Things are getting interesting on Long Island already, and the Jets don’t even start training camp until tomorrow. According to Karen Crouse of the New York Times, Jets offensive guard Pete Kendall is hinting that he may hold out until a contract that satisfies him is hammered out. When reached by telephone, Kendall initially declined to comment, but later relented and said, “I don’t know what I’m going to do.” He also added: “I’m not trying to issue any threats or ultimatums. I know it’s the 11th hour.”
The timeline in the Kendall saga is interesting, to say the least. Kendall, who turns 34 this month, was due to make $1.7 milion this season. This after averaging $3.4 million in the previous three seasons. What Kendall, and the bickering doesn is looking for is a restructuring of his current four-year contract so he can make $2.7 million this season. After reworking his contract last season at the team’s request, Kendall continued to play well and in return, expected the Jets to return the favor in kind.
After the 2007 NFL draft passed by and his contract remained the same, Kendall quit attending the voluntary (mandatory if you think about it) workouts. He finally showed up in June at the veterans minicamp voicing his displeasure, basically saying he wanted to be either traded or released. The buzz around Hempstead (Jets’ headquarters) is that Kendall is posturing for a raise in order to be released, which Kendall denies.
All of this posturing, the rumors being floated around by the media and the infighting doesn’t appear to serve any constructive purpose whatsoever. Perhaps this can be resolved by involving Jets Woody Johnson in the negotiations. Kendall, by talking to Jets head coach Eric Mangini and team general manager Mike Tannenbaum, in a sense, lulled himself into a sense of false security. Some solid advice form his agent would’ve been helpful to that end, as well. The Jets, assuming they get nowhere in the Kendall talks, have backups who will take snaps at guard (Adrien Clarke, who started 4 games in 2 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, and Matt Chesney, a converted defensive tackle).
That’s not saying that Kendall is irreplaceable, because he is not. But at the same time, the two aforementioned names do not and probably will not strike fear into their opponents’ defensive ends’ minds. So in essence, we are at the 11th hour with Kendall. I suspect that there will be an agreeement of sorts just before training camp starts. For the Jets’ sake, let’s hope so.