FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – The last and final member of the Jets’ “Core Four” has been signed, for the next year anyway. Yesterday, it was reported by ESPNNewYork.com’s Rich Cimini that general manager Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets have placed the franchise tag on linebacker and defensive signal caller David Harris.
Tannenbaum had hinted at this move when he last spoke to the media, however some (myself included) have speculated that the tag would have been placed on receiver Santonio Holmes. While we may have been in disagreement over who should receive the franchise tag, we were in complete agreement on Harris being their top priority.
Going by last year’s franchise salary number for linebackers Harris would be paid quite handsomely, pulling in around $9.6 million. That suits Harris who was looking to make at or around Bart Scott’s $8 million per year deal. The length may be his only quarrel with the Jets. Owner Woody Johnson, Rex Ryan and Tannenbaum have called Harris perhaps the most important player of the Jets’ “Core Four”, yet he remains the only one without a long-term deal.
On July 6 D’Brickashaw Ferguson signed a 6-year, $60 million contract extention. The contract tied for the highest average salary for offensive linemen. He also surpassed Miami’s Jake Long’s record for guaranteed money for an offensive linemen with $34.8 million guaranteed (Long received $30 million). On August 23 Nick Mangold signed a 7-year, $55-million contract extension. The deal made Mangold the highest paid center in the NFL based on the average salary per year. He eclipsed the old mark set by St. Louis’ Jason Brown last season by $7.5 million. And on September 6 Revis signed a 4-year, $46 million contract extension with $32 million in guarantees, ending a seven-month stalemate.
After shelling out top dollars for three of the four pivotal players for the Jets, fans are left scratching their heads at their decision to franchise Harris.
In his article, Cimini argues that the move shows just how much the Jets value Harris over Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Antonio Cromartie, all free agents. They will surely sign Holmes, who was a difference maker for the offense and helped the progression of Mark Sanchez. But what about Cromartie and Edwards? Will they offer both players new deals? If so, wouldn’t that reward two players who the Jets say Harris is more valuable than?
Of course, this is merely splitting hairs as, ultimately, they have one of their top performers returning for the next season. But the move does make you wonder what Tannenbaum has in store for the 2011 off-season. New CBA withstanding, the Jets have to do major work to retool a team that was a solid first half away from reaching the Super Bowl. They put a lot of eggs in the basket of the 2010 season, as they acquired many expiring contracts (Holmes, Edwards, Cromartie, Jason Taylor, Nick Folk).
OTHER OFF-SEASON NOTES: New York Metro’s Kristian Dyer reported yesterday that Darrelle Revis has been lobbying for disgruntled Bengals receiver, Chad Ochocinco to join the New York Jets. (For the record, Ochocinco will be returning to his birth name, Chad Johnson, for the next season.)
Revis spent the weekend working for Ochocinco’s OCNN (OchoCinco News Network) as an accredited reporter covering the activities of Super Bowl XLV in Fort Worth, Texas. In their time together Revis came to the conclusion that Ochocinco would be a good fit in New York.
“I want Chad to come here and play for us, to be a Jet,” Revis said. “I’ve been in his ear a lot about it this week … I think he could do well here. I’ve been telling him to come here.”
While Ochocinco declined to comment about the possibility of joining the Jets over the weekend, he stated on The T.Ocho Show that he “would do anything to play for someone like Rex Ryan.” He also tweeted Ian Rappaport of the Boston Herald about his interest in playing for Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.