Six-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Jason Taylor is visiting the Jets today, according to his agent Gary Wichard, who revealed during a spot on the Joe Rose Show on a Miami radio station this morning that the 13-year pro will be stopping by Florham Park.
The 6-6, 255-pound Taylor, who had seven sacks and 42 tackles with the Dolphins last year, is an unrestricted free agent. Per NFL rules, the Jets can sign an unrestricted free agent to fill the financial void left by unrestricted free agent kicker Jay Feely, who inked a deal with the Cardinals last week.
According to Wichard, Rex Ryan called him to let him know that the Jets wanted to sign the veteran outside linebacker. The Jets, of course, are in the market for an edge pass rusher to complement Calvin Pace, who had a team-high eight sacks last year. (The Jets only had 32 sacks.). Taylor has 127 1/2 career sacks, most among active players.
Conventional wisdom is that Ryan will address that need in the upcoming NFL draft. But it appears that the team is putting a full-court press on Taylor that includes a tour of the new Meadowlands Stadium. Taylor has also drawn interest from the Dolphins and Patriots.
The obvious concern surrounding Taylor is how much he has left in the tank. He’s 35 – and will turn 36 by the start of the 2010 season – and has already contemplated retirement in the past couple years. Taylor, the 2006 Defensive Player of the Year, signed a one-year deal with the Dolphins last season after the Redskins released him.
Taylor, of course, has never hidden his dislike for the Jets and their fans. Asked earlier this offseason about whether he could see himself with the Dolphins’ AFC East rivals, Taylor admitted “it’d be very, very, very difficult. Very difficult.”
“But at the end of the day,” Taylor told reporters, “if you can’t find a job anywhere else and the Jets call, I guess you’ve got to retire or go play.”
“The Jets are the Jets,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of history saying bad things about Jets fans. The fireman hat guy [Fireman Ed], and all of the people in New York that are Jets fans are not the ones that are working on Wall Street. I’ve said all of those things. So I’ve got to leave it at that.”
The Jets have been doing their due diligence by bringing in serious draft prospects to Florham Park for a visit. (NFL teams can bring in as many as 30 non-local prospects). The Jets have taken a look at — or will take a look at this week — cornerbacks Kareem Jackson (Alabama) and Devin McCourty (Rutgers), running back Montario Hardesty (Tennessee), offensive lineman Anthony Davis (Rutgers) and outside linebacker Ricky Sapp (Clemson), according to three people familiar with the situation. The people requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on the players’ or team’s behalf.