A heaping helping of Jet FA Whispers

The Jets are still interested in Bronco defensive tackle Monsanto Pope.

He has to be considered an enigma. After starting in 2004 and looking like a seventh-round steal, he was inactive for most games last year. Remember, the Broncos acquired four defensive linemen from the Cleveland Browns last off-season, and this led to Pope's demotion. He wants a chance to get on the field again, and the Jets might afford him his best opportunity. Pope is a good fit for the Jets' 3-4, having played in the system under former Jets coach Al Groh at Virginia. The 6-3, 300-pound Pope has a nice combination of size, strength and quickness. One rap on him has been that his motor is inconsistent . . .

Some people might wonder what the Jets are doing signing 35-year-old defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen. After all, he just finished his 13th year in the league, and some wonder how much he has left. But based on how he played last year for the Super Bowl champion Steelers, he's clearly not done. He is an ideal 3-4 defensive end, and since the Jets are incorporating that front, he will certainly come in handy this year. The job of the 3-4 end can be thankless at times, but von Oelhoffen doesn't mind doing the dirty work, and is very good at it. On many plays, 3-4 defensive ends are very much like offensive linemen. It's their job to keep the linebackers clean, so they can make plays. Von Oelhoffen is very good at this.

And on top of him being an excellent fit for the Jets' new 3-4 scheme, he will be very good for new coach Eric Mangini in the locker room. He's considered an excellent clubhouse presence . . .

While the Jets are clearly going to use the 3-4 scheme next season, the 4-3 won't go away entirely.

"What we're going to try to do is try to do whatever gives us the best chance to win each week," said Mangini. "So, some weeks it may be a 3-4, other weeks it may be the 4-3. There are a lot of different fronts we have. And how those are going to play out, it's going to be whatever gives us the best chance to win that Sunday."

With the Jets installing the 3-4, they will need to add more linebackers, so you can't entirely rule out the Jets using the fourth pick in the draft to pick Ohio State's A.J. Hawk, who recently ran an eye-popping 4.37 forty at Buckeyes Pro Day. That forty time is considered fantastic for a 240-pound linebacker . . .

While Denver and Atlanta are mentioned the most in the John Abraham Sweepstakes, don't rule out the Seattle Seahawks, especially if they don't match the offer sheet given to their transition player, guard Steve Hutchinson, by Minnesota. If the Seahawks decide not to match the $7 million a year contract given to Hutchinson, which is very high for a guard, they can use that money to pay Abraham. The Seahawks are in dire need of a dominant pass rusher to help take their defense to the next level, and Abraham is just the guy. Since coach Mike Holmgren is hinting at retirement after this year, they want to go for broke in 2006, so they might be willing to send a #1 and #3 to the Jets for the talented pass rusher . . .

The Redskins aren't happy with the Jets' proposal of a seventh-round pick for quarterback Patrick Ramsey, and are looking for better offers around the league. They want at least a fourth-round selection for Ramsey. If the Jets can't get Ramsey, former Dolphin Gus Frerotte wouldn't be a bad Chad Pennington insurance policy. But the odds favor the Jets and Redskins getting a deal done.

However, don't assume just because the Jets acquire Ramsey or Frerotte they will beat out Brooks Bollinger for the #2 job. According to Mangini, there will be an even playing field at Hofstra this summer.

"I think Brooks is a tough player, and I'm excited to work with him," said Mangini. "He's another guy that is in the mix, and we're going to play the best players. I think that everybody is in the competition for every starting job. Everybody is in the competition to make the roster. That's how we view it philosophically."

And Mangini truly subscribes to that theory, unlike the previous Jets regime . . .

Tennessee Titans free-agent left tackle Brad Hopkins has four teams on his list – the Jets, Titans, Falcons and Buccaneers. There is a good chance he will re-sign with the Titans, but the Falcons also have a good shot . . .

The Jets made an offer to free-agent returner Antonio Chapman, formerly of the Green Bay Packers, but his agent thought it was too low. The Jets are attempting to sign Chapman or former Patriot Tim Dwight to be their punt returner . . .

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