Jonesing for a pay-cut

Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger reported Wednesday that the Jets plan to release veteran running back Thomas Jones if he does not agree to a contract renegotiation.

The 32-year-old Jones, who rushed for a career-high 1,204 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, is due a $3 million roster bonus next month and a base salary of $2.8 million in 2010.

While Jones was instrumental in the Jets’ league-leading ground attack last season, he faded dramatically down the stretch.   That, coupled with the breakout postseason performance of rookie Shonn Greene, makes the eleven-year veteran expendable.

With a backfield of Leon Washington and Greene, the Jets’ rushing attack shouldn’t lose a step.   However, the team would be wise to investigate trading Jones as opposed to releasing him, getting nothing in return.  Though he is definitely on the downside of his career, Jones would be a perfect fit for a team looking for a dependable, veteran back and could yield some value in the trade market.

The emergence of rookie Shonn Greene has made veteran Thomas Jones expendable this offseason. ( Photo)

Don’t rule out a possible return to either Chicago or Arizona for Jones, both of whom would serve as suitable trade partners.   Both struggled to run the ball in ’09 and both have young, talented running backs in Matt Forte and Beanie Wells, whom Jones could mentor.

Jets ponder LaBoy

On Tuesday, Daily News writer Rich Cimini reported that the Jets are entertaining the idea of bringing in former Arizona Cardinals defensive end Travis LaBoy to bolster their pass rush.

LaBoy, a second-round pick of the Titans in ’04, has recorded 23.5 career sacks in five seasons and started 12 games for the Cardinals during their Super Bowl season in 2008.   After injuring his biceps midway through the ’08 season, LaBoy was cut last April and sat out the entire 2009 season.

At 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, the 28-year-old LaBoy could definitely help the Jets as a situational pass rusher in select packages.   LaBoy had dinner with Jets officials on Tuesday night and was expected to meet with the rest of the organization on Wednesday.

The five-year veteran has also drawn some interest from the San Fransisco 49ers, this offseason.

Rolle-ing possibility?

It is speculated that another Arizona Cardinal could hit the open market in the coming weeks, Pro Bowl free safety Antrel Rolle.  The former first-round pick is due a $4 million roster bonus next week and it has been speculated that the team will cut Rolle, unless they can sign him to an extension.

Rolle, a cornerback who was converted to the safety position by Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt, is coming off of his finest season as a pro.  He is the ideal safety for Rex Ryan’s system, a hard-hitting, aggressive defender in the mold of Ed Reed of the Baltimore Ravens.

While the chance of Rolle landing in the Big Apple is undoubtedly a long-shot, it is not an impossibility.  If Rolle is cut, the Jets would be allowed to sign him since he would not classify as a free agent under the “Final Eight Rule” of the CBA.

If anything, Mike Tannenbaum and company should monitor the Rolle situation just to cover their backs.  Multiple outlets have reported that the Dolphins have a strong interest in Rolle, who played his college ball at the University of Miami.

While signing Rolle would definitely come at a high price tag, it may be worth it to keep the Pro Bowler out of South Beach.   Additionally,  Rolle would be a significant upgrade over the incumbent Kerry Rhodes, who struggled in his first season under head coach Rex Ryan.

2-piece tender meal

Cimini has also reported this week, via twitter, that the Jets are expected to tender restricted-free agents Brad Smith and Leon Washington at the second-round level.   This means that if any team were to sign either player, they would have to send the Jets a second-round draft pick in exchange.

Offensive Prospect of the Week:  Golden  Tate, WR, Notre Dame

Tate is one of the most electrifying players on this year’s draft board and has the potential to be an explosive downfield threat in the NFL.   At South Bend, Tate exhibited a knack for making the big play and dazzling, second-gear speed in the open field.  At 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, the speedy Tate has drawn comparisons to former Jet wideout Santana Moss.   The addition of a receiver of Tate’s caliber would open up the field for receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards, while giving Mark Sanchez the legitimate vertical threat he covets.
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