No one understands what Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is going through quite like Mark Sanchez.
While speaking on the latest episode of The Post’s “Gang’s All Here” podcast, the former franchise QB reminisced on his first years in the league and the pressures he faced as a young player in New York. Sanchez, who played for the Jets from 2009 to 2013, said he related to what Darnold must be currently experiencing – although he had different circumstances.
“Part of it is that there’s just nothing working in their favor right now, right?” Sanchez said. “It’s not a real veteran group, it’s not guys who played together for a long time and there isn’t just a star-studded cast that can figure it out or just use their talent and make plays. So it’s really the triple-threat in the wrong direction.
“…There’s just so much uncertainty that it’s almost impossible for a quarterback to have success with all those circumstances. I feel for him.”
Sanchez, 34, said he believes Darnold is a competitor and is itching to play since suffering a shoulder injury this season, but pointed out that the 23-year-old QB has some tough decisions to make.
“Because of the way things have transpired, he’s got to make some serious decisions about the longevity of his career and whether or not playing the rest of this year is even worth it,” he said. “If it’s in his best interest. If this season is at a loss, which it looks like already. It’s not like they’re going to turn around and make a playoff run. Now you get into these tough decisions as a competitor thinking, ‘Man, maybe my time’s up here and that’s okay. Maybe it’s best for both sides to move on.’”
Reflecting on his rookie season, in which he signed a five-year, $50 million contract with $28 million guaranteed, Sanchez acknowledged that things went a bit differently for him than for they have for Darnold. The Jets went 9-7 during Sanchez’s first year before going 11-5 the following season.
He said he was sure things were a lot easier on a winning quarterback than they have been for Darnold, who has gone 11-21 in his first three NFL seasons so far.
“What is he 24? 23? You sign this huge deal, just like I did, and you are now, overnight, expected – I was 21, 22 at the time – you just overnight are expected after signing this $50 million dollar deal with the Jets as their franchise quarterback to somehow fast forward in the future and have the discernment and wisdom of a 65-year-old Supreme Court Justice. And that’s just not the way it works,” Sanchez said.
“In my opinion – and obviously I’m biased, he’s a USC guy, he’s a So-Cal guy – I think he’s a great player. He’s a franchise player. I think he’s somebody you invest in … He just hasn’t been able to do it there.”
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