TODAY'S PAPER
Good Evening
Good Evening
SportsFootballJets

Dustin Keller would like to sign extension with Jets

Jets tight end Dustin Keller talks to the

Jets tight end Dustin Keller talks to the media after the team's offseason workout at their practice facility in Florham Park, N.J. (May 10, 2012) Credit: Joe Epstein

Dustin Keller has no intentions of holding out. Instead, the Jets tight end is holding out hope he'll get the contract extension he wants and believes he deserves.

Keller is heading into the final year of his rookie contract, but talks between him and the organization haven't gone anywhere, he said Monday.

"I don't know where they stand right now," Keller said before a charity event he hosted at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. "Obviously, I'd like to get something done. That was my goal, definitely, over the offseason. I don't think too much has been done so far. Really haven't gotten too far. But we'll see what happens. Definitely I'd like to be a Jet for a long time, so hopefully we can work something out."

Keller, who is entering his fifth NFL season, led the Jets in receptions (65) and receiving yards (815) last season and is the only target who has played with Mark Sanchez for the quarterback's entire three-year career.

Although the Jets have yet to discuss new figures with Keller, who is set to make about $3 million this season, the New England Patriots locked up their standout tight end last week, signing Rob Gronkowski to a six-year, $54-million extension.

"I'm happy for him," Keller said. "He had two years left on his contract and he was able to get a really nice deal done -- well above what the market, before that, was for tight ends. I'm really happy for him. He's earned it for sure."

Keller, however, wouldn't say if he'll use Gronkowski's deal as negotiating leverage. "I don't know if I want to go into that," he said.

But unlike star cornerback Darrelle Revis, who hasn't committed to attending training camp, Keller made it clear he'll honor his contract.

"It's a little frustrating," he said of not having long-term security. "I know that's part of the game. I still have a year left on my contract, and regardless of what happens, I'm going to play out that contract. Obviously, the ideal situation would be for me to get an extension."

The Jets could let Keller's contract expire and apply the franchise tag to him in 2013, which would allow him to earn slightly less than $5.5 million. But franchise tags are an unfavorable alternative for players.

"No," said Keller, shaking his head when asked if players like being franchised. "Not at all."

But even though "no offer's been put out there or anything," the tight end still is hopeful he'll get an extension.

"I'd like to be one of those core guys, the guys that they consider the group that's going to help them win and be part of that," he said, referencing teammates D'Brickashaw Ferguson, David Harris and Nick Mangold, who received recent contract extensions.

"And I feel I am. But still, you want to get that contract done. That pretty much makes it official . . . You always want to have long-term security. But whatever happens happens. I'd like to be that guy and we'll see how that plays out."

Keller believes his leadership on the field and in the locker room and his close relationship with Sanchez bolster his case for a new deal.

"His weapons are always changing, and I think that makes it tough on him," he said of his starting quarterback. "Having new receivers and these new guys he's throwing to constantly. You want to have a constant, somebody that's been there and done that and you know how to go through it all together."

Keller made it clear his goal is to be a Jet for a long time.

"I'll do whatever I have to to do that," he said. "I just hope it works out."

New York Sports