Coach Gary Kubiak named Trevor Siemian the Broncos' starting quarterback Monday and has to decide who will be the team's No. 2 -- rookie Paxton Lynch or Sanchez. That leaves Sanchez with an uncertain future after arriving in Denver with what he called "an opportunity of a lifetime."
Sanchez did not play in last Saturday's preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams and will not play Thursday night in Arizona unless Lynch needs to come out,
It has put him in an odd sort of limbo, waiting to see what the Broncos will do and waiting to see what kind of opportunities are out there for him, given that he is slated to be an unrestricted free agent at season's end.
"Getting ready for Carolina, but as a competitor you know you're disappointed things went the way that they did," Sanchez said after Tuesday's practice. "But, at the same time, you understand there's an emotional side to it, a competitor's side, but there's also a teammate. And me, enjoying my time here and really respecting this organization, respecting Trevor as a friend and as a player and as a teammate, the most important thing to do is move forward and help this team."
Many in the league believe the most likely scenario is that Sanchez will be released in the cutdown to 53 players, especially if the Broncos conclude the preseason Thursday night with the belief Lynch is ready to be the team's No. 2 quarterback. Kubiak said after Tuesday's practice that Sanchez, not Siemian, would go into the preseason finale if Lynch was shaken up and had to leave the game.
In the big picture, the Broncos would not have to surrender to the Philadelphia Eagles the conditional draft pick that was part of their trade agreement if Sanchez is not on the roster to start the season. And that draft pick is a consideration, given that the Broncos would have to surrender it to the Eagles if they traded Sanchez. That means a trade is unlikely.
"I want to be here," Sanchez said. "I love being here. I've gotten to know these guys and embraced this community, and I've had a great time here. So who knows about anything on the outside? … I've been hit up a lot about questions about contract or trades, and there is a business side to this thing, but I just focus on playing. That's why you hire an agent."
Asked if he would trim his $4.5 million salary to stay with the Broncos, Sanchez said: "I'm not going to get into that stuff."
Kubiak has not spoken specifically about Sanchez's role moving forward, other than to say, "We're just trying to put this team together." Kubiak has praised Sanchez's work on the practice field and with the Broncos' other quarterbacks.
For his part, Sanchez said Tuesday he was still disappointed but was also intent on handling things the right way.
"If things don't work out like you want, you can't act like a crybaby and cause a problem," he said. "That's not right. I just don't think that's the professional way to do it. … [Siemian] is a likable guy. It could be a lot worse."
Sanchez also said Kubiak, who told each quarterback of the decision to make Siemian the starter, has been clear about the decisions made throughout the preseason.
"That's part of the reason you want to stay here, is this organization is first class," Sanchez said. "There's nothing -- nobody tricked anybody, it was totally straightforward, man to man. … He explained everything, and I really appreciated that."
Sanchez was 20-of-30 passing for 219 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the preseason. He also lost two fumbles in the closing minutes of the first half against the San Francisco 49ers, giving him three turnovers in 46 snaps on the field.