A heaping helping of Friday Whispers

The Jets chances of re-signing free agent offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie seem like a long shot at this point.<p>

McKenzie is taking an unusual negotiating stance. He's not telling his agent, Kevin Poston, how much money he is seeking. He feels this is a good way not to leave cash on the table.

"I know my number,' said McKenzie. "If you can get a little higher than that number, I will take that also. If they are going to go out and give it to me, why not? Why tell [Poston] exactly my number, and then he goes out and gets exactly my number, when he could have got me a little more. Who knows what is going to happen next year. Next year I could fall down and break my leg – God forbid. You have to take the opportunity at hand and make the best of it. You can't sit here and short-change yourself." . . .

We hear McKenzie is interested in a deal in the six-year, $25 million area with $10 million guaranteed. That might be tough for the Jets to do since they are attempting to sign defensive lineman John Abraham and Jason Ferguson, and running back Lamont Jordan as well . . .

Wayne Chrebet is going take his time before making a decision about next season.

"The worst thing you can do is make decisions after a game like [the loss to the Steelers]," said Chrebet. "You are not in your right mind about it. I just want to go home and be around my family and friends and get some time between that game and when I start thinking about what happens next year."

From what we hear, the Chrebet camp feels there is a much better chance of him returning with the arrival of new offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger. In Heimerdinger's system, there are a lot of three and four wide receiver sets, so the Jets will likely keep six wideouts next year, and this bodes well for Chrebet . . .

According to a Jets source, Paul Hackett would have been working elsewhere next year even if the Jets went to the Super Bowl. Hackett wanted out as much as the Jets wanted a change. Now he's going to a place he will be respected. He is joining the staff of Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay, mostly likely as his quarterback coach. Gruden thinks the world of Hackett. The two worked together at USC. Whether you like Hackett as an offensive coordinator or not, one thing is undeniable – he is an excellent quarterback coach. When it comes to teaching footwork and mechanics to a signal-caller, Hackett is one of the best . . .

Aside from the paying him about $1 million a year, another reason Mike Heimerdinger is now the the offensive coordinator of the Jets instead of the Titans is that he felt his former team was about to implode. The Titans are way over the cap, and Heimerdinger is concerned about their ability to compete. In his introductory press conference, he made a couple of comments praising the Jets and their desire to spend money to get better.

"I know this about [the Jets], if you need more receivers, they will go out and get more receivers," said Heimerdinger. "I know we have the money to do it."

One player who will likely be a cap casualty in Tennessee will be wideout Derrick Mason. The Jets could probably get him for a reasonable price if they so desire . . .

The always candid Pete Kendall is of the belief that Chad Pennington's shoulder injury had a big impact on the offense.

"I think the biggest thing is just going to be getting Chad some rest and whatever else needs to be done," said Kendall. "I know that when he is healthy, when you look at where we were early in the season, we were quite a bit more explosive when he was feeling better. I think that just rest and whatever else has to be happen with Chad, I think that is going to be the biggest improvement." . . .

One player who is going to be playing elsewhere next year is linebacker Jason Glenn. Don't be shocked if he winds up with the Minnesota Vikings next year, rejoining coordinator Ted Cottrell. Another player who could end up with the Vikings is linebacker Sam Cowart, a likely cap casualty. Jets GM Terry Bradway said linebacker depth is a need this off-season. So it stands to reason he feels Glenn and Cowart, two key backups, will be playing elsewhere next year.

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