Jets up their offer to Leon Washington

The New York Jets gradually are putting more money on the table for running back Leon Washington.

The tailback is entering the final season of a four-year rookie deal, and he’s due to earn a base salary of $535,000 in 2009.  Absent a new CBA, he’ll be a restricted free agent only in 2010.

So his leverage is limited, and yet he wants a deal with an average value of $6 million per year.

Per Rich Cimini of the New York Daily News, the Jets have upped their offer from a package that would have averaged $2 million per year to a contract with an average annual value of $4.5 million.

The problem with going above $5 million, as Cimini explains it, is that such a package would place Washington ahead of Thomas Jones, who already wants more money.

Cimini also reports that the Jets are not shopping Jones (contrary to a recent report on NFP). 

Our guess, however, is that the Jets would move Jones for the right price, and that they don’t want Jones and agent Drew Rosenhaus to think that the player might be close to getting a new deal, from a new team.