(Long Island, NY) The Jets recently restructured quarterback Chad Pennington’s contract to give them some salary cap relief. But it was clear that the new administration is not huge supporters of the incumbent, who is rehabbing from his second shoulder surgery. Who takes the first snap behind center next season is a big question mark at this time.
New Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini and General Manager Mike Tannenbaum are not convinced that Pennington will be ready to go once training camp rolls around. Chances are that he will not be healthy even at the start of the regular season. The team does not want a repeat of last season when then-head coach Herman Edwards started Pennington before he was one hundred percent and he re-injured his throwing shoulder, which landed him on Injured Reserve and ended his season.
The Jets have already released Jay Fiedler, the back-up who was also lost for the season in the same game when Pennington went down. Brooks Bollinger is still on the roster, but he will probably be a third stringer this season, at best.
There have been rumors that the Jets will trade for the Washington Redskins’ Patrick Ramsey, who can probably be obtained for a mid-to-late round draft pick. But he started only one game in DC last season and is not thought of as a ‘franchise’ quarterback. Duante Cullpepper of the Minnesota Vikings has requested a trade, but he is coming off his own injury. Then there is Drew Brees, who himself was injured in the San Diego Chargers last game.
As far as this year’s draft goes, the Jets have the fourth overall pick and there is a question if they are going to trade up or down. They are dangling Defensive End John Abraham, who was designated as the team’s ‘franchise player’ for the second straight year. He wants a long term deal and would like to be traded if the Jets are not going to sign him to one. They may be able to package Abraham and their pick to move up from their current spot.
They have shown interest in the three quarterbacks coming out. Private workouts were being scheduled with Matt Leinart of USC, Vince Young of Texas and Jay Cutler of Vanderbilt. But there is a good chance that both Leinart and Young will be off the boards when the Jets are on the clock at number four. Should Cutler be picked that high? That is where the Jets have to read minds of the other General Managers if they roll the dice and trade down. The new regime needs to have a strong draft to convince the Jet fans in attendance on April 29th. The boo-birds in green and white have voiced their opinion in the past and Mangini and Tannenbaum will know right away once NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliubue finishes the sentence, “With the (fourth) overall pick, the New York Jets select…”