Brady suspension upheld, suspended for first four games of season

The NFL upheld their four-game suspension of Tom Brady due to ‘Deflategate,’ the league announced.

“Based on the Wells Report and the evidence presented at the hearing, Commissioner Goodell concluded in his decision that Brady was aware of, and took steps to support‎, the actions of other team employees to deflate game footballs below the levels called for by the NFL’s Official Playing Rules,” the league said. “The commissioner found that Brady’s deliberate destruction of potentially relevant evidence went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the footballs.”

Brady will miss games against the Steelers, Bills, Jaguars and Cowboys. He returns to the field when New England plays at Indianapolis in Week 6.

The Patriots will play the Jets in Brady’s second game back in Week 7 and in Week 16.

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Meanwhile, the league reduced their suspension of Le’Veon Bell from three games to two today.  This is far from over if Brady and the NFLPA have anything to say.  Brady will now take the NFL to court over the matter and we fully suspect that Brady’s suspension will be adjudicated in a federal court.  We can’t imagine that this is the sort of shroud that the NFL wants hanging over their head for Hall of Fame Weekend and the start of their Super Bowl 50 season, but expect this story to continue to play out over the month of August.

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Oct 25, 2014; Pullman, WA, USA; Arizona Wildcats wide receiver Austin Hill (29) tries to get by Washington State Cougars cornerback Isaiah Fullerton-Talley (36) during the first half at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Jets sign WR Austin Hill

With the start of training camp two days away, the Jets have signed undrafted rookie wide receiver Austin Hill from Arizona, according to Manish Mehta (July 27).

The Jets have 13 receivers on the roster with the addition of Hill (6-3, 212), who attended the Jets rookie minicamp this spring but left without a contract. Hill also attended Oakland’s rookie minicamp.

Hill missed the 2013 season after tearing an ACL during spring practice. Last year, he caught 48 passes for 630 yards and four touchdowns.

To make room on the 90-man camp roster, the Jets have released K Andrew Furney.

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Despite missing his junior season at Arizona due to a knee injury, analysts marked Hill as a surprise to go undrafted and so was widely considered a priority UDFA following the 2015 NFL Draft.  Hill wound up signing with the Seahawks before failing his team physical before being picked up and then subsequently cut by the Raiders. On a rather densely packed receiving corps, Hill might wind up a player that the Jets waive and then sign to their injured reserve to stash for future seasons or if he can demonstrate his health he’ll have to compete for a spot on the team’s practice squad.

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Bowles had knee surgery


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Mo Wilkerson arrives in Cortland

Mo Wilkerson will report to camp tomorrow

Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson will report to training camp tomorrow, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post.

Wilkerson, 25, skipped all of the voluntary workouts this offseason with the Jets as he attempted to work out a long-term deal. However, he did attend mandatory minicamp in June.

“I’m very confident, hopefully things will work out with myself and my agent and those guys get something worked out,” Wilkerson said in June. “If I have to play under my contract, then so be it.”

Wilkerson did add he was frustrated by the progress, or lack there of, being made.

“I am frustrated, yeah,” Wilkerson added at the time. “I thought that a deal would be made, but at the end of the day, it’s a business and these things take time.”

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

This is no surprise that Mo would show up despite the market being set with players like Corey Liuget and Cameron Heyward recently getting sizeable contracts.  Digging in Wilkerson’s heels now won’t work and at this juncture seems opposite his nature.  It could very well be that the team and Wilkerson’s agents are working hard at hammering out a deal before a down is played this season.  Should Wilkerson not get a deal done before the start of the season?  Then with Sheldon Richardson suspended Wilkerson will get four games to soak up the stats and potentially force the team’s hand in the coming offseason.  Should no deal get done before the end of the 2015 season, the next worrisome date would be the franchise tag deadline in late February.

To learn more about the Muhammad Wilkerson contract situation, listen to Corey and Brian discuss Wilkerson with NFL agent Howard Shatsky and Michael Ginntti of Sportrac on the latest in-depth episode about the topic on TheJetsBlog podcast.


