Man in the Middle

The Jets trimmed down this offseason shedding 360 pound nose tackle Kris Jenkins whose left knee has suffered ACL tears two consecutive years. New York’s man in the middle worked feverishly the past two offseasons battling back from season ending knee injuries and intends to play again in 2011. It remains to be seen whether Jenkins will play with Gang Green or elsewhere this upcoming season.

Jenkins, who was due 3.75 million in the fourth year of his five year deal, was cut by New York March 1st. The Jets have reached the AFC title game the past two seasons with the “Samoan Sensation” holding down the interior of the defensive line. That man, Sione Pouha, is in the last year of his four year contract that he signed following his selection in the third round of the 2005 NFL draft. Pouha had been stalwart in the absence of Jenkins, forcing the Jets to decide whether to sign Pouha to a long term deal thereby allowing Jenkins to resume his career in another city.

General Manager Mike Tanennbaum will have to prioritize the Jets 17 free agents while staying mindful of the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, which may change the salary cap system. With attractive defensive tackles: Pat Williams, Gerard Warren and Barry Cofield hitting free agency, Mr. T may opt to trade Pouha in exchange for an edge pass rusher or nickel cornerback along with a combination of draft picks. The Jets have a bevy of options at the nose tackle position with Mr. Tannenbaum seeking to balance frugal spending with offseason upgrades to help the Jets realize their championship dreams.

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