John is going to be here
By Justin Paley
Jets Staff Writer
January 18th, 2005
said Jets' GM Terry Bradway regarding DE John Abraham's future with the Jets. Abraham and several other subjects were all part of Bradway's season-ending state of the Jets press conference held Tuesday at Hofstra.

said Jets' GM Terry Bradway regarding DE John Abraham's future with the Jets. Abraham and several other subjects were all part of Bradway's season-ending state of the Jets press conference held Tuesday at Hofstra.

Last off-season, the Jets knew they had to make major changes as the team finished 6-10. The Jets made a move to get younger through the NFL Draft and were major players in free agency. The moves paid off as the Jets finished the year 10-6 and made the second round of the NFL Playoffs.

“This season was successful for this organization,” Bradway said. “We got back on track, back into the playoffs. From year one, we always have had expectations of being a playoff team. We slipped last year but were able to get that back. I think that says a lot about the organization and players and coaches, playing one of toughest schedules in league, playing one of toughest divisions in league.”

The Jets were a major player in free agency last year and brought in players like LB Eric Barton, G Pete Kendall, and CB David Barrett. Bradway was pleased with the job they did.

“I couldn’t say enough about our free agents we brought in,” Bradway said. “Those guys came in and they fit right in with our group. I thought they played pretty well.”

Bradway said there will be more of a tweaking than a complete overhaul like last year.

“There’s more of a foundation here than there was last year after the season,” Bradway said. “We’ll continue to add new players, make some changes here and there.”

Bradway said he spoke with the Jets players that are free agents before they left yesterday. He said the conversations went well but said they were private.

Among the free agents is DE John Abraham, who was having a solid season for the Jets before injuring his knee on December 5 and missing the rest of the season. Of the Jets free agents, Abraham was the only one Bradway had no doubt would be a Jet next year.

“John’s going to be here,” Bradway said. “How he’s here we’ll have to work on that. There are several options. The franchise tag is one of those options. He’s been phenomenal. He’s a heck of a player for us and he’ll be a big player for us next year.”

What should help in the negotiations is that Bradway said he has known Abraham’s agents for a long time and has a good relationship with them. If the negotiations break down, the Jets will probably put the franchise tag on Abraham. The franchise designation guarantees Abraham a one-year contract at no less than the average of the top-five players at defensive end. Bradway said if the Jets do place the franchise tag on Abraham, they would have to do so between February 8 and 22.

Many Jets fans felt Abraham could have played in the team’s playoff games but did not because he was worried about further injuring his knee and risking a big contract. But Bradway said Abraham was not able to go full speed and did not practice much.

DT Jason Ferguson is also a free agent. “Our intention is to try to keep Ferguson too,” Bradway said. “Him and Dewayne (Robertson) inside, they really came to play and a real force in there helping us against the run.”

Bradway talked about the goals to improve the defense this off-season.

“Get a little younger in the secondary,” Bradway said. “That’s an area we’ll try to address. I feel really good about our people up front. They played well. Everyone of those players got better as the season went on. We should have most of our starters back on defense. The goal since we’ve been here is to be real solid on defense.”

If the Jets can re-sign Abraham and Ferguson, they should continue to be one of the best defenses in the NFL. Bradway praised defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson.

“He did a great job for us,” Bradway said. “There is no doubt in my mind he will eventually be a head coach. He knows he’s in a good spot right now. He did a tremendous job with our defense and we played a lot of players on defense and I think it will help us in the future.”

It appears a decision on offensive coordinator Paul Hackett won’t happen for at least two weeks. After Edwards meets with the coaches tomorrow, they will have the next two weeks off while Edwards evaluates the team and season. Bradway said the decision will be Edwards.

Bradway said the Jets will take a long look at the tight end position. Starting TE Anthony Becht is an unrestricted free agent while back-up Chris Baker is a resticted free agent.

Yesterday as the team cleaned out their lockers, Becht said he didn’t get enough opportunities. Bradways addressed those complaints.

“Any players thinks they should get more opportunities than they did,” Bradway said. “He’s another guy that never said much, never complained and just went out and did his job.”

While Becht is a solid blocker, he has struggled catching the ball. After his comments, it is almost certain he will be gone.

Bradway hopes the team can retain Baker. “I’ve liked Chris from day one,” Bradway said. “He’s a very good blocker for us. He’s a guy that could possibly be more involved as a receiver. He’s got very good hands. He’ll be here.”

Bradway will also be busy trying to re-sign RB Lamont Jordan. Jordan said he would not mind being RB Curtis Martin’s back-up for another season but wants to be more involved in the offense.

“I’m Lamont’s biggest fan,” Bradway said. “I had a great conversation with him yesterday. He did a great job handling himself after the summer. Like I said in the summer, this is a guy that’s going to help us win and he did that. He reiterated to Herm and to us, he would really like to be here.” We have to do a good job again this year b/c that is the lifeblood of your team.

The Jets will also start to focus their attention on the draft. The Jets front office had one of their best drafts last season as LB Jonathan Vilma and S Erik Coleman both became starters. Bradway recognizes how important this year’s draft will be.

“We have to do a good job again this year because that is the lifeblood of your team,” Bradway said.

Bradway expects most of the team to be back next year.

“If you look at it and rank our team, of our top 25 players, there’s a good chance we’ll have 22 or 23 of those guys back,” Bradway said. “There could be some guys we’ll lose that we don’t want to lose. But that’s the nature of the business and you could say that every year.”

MISCELANEOUS TIDBITS: One of the areas the Jets will need to improve is clock management. The Jets tried to improve it last off-season as Edwards placed asst. coach Dick Curl in charge of clock management. Bradway praised Curl. “I think Dick did a good job,” Bradway said. “I think we addressed it. We can continue to improve upon it. Everyone is so sensitive to our own situation but when you look around the league, we probably do a good job as most of maintaining the clock. It’s an area we’ll try to get better in.”

-Bradway said it was too early to say whether K Doug Brien would be back. “He’s a stand-up guy,” Bradway said. “He made a lot of kicks for us. Unfortunately the other day he had a miss. It’s a tough business, ultimately make the kick, get to the next round. You miss it, you don’t. I thought he handled himself as well as can be expected. It was frustrating for all of us. He’s a good kicker.”

-If the Jets want to get younger in the secondary, it is unlikely that CB Ray Mickens will be back. Mickens tore his ACL in the pre-season and was placed on injured reserve. However, Bradway expects Mickens to come back. “He’s done a great job in rehab,” Bradway said. “He’s come along. He’s been an excellent nickel back for us. Not having him hurt us at times.”

-Bradway announced that DT Tim McGill, RB Keith Burnell, QB Kevin Eakin, and TE Matt Chila will be allocated to NFL Europe. McGill and Burnell spent the majority of the season on the Jets practice squad while Eakin and Chila were signed to reserve-future contracts last week.

-Bradway also announced that the Jets have agreed to contracts with WR Chas Gessner, DE Joey Evans, WR Carl Kearney, and OG Jason Nerys. All four spent the majority of the season on the practice squad.

-It appears that P Toby Gowin won’t be a Jet next year as Bradway said the team signed P Ben Graham to a contract. Graham is an Australian rules rugby player and was actually brought in by the Jets earlier this season for a try out.

Check back to Jets often throughout the off-season for all the latest news/information.