Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Taylor won't sign with Jets on the spot
By Tim Graham
Although decorated sackmaster Jason Taylor has been in the NFL for 13 years, he never has been schmoozed like a superstar free agent.
He spent the first 11 years of his career with the Miami Dolphins, then was traded to the Washington Redskins before returning home.
Now he's being wooed by the best defensive team in the league.
Taylor spent Wednesday listening to the New York Jets make an impassioned pitch. He and his wife, Katina, will spend the night and visit with general manager Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Rex Ryan some more Thursday.
His agent, Gary Wichard, didn't expect a decision to be made for a few days, but couldn't say for sure. Wichard said Jason and Katina Taylor likely will return to their home in Weston, Fla., and take the weekend to sort out their plans.
"This is a guy that I can honestly say the contract is not a motivating factor," Wichard said. "The only things that matter are winning, enjoying football and getting a Super Bowl ring."
Taylor, an unrestricted free agent, hadn't expected to address his future until after the draft. But the Jets are bound by the "final eight" plan for the uncapped season. They're prohibited from signing an unrestricted free agent until they lose one, and kicker Jay Feely departed last week when he signed with the Arizona Cardinals.
"As soon as they got the freedom to come after a free agent, Jason was their No. 1 guy," Wichard said. "He was their target."
Taylor is the NFL's active leader with 127.5 sacks. He has been voted All-Pro three times and selected for six Pro Bowls. He was defensive player of the year for 2006 and won the league's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for community service the following season.
Ryan has been interested in Taylor for a year, but Taylor refused to entertain the idea of joining a bitter rival. Taylor walked away from a heap of guaranteed money with the Redskins in hopes of returning to the Dolphins after a season apart.
A year later, Taylor is intrigued by the Jets. They owned the No. 1 total defense, scoring defense and passing defense last year. Taylor would provide an outside pass-rushing element that was missing last year. Taylor recorded seven sacks last season. The Jets' starting outside linebackers, Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas, combined for 10 sacks.
"Rex has been a big Jason Taylor supporter, a fan forever," Wichard said. "He's talked about him for years.
"He wants to be able to take Jason and line him up and put him in different situations to get to the quarterback, which is right up his alley.
"Hey, it's the No. 1 defense in the NFL, and when Rex Ryan, the No. 1 defensive coach in the NFL picks up the phone and aggressively comes after you, you've got to listen."