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Mark Sanchez Is Willing to Help Jets Lower Payroll to Maintain NFL Roster

Quarterback Mark Sanchez is willing to restructure his contract to give the New York Jets more salary cap room as National Football League teams rebuild their rosters.

Following the end of the 4 1/2-month labor shutdown, the league’s 32 teams are focused on shaping squads for the season that begins Sept. 8.

Sanchez, set to make $14.75 million in base salary this season and another $3 million in bonuses, is looking at giving the Jets room to maneuver under the $120 million salary cap.

“Whatever it takes to win,” Sanchez told reporters yesterday. “It doesn’t matter. We need to win and we’ll get the right players.”

The Jets yesterday extended an offer to free-agent wide receiver Santonio Holmes, according to the Star-Ledger of Newark, New Jersey. Sanchez wants to see Holmes and Braylon Edwards re-signed.

“It was such a luxury to have both of them last year,” Sanchez said. “It’s almost unrealistic to have that kind of a receiving corps again.”

The Seattle Seahawks agreed to deals with quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Leinart after free agent Matt Hasselbeck said he won’t return to the team, ESPN reported.

Burress Back

New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin plans to have a meeting today with free-agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who has been trying to get back on a team since leaving prison in June after serving 20 months for accidentally shooting himself in the leg at a Manhattan nightclub.

“It’s going to be crazy,” Burress told the Star-Ledger, referring to the meeting with Coughlin.

The Giants may release offensive linemen Rich Seubert and Shaun O’Hara, while the Dallas Cowboys may part ways with running back Marion Barber, receiver Roy Williams and Pro Bowl guard Leonard Davis.

Although players can’t officially be cut until tomorrow, ESPN reported that New York plans to release both Seubert and O’Hara, who have spent a combined 16 years on the Giants’ line. The moves would clear salary cap space for the Giants, who are $6.1 million over the NFL’s payroll limit, ESPN said. O’Hara is the team’s player representative.

Cowboys’ Cuts

ESPN, citing a league official it didn’t identify, also said the Cowboys would cut Barber, Williams, Davis and kicker Kris Brown. Releasing Barber and Davis would free $10.75 million in salary cap space this season, ESPN said. The Walt Disney Co. unit cited unidentified people for its information on both the Giants and Cowboys.

“If something happens then I totally understand, no hard feeling or anything like that,” Davis told the Cowboys’ website after reporting to the team’s training facility. “You just don’t ever know until a decision is made.”

The NFL’s teams were permitted yesterday to begin signing drafted and undrafted rookies, negotiating with free agents and making trades.

Former Boston College linebacker and bone cancer survivor Mark Herzlich said he signed a contract with the Giants after going undrafted. Ex-University of Delaware quarterback Pat Devlin reached an agreement with the Miami Dolphins, ESPN said.

Under rules accompanying this week’s agreement on a 10-year contract, players can’t be cut until tomorrow and veteran free agents can’t be signed until the next day. Teams won’t comment on reported deals until at least those deadlines pass.

‘Different Options’

Among the most notable names on the trading block is Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback Kevin Kolb, who has been linked to several teams, including the Arizona Cardinals. Kolb said last week in a national radio interview that he envisioned himself with the Cardinals.

“There’s nothing really I can say about that,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said yesterday during a news conference. “We’re looking at a lot of different options. It’s not something that just happens immediately. There’s a lot of things that you have to go through, and I’m not talking about one specific player.”

One player who probably won’t be traded is Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer, who has said he’d retire rather than return to the Bengals. Team owner Mike Brown said Palmer, whose contract runs through 2014, won’t be dealt and considers him retired.

Carson’s Commitment

“Carson signed a contract, he made a commitment,” Brown said at a news conference. “If he’s going to walk away from his commitment, we’re not going to reward him for doing it.”

While NFL teams can negotiate with free agents, they’re not permitted to start signing them until July 29, when they can also renegotiate contracts within their current roster. Of the NFL’s approximately 1,900 players, 545 are on the free-agent list that was released by the league yesterday.

Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha may be the top player available in this year’s free-agent class. Holmes and Edwards are among the other top free agents, along with Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw and Green Bay Packers defensive end Cullen Jenkins.

“With the NFL and the way that it is, things are going to change, guys are going to move on,” Jets center Nick Mangold said yesterday at the team’s facility in Florham Park, New Jersey. “There are going to be guys leaving, guys coming in and that’s just what everybody deals with.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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