Saturday, April 3, 2010
Will Jets regret parting with Jones, Feely?
ESPNNewYork.com football writer Jane McManus takes a look at the New York Jets' approach to free agency, focusing on their decisions to bring in outsiders rather than re-sign veterans Thomas Jones and Jay Feely.
Jones and Feely were coming off two of the best seasons at their position in club history.
Jones rushed for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Jets released him, a decision that agitated the locker room, then reportedly passed on the chance to match the two-year contract offer he eventually signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Jets signed LaDainian Tomlinson for two years and slightly more money.
Feely delivered 122 points for the Jets, third-highest by a Jets kicker. He also set a club record with 24 straight field goals and punted for them in the playoffs. Feely told me Friday the Jets offered a one-year contract for $300,000 less than he made last year. Instead, they get Nick Folk, a kicker who imploded last year.
So why not secure proven players who helped the team reach the AFC Championship game? The fact that the Jets aren't doing that, but are instead using a sum as relatively insignificant as $300,000 as a sticking point in a win-now year, is certainly curious.
Especially when you consider that less productive players, such as defensive end Vernon Gholston -- a third-year player Mel Kiper Jr. described as a bust -- will take up considerably more of the Jets budget.
Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum has made some admirable and dynamic moves, particularly the Antonio Cromartie trade.
But McManus raises some appropriate points. There is significant locker-room value to rewarding the veterans who've performed for you.