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Jets part ways with Laveranues Coles

Jets wide receiver Laveranues Coles

Laveranues Coles ranks fourth on the Jets' all-time receptions list. (Newsday / David L. Pokress)

Laveranues Coles is taking an expensive gamble that he'll get the long-term contract elsewhere that he couldn't get from the Jets.

The team restructured Coles' deal late yesterday afternoon, a move that simultaneously enabled the receiver to secure the longer contract he was seeking and saved the Jets $6 million off their salary cap.

"I have had the pleasure of getting to know Laveranues since he has entered the league in 2000," Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said in a statement.

"He is a fierce competitor, a great teammate and a good friend who has always given his best to the New York Jets. I spoke with him today and expressed my appreciation for his contributions both on and off the field. This move will allow Laveranues to explore his options, and we both agreed to keep the lines of communication open."

Coles pined unhappily for an extension last offseason, and a compromise was reached when the Jets guaranteed the final two years of his contract, worth $11 million. That would have meant the Jets were responsible for $6 million this season, regardless of whether Coles was on the roster. But Coles, who again broached the topic of an extension this offseason -- and was rebuffed -- gave up that security in order to become an unrestricted free agent. He'll hit the market at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow along with the rest of the NFL's free agents.

The 31-year-old Coles, whom Bill Parcells drafted in 2000, told the Star Ledger that the parting was amicable. "We didn't leave on bad terms," Coles told the paper. "It's not out of the question that I could come back."

That is unlikely.

The Jets, weak at receiver before the move, were already looking closely at the draft class, and the Bengals' T.J. Houshmandzadeh, the best of the free agents, is now likely on the team's radar if he wasn't already.

Coles, though injury-prone and not the deep threat the Jets needed, still had a productive 2008, with 70 receptions for 850 yards and seven touchdowns.

Related topic galleries: Football, Laveranues Coles

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