Buzz: Jets targeting veteran running backs in free agency?

An interesting development from the Sunday Notes column by ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini suggests that the Jets might be exploring an area not widely seen as a priority:

This comes as a bit of a surprise, but I hear the New York Jets are exploring free-agent running backs — namely Donald Brown (Indianapolis Colts) and Ben Tate (Houston Texans).

Cimini goes into more detail behind their reasoning in his column.

Bent, TheJetsBlog.com

The 25-year old Tate has been backing up Arian Foster for three years in Houston and has been productive in that role, but I would have thought he would want an opportunity to start rather than compete for reps with the likes of Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. Tate has averaged 4.7 yards per carry and has been able to make the most of his opportunities when gets them. However, his best season was his rookie year where he rushed for over 900 yards with four 100-yard games and a career-best 5.4 yards per carry average. In 2013, he caught a career high 34 passes – an area the Jets will be looking for improved productivity from their backs – but only averaged just over four yards per catch.

Brown has been in the league for five years but has never fully established himself as a lead back, starting a total of 20 games. His 5.3 average per carry this year was a whole yard better than his career average and represented a career high as he responded well to the Colts going out and acquiring Trent Richardson. Brown has 83 catches in five seasons with a healthy average of 9.2 yards per catch.

The two veterans are both 5’11″ and between 210 and 220 pounds. Tate is faster, having run a 4.34 forty at the 2010 scouting combine, over a tenth of a second faster than Brown’s 4.46 in 2009. Despite being the more explosive of the two, Tate is less experienced and efficient in pass protection.

You may recall that each of the backs the Jets targeted last offseason (Ivory and Mike Goodson) had typically fared well in PFF’s elusive rating, which combines the data for yards after contact and broken tackles to try and evaluate which backs are the most difficult to bring down. This fits in with the characterization of an ideal back for a Marty Mornhinweg offense being someone who can do damage if you get them the ball in the open field. With that in mind, it’s worth noting that Brown was number one in this metric in 2013, so I can well believe that the Jets have been considering him. For the record, Ivory placed 5th and Tate was 11th.




61 comments
Frank Monastra
Frank Monastra

would like to see Goodson back, Powell-Ivory-Goodson could make one of the best rb groups in the league

draft a young rb to develop at some point in the draft as well

levi
levi

They may be looking to cut ties with Goodson.

Iain Bartholomew
Iain Bartholomew

It seems unlikely to me that Idzik would do such a good job plugging leaks and then suddenly at draft / FA time we have this trickle of information coming out. I'd be wary about whatever we hear because I suspect the Jets might be playing games a little.

a57se
a57se

Tate would be an upgrade over Powell but I think they could do better in the draft.

Tate gets hurt all the time and Brown just isn't that good. As far as Brown being number one in that PFF metric, I think that was more a function of other teams ignoring him.

zenlaw
zenlaw

Mornhinweg needs a McCoy.  If the Jets had a playmaking RB, who can catch and make people miss, the entire offense (O-line, QB, etc.) would be better for it.  I can't think of a bigger upgrade for the Jets than a great pass-catching back. 

bob
bob

I'm guessing the Question is dollar for dollar I thinking Ivory and Goodson is a much better Deal?

j3tsfan29
j3tsfan29

Knowshon Moreno is the only rb I'd go after. Can catch can block and runs hard. All these other guys aren't worth it.

williamg1
williamg1

It's important that we find a highly-effective goal line RB to we can focus on giving Sheldon Richardson more reps as a goal line WR. 

juunit
juunit

Running back is definitely a need. I'd just rather draft a guy instead of paying Tate/Brown.

nesboogie
nesboogie

ODB w/ the 18th pick? Or trade up for a higher 2nd

nesboogie
nesboogie

Vernon Ghoslton had 37 reps lmao

Joseph Koll
Joseph Koll

Jets are going to go after DMac with an incentive laden contract. Watch!

McGeorge
McGeorge

If Ray Rice gets cut, would he be worth it?

Depending on what he wants.


Or is he done?  

Plus he's going to get suspended.


Peter Zoia
Peter Zoia

Ivory is fragile and the Jets need someone who can catch the ball. The light finally came on last year for Brown. He can play on 3rd down. Go get him Idzik. (He won't cost much)

harold
harold

Don't believe the hype... don't, don't, don't believe the hype

Brendan
Brendan

No stone goes unturned. 


But this seems a bit redundant. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@Iain Bartholomew  The interesting part about that is that if the leaks are as tight as it would appear, then a journalist struggling to get any scoops (or a source struggling to give the journalists any scoops) could just guess based on what seems logical ... and then hide behind the fact that "it must have been a smokescreen" if the team shows no interest in that player.


As I've alluded to before, some of these stories conflict with what we've heard behind the scenes (and some don't).

