Jets cut loose Barlow after only one year in NY

Updated: February 21, 2007, 9:26 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Six-year veteran Kevan Barlow, who failed to fill the New York Jets' need for a top-flight tailback in his only season with the franchise, was released Wednesday after a disappointing 2006 campaign in which he plummeted to the No. 3 spot on the depth chart.

Running Back
New York Jets

Profile
2006 SEASON STATISTICS
Rush Yds TD Rec Yds TD
131 370 6 7 21 0

The Jets also released veteran center Trey Teague, who was signed as an unrestricted free agent last spring but broke his ankle in offseason conditioning drills and failed to appear in a single game.

New York acquired Barlow from the San Francisco 49ers in late August, in exchange for a fourth-round draft choice, after it became obvious that longtime Jets star Curtis Martin might not be available for the start of the season. At the time of the trade, Barlow was projected as the man who would take up the bulk of the running workload in Martin's absence.

But instead of assuming the No. 1 tailback spot, Barlow struggled through inconsistencies and a lack of production.

The former 49ers' starter finished with 370 yards and six touchdowns on 131 carries, and started in just three of his dozen appearances in 2006. He ranked as only the No. 3 rusher on the Jets' roster, behind less experienced tailbacks Leon Washington (650 yards) and Cedric Houston (374 yards).

Although the Jets like both younger backs, they may attempt to upgrade the position in the offseason, either through the draft or free agency. Barlow, however, will not be part of the remedy. The former University of Pittsburgh star had two seasons remaining on his current contract, at base salaries of $3.25 million for 2007 and $4 million for 2008.

The Jets decided that those salaries were prohibitive for a player who did not figure to win the starting job.

Barlow, 28, has carried 1,022 times for 3,984 yards and 30 touchdowns in his career, and has appeared in 84 games, with 33 starts. His best season was in 2003, when he rushed for 1,024 yards and six touchdowns for the 49ers.

Teague, 32, was signed to help stabilize the New York offensive line last spring and to help groom first-round draft choice Nick Mangold's eventual move into the starting role. But the broken leg kept him off the field and Mangold quickly established himself as one of the NFL's top rookies.

A nine-year veteran, Teague has appeared in 94 games, and started in 80 of them. Before signing a two-year contract with the Jets, he played for Denver (1998-2001) and Buffalo (2002-2005). He had one year left on his contract, at a base salary of $720,000.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.