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End could be near for Curtis Martin
With two revealing moves in a five-day span, the Jets provided further evidence that Curtis Martin never may play for them again.
The trade for Kevan Barlow, which became official yesterday when the former 49ers running back passed the Jets' physical, speaks volumes because they agreed to take on a relatively large contract. Barlow, who has three years remaining on his deal, is due to make $2.5 million this season - not the kind of money that usually goes to a part-time player/insurance policy.
As a precursor to the trade, the Jets quietly renegotiated Martin's contract to cover themselves in the event that he doesn't play this season because of his knee injury, the Daily News has learned.
Martin was scheduled to earn $2.5 million in base salary, but he signed a "split" contract last Wednesday that reduces his 2006 salary to $810,000, the veteran's minimum. If he's placed on season-ending injured reserve, which seems more likely with each passing day, his salary would drop to $475,000.
One person familiar with the reworked contract described it as a good-faith gesture by the Jets, surmising that it were a player of lesser stature, the club probably would cut him without having to pay anything. Because it's Martin, they're giving him every chance to make a miraculous comeback.
If the Jets release Martin, the fallout would be ugly from a public relations standpoint. So, in essence, they're extending a $475,000 golden parachute - if he doesn't play.
Fire It Up, Let the engines roll, It's time to burn it down
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