The New York Jets exchanged contract proposals last night with wide receiver Tai Streets, a restricted free agent from the San Francisco 49ers. If the Jets sign Streets to an offer sheet, it would be a strong signal that they don't intend to match the Washington Redskins' five-year, $35 million offer sheet to restricted free agent wideout Laveranues Coles.
The Redskins, meantime, have resumed discussions with Raghib Ismail's representative and are awaiting a final decision by the wide receiver, an unrestricted free agent, about whether he intends to play next season.
In addition, club officials have decided against trying to sign free agent Jermaine Lewis to serve as their kick returner.
Jets owner Woody Johnson, General Manager Terry Bradway, assistant GM Mike Tannenbaum and Coach Herman Edwards are scheduled to meet today and could make a final decision on Coles. The Jets have until 4 p.m. Wednesday to decide whether to keep Coles by matching the Redskins' offer, which includes a $13 million signing bonus. The Jets would receive the Redskins' first-round draft choice in April as compensation if they let Coles go.
The Jets, New England Patriots and Detroit Lions were negotiating with agent Ralph Cindrich yesterday about Streets. The 49ers seem willing to accept less than the first-round draft selection they technically would be owed as compensation for Streets. The Jets met with Curtis Conway yesterday and are scheduled to host Antonio Freeman today. Both veteran wideouts are unrestricted free agents who would require no draft-pick compensation. The Jets apparently are exploring a possible trade with the Cleveland Browns for wide receiver Kevin Johnson.
Redskins officials spoke Sunday night to agent Lon Babby regarding Ismail. The Redskins apparently are willing to sign Ismail if he wants to play next season, but Ismail still was weighing his options yesterday. The Redskins pursued him early in the free agent signing period, just after he was released by the Dallas Cowboys. He told the Redskins he planned to retire, then informed the club he was reconsidering. The Redskins also have been negotiating with Kevin Dyson, another unrestricted free agent, to serve as their third receiver.
The Redskins had been studying the possibility of signing Lewis, the former Eleanor Roosevelt High and University of Maryland standout who was released by the Houston Texans. Sources said yesterday, however, that the Redskins don't believe Lewis still is productive enough to warrant signing him and will look at other possibilities.