We’re going to start doing a lot more intensive looking at the NFL Draft in the coming days and weeks, but of course free agency comes before the draft.
Here’s three spots in no particular order that the Jets might try and target players at once free agency begins, even thought they might not have a lot of money to do so. I just talked with Corey about this as we taped our podcast and he named two of the three positions below … listen to the end of the podcast later today to hear which group he chose differently.
Safety — With Eric Smith likely a goner, and Bell and Landry both up in the air as free agents, the Jets are going to have to address the spot via free agency again even though they just used two picks in the last draft on the safety spot. Josh Bush might be ready to step and take on a larger role, but the team is going to need to find some depth at the spot this spring to provide competition this summer. Trufant and Lankster played decently last year so the Jets have to feel comfortable with their 4th and 5th corners, so depending on what happens with the Revis situation … see if the Jets don’t try and convert one of their nickel cornerbacks to the safety spot if they feel like they can’t round out the spot and Revis and Cro both come back. Louis Delmas might not have been able to stay healthy for the Lions, so see if he doesn’t have to take a lesser or incentive-laden deal via free agency this spring.
Wide Receiver — This seems to be a boom or bust spot for the Jets in 2013. Santonio Holmes will be coming off his season ending injury and Stephen Hill started to show some promise right before he was injured for the season. Jeremy Kerley’s play in 2012 did a lot to help the Jets alleviate some concerns about the spot as they head into 2013, but with questions about just how productive Holmes can be coming off an injury and whether or not Hill is a legit starter, there’s going to be a need to find some production from outside the current roster. The draft is a hard way to gain first-year value from the spot, so the Jets seem to be left with free agency. The Jets are not going to be able to pay a big name like Anquan Boldin or Wes Welker, but the Jets are going to need to find a physical, veteran player who can bring leadership to their corps. If charged with choosing between Edwards and Schilens, re-signing Braylon Edwards might make the most sense because he might come on the cheap and has more upside productivity with the Jets. Of the names of free agents, Danny Amendola and Brian Hartline are names that have been brought up among public discourse in relation to the Jets, but they would have to be willing to take a small initial cap number in their first year with the team, much as Santonio did when he got his contract from the Jets in 2011. Of course, that would then mean backloading a deal with money that might paint the Jets into another corner regarding a receiver …
Quarterback — The Jets will likely at least explore what it would take to get a player like Matt Flynn or Alex Smith via trade, but the Jets would be even foolish to not try and see what it would take to get a journeyman like Matt Moore. Moore might command much of a payday, but if the Jets can work out a 2-3 year deal that would please him over the long term (not necessarily in year one) for the quarterback and promise him a legitimate shot to compete for a job (which it sounds like Idzik is in favor of) then it might be an attractive landing spot for Moore.
FLORHAM PARK–“Low man on the totem pole.” That’s how Aaron Glenn describes his new role as an assistant pro scout with the New York Jets. There are a few noticeable gray hairs now, but otherwise Glenn looks much the same as he did when he first joined the team in 1994 as the 12th overall pick out of Texas A&M in the NFL Draft. Over the next eight years, the 5’ 9” Glenn became a linchpin of the Jets defense, recognized as one of the NFL’s shutdown corners, earning three Pro Bowl selections along the way. To read more of this story, click here
FLORHAM PARK–Originally just Rex Ryan was scheduled to talk. Generally, the head coach speaks on the final day and GM Mike Tannenbaum speaks to the media later in the week. Today, the schedule was moved so that Tannenbaum could join Ryan.
There was speculation that some sort of big news might be coming. Alas, that was not to be. Both Ryan and Tannenbaum voiced strong support for Brian Schottenheimer. Ryan reinterated that Schottenheimer is under contract and, “We know he’s an outstanding football coach.”
Tannenbaum said, “We do expect Brian Schottenheimer back. I really respect the job he’s done; Three different quarterbacks, two AFC Championships.” Tannenbaum then confirmed that Schottenheimer is being interviewed for the Jacksonville head coaching position. To read more of this story, click here
FLORHAM PARK–If you didn’t think the locker room was fractured before, it was apparent today that it is.
Some of the most glaring statements were non-verbal. Santonio Holmes, Darrelle Revis and Bart Scott all refused to speak to the media. Scott, however, did make an obscene gesture toward a photographer as he walked out.
