New York Jets general manager John Idzik told WFAN on Monday morning that the team was "comfortable" with quarterback Mark Sanchez, but his regime will be about creating competition.
"Yeah, I’m comfortable with Mark being a Jet," Idzik said on WFAN Monday morning. "I told him as well, we’re going to add competition...It’s going to help make Mark and everybody else better."
With that in mind, Connor Orr of The Star-Ledger reports that the Jets' personnel department had internal, exploratory discussions about free agent quarterback JaMarcus Russell after the dismissal of former GM Mike Tannenbaum.
Russell played his college ball at LSU and was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the first overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft. Russell's agents and the Raiders did not reach terms on a contract - ultimately a six-year deal worth a maximum of $68 million with over $32 million in guarantees - until Sept. 12, essentially costing Russell his rookie season. Russell started just one of four games as a rookie before taking over the starting job in 2008. In three seasons, Russell started 25 of 31 games, completing 52.1 percent of 680 pass attempts for 4,083 yards with 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions, while also losing 15 of his 25 fumbles.
Russell was arrested in 2010 in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama for possession of codeine syrup without a prescription, which is one of the reasons for his prolonged stint as a free agent. Russell is attempting a comeback attempt after spending the last three seasons out of football and, as of last week, tipped the scales at 308 pounds.
Whether or not the Jets' interest in Russell will go beyond exploratory, internal discussions is unknown, but Idzik did have an front row seat for an impressive comeback of Mike Williams, Russell's teammate in Oakland in 2007, with the 2010 Seattle Seahawks.
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Williams was a first-round pick out of USC by the Detroit Lions in 2004, but ate himself out of the league by 2008. After two seasons on the street, Williams signed a one-year deal for the league minimum with Seattle, made the 53-man roster and earned a starting job in training camp and led the team with 65 receptions for 751 yards and added three touchdowns in the post-season. Though Williams would be signed to a three-year, $11.25 million extension following his tremendous season, his comeback was ultimately short-lived. Williams had a down year in 2011 and was released by the Seahawks last summer, but what he accomplished in 2010 may have enough of an effect on Idzik to give Russell a chance.
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