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“Every player that approaches the last year of their contract and enters the screen door of free agency knows there’s always the possibility [of leaving],” Pouha said, “but in my mind I always wanted to be with the Jets, remain with the Jets.”

A slew of veterans have taken the opposite route after being released by their teams. Indianapolis’ housecleaning went far beyond Manning, with RB Joseph Addai, TE Dallas Clark, LB Gary Brackett, QB Curtis Painter and safety Melvin Bullitt cut last week.

Minneapolis went down the same path, cutting guards Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera and cornerback Cedric Griffin.