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Muhammad Wilkerson, Chad Henne

Daily Links: Stick around

– Parcells: Bowles may not be loud but he’ll get his point across [ESPN New York]

– Watch: Pennington breaks down Geno’s film [Jets Official Site]

– Camp preview: All eyes on Geno [NJAM]

– Jets, Geno have Baldinger fired up for this season [Newsday]

– Will Bowles bring back team captains this year? [ESPN New York]

– Who was the “worst player” in franchise history? [SI]

– Jets Top 25: Can Jets keep Wilkerson around for the long term? [NY Post]


BentBent, theJetsBlog.com: There’s a lot of focus on Geno Smith in today’s selection, something we should get used to over the next few weeks as camp gets underway. However, perhaps the most interesting topic is that of whether the Jets should bring back team captains.

The Cardinals’ players reportedly voted for their captains last year and ended up selecting Carson Palmer as the offensive captain, Calais Campbell as the defensive captain and Dave Zastudil and Lorenzo Alexander as special teams captains. Zastudil and Palmer ended up getting hurt, but Campbell, the only one of the four aged less than 30, had a great season. In previous seasons, the Cardinals had named five captains with two offensive captains, but Larry Fitzgerald stopped being a captain after 2013 (as did Darnell Dockett, who was injured).

On this basis, we can probably expect some of the older veterans such as Nick Mangold, Calvin Pace, David Harris and D’Brickashaw Ferguson to be considered, although I know there are a few younger players such as Demario Davis who are also considered to have good leadership traits. Who do you think should be the team captains in 2015?


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Jets work out WR Greg Little

The Jets recently worked out former Bengals wide receiver Greg Little, according to Ian Rapoport (July 27).

Little played with the Bengals in 2013, making six catches in six games for 69 yards.

He played with the Browns from 2011-2013, catching 61 passes for 709 yards in 2011 and hauling in four touchdowns in 2012.


BentBent, theJetsBlog.com: While Little put up some solid numbers in his three years in Cleveland (averaging over 50 catches per season), he’s actually struggled badly since being drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft. 

Pro Football Focus had him dead last in the NFL in terms of their wide receiver grades in both 2011 and 2013, and he wasn’t much better in 2012.  Little, who caught just six passes last year with the Bengals, has had issues with drops (31 in his first three seasons, including 14 as a rookie) but from what I saw of him also seemed to make a ton of mental errors.  He is a great athlete though, so I can understand the Jets bringing him in for a look.


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NFL: 2015 NFL Draft

Daily Links: Lenny and the Jets

– Seth Walder’s camp preview: Five issues to ponder [NY Daily News]

– LB preview: Will the Jets persist with Pace and Babin? [ESPN New York]

– AFC players whose career is at a crossroads, featuring Geno Smith [CBS Sports]

– How did Richardson and Wilkerson’s rookie seasons stack up? [PFF]

– Ex-Jet Po’uha living the dream [Deseret Times]

– Brandon Marshall jokes about possible drug test [LBS]

– Idzik, not Woody, was behind Revis not returning to Jets last year [NY Post]


BentBent, theJetsBlog.com: The chart from PFF gives an interesting perspective on our expectations for Leonard Williams heading into his rookie year. As you can see, the instant impact from Sheldon Richardson in 2013 is far from the norm, even for high draft picks on the interior.

While the likes of Muhammad Wilkerson and Ndamukong Suh were immediate starters, their rookie contributions were not on the same level as those of Richardson. In fact, even JJ Watt’s rookie season wasn’t quite as good, based on PFF’s grades. However, Aaron Donald’s 2014 season proved that a rookie can come in and have an even greater impact. It’s also interesting to note the differing fortunes of Geno Atkins, Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy in their respective rookie years. All three could now be considered as elite.

Initially, Williams will benefit from the opportunity for additional playing time due to Richardson’s suspension. However, once he returns, even if he plays fewer reps, he might end up getting more one-on-one match-ups because his linemates will draw double teams. It will be interesting to see if he can not only make an early impact, but also sustain that once teams adjust to him being in the line-up.


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