NEW YORK (March 5, 2006) -- The New York Jets and quarterback Chad Pennington announced that the two sides have reached an agreement to restructure Pennington's contract. Per team policy, details of both the financial and length of the agreement are undisclosed. The announcement was made by Jets' General Manager Mike Tannenbaum.
"Our intention all along was to have Chad remain with the Jets and we never wavered from that," said Tannenbaum. "Chad is a courageous and talented leader. Throughout this process, he put the interests of the team ahead of his own, enabling us to reach an agreement on terms beneficial to both parties. Chad has worked very hard to return from the surgery he underwent in October and has shown the same determination in rehab as he exhibits on the field. He understands the challenges associated with coming back from his injury, but is committed to do what it takes to succeed."
"I said when I took over the head coaching job that I respected and admired Chad as a person and a competitor," said head coach Eric Mangini. "Through words and deeds, Chad has stated how important it is for him to remain with the Jets. He is a smart, tough, competitive, hard-working football player and has demonstrated he is willing to make sacrifices for the betterment of the team. We are constantly looking for players who place the accomplishments of the Jets ahead of individual goals, and Chad is an excellent example."
"Heading into the offseason, I knew that re-working elements of my contract was a possibility," said Pennington. "That's the business side of the industry and that's what the offseason is for. It was nothing personal, and I understand that. Moving forward, I am anxious to return to the playing field and feel very positive about where we are in the process. I am excited to play for coach Mangini and realize the Jets are going to do what the organization needs to do to get this team better at every position. Likewise, I'm going to do what I need to do to get better because if I get better, this organization will get better. Since I was drafted by the Jets my singular goal has been to help get this team to the championship level."
Pennington, who has started 37-of-44 regular season career games, has thrown 1,174 career passes, completing 767 of them, for 8,621 yards with 55 touchdowns and 30 interceptions for a career passer rating of 92.1. Pennington owns the highest career passer rating in franchise history, the highest completion percentage (65.3), has thrown for the fifth-most passing yardage, attempted the sixth-most passes, and owns the best touchdown-to-interception ratio (1.83-to-one) in team annals. He has compiled a record of 21-16 as the Jets' starting quarterback (.568 winning percentage), which is the highest-winning percentage ever among starting quarterbacks in team history, and owns a 2-2 record in the postseason.
Pennington, 29, concluded his sixth season as a professional in 2005. The native of Knoxville, Tenn., and graduate of Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. was obtained by the Jets in the 2000 NFL Draft with the 18th selection overall. After seeing limited playing time in both his rookie (2000) and second seasons (2001) in the NFL, Pennington took over the starting signal-caller duties earlier in the 2002 season and guided the Jets to their second-ever AFC East title and the postseason on 399 attempts on 275 completions for 3,120 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions for a passer rating 104.2, the highest passer rating in the NFL that season. His 2003 season got off to a difficult start when he suffered a fracture-dislocation of his left wrist during a preseason game against the New York Giants that sidelined him for the first six games of the season, before returning and leading the Jets in passing (297 attempts, 189 completions, 2,139 yards, 13 touchdowns, 12 interceptions).
In 2004 Pennington started the first eight games of the season and helped the Jets jump out to their best start (5-0) in franchise history before suffering a shoulder injury that forced him to the sidelines for the next three contests. He then returned and guided to the Jets to the playoffs on 370 attempts, 242 completions, 2,673 yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions for a passer rating of 91.0.
The 2005 season ended after three games for Pennington, as he suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder that both he and the team determined the best-case scenario would be for an extended rehabilitation process to occur following a surgical procedure. He started the first three games and attempted 83 passes, completing 49 of them for 530 yards and two touchdowns to three interceptions.
In postseason games, Pennington has tied the franchise record for most wins by a starting quarterback (two) through his first four starts, and has attempted 138 career passes with 84 completions for 866 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions for a passer rating of 84.4.