Jets Acquire Solid RB from Bears
Heading into the off-season, Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum knew he had some holes to fill. Little did we know that he would take that literally. With the future of Curtis Martin still up in that air (with him more than likely retiring due to his knee injury), the team needed to address the backfield in either free agency or the draft. But Tannenbaum did not hesitate when the opportunity came up to make a deal for Thomas Jones, who rushed for 1,210 yards for the NFC champion Chicago Bears.
Call it a heist, a steal, or just good wheelin' and dealin'. The trade consisted of the Jets swapping second-round picks with the Bears in the upcoming NFL Draft, which is being held on April 28th and 29th. The Jets gave Chicago the 37th overall for Jones and the 63rd pick. The key is that the Jets own two second-round picks, due to acquiring one last year from the Washington Redskins. They still have their own pick, the 59th.
Jones is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He also scored six touchdowns a year ago. Jones was a first-round draft choice of the Arizona Cardinals in 2000 and moved on to Chicago in 2004, when he had 948 yards on the ground. He also played one season in Tampa Bay (2003).
Jones had 296 carries in 2006 and only lost one fumble. He also had a good Super Bowl in the loss to the Indianapolis Colts, ripping off the Bears' biggest gain of the day with a 52-yard run from scrimmage.
Jones, 29, passed a physical on Tuesday and received a contract extension worth $20 million over four years. He will join Cedric Houston and second-year player Leon Washington in the Jets running game. Earlier, the Jets released Kevan Barlow and Derrick Blaylock. Both were relegated to the bench and named inactive due to coaching decisions more than once.
Jones gives the Jets an every-down back that can take the pressure of Chad Pennington and the passing game. With the skill positions all filled, the team's offense should be strong.
The Bears will turn their running game over to Cedric Benson, who was drafted in 2005 and has only 919 rushing yards in his career.
Tannenbaum will now look t improve some other areas the Jets need improvement in. Defensive line and the secondary are two areas that will be addressed, and with the team being approximately $26 million under the salary cap, expect some players to be arriving. David Bowens, formerly of the Miami Dolphins, had five sacks in 2006 in limited duty and could be signed soon.