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Friday, March 02, 2007

Jerricho Cotchery rewarded

Cotchery rewarded-See My end notes
Tom Rock-Newsday
Negotiating a good deal on a car might be more strenuous than the back-and-forth that led to yesterday's announcement that the Jets had signed wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery to a long-term extension.

"It was an easy process," said Cotchery, coming off a breakout season in 2006, his third year in the NFL. "I wasn't expecting them to come to me a year early, but they did and it was very easy. It was a number that I wanted. It had to be fair for both sides and it ended up being [that]."

The deal, a five-year extension believed to be worth about $4 million per season, came on the eve of the free- agency period and a full year before Cotchery would have been able to test the market for his value. Instead, the 24-year-old decided he was comfortable with the Jets and coach Eric Mangini - under whose watch he was given his greatest opportunities as a pro and started all 17 games last season - and wanted to stay put.

"This is the organization that drafted me and I wanted to be loyal to them and I want to finish my career here," Cotchery said. "I feel like the other teams, if they had wanted me when I was coming out for the draft, they would have drafted me. This time around they won't have a second chance to get me.

"I love the Jets and they've shown me tons of love."

Cotchery becomes the second young Jet to flourish under Mangini and be rewarded with a contract extension. Linebacker Bryan Thomas received a five-year extension during the season.

Cotchery made 82 catches for 961 yards and six touchdowns in 2006, but Mangini and general manager Mike Tannenbaum said it wasn't just statistics that led to the long-term commitment. "Jerricho Cotchery is the type of player we are looking for here," Tannenbaum said.

The deal almost certainly means that Justin McCareins, who was bumped from the starting lineup in favor of Cotchery and is due to earn almost $3 million in 2007, will not be with the Jets when the season begins. They will likely look to trade McCareins before training camp.

Watching Jerricho this year was a pretty sight. he was all over the field with great routes and sure hands.
Here's hoping he stays healthy enough to earn every penny of his new Contract!

Giants Keep C O'Hara

Signing center was no snap-See My End comment

Reese keeps O'Hara after tough negotiation, giving him five-year deal that stabilizes O-line

The Giants went down to the free-agency period wire but signed center Shaun O'Hara last night. O'Hara's agent, Tony Agnone, had a face-to-face meeting with general manager Jerry Reese yesterday and the two sides inched together to keep O'Hara, signing him to a five-year deal worth $19 million, with $7.5 million guaranteed, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

O'Hara had been offered a five-year deal worth roughly a million less, but it was a million less guaranteed money. After the Cowboys signed their center, Andre Gurode, to a six-year, $30-million deal with a $10-million signing bonus, O'Hara's demands went up.

Two people familiar with the team's decision-making process said cutting tackle Luke Petitgout last month was solely Reese's idea, and that Tom Coughlin was steadfastly against it. Reese then decided to take a tough stance in negotiations with O'Hara, who'll be 30 June 23.

But the team decided to keep the rest of the offensive line intact. The Giants were believed to have about $20 million in salary-cap room heading into today's start of free agency, but it may be only about half that. If so, O'Hara's contract leaves them with little room to throw big money at the few high-profile free agents available.

The Giants have decided to let kicker Jay Feely go to free agency. He'll have interest from the Dolphins, Cowboys and Falcons and should command a long-term deal. The Giants are interested in giving undrafted free agent Josh Huston, whom they signed in January, a shot at the job.

With O'Hara back, Coughlin needs to do far less shuffling of bodies. David Diehl could be the left tackle next season, or the Giants could pursue Cardinals left tackle Leonard Davis, who will command a big contract. Reese is said to be a fan of Guy Whimper, a fourth-round pick last year who didn't play a down.

The Giants are hosting former Colt Dominic Rhodes today, the first free agent to visit. Rhodes, 28, ran for 113 yards in the Super Bowl, and has expressed a desire to be a complementary rusher instead of a No. 1 back.

This was Probably the Single most important re-signing of the off Season for the Giants. Without O'Hara, Eli Manning would have spent considerable time on his back next season. Now they only need to replace Luke Pettitgout.

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