AP sources: RB Washington to sign tender with Jets
Running back Leon Washington, a restricted free agent recovering
from a broken right leg, will sign his tender contract offer with
the New York Jets, two people familiar with the deal told The
Associated Press on Wednesday night.
Washington was traveling from his home in Florida to New Jersey
on Wednesday night and planned to sign Thursday morning. The people
spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been
Washington, a fourth-round pick in 2006, received a second-round
tender last month worth $1.759 million.
The former Pro Bowl kick returner suffered a compound fracture
of the tibia and fibula at Oakland on Oct. 25, and missed the rest
of the season. He has been training at the Athletes’
Performance-Andrews Institute in Pensacola, Fla., for the past five
When healthy, Washington has been one of the league’s more
dynamic players, serving a dual role as a kick returner and running
back. He took his time after being tendered, exploring his options
before deciding to sign with the Jets.
Washington, 27, was injured on his first carry against the
Raiders when Oakland’s Tommy Kelly rolled up on his leg after a
6-yard run in the first quarter of the Jets’ 38-0 win. It was a
gruesome injury, which required a rod to be inserted into the
tibia, and many speculated about whether he’d be able to fully
recover or even play again.
Washington said in January that doctors told him he was way
ahead of the normal recovery rate. He is beginning to run, and will
continue his rehabilitation at the Jets’ team facility in Florham
Jets coach Rex Ryan recently said he was disappointed that
Washington was staying away from the team’s voluntary workouts,
choosing to rehabilitate closer to home after he was tendered.
Washington was the only player not at voluntary workouts at the
“He may have reasons for not being here or whatever, but the
rest of the team volunteered to be here,” Ryan said last month.
“We would love to get Leon back.”
Ryan has also said he envisioned the versatile Washington more
as a kick returner and third-down back, behind Shonn Greene and
recently signed LaDainian Tomlinson, than an every down ball
“Let’s see where he’s at,” Ryan said. “I’m not just going to
give him the ball 20 times a game coming off of that. He has to be
ready to take that kind of role. If he’s ready to take an expanded
role, then obviously we could see that.”
Before the injury, Washington had hoped to get a long-term deal
from the Jets after being selected as an All-Pro as a kick returner
for the 2008 season.
Washington made $535,000 in the final year of his rookie deal,
and was believed to have been looking for something in the range of
$5 million to $6 million a year. He sat out the first three weeks
of organized team activities last offseason before returning in
minicamp “in good faith.” He was a no-show when the rest of the
team checked in for training camp last summer, but was with the
team the next day.
Washington said he was unhappy with the situation and wasn’t
optimistic a new deal would get done, but never let it visibly
affect him on the field or in the locker room.
General manager Mike Tannenbaum has repeatedly said he wanted
Washington back, but one of the major stumbling blocks in getting a
long-term deal done was the uncertainty of the league’s collective
bargaining agreement. He said that without an extension of the CBA
– which has not happened – the Jets would be able to retain
Washington’s rights as a restricted free agent for far less than
what he was seeking.
Washington has run for 1,782 career yards and 13 touchdowns and
caught 123 passes for 969 yards and two scores since coming out of
Florida State in 2006. He has also returned four kickoffs for
touchdowns, including three in 2007.