New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum held a news conference Thursday to review their season and look ahead to 2010.
Tannenbaum covered a lot of ground. He said he expects running back Thomas Jones and safety Kerry Rhodes to return next season. Tannenbaum also announced the club would tender quarterback Kellen Clemens, running back Leon Washington and receiver Braylon Edwards, all restricted free agents, and hold onto disappointing outside linebacker Vernon Gholston.
Here are some highlights from the Q&A session:
On Jones' future
"We expect T.J. to be back. There are some economic issues that obviously have to be looked at over the next month, but we hope that he is back. He's done a lot for our team, both on and off the field. [Jets head coach Rex Ryan] has talked about what he's done from a leadership standpoint. We look at his production, and it's really remarkable, but it's a testament to T.J."
On Rhodes' future
"We expect him to be back. Unless something changes, he will be back. I'm sure we'll have more discussions with Rex and some of the coaches where hopefully the level of consistency for both him and us is there throughout the 2010 season. ... We need to have a good off season and Kerry is one of those players who could really benefit from a very productive 2010, starting in March with the offseason, so a lot of the discussions are really non contractual, non economical."
On free-agency restrictions from finishing in the final four
"We will try to get you some more details, but the long and short of it is unrestricted free agents, we can't sign one until we would lose one, and, again, that's someone whose contract expires and they have been in the league for six or more seasons. If a player gets cut by another team, they become a free agent and we would be able to sign them. We would also be able to sign a restricted free agent that was tendered by another team and, obviously, trades are another possibility. We cannot sign an unrestricted free agent, one whose contract expires, until one of our unrestricted free agents signs with another team."
On how knee surgery could hinder Mark Sanchez's development
"You don't want to have anybody miss any time, especially a young quarterback, but we'll balance that with a medical procedure that may give him more stability in there and give him a chance to play without any worry about that whatsoever. Those are fair points and those are the judgment calls we have to make and really like look at what's going to give him the best chance to be successful over the whole season."
On the backup quarterback situation
"If another team [comes] along and is interested in Kellen, we will certainly evaluate that. When we traded for Kevin O'Connell that was certainly a thought in my mind. We may not have Kellen forever. That was something that [former Green Bay Packers GM] Ron Wolf always talked to me about. Get a quarterback every year. I like to deal from a position of strength when it comes to that depth. Would we bring in a veteran? Sure, that's something we would consider, but I like Kevin O'Connell. I like Erik Ainge, and we'll see what happens with Kellen."
On Gholston's lack of production so far
"He has not played as well as he has hoped or we would have hoped. The attributes of why we drafted him is what gives me hope there, which is really a great work ethic. He's 23 years old, and this is going to be an important offseason for him."