Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Jets' spending spree reportedly leaves some vets feeling underpaid
ESPN.com news services
The New York Jets have been one of the most active teams in the NFL's free agency period, signing left guard Alan Faneca, defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, defensive end/linebacker Calvin Pace and right tackle Damien Woody to big-money deals.
In total, the team doled out approximately $142 million for the four players -- $74 million of it guaranteed. While the spending spree might have the Jets' fan base energized, some of the team's veteran holdovers reportedly are wondering when the Jets will show them their money.
"You pay guys you don't even know, and the guys in the locker room -- the guys that have your back -- you don't give a damn about them," an anonymous player told The New York Daily News. "It shows where the loyalty is."
The Jets are coming off a 4-12 season under second-year coach Eric Mangini and general manager Mike Tannenbaum. The team made the playoffs as a wild-card team in the first season of the new Jets regime.
Last season, the team traded guard Pete Kendall to the Redskins, rather than give him a pay raise, which he had publicly lobbied for in training camp.
Among the players who have made it known they would like new contracts are wide receiver Laveranues Coles and tight end Chris Baker. The Jets also are trying to negotiate a long-term extension with star safety Kerry Rhodes, who will be eligible for restricted free agency after this season. According to the Daily News, the Jets and Rhodes remain far apart.
Another anonymous player referenced the team's trade of Jonathan Vilma to New Orleans in his criticism of the team. Vilma, who never fit in the team's 3-4 defense, was traded to the Saints for draft picks.
"They're getting rid of the young guys and bringing in old guys," the anonymous player told the Daily News. "I don't know what they're doing."
One of the newest additions, however, said he thinks the team is spending big in the hopes of putting a dreadful 2007 behind it.
"There's a definite sense of urgency to turn things around," Faneca said, according to the Bergen Record. "I think the attitude in the building is right. Making changes and being aggressive in the offseason only helps."
You pay guys you don't even know, and the guys in the locker room -- the guys that have your back -- you don't give a damn about them. It shows where the loyalty is.
-- Anonymous Jets player