Bent
Bent moderator

@a57se  He broke 35 tackles in 162 touches and averaged 3.0 yards per carry after contact.  How is that a function of teams ignoring him?  Don't really understand your comment.

harold
harold

He is a solid player but always hurt. This year he stayed healthy, right before he is a FA. Just dont trust him.

harold
harold

I think Ivory can be that guy.

harold
harold

In your scenario, I would trade up for an additional player later. Beckham is a good player, but I think he is a late 1st early, 2nd rounder.

juunit
juunit

@nesboogie  

Yes. But he doesn't really fill the RB need. He's more like Randall Cobb than he's like a RB. 

harold
harold

No he is a woman beater. This is not the first time he has been beating on this girl for years. I live MD and I have very close sources who have verified this pattern of behavior.

elmoron
elmoron

@Peter Zoia

Of the two, I think I'd be very happy with Brown but I'm glad they're considering both. And we could still grab a RB in the later rounds.  

harold
harold

What do you think of Brandin Cooks after today? I thought looked awesome, as good as anyone today.

Iain Bartholomew
Iain Bartholomew

@Bent  Agreed. In a way it makes life easy for the journalist of little integrity.

bob
bob

@Bent @a57se

Could it be that the light switch was turn on in Browns head this year after Richardson was required. Seeing Brown play this year got me thinking wow this guy is really tough . A gem of a running back nice find for the Colts. with Ivory and Brown in the backfield that would be a lot of pounding on defenses....and Brown is from CT I believe.

j3tsfan29
j3tsfan29

True but I'd trust him over Tate and brown. Plus the guy catches out of the back feild wich is a weakness if our current backfield group, ivory Powell and Moreno would be legit and allow us to get out from underneath Goodson.

NJJDB
NJJDB

@harold Also, he's got a bad case of the fumbles.

williamg1
williamg1

@harold  Provided he doesn't kill himself (or a defender or two) in the process. 


The man runs with such violence, I wonder if he's an injury just waiting to happen. Either way, I just love watching him run. And he's faster than I thought he was going to be. 

NJJDB
NJJDB

@harold idk, OB Jr had a great combine and has bigger hands than Evans & Watkins, I hope we can trade back at get him, but I'm not sure that's sure thing.

jdb4
jdb4

@juunit @nesboogie 

I don't quite agree with that.  He could fill the role that Goodson was supposed to play and would certainly add some explosiveness to the kick return game.

jdb4
jdb4

@harold

He's been doing stuff like this all the way back to Rutgers.  

Brendan
Brendan

@harold  He looked pretty impressive. I'd say he was in the top 3-5 WR's there today. 

bob
bob

@Bent @bob

I just got back had to work Bent. I'm laughing my but off that is so clever. Nice Work. Oh that's s funny..

Bent
Bent moderator

@bob @Bent  Here's who we should draft:


Trevor Black, Marshall DE

Silas Redd, USC RB

James White, Wisco RB

DJ Green, NC State OLB

Cody Green, Tulsa QB

Alfred Blue, LSU RB

AJ Blue, UNC RB

John Brown, Pittsburg State WR

Anthony Brown, Eastern Kentucky OLB

Corey Brown, Ohio State WR

Preston Brown, Louisville ILB

Daven Gray, Winston-Salem State OG

Richard Gray, Kent State DE

Carlos Gray, NC State DT

Jeremy Gray, Southern Methodist FS

Joel Gray, Texas Tech OG

Cornelius Magenta, Illinois P


Would certainly make for some colorful reactions.


(Okay, I made the last one up, but the rest are genuine).

bob
bob

@Bent

I like Brown,Blue. Green Orange and Yellow .. Those are my guys.  and on Special Teams I like Turquoise.

harold
harold

He can be a special player if he can just stay healthy. He is a big play waiting to happen.

juunit
juunit

@jdb4 @juunit@nesboogie 

Still, I think I'd want another guy to push Powell to the 3rd RB spot and let Archer be a slot/gadget player. 

jdb4
jdb4

@juunit @jdb4@nesboogie 

I can't argue about his size but Darren Sproles wasn't much bigger coming out of college, after a year or two he put on a few more pounds.

Archer has the frame to put on about 10 pounds. 

Also, any team that runs Archer up the middle in the pro's is just being stupid.  He is a swing back, a guy you put in motion to match up with a LB or Safety.  A guy you run angle routes out of the backfield and a toss sweep back.

juunit
juunit

@jdb4 @juunit@nesboogie 

Goodson is a lot bigger than Archer though. I don't think Archer would last very long if he got more than a couple carries per game. And by a couple, I mean like three. An NFL DT tackling him could literally snap his neck. 


I do really like him. I just think if we got him we would also still need a RB.

harold
harold

Not really he is only 173 lbs. Hard to play RB at that size. The only guy I remember being close to that size was Warrick Dunn. And he was much more solidly built.

harold
harold

Sad, to have a guy like this as a role model. A lot of kids really look up to him here in MD. Let me reiterate, Heck No to Rice.

harold
harold

Side note, Dri Archer's 40 looked faster than Chris Johnson's to me.

Brendan
Brendan

@harold  Yeah, the WR's tested really well as a group, I was impressed by how prepared most of them were. 

harold
harold

Allen Robinson may drop to 2nd or top of 3rd after slow 40. But if you look at him he tested pretty well in all other test huge vert, good 60 yd shuttle. I think if he slides we will look at him.

Also my man Moncrief looked great, in the testing today. I think he is solidly in the late 2nd to mid 3rd round range.

Also your boy ran a 4.53 forty good job and a huge vert as well.