By Tyson Rauch
As tough as Jets wide receiver Laveranues Coles is on the field, he is ten times more ferocious when it comes to dealing with his contract. Coles, a 3rd round pick by the Jets in the 2000 NFL draft, first caused a stir with Gang Green in 2002 after his first ‘big’ season. Laveranues caught 89 passes for over 1,200 yards and felt like he was one of the best receivers in the NFL, therefore wanted to be compensated like one. At the time Mr. Coles was a restricted free agent and signed an offer sheet with the Washington Redskins that Jets were unable to match.
In his first year with the Redskins Laveranues had a Pro- Bowl year catching 82 passes for over 1,200 yards with 6 touchdowns. In year two with the Redskins, Coles caught 90 passes for only 950 yards and 1 touchdown, which dampened his spirits. Laveranues felt like the Washington offense was not conducive for his skills and the rumblings started about his desire to be traded.
The New York Jets, in an effort to reunite Coles with quarterback Chad Pennington traded for Coles in 2005, restructuring his contract adding more money. This was a perfect scenario for Laveranues as Pennington was one of his closest friends and the Jets passing attack was built around him.
Fast forward to 2008, Coles had two years remaining on his contract for approximately 11 million dollars. Laveranues approached Gang Green about a contract extension but the Jets were not interested. Coles then began to skip offseason programs, which put the Jets in a precarious situation. Laveranues was one of the leaders on offense, even voted captain by his teammates, and the Jets could not afford a distraction as they rebuilt their team. Finally Gang Green’s front office in an unprecedented move caved in and guaranteed Coles $11 million dollars over the last 2 years of his contract.
Well now Laveranues is in the last year of his guaranteed deal, and based on past actions, it is only a matter of time before he starts to complain about his contract situation. Lets keep in mind that over the past 2 years Coles has 125 catches for 1496 yards and 13 touchdowns. In addition Laveranues has battled issues with his legs along with a history of concussions. So the question is when will Coles start to chirp to the media about his contract? Will he hold out if the Jets do not extend him? Will he push the issue to force the Jets to trade him? And is this a distraction Gang Green even needs with a new coaching staff being put into place?