In the summer of 2009, the big question surrounding the Jets' preseason was Leon Washington. He was threatening to hold out, as he was unhappy with his contract.
The Jets front office promised him that they would "take care of him" in the offseason. Washington decided to play without holding out.
For six weeks, Washington's decision to wait until the Jets "took care of him" in the offseason was looking like a good decision. He and Thomas Jones were the best one-two running back punch in football, with Washington busting huge plays all over the field.
In Week Seven, Washington suffered a freak injury in a blowout win at Oakland. It was diagnosed as a broken fibula, and Washington was out for the year.
To make matters worse for Washington, Shonn Greene emerged as a viable option and closely approximated the role Washington played for the Jets. He took on tacklers, evaded defenders, and even broke big plays that were reminiscent of the ones Washington used to break.
The Jets never did take care of Washington.
He was shipped off to Seattle where he will now be playing for his NFL life rather than enjoying a lucrative deal.
This summer, three superstar Jets are unhappy with their contracts: ILB David Harris, CB Darrelle Revis, and C Nick Mangold. And while it seemed like the Jets benefited from jettisoning Washington, they are now faced with this current situation.
Revis, Mangold, and Harris simply won't believe ownership and the front office when they say, "We'll take care of you." They had a front row seat to the way Washington was treated.
So while the Jets benefited from not paying Washington before the season, they have to be left wondering, was it worth it? They will now need to take care of this current situation before the season starts. They cannot risk a holdout from any of these players.
The Jets are looking to establish themselves as one of the NFL's elite teams and cannot do it without these three men. And for the Jets' brass, "We'll take care of you." just won't cut it.