The Jets announced a host of players getting restricted free-agent tenders on Tuesday, including CB Antonio Cromartie and WR Santonio Holmes.
Cromartie and Holmes will each get restricted tenders at the level requiring first- and third-round picks as compensation if they were to sign with another team and the Jets failed to match the offer. The Jets also tendered WR Brad Smith (second-round pick), S Eric Smith (third round), QB Kellen Clemens (third round), CB Drew Coleman (sixth round) and PK Nick Folk (sixth round). Undrafted players S James Ihedigbo and OT Rob Turner received qualifying offers, requiring no compensation if they were to sign elsewhere.
All the players are treated as restricted free agents with their tenders, but it is uncertain whether or not all of them will be considered restricted free agents under the terms of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The team officially released NT Kris Jenkins, ORT Damien Woody and OLB Jason Taylor as had been reported Monday, and it announced that LB David Harris had signed his franchise tender. The Jets did not announce the rumored release of DE-OLB Vernon Gholston.
RB LaDainian Tomlinson will return in 2011, according to multiple reports. He will be 32 when next season begins and has one year left on his contract with the team.
The way we see it
The Jets saved over $11 million with the veteran cuts they made. In reference to the tender offers, placing first- and third-round tenders on Holmes and Cromartie shows how much the team values those two players. But, if they are considered unrestricted free agents under a new CBA, the tenders will become meaningless, as they would be free to negotiate with any team. Now, while labor uncertainty looms, the Jets at least have secured their top free agents, for the time being.
Smith is key for the Jets, who are one of the league's best at running the "Wildcat" with the former Missouri quarterback. Tomlinson could be in a logjam at tailback next season with Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight, so he likely won't see the touches he saw this season, but he'll still be a solid third-down and change-of-pace back. He's owed only $2.4 million in 2011.