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Jets roll the dice by giving Sanchez big extension

In what could end up amounting to the most expensive vote of confidence in recorded history, the Jets are standing by their man.

Peyton Manning will not be the Jets' next starting quarterback. Instead, Mark Sanchez retains the job, made clear with a three-year extension agreed to on Friday night.

Did general manager Mike Tannenbaum make the move based on his belief in Sanchez? Or did Manning's people let the Jets know there was room in the swamps of Jersey for only one of Archie's boys?

We might have to wait until Tannenbaum releases his autobiography, "I Pity All Fools: The Real Mr. T," in 2018 to find out for sure. For now, we take the team at its word. Manning represented a wonderful option ... but Sanchez remains the best fit.

According to NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora, the Jets are now into Sanchez for up to $58.25 million (with $20.5 million fully guaranteed) over the next five seasons. That's a steep financial commitment for a player whose development slowed to a crawl in his third full season as a starter.

And then there's the specter of No. 18 hanging over everything. "Did we really pass up the chance to land a hellbent-on-revenge Peyton Manning ... because of Mark Sanchez?"

A sobering thought, but this is a move the team likely felt it had to make. From a makeup standpoint, Sanchez will never be confused with John Wayne. He's a sensitive soul whose production seems to ebb and flow with his body language. The extension -- and the timing of the extension -- sends a message to their quarterback.

The Jets have always been careful how they've handled Sanchez -- this is just the latest example. Is it coddling? Perhaps. But Sanchez helped guide the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons.

The man earned some rope. On Friday, the Jets gave him that.

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