on this now for several weeks, and in working with the complexities of a new CBA and all those rules and regulations, cast budgets, cap budgets, it’s a complicated contract like most of them are nowadays.  It took a long time.  It took several weeks.  But I want to just tip my hat to David Dunn and Andrew Kessler and Nick Sanchez.  They were professional and thorough throughout the process, and we were able to get an agreement about three hours ago.  And again, knowing that these things don’t hold, we were going to wait until tomorrow to announce it, but we figured let’s get the news out when it happened. So Mark can speak to things on his end, but from our end I want to tip my hat to Ari and Jackie and Dave, Andrew and Nick on their end because it was a real team effort, and like any deal we do, we want it to be good for both sides.

On if this extension makes it harder to find a backup for Sanchez…

TANNENBAUM:  think for us, two thoughts:  One is, Mark doesn’t need anybody to motivate him to be great.  Mark wants to be great.  That’s who he is and that’s the guy we drafted.  Mark and every other player is held accountable by how well they play and ultimately play time is dictated by Coach Ryan.  All our players are held accountable and it’s all about who gives us (the best) chance to win.  In terms of attracting other potential backup quarterbacks, every situation is different or speaks for itself as it relates to how that player may or may not have other opportunities. But with that said, and we’ve said this publicly now for a number of weeks, we feel really good about Mark as our starting quarterback, and that’s because the player and the person is really what we drafted:  A highly competitive, highly talented person that winning football games is really important.  And I don’t think it matters who the backup quarterback is.  That’s Mark’s DNA.  That’s his constitution, and that’s why we’re excited about him, and that’s why we were able to get this extension done.

On if the extension is three new years for a total of five remaining years…

TANNENBAUM:  Yes.

On how much of the deal had to do with clearing salary cap room…

TANNENBAUM:  No, that really didn’t have much to do with it.  There’s countless ways to reduce people’s caps in the league.  We’d probably saw a dozen of those league wide today, so that really had nothing to do with this.  This was more a substantive extension that will take five years, the two he had and an additional three. The cap number really did not drive this decision.  If we were looking just for cap room, as we’ve done in the past and other teams have done, there’s very simple mechanics that would not make you stay up until 10:40 on a Friday night.

On to what extent they looked into adding Manning…

TANNENBAUM:  I’m not going to get into specifics, but let’s just say it was something we looked into.  We had discussions internally.  Again, that’s my charge.  We’re always going to look into opportunities to improve this team.  It’s a responsibility I take seriously, and when a first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback becomes available, you look into it.  I’m not getting into the specifics of how many calls or what we did or didn’t do except to say we did look into it and discussed it internally.  As we did that, we kept the negotiation with Mark and his people ongoing, and they were great throughout this whole process.  A little over three hours ago, we found a landing spot.

On if this extension sends a message to other players that Sanchez will be here for a while…

TANNENBAUM:  We feel good about Mark.  He’s won a lot of games here, and Mark and Santonio have played well together as New York Jets and done a lot of great things together.  Obviously, there were some things last year that had to get cleaned up, and I’m confident that they will, and I’m confident that process has started. But Mark has been around here for a while.  We’ve won a lot of games with him as a quarterback.  This was about getting a good young player like D’Brickashaw, Nick Mangold, and Darrelle Revis and David Harris under contract.  That’s the core of our team, and our goal is to draft them and keep them.  A lot of good things have happened with Mark and Rex and to solidify that partnership for years to come, Woody Johnson and Rex and myself, we’re excited about that.

On how understanding Sanchez’s representatives were about the team looking at Manning…

TANNENBAUM: They’re seasoned professionals.  They were professional throughout the whole situation, and, obviously, I’ll let Mark speak for himself here momentarily, but David Dunn has been around the block a long time, Andrew Kessler, Nick Sanchez.  This is our second negotiation with them and Ari and Jackie.  Trust me, there were a lot of disagreements, but it was all in the spirit of try to find a landing spot for both sides.  And let’s face it:  Peyton Manning doesn’t become available every day, so I think people saw, too, that was a unique set of circumstances.

On if the franchise waivered in their support of Sanchez by looking at Manning…

TANNENBAUM:  No. I think because we’re talking about a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, we have an obligation to look into it, like I do when other unexpected opportunities come along.  It’s not every day a guy like Peyton with his accomplishments becomes available.  So that’s what that was. As I said, when other opportunities come along, we will look into it.  I have that obligation.  That’s my charge.  And sometimes things come up that are unexpected, and when they do, you take a look at it.  But again, as events unfolded, we continued on the path of the extension that we had started several weeks ago, and we’re excited where we are.

On if he think Sanchez would have remained on the roster if Manning was brought in…

TANNENBAUM:  I just don’t want to get into hypotheticals.  You never know how those things play out.  So I don’t know.


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