Thursday, March 4, 2010

Update on Potential Jets' Free Agents

With free agency starting up tomorrow, the Jets have had to make a number of decisions on key players.

Unrestricted Free Agents
FB Tony Richardson
WR David Clowney
TE/LS James Dearth
TE Ben Hartsock
K Jay Feely
DE Marques Douglas
LB Marques Murrell
LB Larry Izzo
LB Ryan Fowler

Those players above are key for the Jets because if any of them signs with another team, the Jets can then sign an unrestricted free agent of their own. There are no big names on that list, so the Jets can only really sign a couple depth free agents.

Now, the Jets, like so many other teams in this uncapped 2010 season, will have a number of restricted free agents as well. Some were set to be unrestricted free agents and got screwed by the lack of a new collective bargaining agreement. Leon Washington and Braylon Edwards both fit in that category, so the Jets control their rights for another year.

These players are free to sign wherever they want, but for many, the Jets placed tender offers on them, so teams have to give up compensation if they want to sign them. Gang Green would also hold the right to match any offer any of these guys signs with another team, as long as they tendered the player.

Tendered Restricted Free Agents
WR Braylon Edwards (1st and 3rd tender)
RB Leon Washington (2nd round tender)
QB Kellen Clemens (2nd round tender)
WR Brad Smith (2nd round tender)
S Eric Smith (3rd round tender)
OT Wayne Hunter (3rd round tender)
CB Drew Coleman (6th round tender)
S James Ihedigbo (No compensation, Jets have right to match offer)

The biggest surprise here is Washington only getting a 2nd round offer. That prompted Washington's agent Alvin Keels to say there was a 50/50 shot at best of his client returning to the Jets, but that assumes some team will be willing to give a 2nd round pick for a 28-year old runningback coming off a broken leg. Highly unlikely. Plus, the team would have to give Washington a big contract, one the Jets have not been willing to give yet. Expect everyone else on the list to return, though the Jets could try to trade Clemens for a late round pick.

The Jets also chose to non-tender three of their RFA's, leading them to become unrestricted free agents.

Non-Tendered Restricted Free Agents
DT Howard Green
WR Wallace Wright
LB Marques Murrell

Wright might return, as he was a valuable special teamer. On the other hand, the Jets could opt to replace him with someone who contributes more on offense. Murrell and Green are probably gone.

Now, the Jets have also done some other housekeeping heading into the new fiscal season.

Final Cuts
RB Thomas Jones
CB Lito Sheppard

CB Donald Strickland may have his name added to the list, but there hasn't been much smoke regarding his name in the past week or so. If he's cut today, I will post it. Sheppard's departure is no surprise, as he is owed a $10 million roster bonus which the Jets probably laughed at. Letting go of Jones is a move that will be debated all offseason. The Jets are definitely in the camp of letting go of a player one year too early rather than one year too late, but we'll see how much the Jets actually miss Jones in about 8 months.

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