Is Vilma on the trading block?

Are the Jets considering a trade of star linebacker Jon Vilma?

Last week, the Washington Times speculated about a trade involving Vilma and Redskins running back Ladell Betts. According to the report, the teams would also swat first round picks in the rumored trade. The Redskins pick sixth, and the Jets select 25th overall.

The Bergen Record asked Vilma if he knew anything about the rumor.

"First time I'm hearing about it," Vilma replied.

JC asked a high-ranking Jets official if there was any truth to this rumor.

"No truth to it," said the official.

So where did the Washington Times get their information? Here is the theory of one source close to the Jets.

"To me it sounds like a Vinny Cerrato (Redskins GM) contrivance: Redskins call Jets, ask about Vilma, then leak that they're talking about a trade for Vilma," said the source.

And if there was anything to these rumors, they are officially dead now that the Redskins signed free agent middle linebacker London Fletcher, who plays the same position as Vilma.

While it's true Vilma didn't have a great season last year, his mediocre play wasn't his fault. In the team's 3-4 system, it's the job of the defensive line to protect the linebackers from opposing offensive linemen. This allows the linebackers to flow to the ball and make plays. The Jets front three did a poor job of this, and Vilma often wasn't free to make plays.

So now it's up to Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum to get the right 3-4 linemen to allow his standout linebacker to be a star again. Nebraska defensive lineman Adam Carriker will get serious consideration at 25.

Expect the Jets to pick perhaps two defensive linemen with their first three picks.

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