Rex Ryan was highly emotional in the team meeting, according to players. Matt Slauson said at one point, the coach was in tears. Another player told me his tone was “elevated.” The message was that they let themselves get fractured as a team and that it was unacceptable. To read more of this story, click here
FLORHAM PARK–A lot of players were in the locker room today. Friday is known as get-away-day and it can often be kind of quiet, especially when the stress level is where it is before a game like the one on Sunday. Although players were loose and the mood was upbeat, they were clearly focused on what’s at stake on Sunday. I spoke with Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller and Brandon Moore about their winning team awards (see below) and all three were pleased and flattered, but not really interested in spending a lot of time thinking about anything other than Miami.
Jim Leonhard made his first appearance since tearing his patellar tendon against the Chiefs. It’s been a busy few weeks for Leonhard. He had surgery on the knee two weeks ago, right around the same time he and his wife welcomed their first child, a son. Right now, he’s on crutches and wearing a brace on his right leg. Although he has not been given a definitive timetable for his recovery, he said he’s been told it’s generally a four-six month process. To read more of this story, click here
FLORHAM PARK–In an unusual move, Rex Ryan addressed the team this morning just following the stretching period, but before any of the practice started. The team was using its indoor field house, which is a cavernous space, and you could have heard a pin drop as everyone listened intently to what the head coach had to say.
Ryan reiterated the opportunity they had in front of them and that having a chance to make the playoffs during one’s career should not be taken for granted. To drive the point home, he referenced Chargers LB Takeo Spikes. Spikes, at 35 years old, is a 14-year veteran, who has been a Pro Bowler and recently played in his 200th career game. He has never been to the playoffs. To read more of this story, click here
FLORHAM PARK–The Jets no longer control their own destiny, something that frustrates them across the board, but they are doing their best to stay the course and just focus on beating the Dolphins. A win is the only way they retain any hope of a playoff berth — plus a whole lot of help.
According to Mark Sanchez, “The No. 1 overall goal is the ball security issues,” he said. “The ball’s got to be of the utmost importance.”
He also said that the team is unified and nobody is looking for anything other than a win, the same way they do every week. “We expect to win. We expect to win every week,” Sanchez said. “We expect to do it right. If you don’t expect that, you don’t belong on this team.”
As for the criticism he’s taking, Sanchez shrugged it off as an occupational hazard. “Win, lose or draw, I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” he said of being able to play quarterback for the Jets. To read more of this story, click here
FLORHAM PARK–Victor Cruz said teams no longer fear Darrelle Revis. Hakeem Nicks said he’s just a “decent” cornerback. Revis’ response? “I don’t even know who this guy is…If I want entertainment, I’ll watch reality shows.”
He then added, “It doesn’t matter what I say. It doesn’t matter what other receivers say. You gotta prove it.” As for whether people are no longer scared of him, Revis laughed and said, “I”m not a monster, so why would anybody be scared?”
Muhammad Wilkerson is from a fairly large family, and one of his brothers was a lifelong Giants fan. “Not anymore,” Wilkerson laughed when I asked him. “No more Giants fans in my family.” Wilkerson, who is from nearby Linden, NJ, said he will have a modest 12 people at the game. To read more of this story, click here
FLORHAM PARK–The first mention of Plaxico Burress today came from Rex Ryan who announced he was limited in practice due to an illness. The immediate reaction was that something gnarly was going around the wide receivers room. (Jeremy Kerley’s got a stomach virus.)
However, when we spoke to Burress he said it was just a cold and he didn’t look too terrible. In his press conference, Ryan spoke of how level-headed and even Burress has been all season and Burress reinforced that when he spoke to the media. While excited to play on Saturday, he pointed out, “It’s an exciting game for the city. Who can win the bragging rights for the next four years.”
Asked if there was anyone in particular he was looking forward to going up against he side-stepped the questions and said instead, “These guys know me very well…It just depends who beats who to the punch. It’s going to be a chess match.” To read more of this story, click here
FLORHAM PARK–The good news for Jets fans is that QB Mark Sanchez appears to be OK after the beating he took against the Eagles. He went through the early part of practice as he normally does and didn’t appear to be throwing any differently.
Asked about it, Sanchez wouldn’t go into detail, beyond saying that he took a couple of big hits, he’s sore, but he’s fine and he’s ready to go for Saturday. He’s listed on the injury report with a neck injury, but practiced fully on Tuesday.
In addition to his hyper-extended right elbow, Joe McKnight now has a separated right shoulder. He was held out of practice and it is unknown what his status will be for Saturday.