Jason Taylor has been the epitome of what New York Jets fans have despised and cheered against during his 13-year career in the NFL.
Now, the veteran linebacker will don a green jersey and move up north, as Taylor and the Jets agreed on a deal that will send the former Dolphin to the Big Apple.
The two parties agreed to a two-year contract, as Taylor looks to implement himself into a defense that was tops in the NFL in 2009.
“Clearly, this is one of the premier players in the game, one of the premier pass-rushers in the game,” remarked coach Rex Ryan by way of a conference call. “We expect Jason to play a bunch and be a major contributor to our defense.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the two sides agreed on a deal that will pay Taylor $3.75 million the first season of the two-year deal, with his base salary situated a $1.75 million.
Taylor acknowledged his relationship with Jet fans over his years, but expects it to be a fun atmosphere upon his arrival and first game in a Jet uniform.
“Do I expect them to hate me some? Sure,” Taylor remarked. “We’ve had a long history of going back and forth. We lost a lot of games to those guys for a few years. That wasn’t fun. I was a big boy, and I always came back and added more fuel to it. It’s a rivalry. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
Taylor’s new Jet teammates are excited about the edition of a top player.
“I think he will be a great addition to the team with his athleticism, experience, and wisdom,” said nose tackle Kris Jenkins to The Associated Press by way of an email. “We have had time to get past the fishy smell of his past, but now he will be enveloped with the fragrant smell of Jet fuel! Go Jets!”
Thursday it was reported that the Dolphins made an attempt to try and keep Taylor as a member of the team. Miami put out an offer of an $850,000 raise to a $2 million base salary.
Taylor has spent 12 of his 13 NFL seasons with Miami, with the lone exception being the Washington Redskins.
The veteran linebacker denied the fact that as offer was extended to him by Miami, and that he therefore pursued other opportunities. Taylor stated that a meeting was scheduled, but then canceled by head coach Tony Sparano.
“If I was important enough that you wanted me in November, why wouldn’t you want me now?” Taylor remarked. “If I was good enough then, I just don’t understand why I wasn’t good enough now. But that’s their prerogative. They’re allowed to make that decision. There is a business side to football, and if they feel that it’s better for their team to not have me, that’s fine. I have no problem with that. That’s part of the game. Just let me know.”
Online Sportsbooks have installed the Jets as a contender to win Super Bowl XLV, and the addition of Taylor should boost the No.1 defense.