Monday, July 21, 2008
Jets put unhappy TE Baker on PUP list
NEW YORK -- The New York Jets placed disgruntled tight end Chris Baker on the active-physically unable to perform list on Monday, along with backup linebacker Jason Trusnik.
Baker, angry that the Jets have refused to renegotiate his contract, missed a portion of minicamp last month after tweaking his back during practice. He was reportedly fined by the team for missing an injury treatment session.
When asked if the move was expected or related to the contract dispute, Baker's agent, Jonathan Feinsod, replied simply: "No comment, no comment, no comment." A team spokesman confirmed that it's not contract related.
Baker and Trusnik can't practice until they are removed from the list, which can happen at any point, but can participate in team meetings. The Jets' first training camp practices are Thursday.
The move came on the same day the Giants traded their unhappy tight end, Jeremy Shockey, to New Orleans for a pair of 2009 draft picks.
Baker, who had career highs with 41 catches and 409 yards last season, has asked to be traded but reported to camp Sunday with the quarterbacks and injured players.
He insists the Jets told his former agent, Cliff Brady, before last season that they would look into redoing his contract. Baker's deal currently has two years remaining, but he has said the Jets refuse to revisit the contract. During minicamp, general manager Mike Tannenbaum said that he and Baker "have a difference of opinion about those conversations."
Baker flatly shot down that contention at the time saying, "If you want to believe that, you can. There would be no reason for me to come out and lie."
The situation is eerily similar to what happened with guard Pete Kendall last season. Kendall, who has the same agents as Baker, sulked throughout minicamp and training camp last year, repeatedly expressing his desire to be traded if his contract wouldn't be redone. Kendall was eventually dealt to Washington before the season.
Baker's future with the Jets remains unclear, despite Tannenbaum and coach Eric Mangini saying numerous times that they expect the tight end to play for them this season because he's under contract. Although Baker is acknowledged as perhaps New York's best all-around player at the position, he appears to be expendable. The Jets drafted speedy Purdue tight end Dustin Keller in the first round, signed former Pro Bowler Bubba Franks and also have A.J. Schable, Jason Pociask and James Dearth, primarily a long snapper, on the roster.
Trusnik appeared in six games, mostly on special teams, with the Jets last season after being signed as an undrafted rookie free agent. Also Monday, the Jets placed tackle Clint Oldenburg on the active/non-football injury list.