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RUMOR ROUNDUP 3-31: ROBERTSON HEADED OUT?

By Bob Bonett
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
March 31st, 2008
The owner is talking about his brainchild. Are they safe?
The owner is talking about his brainchild. Are they safe?

Gary Meyers for the Daily News is reporting today from the NFL winter meetings that according to Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum, Chad Pennington is going nowhere in 2008. First, there are no proven veterans on the market at present and they believe that with the re-vamped team, Pennington can still compete to be the starter. Don’t bet against Chad in this contest as he’s won every training camp competition he’s been involved in. The article also mentioned that Meyers spoke with Jets owner Woody Johnson at the meetings and he unequivocally stated that despite a 4-12 season last year, Tannenbaum and Head Coach Eric Mangini are safe no matter what happens in 2008.

As we are less than a month from the 2008 NFL Draft and well into the free agent period, teams are starting to take shape—except, of course, for the alleged 300 lb. JeMarcus Russell—and few names remain on the wire. However, don’t take that as a suggestion that there is a shortage of action in the transaction sector, especially for the Jets. Millions of (guaranteed) dollars into a much-anticipated busy signing period, New York finds itself with a great deal of new talent. There are still undeniably holes that need to be filled for Gang Green after a lackluster 4-12 showing this past year, so rumblings are still aplenty in Gotham.

Dewayne’s on the block, but is he physically fit?

Bothered by chronic knee problems and niche-less in coach Eric Mangini’s 3-4 defense, New York is certainly aiming to deal the former top prospect sooner than later.

As has been widely publicized, Robertson’s name has come up in a plethora of trade situations involving a myriad of teams—and rightly so, considering the acquisition of NT Kris Jenkins and Robertson’s inability to present a consistent pass rush in the middle of New York’s front three.

The original plan, sending Robertson to the Bengals, fell through initially. However, in desperate need of a pass-rushing defensive lineman, head coach Marvin Lewis may make a last-ditch late-round draft pick offer to New York’s front office. Of course, Robertson failed a physical when the Jets had agreed in principle to acquire a fourth- and fifth-rounder for the 26-year-old’s services. Despite this, Cincinnati, not a stranger to taking on troubled players, is still interested.

The reasons Cincinnati may become anxious to acquire Robertson is that GM Mike Tannenbaum may be prepared to cut the defensive tackle in less than two months. Due a bonus in the early summer months, New York would definitely be reluctant to offer their soon-to-be backup defensive lineman a cool million.

ESPN is reporting today that Denver, who also had talks with the Jets several weeks ago about Robertson may have a renewed interest. The Broncos were reportedly close to a deal but things stalled after GM Ted Sundquist was suddenly fired. Now re-grouped, the Broncos are exploring the deal again.

If it ends up he is cut, additional teams that could be interested include , Oakland (sporting holes on the defensive line that may consider moving down in the draft), Detroit (a team that has made it known they are interested) and Carolina (lacking a nose tackle after losing Jenkins to the Jets in free agency).

Robertson has been absent from optional team workouts thus far in the early stages of the offseason.

Coles gets (some sort of) guarantee

In search of a contract extension, Gang Green’s No. 1 wideout received some sort of compensation—a guarantee on the final $11 million of his contract. It is unclear if the agreement was a secession by the Jets or by Coles and his agent, but either way, Coles has reported to the optional practices and (appears) content.

Coles’ guaranteed money comes a few weeks after an unnamed veteran griped about the fact that the front office has paid more attention to new acquisitions than players already in the organization. The quote—“You pay guys you don’t even know, and the guys in the locker room—the guys that have your back—you don’t give a damn about them. It shows where the loyalty is.”—wasn’t attributed to anyone, but may have very well been made by the veteran wide receiver, provoking the front office to take action.

Former Patriot Meadowlands-bound?

In an interesting move, Mangini met with former New England WR Troy Brown, perhaps asking if the veteran would mind changing allegiances to the one of the Pats’ top rivals. Not much more has come from the meeting, but it is one way of New York expanding the wideout depth on the heels of losing WR Justin McCareins to the Titans.

Draft update

Even less than a month away, the 2008 Draft is still proving to be one of the least predictable in recent memory. Both the Raiders and Dolphins have waved their early picks in the air, tempting other teams—such as the running back, Darren McFadden-happy Dallas Cowboys—to part with some players and draft picks for a top-5 spot. Either way, unless McFadden somehow falls past the Raiders, Falcons and, maybe, the Cowboys, LB Vernon Gholston still remains the favorite to be drafted by Gang Green and earn a spot opposite Calvin Pace.

Mawae pitching for players

Former Jet offensive lineman Kevin Mawae is leading the way for the players’ union against the alleged rule change banning long hair from players in the league. Other than Nick Mangold—whose hair may be short enough to get away with—not many Gang Greeners have much to worry about.

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