Jets Trade Disgruntled Lineman to Redskins for Draft Pick
Pete Kendall had made it perfectly clear that he did not want to remain a member of the New York Jets. During the offseason, there had apparently been some miscommunication between him, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Eric Mangini concerning restructuring of his contract. The 12-year veteran felt that he was underpaid and was hoping to have that rectified. He also had some leverage after restructuring his contract earlier to give the team some salary cap relief. But it never got off the ground.
Since mini-camp and OTA's, Kendall had been open to the press that he wanted to be released or traded. Mangini did not make life easy for him, using him in practice and pre-season games on the second team and moving him to center. It all culminated in the 37-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings last Friday night, when Kendall, playing in a position he has in the past, snapped two balls over the quarterback's head from the shotgun position.
The closer that it got to the start of the regular season on September 9, it appeared more and more likely that Kendall was going to be around, if he liked it or not. But on Thursday, the Jets agreed in principal to a deal with the Washington Redskins, sending Kendall to the nation's capital in exchange for an undisclosed draft choice.
"We talked to Washington and it happened fairly quickly," said Tannenbaum. "We felt comfortable with the value. If it weren't for the value we received, Pete would still be with us."
Kendall was obviously becoming a distraction by venting to every person with a camera, pad or pen. The always-coy Mangini would not throw any parting shots. "I think everybody who was involved has benefited from it [the trade], so I think that it was a really positive thing for each party," the second-year coach answered in response to the question.
Replacing an integral part of your offensive line is not an easy task, especially considering that Kendall was in between two rookies last season in D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold. The inexperience will extend with three-year veteran Adrien Clarke and rookie Jacob Bender taking over for Kendall.
"We've played rookies here on the offensive line in the past, and there are a lot of situations where rookies have played and done a really good job, so I don't think that's unique to the Jets," Mangini said. "It's not unique to my experiences, and I feel very comfortable with the depth that we have between Adrien (Clarke), Jacob (Bender) and Wade Smith."
That may sound comforting, but expect the Jets to scour the waiver wire for a veteran lineman to become available in the next two weeks as cut-down dates arrive. To go into the season with that much youth up front is a recipe for disaster, and intelligent football minds such as Mangini and Tannenbaum are fully aware of that, regardless of what was said today.
The ironic part of this trade is that the Redskins will visit the Meadowlands on November 4 to face the Jets. Mangini did not see that as a potential problem, with Kendall knowing the ins and outs of the Jets offensive schemes.
"There is so much movement during this time of year and during the course of any year that inevitably you play players that either you had some association with when you were at the previous club or they were at your club," he said. "That's pretty common."
Bender is looking at the trade as an opportunity to take advantage of. "I'm going to work my hardest and do whatever I can. Wherever coach feels he needs to put me, that's where I'm going to play."
One person who has a vested interest in the success of the offensive line is quarterback Chad Pennington, who commented on Kendall, "Pete did an excellent job last year. We had a relatively young group, especially with two rookies starting." Pennington also realizes that this is a business and moves sometimes have to be made for the better of the organization.
"We all know the NFL is about change," he said. "There's constant change and any time you look or read or hear something, there's change going on. This is part of it and I just hope things work out for him and he can play well and be in a good situation."
By removing a solid piece of their line, Jets fans hope that they are still in a good situation.