Whispers - Chance Jets will trade down

Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren wanted Reggie Tongue back, but defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes didn't.

Rhodes inherited Tongue when he took over as Seahawks defensive coordinator last year, and now wants his own guy at strong safety.

By the way, guess who takes Tongue's place, for the time being - none other than former Jet Damien Robertson.

Speaking of former Jets safeties, you know who might get a raw deal based on Denver's signing of John Lynch? The man he could replace in the starting lineup is former Jet Nick Ferguson. The Broncos didn't necessarily need a new safety, the tandem of Ferguson and hard-hitting Kenoy Kennedy are coming off a solid season. Actually Ferguson was rewarded with a new long-term contract after the season. But the Broncos obviously felt they needed Lynch not just to upgrade their secondary, but for leadership.

The Jets made a big mistake letting Ferguson go. They thought Tyrone Carter was an upgrade over Ferguson, but were mistaken. Carter had a good season in run support, but was shaky in coverage. After being released by the Jets, Carter re-signed with his former team, the Minnesota Vikings . . .

Tongue is clearly a better cover guy than John Lynch. Tongue has much better range than Lynch, who has lost a step.

"Reggie is very athletic, he probably covers as good as the cornerbacks will cover," said his agent Van McElroy, a former NFL safety.

McElroy clearly think Tongue is a better cover guy than Lynch.

"No question," said McElroy. "That's not any knock on John, but Reggie's a better cover safety because of a lot of reasons. He's got great hips, he's got strong ankles, and he's real quick on his moves, and he's got a lot of speed. With those type of abilities, I think that's what makes him a better cover guy."

But remember Lynch made the Pro Bowl last year and Tongue didn't.

"Pro Bowl sometimes is by reputation, not by play," said McElroy. "I went to a couple of them, so I know. I probably went by reputation one year and didn't deserve it."

Lynch clearly didn't deserve to go to the Pro Bowl last season.

But while Tongue is the better coverage safety, Lynch is clearly better in run support . . .

New York Daily News NFL columnist Gary Myers had an interesting take on the Jets losing out in the Lynch sweepstakes.

"The organization needed to sign Lynch to retain its credibility," wrote Myers.

Credibility isn't gained during the off-season (just ask Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder). Credibility is based on results during the regular season. The true test of whether the Jets off-season was a success or failure, will be in regular season games. Myers is off-base on this one . . .

Cornerback David Barrett was a good player in Arizona, but he should be even better in New York. Why? With John Abraham and Shaun Ellis rushing from the end positions, for the first time in his NFL career, Barrett will playing with a decent pass rushing. The Cardinals 86 sacks were the fewest in the NFL from 2000-03.

"You become a really good defensive back in this league when your defensive line can pressure the quarterback," said Phil Simms . . .

With all the stadium hoopla, the signing of Josh Evans didn't get a lot of attention, but it was a very significant move for the Jets. Evans signed a one-year deal for around $1 million. He hopes to have a Pro Bowl year and then cash in next year. Evans was given a chance to shop himself around, and get more money elsewhere. But while there was interest from other teams, they weren't going to pay him more than the Jets offer.

The re-signing of Evans is huge. He will platoon with raw Dewayne Robertson at the three-technique tackle. Robertson is clearly a better NFL player than Robertson now, and will provide a more effective platoon with the Kentucky product than Chester McGlockton. Evans has much better mobility than McGlockton (who has retired).

Also, the fiery, charismatic Evans, will give the Jets the leadership they desperately need on defense. His great motor sets a terrific tone for the whole defense . . .

The Jets new stadium project on the westside of Manhattan, if it reaches fruition, will be the most expensive stadium in history, at an estimated $1.4 billion . . .

GM Terry Bradway said yesterday at the NFL owner's meetings in Florida that one team has approached the Jets about trading for the 12th pick in the draft. The Jets would love to trade down, and possibly pick Miami linebacker Jon Vilma later in the first round, and add another draft pick or two in the process. Vilma is perfect for the Jets, but at 6-0, 230, he's a little small to pick at 12. The Jets would love to get back into the second round (they traded their pick to Tennessee for Justin McCareins). They hope to do this by trading the 12th pick . . .

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