The Pete Kendall saga came to an end Wednesday night. After reaching agreement with the Washington Redskins to trade the veteran offensive lineman in exchange for an undisclosed draft choice, Jets head coach Eric Mangini spoke to Kendall.
"Pete and I had a great conversation last night. I wished him well, and he thanked me," the second-year head coach said at his daily news conference today. "It was a really good, positive conversation. We joked about having a few beverages on Cape Cod when I'm down there. It's a business side to this game, and again, it's not unique to this team or any other team."
Kendall played three seasons with the Green & White after signing with club as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2004. He started 45 games with the Jets and was credited in helping with the development of a pair or talented rookies — LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold — in 2006.
"He, along with Anthony Clement and Brandon Moore, did a great job of leading those guys and helping those guys out," said QB Chad Pennington. "We all know the NFL is about change. There's constant change and anytime you look or read or hear something, there's change going on. This is part of it and I just hope things work out for him, and he can play well and be in a good situation."
The Jets viewed the trade as good for all parties. Kendall voiced his displeasure with his contract status in minicamp and throughout the summer.
"We are happy with the value we got. I can't go into specifics except to say we were pleased with the value we received from Washington," said GM Mike Tannenbaum early Thursday evening.
With Kendall now out of the mix at left guard, the Jets have three people in-house battling for the position. Third-year player Adrien Clarke started the first two preseason games at LG and rookie Jacob Bender has recently received first-team reps at practice. The Jets also like the versatility of Wade Smith, an all-rookie selection for the Dolphins after the 2003 season.
"I'm going to work my hardest and do whatever I can," said Bender, a sixth-round selection from Nicholls State. "Wherever Coach feels he needs to put me, then that's where I'm going to play."
Mangini will continue to use different line combinations at practice in an effort to evaluate his personnel.
"We've played rookies here on the offensive line in the past," he said. "There are a lot of situations where rookies have played and done a really good job, so I don't think that's unique to the Jets. It's not unique to my experiences, and I feel very comfortable with the depth that we have between Adrien, Jacob and Wade."
But the Jets won't rule out adding a player to increase competition either.
"We are also committed to — I've said this before — improving this roster through September 8th," Tannenbaum said. "I think Eric and I have demonstrated a track record of that, be it the waiver wire, trades, trades and signs. We are going to look to improve not only the offensive line but any position we think can help the team between now and September 8th."