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Wayne Hunter to Return in 2012?

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FLORHAM PARK, NJ - AUGUST 07:  Wayne Hunter #78 of the New York Jets walks off the field after practice at NY Jets Practice Facility on August 7, 2011 in Florham Park, New Jersey.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
FLORHAM PARK, NJ - AUGUST 07: Wayne Hunter #78 of the New York Jets walks off the field after practice at NY Jets Practice Facility on August 7, 2011 in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
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The Jets apparently had until today to cut Wayne Hunter to prevent his 2012 salary from being guaranteed. They failed to do so, meaning they will pay their 2011 starting right tackle whether he is on the roster or not.



In other contract news, the Jets apparently have decided to keep RT Wayne Hunter, whose $2.45 million salary for '12 became guaranteed on Wednesday, a source confirmed. This is a head scratcher.

Calling it a head scratcher would be an understatement. We have been over why Hunter should not return plenty. I suppose the Jets still might cut him, but that certainly would not fit Woody Johnson's recent (let's be nice and call it) frugal nature. The Jets held an entire press conference the day after the season ended with no other purpose than for Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan to lie blatantly to the media about Brian Schottenheimer returning hoping the Jaguars would hire him and save Gang Green a few bucks. The Jets also might make Hunter a backup again, but he would be one expensive backup. The money allocated to him could better go to more productive players. Yes, the Jets might lose him if they cut him and tried to re-sign him for cheap, but he is not the only backup tackle available. He certainly is not good enough to take extraordinary steps to keep.

Maybe the Jets worked out some sort of paycut that we will find out about in the hours and day ahead. Short of that, I am stumped for an explanation on this one.