Mark Sanchez will be the Dallas Cowboys’ backup quarterback to start the season.
The Cowboys and Sanchez reached a one-year agreement Saturday, shortly after he was cut by the Denver Broncos. The Cowboys must make a roster move before officially adding Sanchez.
“Mark is very excited to join one of the flagship organizations in the NFL,” said Andrew Kessler, Sanchez’s agent. “He had numerous opportunities once the Broncos parted ways with him and he felt the Cowboys were the best fit for a variety of reasons.”
To clear a spot for Sanchez, the Cowboys could place quarterback Tony Romo on short-term injured reserve, although that decision can’t be made until Sunday.
If the Cowboys go that route, Romo would not be eligible to play until the Nov. 6 at Cleveland. The Cowboys must weigh that against the chance that Romo could be healthy enough to return a week earlier on Oct. 30 against Philadelphia.
Romo sustained a compression fracture in his lower back last month in a preseason game at Seattle, and is expected to miss eight to 10 weeks. The eight-week mark would be Oct. 20, and executive vice president Stephen Jones acknowledged the difficulty of making that decision after Thursday’s preseason finale.
“We’re going to wait right down to the last minute and still gather information,” Jones said. “Then when we ultimately decide to make that decision in terms of what we neex to do with Tony we’ll make that call.”
Having Romo back for an additional game could be the difference between a possible playoff berth or not, of course.
“That will be the tough part,” Jones said. “We have to really get our hands around that and we’ll do that.”
In the meantime, Sanchez gives the Cowboys a veteran backup to rookie Dak Prescott. Sanchez has started 72 games in a six-year career, going 37-35 in those games.
Sanchez has thrown for 15,126 yards in his career with 86 touchdowns and 84 interceptions. He has a career passer rating of 74.3.
The Cowboys have been searching for a veteran option ever since Romo went down.
Second-year pro Jameill Showers showed his inexperience during the preseason finale against Houston, and the Cowboys made it clear they would be active in seeing what options may become available.
Sanchez, the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft, proved to be the best option.
Sanchez played in two preseason games for the Broncos, completing 20-of-30 passes for 219 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also had two lost fumbles.