Bitter contract disputes are nothing new in the National Football League, and right now the New York Jets are dealing with a major one with offensive linemen Pete Kendall. The offensive co-captain signed a four-year deal last season, but has asked the Jets to trade him as he has become a distraction with his teammates as well as with the media. “My situation has become a cirucs,” Kendall said at camp on Thursday. “I’m very unhappy.”
Kendall is asking for a $1 million dollar raise on his $1.7 million salary. He and his agent, Neil Schwartz, feel that he is being underpaid, which is why he and Schwartz went to Jets management asking for another raise. “I think my play and my performance and my contributions warranted reconsideration,” Kendall said. According to Kendall, the Jets realize that he is underpaid, but are unwilling to budge at the moment to give him more money. “I had a conversation with Mike Tannenbaum two weeks ago,” Kendall said. “I said what I’m asking for is not unreasonable, and he agrees that I’m underpaid. I think we have an agreement, we just don’t have a contract.”
Jets head coach Eric Mangini, who praised Kendall for his play and leadership throughout last season, called Kendall on Wednesday, but the call was not about praise. “All I know is he wanted to know how this was going to go down today,” Kendall said. Kendall last year was close to getting cut, and the Jets allowed him to shop himself around to others. When he and Jets talked again, a four-year deal was signed. Despite it being a four-year deal, Kendall sees it another way. “I think all parties went into last year with the understanding that it was a one-year deal,” Kendall said. “Eric had serious reservations about keeping me on the team, but we were able to come to an agreement.”
For now, the linemen is at camp, and is basically in limbo about what is going to happen next. If he continues to sit back and wait, the struggle and distractions will grow bigger. The Jets seem unwilling right now to move in another direction with Kendall, and for now, all the linemen can do is wait the situation out.