Shortly after moving up to draft USC running back Joe McKnight, the Jets traded RB/KR Leon Washington and their seventh-round pick (No. 236 overall) to Seattle in exchange for the Seahawks' fifth-round pick, (No. 139), which the Jets then used to select Kentucky fullback John Conner.
General manager Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Rex Ryan at their draft wrapup news conference that just concluded, confirmed the reports of the Washington trade and the rumors that Faneca would be released. We'll have comments from Tannenbaum and Ryan on newyorkjets.comshortly.
The transactions complete a dramatic transformation of the Jets' running attack, which ranked No. 1 in the NFL in 2009.
Washington, who will be joining former Jets head coach Pete Carroll in the Pacific Northwest, was a restricted free agent who waited to sign his tender until last week. A fourth-round pick out of Florida State in 2006, Washington is working to get back to 100 percent after suffering a compound fracture of his tibia and fibia during the Week 7 win over the Raiders last October.
The 5'8", 185-pound Washington rushed for 1,782 yards in his four seasons in green and white, averaging 4.8 yards a carry. He also hauled in 123 passes, including a 47-catch campaign in 2008 when his 2,332 combined yards paced the NFL and established a Jets single-season record.
He was also a valuable special teams performer for Mike Westhoff, earning a Pro Bowl invitation in '08 as the AFC's kick returner after posting a 25.6-yard kickoff-return average. His four kickoff-return touchdowns — three in 2007 — are a franchise record. He made waves immediately as a rookie under Mangini, starting eight games and leading the club in rushing with 650 yards.
The transformation of the RBs began when Thomas Jones, who rushed for a career-high 1,402 yards and a franchise-record 14 TDs, was released before the start of free agency and inked a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Already high on the explosive Shonn Greene, who stepped up in the postseason in rushing for 304 yards and averaging 5.6 yards a clip, the Green & White added the NFL's eighth-leading rusher in LaDainian Tomlinson. Not only an accomplished runner, Tomlinson is a tremendous receiver out of the backfield and has averaged 59 catches in his nine seasons.
And then once the Jets got another weapon in McKnight, they parted ways with Washington.