Former Jets coach keeping his eye on Pennington situation

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Former Jets coach keeping his eye on Pennington situation

BY KEN BERGER AND BOB GLAUBER
STAFF WRITERS

February 26, 2006


With the Jets and Chad Pennington's agent meeting to determine his future with the team, a potential suitor for the injured quarterback has emerged if the discussions break down before Friday's deadline.

It's no surprise, either: Chiefs coach Herman Edwards.

If Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and agent Tom Condon are unable to reach a compromise on Pennington's contract, a person with knowledge of the situation said the Chiefs - motivated by Edwards' belief in the quarterback - would be interested in trying to help him salvage his career.

Such a move would be complicated, considering that the Chiefs' salary-cap situation is even worse than the Jets'. Edwards also is believed to be interested in another player he coached last season, cornerback Ty Law.

Law, who had 10 interceptions with the Jets last season, would command a much higher price than Pennington, whose options would be limited if the Jets took the extraordinary step of releasing him by Friday, when he is due to receive a $3 million bonus if he's on the roster.

Tannenbaum and Condon, who agreed only 17 months ago on a seven-year, $64 million contract that was supposed to have solidified Pennington as the Jets' starting quarterback for years to come, were scheduled to have a face-to-face meeting yesterday at the scouting combine in Indianapolis. There was no word on any developments from the meeting, nor any indication that it failed to take place as scheduled.

The crux of the dispute is $9 million Pennington is supposed to make in 2006 - $6 million in base salary and the $3 million bonus. The Jets believe that Pennington should revisit the deal and accept a substantial pay cut, considering he has been able to start only 25 of the last 48 regular-season games because of injuries.

Pennington already has received $22 million in base salary and guarantees since signing the contract in September, 2004, a span during which he has played only 18 games.

If the Jets release him, they would incur a $12-million salary- cap hit that would hinder their ability to rebuild the team. Pennington, in turn, would receive no more money from the Jets and would be forced to find the best deal as an unrestricted free agent.

It will be a buyer's market for Pennington, whose last two seasons have been marred by injuries to his right shoulder requiring surgery. He has been rehabilitating the latest injury in Florida, and yesterday was believed to have visited the Orlando area with his young son, Cole.

If Pennington is released, Edwards might be his only hope. Edwards and Pennington built an extremely close relationship during their five seasons together, and Edwards' belief in the quarterback has not waned.

Edwards, who is forbidden by league rules to discuss players under contract with other teams, deflected Jet-related questions at the combine yesterday.

"I'm no longer with the Jets," Edwards said. "I don't want to answer anything for the Jets. They have to do what they have to do."

And if they do, Edwards will be ready.

http://www.newsday.com/sports/print...244feb26,0,7052762.story?coll=ny-sports-print


Nooooooooooooooo :(
 
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