Backup QB Clemens signs restricted tender with Jets

NEW YORK -- Backup quarterback Kellen Clemens, a restricted free agent, has signed his tender with the New York Jets.

Clemens told The Associated Press in an e-mail Tuesday that he signed the tender Monday, giving the Jets four quarterbacks on their roster. The 2006 second-round draft pick had hoped to find a starting opportunity elsewhere during the offseason.

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He has thrown five touchdown passes and 11 interceptions in 24 games, including nine starts.

Clemens has competed for the Jets' starting job the last few years, but his future with the Jets is as a backup behind Mark Sanchez -- if he remains with the team. New York also has Erik Ainge and Kevin O'Connell on its roster.

The Jets are considering signing veteran Mark Brunell as a backup/mentor to Sanchez, which would give them a surplus of quarterbacks and possibly leave Clemens as the odd man out.

Because the Jets used second-round tenders -- higher than their draft position -- on running back Leon Washington and wide receiver Brad Smith, they would have instead received a third-rounder if another team signed Clemens.

Washington and cornerback Drew Coleman have yet to sign their tenders; they have until Thursday to do so.

The 26-year-old Clemens once was considered the future of the franchise after the Jets drafted him out of Oregon with the 49th pick. After making one pass attempt in his rookie season, Clemens took over as the starter for a struggling Chad Pennington midway through the 2007 season with mixed results.

He entered the next offseason planning to compete with Pennington for the job, but the Jets instead traded for Brett Favre and pushed Clemens to the sideline. Clemens appeared to be the front-runner for the starting job after the Jets released Favre last winter, but New York aggressively traded up in the draft to select Sanchez with the fifth overall pick. Sanchez beat Clemens in training camp in what new coach Rex Ryan considered an open competition.

Clemens started one game in place of an injured Sanchez, going 12 for 23 for 111 yards in the Jets' 26-3 win at Tampa Bay in Week 14.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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