The New York Jets are laying it on the line, bolstering their offensive and defensive lines.
One day after trading for defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, the Jets reached agreement with former Pittsburgh Pro-Bowl free-agent guard Alan Faneca on a five-year, $40 million contract that includes $21 million in guaranteed money.
The record deal includes the highest average per year ever given to an offensive lineman, as well as the highest amount of guaranteed money. It is a deal that came together quickly between Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and agent Rick Smith, and it fills New York's most gaping need.
Ever since the Jets traded left guard Pete Kendall to Washington last summer, they have struggled to find a replacement. Now they have one, a 10-year veteran who has been voted to seven straight Pro Bowls.
But the Jets aren't finished in free agency just yet. They are in the process of arranging a visit for Detroit free-agent offensive lineman Damien Woody, who could man the right tackle position for the Jets. Woody played in New England in 1999, when the Patriots quality control coach was Eric Mangini, now the New York Jets head coach.
The Jets are also planning to welcome Arizona free-agent linebacker Calvin Pace to New York after he wrapped up his Saturday visit with the Miami Dolphins.
Woody and Pace would be superb additions in New York. But the acquistion of the 31-year-old Faneca, arguably the top available offensive free agent, provides the Jets with a tremendous boost.
Faneca considered signing with the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals, where he would have been reunited with his former coaches in Pittsburgh, Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm. But Arizona could not squeeze in Faneca's contract at a time wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is scheduled to count $16.5 million against the Cardinals' salary cap.
Ultimately, Faneca decided that playing in New York, between left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and center Nick Mangold, for a franchise that made it clear to him how badly he was wanted, was too enticing. Faneca is a Jet all the way.