Green Jets & Ham Posted March 3, 2005 Share Posted March 3, 2005 BY KEN BERGER STAFF WRITER March 3, 2005 Once the clock struck midnight yesterday, marking the start of the NFL free-agency period, the Jets found themselves in as difficult a fight as they faced on the field all season. After spending most of the day in fierce battles to retain nose tackle Jason Ferguson and running back LaMont Jordan, the Jets lost both players, opening the free-agent period with an exodus reminiscent of the notorious Redskins Raid of two years ago. Ferguson, the anchor of the Jets' defensive line, signed a five-year, $21.5-million contract with the Cowboys -- but not before the Jets worked well into the night to try to change his mind. According to ESPN.com, Ferguson, 30, got a $9-million signing bonus and will make $11.5 million in the first two seasons and $13.5 million in the first three years of the deal. Jordan agreed in principle on a five-year deal with the Raiders last night, said his agent, Alvin Keels. The Jets "went down swinging," said Keels, who added that he's "99.9 percent sure" Jordan will sign the deal with the Raiders today. "It's not all about the money," Keels told Newsday, noting that the Jets' offer was comparable financially. "It's about opportunity. The opportunity was greater all the way around. He has an opportunity to be part of an explosive offense that can do some special things." Jordan, who spent his first four seasons with the New York Jets, carried 93 times for 479 yards and two touchdowns last season and also made 15 catches for 112 yards. The Raiders released veteran running back Tyrone Wheatley yesterday, along with defensive tackle John Parrella. "There's no question we're working on signing a running back," coach Norv Turner said Wednesday after the team introduced new receiver Randy Moss. "I don't know where we're at. He's certainly a guy we're familiar with. We know a lot about him." Mike Tannenbaum, the Jets' assistant general manager, anticipated Parcells' play for Ferguson, whom he drafted for the Jets in 1997. Parcells and Ferguson are represented by the same agent, Jimmy Sexton. At one point, an agent for another top free-agent defensive player said the Jets were consumed with combating Parcells. "Mike's doing a hell of a job fighting to get back in there," the agent said. The Jets also made a hard push for former Bills nose tackle Pat Williams, but were rebuffed. Williams agreed last night to a deal with the Vikings -- three years, $13 million, including $6 million to sign. Former Giants defensive tackle Lance Legree reportedly will visit Hempstead, but he's more of a swing backup than a starter. The plan for replacing Jordan includes Chiefs running back Derrick Blaylock, who apparently is on his way to visit the Jets. The Jets also could lose starting right tackle Kareem McKenzie, who was contacted by the Giants. Despite indications Tuesday night that they were pursuing former Bills left tackle Jonas Jennings, they were never involved. Jennings appears headed to San Francisco. Ideally, the Jets want to move Jason Fabini to right tackle and acquire a top-notch left tackle. The only such player available is Orlando Pace, who has been tagged as the Rams' franchise player. St. Louis would prefer to re-sign Pace, but has explored trade options. The Jets have the salary-cap space to do something bold. So though they were down on Day One of free agency, they're by no means done. Notes & quotes: The Jets have shown no interest in free-agent WR Plaxico Burress ... Defensive options could be Packers S Bhawoh Jue, and a fourth linebacker such as Barry Gardner (Browns). ========================= Translation: WE'RE F**KED http://forums.jetnation.com/uploads/emoticons/default_eusa_wall.gif' alt=](*,)'> Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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