FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Lost amidst the re-signing of Santonio Holmes and the speculation surrounding a certain All-Pro cornerback who’s name is just far to confusing to type has been the Jets bringing back key guys on both the offensive and special teams aspects.
Earlier this week general manager Mike Tannenbaum gave offensive tackle Wayne Hunter a four-year contract extension. Hunter, who took over for Damien Woody at right tackle after he went down with an Achilles’ injury that ended his season and possibly forced Woody into retirement. There’s still a possibility of Woody returning to the Jets, as Woody told Jenny Vrentas, of the Newark Star Ledger, that it’s “either Gang Green or nobody” at this point.
As for Hunter, who played very well as a utility lineman and as a tackle-eligible tight end in certain formations. He’s a Rex Ryan guy, who will do whatever is asked of him for the greater good of the team. After the injury to Woody, he was able to come in and never miss a beat with the starting unit.
Additionally, the Jets officially signed fellow utility lineman, Robert Turner, to a one-year tender. Turner, who was a restricted free agent before the lockout was given a low tender with no draft choice compensation. Turner played in all 19 games for the Jets last season plugging holes all over the offensive line, as well as filling in at the tackle eligible tight end.
With Hunter and Turner filling gaps and second-year starter Matt Slauson gaining more and more confidence, the Jets could be back to — not only having a great run-blocking line, but — a well-rounded line that protects the passer and rusher. Let’s not forget about the Jets second-round pick in last year’s draft, Vladimir Ducasse, either.Center Nick Mangold certainly isn’t.
“If Vladimir is able to step up, he’ll be ready to go,” Mangold said. “In talking to him a little bit today, he seems ready. We seem to be in a good position [here].”
As for special teams, like it or not, kicker Nick Folk will be kicking the extra points and field goals again in 2011. He certainly did revive his career last year after being cut from the Dallas Cowboys. Last season he was 30-for-39 (77%) in field goal percentage. He was near-perfect from 40 yards and in but was 2-for-5 from 50+ yards out. He kicked the game-winning field goal in the Wildcard Weekend matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, on the road.
OTHER JETS MOVERS AND SHAKERS: The Jets have cut ties with veteran quarterback Mark Brunell, who was instrumental in the education and maturation of Mark Sanchez last season. They have also cut third-string QB Kevin O’Connell after watching former starter Kellen Clemens sign with the Washington Redskins.