Kendall is seeking at least a $1 million salary increase to a minimum of $2.6 million for the 2007 season and reiterated his desire to be released by the Jets if a new deal is not reached. His growing frustration results from his belief that he's being treated unfairly by an organization he has sacrificed for in the past and a head coach, Eric Mangini, whom he feels betrayed him.
"I thought I was somebody (Mangini) valued," said Kendall, who is entering his fourth season with the Jets. "At a certain point, he told me some things that, frankly, I was surprised to hear from him. He told me he appreciated that I was so candid with him and he wanted me to continue to be that way because he wasn't always sure that he was getting that from other people in the building."
The Jets didn't respond to a message seeking comment.
Kendall said the confidence Mangini showed in him was one of many reasons he felt justified asking for a raise after taking a pay cut before last season. Both Kendall, who would welcome being released if he doesn't receive a new deal, and Pittsburgh Steelers guard Alan Faneca have been vocal in their displeasure with their contracts after seeing the likes of Derrick Dockery, Eric Steinbach and Kris Dielman average at least $6.5 million annually on their new contracts.
"I'm not even looking to get into that range," said Kendall, who will be 34 this season. "I just want to get back to what I agreed to in 2004 when I signed with the Jets. That was $3 million per season."
Furthermore, Kendall said he felt he has been deceived by the Jets after adjusting his salary downward before the past two seasons, both times with three years remaining on his contract. With the second restructuring, Kendall's contract was extended through 2009. The Jets have told him that they will not give him the raise because he has three years remaining.
"So it's OK for me to take a pay cut with three years remaining on my deal, but it's not OK for me to get a raise with three years left?" Kendall said, rhetorically. "They say that if they did that, there'd be a line started outside the door immediately with guys wanting to redo their deals.
"To me, I showed loyalty to the club by playing hurt and playing out of position (in 2005), which basically ended up hurting my value," Kendall said. "Now that I've showed my play is back to where it was, they don't want to show the same loyalty to me."
Kendall said that if he reports for the start of training camp "it won't be all hugs and kisses" with Mangini, and he's not sure if he'll report at all. He risks being fined $14,000 per day he misses.
"I'm thinking about whether to do that," he said.
- Eric Mangini