NEW YORK (AP) _ Pro Bowl linebacker Mo Lewis will remain a New York Jet for at least one more year.
Lewis, a starter since being drafted in the third round in 1991 and a two-time Pro Bowl player, signed a one-year tender offer of $4.187 million. He had been designated the team’s franchise player and signed the tender for next season while both sides work on a longer agreement.
The Jets freed up the salary cap room in April when they traded star receiver Keyshawn Johnson to Tampa Bay for two first-round picks.
A source close to the negotiations said Lewis expects to sign a contract that will enable him to finish his career with the Jets. That might take several months, but Lewis plans to be at the team’s minicamp this month and at the beginning of training camp in July.
``Today is as significant as draft day, because today the status of a proved Pro Bowl level performer has been solidified on our team,″ Jets coach Al Groh said.
Lewis finished third on the team in tackles with 89, led the Jets with 5 1/2 sacks and had four forced fumbles. He has played all three linebacker positions and is considered the team’s best defensive player.
Lewis has the longest tenure of any active player with the Jets.