Eagles' Sanchez downplays talk of being traded to the Rams

Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez. (Matt Rourke/AP)

MARK SANCHEZ has been in the NFL long enough to know when a story might actually have legs and when it's just a string of speculation.

So yesterday as a group of reporters crowded around his locker to ask him about the rumors that he could be traded to the St. Louis Rams, the Eagles' backup quarterback tried to defuse things before they went too far.

"I haven't heard a thing from the people who would make those kinds of decisions," said Sanchez, who is looking to revive his status as a capable NFL quarterback. "I am not even worrying about stuff like that.

"I think [Eagles general manager Howie Roseman or head coach Chip Kelly] would say something or my agent would say something to me.


Should the Eagles trade backup quarterback Mark Sanchez?

"But if those people aren't talking to me about it, I seriously doubt something is happening."

Sanchez spent his first five seasons with the New York Jets in the hype capital of the world. He is well-versed in this side of the business.

Of course, it makes sense after St. Louis lost starting quarterback Sam Bradford for the season to a torn ACL that the Rams could be searching for a replacement.

And considering that Sanchez played in two AFC Championship Games with the Jets and this preseason with the Eagles has looked more like the quarterback who was drafted No. 5 overall in 2009 than the one who seemed to be swallowed by the turmoil in New York the last 2 years, his is an obvious name to speculate about.

"There are a ton of quarterbacks," Sanchez said. "Talk about someone else."

In a different city where there is a quality quarterback playing behind an entrenched starter, they probably are talking about another quarterback, but Sanchez is in Philadelphia.

"Look, there is nothing else to talk about," Sanchez said. "We're coming up on this fourth preseason game . . . We're getting ready for Week 1, but people can't wait, so that's when a lot of these trade rumors start getting speculated.

"That's just the way it goes. I've seen just about everything."

Presumably, Sanchez saw the USA Today report that a source close to him said there is "no chance" he wanted to be traded to St. Louis.

As the source who would actually know best what he is actually thinking, Sanchez pointed out: "I haven't said nothing. This is the first time I am talking [about the St. Louis rumor].

"I am not going to deal in hypotheticals. I am an Eagle and I love being an Eagle. I'm happy to be here. I hope you guys can see that. It's good to be back playing ball. It's good to be healthy again."

It's hard to know what the Eagles actually thought they were getting when they signed Sanchez to 1-year contract It looked like one of those cases in which a team hopes a change of scenery yields a player who could be a benefit.

The thing about quarterbacks is that they are always in such high demand, it doesn't take long for one who is playing well to quickly jump back on the radar.

Remember Sanchez' pedigree. Remember he missed last season with a shoulder injury.

It is not such a stretch to believe that a 26-year-old former top-five pick would regain form when healthy again.

Sanchez has gone 25 of 31 for 281 yards with two touchdown passes in the preseason. A quarterback playing like that has value to every team, including the Eagles.

Nick Foles is the Eagles' starting quarterback, but, as the Eagles found out last season when Foles replaced the injured Michael Vick and seized the starting job, things can happen.

"You see time and time again where the backup is thrust into a starting role," Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "We're watching it happen in St. Louis now. That's why the development of the quarterback room is very, very important."

That translates into the Eagles being in no rush to trade Sanchez. They appear to be perfectly content having Sanchez as their backup.

It would likely take big offer to engage them in trade talks for Sanchez.

"We knew what Sanchez brought to the table," Shurmur said. "We knew his strengths and weaknesses, and we thought he'd fit in well here.

"Sure, I think everybody should be interested in [Sanchez]. He's won a lot of football games in the league. He was sitting in the locker room of two AFC Championship Games.

"Sure, I lot of people should want [Sanchez], but we have him. So that's the reality."

Until that changes, everything else is just speculation.


Email: smallwj@phillynews.com

Columns: ph.ly/Smallwood