Rumor Roundup: March 11
Pool-party in Florham
Last weekend’s trade of Kerry Rhodes to Arizona left the Jets with a gaping hole at the free safety position. Thursday, New York filled that void in the secondary, coming to terms with former Cleveland Browns safety Brodney Pool on a one-year, $1.3 million deal.
The five-year veteran was originally a restricted free-agent but was not tendered by Cleveland, allowing the Jets to sign him without sending compensation back to the Browns.
In 11 games in ‘09, Pool posted 50 tackles, 1 sack and 4 interceptions–stats more than comparable to his predecessor, Rhodes, who posted just 63 tackles, 3 interceptions and no sacks in 16 games.
Pool has proven that he can produce on the field when given playing time. But the real question revolves around whether the former second-round pick can stay on the field. The 25-year-old Pool has suffered four concussions in his five-year career.
His latest concussion, coming in Week 12 of the ‘09 season put Pool’s career in serious jeopardy. However, in February , Pool was given a clean-bill of health and cleared to play for the 2010 season.
The signing of Pool is a low-risk, high-reward move for New York, who will ideally start Pool opposite strong safety Jim Leonhard in the secondary.
Tomlinson to meet with Jets Friday
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Rich Cimini of the Daily News, future Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson is headed to Florham to meet with the Jets brass on Friday.
The 30-year-old Tomlinson met with the Minnesota Vikings from Wednesday to Thursday but left without a contract. Tomlinson is coming off a season in which he rushed for a career-low, 790 yards.
The ten-year veteran has seen his production tail-off considerably since his MVP season in 2006, in which he rushed for a career-best 1,815 yards with 28 TD.
Tomlinson clearly is no longer capable of being an every-down, feature back in the league but could flourish in the reduced role the Jets could offer him. With Shonn Greene expected to be the featured back in 2010 and the future of Leon Washington currently uncertain, Tomlinson would fill the veteran void left by the departure of Thomas Jones.
Earlier this week, Jones agreed to a 2-year, $5 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Speaking of running backs…earlier this week, PFT reported that the San Fransisco 49ers have spoken with Leon Washington. It is expected that Washington will garner up interest from a few other teams around the league, but many are scared off by his season-ending leg injury.
By only tendering Washington at the second-round level, the Jets have seemingly invited teams to make a run at their young, dynamic back. It is believed that the organization wants him back next season, but whether or not that will happen is uncertain at this point.
The 27-year-old Washington rushed for 331 yards in ‘09 before breaking his leg during a Week 7 win in Oakland.
Alston pays Jets a visit
Oakland Raiders LB Jon Alston visited with the Jets on Thursday, according to Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger. Alston, a four-year veteran, started four games for Oakland in ‘09. He posted 23 tackles in nine games before having his season cut short due to concussions.
Alston would be brought in as a backup linebacker, likely seeing most of his time on special teams. Earlier this week, the Jets lost one of their top special teams performers from last season, Wallace Wright, who signed on with the Carolina Panthers.
Hartsock coming back
Earlier this week, the team announced the re-signing of tight end Ben Hartsock, to a two-year, $3.2 million deal. Hartsock was key component of the Jets’ league-leading rushing attack in 2009, as he was predominantly used as an extra blocker at the tight end position.
The 29-year-old Hartsock was originally signed by the Jets in September of 2009.
Draft Prospect of the Week: Earl Thomas, Safety, University of Texas
The 2010 draft boasts one of the strongest safety classes in recent memory and the New York Jets ought to take advantage. Thomas is a physical defender who excels in coverage. While the 5-foot-10, 210 pound Thomas may be a bit undersized to play the safety position at the pro level, he makes up for his lack of size with his aggressive style of play.
Thomas proved he is a playmaker at the college level, setting a Texas record with eight interceptions in ‘09. Whether his style of play will translate to the NFL remains to be seen, but it is clear that Thomas has the skill-set and tools to be a potential force in the secondary for years to come. Thomas would be a great fit for a Jet team, which finds itself relatively thin at the free safety, following the departure of Kerry Rhodes and the injury history of Brodney Pool.