Jets hire new tight ends coach
February 18th, 2004
The Jets rounded out their coaching staff today by adding former Raiders assistant Bob Casullo to coach the teamís tight ends. Also: Is Redskins All-Pro CB Champ Bailey on the Jets radar? The today named Bob Casullo to be their tight ends coach. Casullo spent the past four seasons as the special teams coach of the Oakland Raiders and prior to his time in Oakland he coached 15 seasons on the collegiate level at Syracuse, Georgia Tech and Michigan State. Originally from upstate NY, Casullo was an honorable mention All-American running back in his playing days at Brockport (NY) State College and coached on the high school level from 1973-84 in Syracuse.

Casullo replaces Dick Curl who will move from Tight Ends to Senior Offensive Assistant/Special Projects coach. Jim Hostler, who coached the quarterbacks last season will move to wide receivers coach.

The Redskins have publicly put All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey on the trading block and the Jets are reportedly one of the team interested. Bailey, who is slated to become a free agent on March 3 will be franchised by the ĎSkins if a suitor is not found by then. The Jets are looking to replace Aaron Beasley who is expected to be released shortly. The team will likely have to give up at least their first round pick in this yearís draft then pony up a monster contract to sign the talented defensive back. Bailey last season rejected a 9 year $55 MM dollar deal that included a $14MM signing bonus that was offered by the Redskins. Big question is, do the Jets want to make that kind of sacrifice that includes picks and huge money to sign one player? Especially when the team has a lot of holes to fill and also has some major current roster players (ie: Pennington, Abraham, Ellis, McKenzie) that need to be re-signed for big bucks. Stay tuned.

Speaking of Pennington, itís been reported that the team will try to sign Chad to a long term extension before training camp starts. Pennington is entering the last year of his current deal and both sides donít want to go into the upcoming season without re-doing his contract. The numbers mentioned in the deal will likely be similar to the contract that Eagles QB Donovan McNabb signed last year which was a 12-year, $115MM deal that included a signing bonus of $20.5MM that was paid over two seasons for salary-cap purposes.

According to the latest estimate published by ESPN on February 12th, the Jets are currently $1.28MM under the projected 2004 salary cap. Certainly not a lot of wiggle room, especially if there is talk of signing players like Champ Bailey and Terrell Owens. The Jets will free up more space by releasing players such as Beasley, Mo Lewis, Sam Garnes, Marvin Jones and Curtis Conway. They are also reportedly re-structuring several contracts. Some players mentioned restructuring their deals have been LB Sam Cowart, CB Donnie Abraham, DT Josh Evans and even possibly QB Vinny Testaverde who seems to do it every year. There is the distinct possibility that the Jets may opt to release Testaverde and finally get him off the books rather than restructure his deal again.

In some roster news, the Jets signed three players over the past week to compete in training camp. Signed were punter Tim Morgan, who has been floating around the NFL since 2000 with Cincinnati, Tampa, Green Bay and NFL Europe, DE Joey Evans, who was a 7th round pick of the Bengals in 2002 and had stints with Seattle and Philadelphia and QB Chris Finlen who was an undrafted member of the Saints camp last year who also played in NFL Europe.