General Manager's News Conference

Transcript of general manager Mike Tannenbaum's informal news conference with the Jets media before Thursday's afternoon minicamp practice:      

On if the Chris Baker situation will turn out like Pete Kendall's …

Chris is under contract. We expect him to be here this season. As in the past, we expect him to play well and help us during the 2008 season.

On if there is any solution to the Baker situation other than holding firm …

He's under contract. Obviously, I've been made aware of what he said, but he's under contract for the season and we expect him to be here.

On Baker saying he was promised his contract would be revisited …

I'm assuming you're referring to his former agent, Cliff Brady. I had a number of conversations with Cliff last year and I'm comfortable with those conversations we had and I think Chris and I just have a difference of opinion about those conversations last year with Cliff.

On the difference of opinions ...

I would just say based on my understandings of what Chris said this morning and the conversations I've had with Chris' agent last year, Cliff Brady, I was part of those conversations; I know what was said, so I think Chris and I have a difference of opinion about those conversations.

On what he said to Baker last year …

I would like to keep those conversations private and I would just say that Chris and I have a difference of opinion of what Cliff and I discussed.

On if this situation is risky based on how the Kendall situation worked out …

I think Chris could do a lot of good things for us. He can help us. He had a good year last year. I'm really excited about the tight end position with him and Bubba [Franks], Dustin Keller and Jason Pociask. You look at Coach [Brian] Schottenheimer's offense, you need a lot of tight ends. So we expect Chris to be here and we expect Chris to help us this year like he has in the past. I'm glad he's on our team. That's why, when he went to free agency and visited three other teams, I was glad we were able to sign him to a four-year contract.

On if Baker's new agents, Jonathan Feinsod and Neil Schwartz, have proposed solutions …

I speak to those guys often. I'm really comfortable with our communication. They represent a number of guys on our team, not just Chris. I've had a lot of conversations with both Neil and Jonathan.

On if redoing Baker's deal would ever be considered …

I think you know me well enough by now that I don't like to try to talk about these things publicly. I would just say that we always deal with every situation on a case-by-case basis, but he's under contract for this year and I'll just leave it at that.

On if it is a concern that a few players have said the Jets would revisit their contracts …

I've been fortunate enough to do this since 1997. I'm really comfortable with my track record, my reputation in the agent community, looking at grievances and holdouts over a long period of time. Right now we have 85 players here. I think 84 feel reasonably satisfied where they are with their contracts.

Obviously these issues come up league-wide, be it Brian Urlacher or Jeff Garcia right now. You always try to deal with these issues on a case-by-case basis, but as far as the team and our reputation, I think it speaks for itself over a long period of time with a number of players, a number of agents.

On Baker saying the Kendall situation helped "tank" last season …

Every year is so unique. You win as a team and you lose as a team. There were a lot of reasons we won 10 games the year before that and a lot of reasons we only won four games in 2007. With that, there are so many things for us to be excited about this year in terms of what's happened in the off-season, and minicamp's just the next building block.

We'll deal with Chris's situation, but there are so many other things, between Alan Faneca, Bubba Franks, Jesse Chatman and Tony Richardson, and the draft we had, there's a lot of things we feel like we're building on in the off-season heading into the 2008 season.

On if it bothers him that Baker's situation could overshadow the good things done in the off-season …

It kind of comes with the territory of dealing with these issues in the NFL. Again, do you like when they happen? No. It's part of the process and we see it happen around the league. My view of the world is, communication is the best way to try to proactively deal with these issues as best you can. My door is open, I talk to the players all the time, I'm always on the phone with agents, and I think when you sit in this seat that is a large part of the job as well as getting to speak to you fine folks on a regular basis (smiles).

I think communication is the best way to deal with it. Is everyone going to be perfectly happy every year? No. But you try to make as many people as reasonably satisfied as you can. We're fortunate to have an owner in Woody Johnson who has given us tremendous resources that manifests itself not only in spending on players but in the Atlantic Health Training Facility that is going to be opening soon, the state-of-the-art facility we'll have to be able to go in every day.

On what the criteria is for renegotiating contracts with players …

I think the nuances and the complexities with the salary cap dictate how we're going to handle each situation. We try to be as consistent as possible, but we do look at each situation on a case-by-case basis.

On his reaction to Baker's assertion of being the third-highest-paid TE on the team …

Again, I think the complexities of the salary cap make all of these judgments very subjective. And I'm not saying we're right and he's wrong or he's right and we're wrong. Just that the salary cap is very complicated, it's subjective and I would not want to get into the details publicly. Again, I'm happy he's here. He signed a four-year contract. He'll be here this year. I'm glad he's on our team.

On what Scott Cohen brings to the table as the Jets' new assistant GM …

I'm glad you brought that up. We're going to have a full announcement here over the next few days once I sit down with Bruce [Speight, public relations director]. We're just trying to formalize a couple pieces to the puzzle.

Scott's going to bring a lot of great attributes to the organization. I think he's going to make a good department even better with Joey [Clinkscales] still spearheading the draft, and Terry [Bradway] is going to be really concentrating on the road now. We have Brendan [Prophet] and JoJo Wooden working with Scott to focus primarily on the pro personnel department. So I think it's an opportunity where we brought Scott in to make a good department better and I'm glad he's here.

On whether he's concerned about Baker's situation being a distraction to the team …

Obviously, our guys are certainly entitled to their own opinions. Again, I think the best thing we can do, Eric and I, is have good communication and talk to the players. In my case, talk to the agents and try to deal with these issues as proactively as possible. Obviously, in Chris' situation we'll continue to have dialogue, I'm sure with his agents, I'm sure pretty regularly.

On whether he has personally been able to talk to Baker to find out where the miscommunication lies …

We had an extensive conversation a couple of months ago. He came into my office. We talked for quite a while. Then I had a brief conversation with him last night and shook his hand. Beyond that, typically those discussions happen with their agents.

On whether first-rounder Vernon Gholston's contract has been discussed …

Yes, we've had a little discussion. I don't think things are really going to heat up there anytime soon. Eric's always looking for consistency so I think sometime in mid-August we'll get that keyed up [smiles].

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