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Lynch signs with Broncos, Jets sign Tongue
By Sean M. Deegan
Publisher, Jets Insider.com
March 22nd, 2004
The John Lynch sweepstakes is over and the winner is Denver. Apparently the close relationship between Lynch and Jets head coach Herm Edwards was not enough to persuade the five-time Pro Bowler to sign with Gang Green. The Jets though, wasted no time going to Plan B by signing Seahawks FA Safety Reggie Tongue. Also: The status of Josh Evans and Pre-Season opponents announced.

The John Lynch sweepstakes is over and the winner is Denver. Apparently the close relationship between Lynch and Jets head coach Herm Edwards was not enough to persuade the five-time Pro Bowler to sign with Gang Green. The Jets though, wasted no time going to Plan B by signing Seahawks FA Safety Reggie Tongue. Also: The status of Josh Evans and Pre-Season opponents announced.

The deal Lynch signed with Denver is official and has been announced on the Broncos official website. His contract is for three years and worth $9MM. The deal also reportedly included a $3MM signing bonus. The Jets, who are in dire need of a starting strong safety after they released Sam Garnes three weeks ago, seemed to be the frontrunner to sign Lynch after he was released by the Bucs last week. As it’s been mentioned a thousand times over the past few days, Lynch is Godfather to Edwards’ only son Marcus and Lynch attributed much of his success to Edwards from their time together in Tampa. Add the fact that Lynch extended his visit to NY this past weekend and almost everyone thought his signing was inevitable.

Reports are surfacing that Lynch’s wife was the wrench thrown into the engine that blew up this deal. Apparently, she was more attracted to a Colorado lifestyle and also liked the closer proximity of Denver to the Lynch’s home in San Diego. If these reports are accurate, Lynch is the second big name free agent to be dissuaded by his wife this off-season just prior to signing. The Jets lost Bills CB Antoine Winfield to the Vikings just prior to him signing due Winfield’s wife not wanting to live in NY.

After learning Lynch’s decision, the Jets quickly scooped up arguably the best remaining FA SS available by inking a 4 year deal with Seahawks FA Reggie Tongue. Tongue’s deal is believed to be for four years at $5.4MM including a $1.1MM signing bonus and a $400K roster bonus upon reporting to the team’s off-season conditioning program. The 31 year old 8 year veteran was originally drafted by the Chiefs and has spent the last four years with Seattle. Compared to his predecessor Sam Garnes, Tongue is stronger, quicker and a much better fit for the Herm Edwards Cover-2 defense. Although he is not a long term solution at the position, he easily has 3-4 more productive years ahead of him. Last season in 14 starts, Tongue had 63 tackles and 4 INT’s.

The team made some additional roster moves today by announcing the signing of restricted FA LB Quincy Stewart, as well as the signings of the following exclusive rights free agents: WR’s Lawrence Hamilton and Ken-Yon Rambo, S Omare Lowe and LB Mark Brown. The Club also announced the signing of DL/Long Snapper Randy Chevrier who played the last two years in the CFL and before that had stints in the NFL with Dallas and Cincinnati.

Various sources say that the team has given DT Josh Evans another extension to either take a pay cut or have his agent arrange a trade. He reportedly has until Friday to make a decision or he could face the waiver wire.