When the Denver Broncos decided to trade for Mark Sanchez, it was a clear-cut sign of desperation on the part of a team sorely in need of a quarterback.
For Sanchez it was a golden opportunity, a chance to revive his career after a disappointing end to his tenure with the Jets and the Eagles clearly not having any interest in his services moving forward.
The reboot, Sanchez told Mike Silver of NFL Network recently, was exciting. In the fashion of a former Broncos quarterback -- and a former Jets/Eagles teammate of his, Tim Tebow -- Sanchez said it was the answer to his prayers.
"This is like a gift-wrapped opportunity from Heaven," Sanchez said. "As soon as it arrived, I told myself, 'Take advantage of things. Assert yourself. Be the guy you know you can be. Win the job. And then go win some games, which is the most important thing of all.'"
He's not wrong: Eagles GM Howie Roseman said Sanchez would owe him a case of wine as a gift for sending him to the best possible landing spot. With Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler signed to a long-term deal with the Texans, the Broncos' quarterback position was wide open. Trevor Siemian was the only competition until Denver used a first-round pick on Paxton Lynch.
"I don't think there's much respect out there," Elway told Silver. "And a lot of that is [because] when you look at the quarterback position, with the guys that we have, they don't have a lot of [outside] respect, obviously.
"We think a lot more of Mark Sanchez than maybe the public does. [That's from] watching tape on him, and really watching him in Philly last year, and also since he's been here. If you're in New York, they have a tendency to bring the attention to the negative, rather than the positive. And Mark kind of got caught in that rut. We hope we're right. The great thing about camp starting, finally, is we can stop talking about it and see who's gonna come to the forefront."
Sanchez is the clear clubhouse leader. Siemian has more experience in the system, but Sanchez has more experience starting (72 games started, and six more in the playoffs) and is athletic enough to work in Gary Kubiak's offense.
Remember, this is the same offense that turned Matt Schaub into a league-leading passer (4,770 yards in 2009). Sanchez could operate a high-efficiency offense that leans on the running game and lets his speedy receivers rip off gigantic chunks of yards after the catch.