A heaping helping of Thursday Whispers

Jets could have a big problem signing Kareem McKenzie to a long-term deal.

It's not that McKenzie doesn't want to sign a lengthy contract with the team. However, he is represented by the Poston Brothers. Those two are considered possibly the most difficult agents to deal with in the NFL. There have been draft prospects that teams avoided selecting because of these two. One of their more high-profile clients is St. Louis Rams left tackle Orlando Pace. For the last couple of years the Rams have attempted to sign the All-Pro tackle to a long-term deal, but the demands of the Poston Brothers have been so outrageous, the team has to put the franchise tag on him.

While McKenzie is a solid right tackle, he has to be reasonable. He has a history of shoulder problems, and this has to be factored into his value. Also remember McKenzie finished the season giving up two sacks (Wally Ogunleye and David Bowens) against the Miami Dolphins. So he's while he's talented, he's still a work-in-progress.

McKenzie is a restricted free agent, so if the Jets fail to ink him to a long-term deal, they can tender him at a first round salary and keep him at least for another year . . .

On Wednesday, the Herman Edwards hired Bob Casullo as tight end coach, and moved Dick Curl to a newly created position of senior offensive assistant/special projects. So what does Curl's new job entail? Well from what we hear, a major part of the new position will be helping Edwards handle clock management issues during the game. It's not secret this is not a strength of Edwards, and the Jets coach intimated during the season he would consider hiring an assistant to help him in this area. Curl will be that guy . . .

You have to feel sorry for Jets tight end Chris Baker. Casullo will be his seventh tight end coach in the last seven years. At Michigan State he had four different position coaches, and now Casullo will be his third different tight end coach with the Jets. This will also be Anthony Becht's fourth tight end coach with the Jets . . .

The Jets special teams were very inconsistent last year. But look for an improvement next year with three top notch special team's minds working together. Aside from already having one of the NFL's finest special teams coaches, Mike Westhoff, this offseason they have added Corwin Brown and Casullo to their coaching staff. Brown, one of NFL's best special teams players in the 1990's, spent the last three years coaching the special teams at the University of Virginia. He was hired last week to assist Westhoff with the special teams, and also help coach the safeties. While Casullo was hired to coach tight ends, he will also help out on special teams. The last three years he served as the Oakland Raiders special teams coach. He is considered an excellent special teams mind.

Two years ago, Jets tight end coach Phil Pettey, was essentially the assistant special teams coach as well, and expect Casullo to help out a great deal as well.

Casullo helped Shane Lechler emerge as the NFL's finest punter, so maybe he can help the Jets solve their punting issues. Right now they have five punters on the roster. They hope one of these players can fill their void at punter . . .

During the season, a high-ranking Jets source told us that Champ Bailey wanted to play for the Jets. The source said Bailey is a big fan of Herman Edwards. Well now, as Bailey is about to enter free agency, expect the Jets to be one of the suitors. The Jets need a shut-down corner to play opposite Donnie Abraham. The Redskins are expected to franchise Bailey, so if they can't sign him, they can trade him. But don't expect the Jets to send a high draft pick to Washington for Bailey. The Jets have too many defensive needs to send a give away a premium pick.

There is a very good chance Bailey will wind up in Detroit. The Lions have a tremendous need for a cornerback like Bailey amd his brother Boss plays for the team. Also former Redskins secondary coach George Catavolos is now in Detroit.

There are going to a number of talented free agent cornerbacks available like Seattle's Shawn Springs, Baltimore's Chris McAllister and Oakland's Charles Woodson. The addition of Casullo to the Jets staff could help recruit Woodson.

But one shutdown corner the Jets might be able to add at a much lower price then the aforementioned players in Jacksonville's Fernando Bryant, who is expected to be released for salary cap reasons . . .

A lot has been made about Jets GM Terry Bradway not getting a contract extension while Edwards did receive one.

"It has caused a situation that is causing team officials around the NFL to question the Jets power structure," wrote Rich Cimini in the New York Daily News. "It could cause Bradway and Edwards to adopt different agendas with the GM taking a win-now approach and the coach having the luxury of having a long-term deal."

No matter what the perception is around the league, don't expect the Jets to change this situation this season. Jets brass feels that since Bradway has two years left on his deal, and not one, he's not a lame duck, and the current contract situation shouldn't hinder his ability to do his job.

"A lot of people in football would love to have a two-year deal," said one source close to the Jets.

Don't expect Jets owner Woody Johnson to give Bradway an extension until he sees the type of job the GM does this off-season and season. We hear Bradway is extremely focused on turning the Jets around, and is refusing all interview requests . . .

As for perception that Edwards will have more of a long-term view and Bradway a "win-now" approach, that likely won't be the case. There is really no such thing as long-range rebuilding projects in the NFL anymore. You can turn a team around very fast. Just look at the Carolina Panthers. We hear both Edwards and Bradway are approaching matters with a "win-now" approach. "Rebuilding" is a four letter word in Hempstead.

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