Despite his hard-fought efforts to work his way out of New York, the Jets definitely are set to plan on keeping this disgruntled, former Pro Bowl left guard. Pete Kendall, who has complained about being underpaid, wants a raise from his base salary (which he signed to, coming from Arizona) of $1.7 million, according to a team official.
Kendall, who wants a $1 million raise as he enters his 12th NFL season, has demanded to be traded or released. He is in the second year of a four-year deal that paid him $5.2 million last year in salary and bonuses, including $1.9 million owed him from his original contract with the Jets. Kendall has expressed his unhappiness at daily post-practice news conferences and leveled some stinging criticism at the organization.
His strategy, however, hasn’t worked, and he appears to be going nowhere. Kendall is playing behind Ohio State, third-year guard Adrien Clarke (mammoth) and has been taking reps at center this week, though his poor play there in 2005 led to him taking a paycut. He’ll likely play guard and center in tomorrow night’s preseason game against the Vikings at Giants Stadium.
“He’s going to be here,” said the team official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he’s not authorized to speak to the media. “He’s a good player. I don’t see why we would give him away to somebody else.”
The Jets are pleased with Clarke. But if they were to get rid of Kendall, their third guard behind starters Brandon Moore and Clarke would be rookie free agent Dominic Moran.
“I’m really surprised to hear that,” Kendall said after practice yesterday. “I’m very surprised, if your sources are correct, that they’ve made that decision.”
Kendall was asked his thoughts on remaining with the club. “Either the (contract) number will change or the situation (a return to the starting lineup), will change. I don’t see them paying that kind of money ($1.7 million) for a backup.
“I’ve tried to separate as best I can the business from the emotions of it. I don’t know what to say because I never considered that (remaining with the club) a strong possibility.” For all his heated rhetoric, Kendall has remained a professional. He played well in last Friday’s preseason game and hasn’t been a disruptive force on the team.
“Pete has been very good,” said offensive line coach Tony Wise, who along with other assistant coaches was allowed to speak to the media yesterday for the first time. “He’s sharp as heck. He knows theory and offensive line play. He’s been fine, he really has. … It (his unhappiness with his contract) really hasn’t been an issue. It really hasn’t.”
Said Kendall: “I don’t know that I’ve accepted the situation. Really, nothing has changed. Every day that goes by still leaves me with the same questions I had when we started.”