ForbesIt’s been a decent start for third-year quarterback Mark Sanchez(notes), the former first round pick who’s completed 63 percent of his passes and thrown for four touchdowns in leading the New York Jets to victories in their first two games. Sanchez, though, has also thrown three interceptions. He enters Week 3 with a middle-of-the-road passer rating of 87.7. That’s an improvement over the low 70s Sanchez averaged in his first two seasons after signing a rookie contract worth up to $60 million over five years. This season happen to be the balloon year of Sanchez’s five-year deal: he’s owed $14.75 million. Like any QB drafted high, Sanchez is being paid for the potential the club figures he has to develop into a star. But while he’s progressing, there’s no way to avoid viewing his salary as anything but excessive until that big year actually comes. Hence, Sanchez is our choice to top the 2011 list of the NFL’s most overpaid players. Measuring pay vs. performance is trickier for football than for other sports. Quarterback ratings and yardage numbers are useful, but statistics in the NFL trend toward systems and game plans more so than in other sports.

Mark Sanchez is just like Derek Jeter. Finally. I finally have one of those players on my teams. I finally have the guy who has that intangible something that you can’t put your finger on. He’s not Peyton Manning. He’s not Tom Brady. He’s not gonna pass for 55 TDs and 5,000 yards. Just like Jeter was never Arod. Never gonna hit 50 bombs in a season.

But both of those guys have a knack for rising to the occasion in the biggest of moments. When the pressure is on, they elevate their game. They’re clutch. They’re leaders. When the game is on the line, there’s nobody else you’d rather be in control.

But you just can’t quantify it, so people on the outside looking in use the terms overrated and overpaid. Dollars and cents, TDs and yards, home runs and RBI. These are all quantifiable things. But guys like Sanchez and Jeter can’t be quantified. I can’t put it into words, and it will drive haters insane, but at the end of the day guys like Jeter and Sanchez are always there. I mean fuck Derek Jeter has been voted the most overrated player in baseball for like 50 years in a row and he’s got a ring sitting on his fucking thumb. When its all said and done and Mark Sanchez has a Lombardi Trophy or 2 sitting on his mantle, anyone with half a brain will be able to see he’s worth every penny the Jets ever paid him.

PS – Aside from Jay Cutler, every single quarterback in the Conference Championship games the past 2 years has been a Hall of Famer. Manning, Brees, Favre, Big Ben, Aaron Rodgers. When you’re playing with the all time greats I’d say you’re earning your paycheck.