Electric running back still no closer to the big money contract he is seeking
I guess it wouldn't be the off-season in Jets country if there wasn't at least one nasty contract squabble brewing.
Running back Leon Washington enjoyed a productive season last year, gaining a combined 803 yards and scoring nine all purpose touchdowns. Considering he cost the Jets a mere $535,000 in salary, he was an outright steal. As one of the more underpaid players in the organization, he is seeking a new contract and, in all fairness, ought to receive one that pays him substantially more than what he is receiving.
However, his desires are a bit outlandish, to say the least. He has referenced the contract Jacksonville superstar Maurice Jones-Drew recently signed (5 years, $31 million) as the type he is commanding. As one of his bigger supporters, I'll state it here and now: Washington is not worth anywhere near that amount of money or commitment.
For one thing, $6 million a year is the amount paid to starting running backs and, while Washington is expected to take a larger role in the offense, he will not be the featured back by any stretch of the imagination. For another, simply because he shares Jones-Drew's diminutive stature does not automatically mean that he shares his durability or his goal-line prowess.
Still, team management must feel some pressure to get some sort of deal done. Washington will be an important part of the proposed three-pronged rushing attack as the fastest member of the group comprised of him, Thomas Jones and rookie Shonn Greene. Without him, the attack becomes very one-dimensional as Jones and Greene are similar runners.
Chances are the two meet somewhere in the middle and Washington will get a substantial boost. Here's hoping that this saga doesn;t extend into pre-season.
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Written by Frank Mazzola