Australian rugby league star turned NFL running back, Jarryd Hayne, has signed a $2 million, two-year contract with the New York Jets.
At a press conference this morning to announce the deal, Jets GM Jon Powles said “We would like to welcome Jarryd aboard the Jets organisation. Jarryd is a fantastic athlete, and we think he’ll bring something just a bit different to our ground attack”.
Hayne was signed direct from the Australian NRL last year by former 49ers coach Jim Tomsula. The move proved divisive among the fans, with many 49ers loyalists regarding Hayne’s move to the American game as no more than a publicity stunt. Powles was quick to dismiss suggestions that the same problems would follow Hayne to New York. “Folks like it happy and sunny over there in California. Anyone who has been part of the Jets organisation knows that true Jets fans are never happy unless they have something to complain about. And we’ve given them that with this deal.”
In his rookie year with the 49ers, Hayne had three carries for -3 yards all season. But Powles countered suggestions that this was a cause for concern. “As GM you have to look at a much bigger statistical picture than simply yards and carries. Look at Adrian Peterson. He carried 367 times last season for 1658 yards, at 4.52 ypc. Nice stats. But he also shifted $4.2 million worth of individually personalized Vikings merchandise – mainly horned helmets, with a Merchandising-Revenue-Per-Carry of $11,400. That’s impressive.
Now, the Jet’s star RB last year was … anyone? That’s right, Bilal Powell, and nobody’s heard of him. The guy posted 1229 yards in 254 carries last year. He’s one of the most elusive and hardest-to-tackle runners in the NFL. But his MRPC was about a hundred backs and change. And almost all of that was from the sale of a few hundred ‘BP – Mr Slick!’ T-shirts in the gulf states. And we’re not even quite sure why he was so popular there. Jarryd will turn that around for us – his MRPC at the 49ers was about $800,000. Just think what he can do when he breaks into double figures!”
Although Hayne’s future looks jet-set, rumors have also surfaced this week that he was in negotiations to play in the Olympic Rugby Sevens tournament, representing Fiji. But Powles scoffed at this suggestion. “Jarryd is a Jet. That’s certain. Give up a rugby league career worth millions, break into the NFL, then after one season go and play for a bunch of Pacific Island amateurs? That might happen in some fantasy world, but it would never happen in real life.”