With no one interested in signing a running back recovering from a badly-broken leg to an offer sheet, Leon Washington decided to sign his tender offer and return to the Jets.
“It’s great to be back,” Washington said, in comments distributed by the team. “Walking in today, I felt all the love like I’ve felt the past four years.”
Washington said that he waited to sign his contract because he wanted “to find an offer sheet that was better than $1.8 million.” He added that, while rehabbing in Florida, “I was wearing my Jets gear every day and working out in my Jets gear and hoping I would be back here, whether I got a better offer and the Jets matched it or [if I] ended up signing my tender.”
He plans to return to practice at training camp, and he’s currently able to run without making cuts.
As to the long-term deal he didn’t sign in 2009, Washington suggests that accounts regarding the magnitude of the offer weren’t accurate. The New York Daily News reported that the Jets had offered a deal worth $5 million per year, with $10 million in guarantees.
Still, he’s got a tremendous perspective, in light of the fact that his shot at a long-term deal evaporated when the bones in his lower leg snapped against the Raiders. “The best thing I can do now is just go out and play football,” Washington said. “I’m in a perfect situation where I can be with a team that’s making the right steps. When we win, we all win. That’s how I look at it. That’s definitely going to play itself out. I have no control over that. I just need to play football.”
The only problem? He’s now damaged goods, and even if he has a big year in 2010 he’ll be 28 next year at this time, and far less attractive on the open market than he would have been if he were closer to 25 and if his leg had never been broken.