Free Agency Focus: 2014 Offensive free agents

Over the next few weeks as free agency approaches for the Jets we’re going to spend a series of articles outlining the process of what the Jets might look to address in free agency.

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

A year ago, free agency was tough on the Jets.  After cutting a number of players, the Jets then let a number more go in free agency who were large contributors to the team.  Mike DeVito, LaRon Landry, Shonn Greene, Yeremiah Bell and Dustin Keller all left for other cities — with varying levels of concern around them.  While there are a decent number of free agents in 2014, sufficient cap room and a full complement of draft picks (and compensatories from the 2013 free agents) should help the Jets fill in any problem areas rather quickly.

That said, here is a list of the Jets pending free agents and what the Jets might do about these players.  Snap counts are indicative of offensive or defensive snaps only and not special teams work.

First up, the offense:

Unrestricted Free Agents

RT Austin Howard (1071 snaps) — On the whole it was a tough year for the Jets offensive  line, but much of that had to do with working with a rookie quarterback.  Austin Howard might not have had the same gangbuster results he had in his first year as a starter, but he was still an excellent player and ranked 16th according to Pro Football Focus among right tackles.  With the amount of money that the Jets have allocated for free agency, they would be wise to re-sign this unrestricted player.  In terms of retaining players, Howard should be the first player on that list.  $2.02 million in 2013

RG Willie Colon (1060 snaps) —  The Jets drafted three offensive lineman in 2013 between Brian Winters (who started), Oday Aboushi and Will Campbell.  Campbell and Aboushi never saw the field but were on the active roster all season along with “minidraft”-ee Ben Ijalana.  One would have to imagine that the Jets would like one of those three players to start in 2014, but right now that seems like a reach on a team looking to make strides this year. Colon is dealing with rehabbing his torn bicep muscle which he suffered in Week 17 and that might slow the Jets on bringing the veteran back.  According to PFF, Colon ranked 16th among right guards in 2013 proving him to be an able, albeit limited starter.  Expect the Jets to bring back Colon to battle for a spot in camp. $1.16 million in 2013 

NFL: New York Jets at Atlanta FalconsTE Jeff Cumberland (685 snaps) — The question with Cumberland will be – what the cost of keeping him is?  While Cumberland was a productive part of the 2013 offense, he now enters his fifth season and there are questions about how much more productive he can truly be.  Our guess is that it might not be much more.  The Jets were said to have some serious interest last year in tight ends during the draft process, so we expect they might try and find a player in the drat this year to become a true long-term option for the team.  If Cumberland is willing to come back on a deal that would could risk him being a transition player for the team, that might work for the Jets.

TE Kellen Winslow (342 snaps) — Winslow was a late pick-up for the Jets during June camps and proved to be found money in terms of his production in a stopgap year at the position.  The problem with Winslow was his production came in fits and starts around his four-game suspension and off the field problems.  After the leaked reports on his arrest, we do not expect that Winslow would be back with the Jets in 2014.  $840,000 in 2013

OL Vladimir Ducasse (331 snaps) — While there’s been some progress for the Jets former second rounder, there’s not been near enough for the Jets to sign the now free agent.  With the influx of linemen that the Jets drafted last year, Ducasse’s roster spot has become even more tenuous since his benching in favor of Brian Winters in 2013.  We would imagine this is where the Jets and Ducasse finally part ways.  $630,000 in 2013

FB Lex Hilliard — The Jets drafted Tommy Bohannon for a reason and Hilliard was the team’s paper-thin backup plan before Hilliard’s season ending injury.  Do not expect Hilliard to return in 2014. $715,000 in 2013

WR/KR Josh Cribbs (30 snaps) — Cribbs provided the Jets some sleight-of-hand on offense and modestly good play on special teams, where he tallied 20 kick returns and nine potential punt returns.  Cribbs seems to have lost some of his trademark burst and speed that made him such a phenomenon five years ago.  We don’t expect that the team would go back to Cribbs, unless in the most emergency of circumstances.  Expect the team to look for new returners with offensive upside through the NFL draft. $840,000 in 2013

RB/KR Darius Reynaud (0 snaps) — Reynaud saw five kick and punt return attempts in emergency work for the Jets in December 2013 after Cribbs was lost for the season.  Reynaud might be back with the Jets but they will likely explore other options first. $715,000 in 2013

QB David Garrard (0 snaps) — Garrard told the media during the season that the team had already asked him to return for 2014.  Garrard likely enjoyed his work mentoring Geno Smith during the 2013 season, but his value to the team beyond that of a coach is highly suspect.  The Jets might extend Garrard a contract for 2014, but his roster spot for September shouldn’t be a certainty.  $1 million in 2013


Restricted Free Agents

NFL: New Orleans Saints at New York JetsTE Konrad Reuland (34 snaps) — A holdover from the Mike Tannenbaum era, we don’t expect that the Jets will rush to tender this barely utilized restricted free agent.  Reuland spent most of his time on special-teams and wasn’t even all that effective when he played there.  The Jets won’t waste the resources to tender Reuland, but they might offer him a minimum contract to compete with other tight ends during camp due to his familiarity with the team. $480,000 in 2013

Add your thoughts on these players in the comments! Defense and Special Teams coming soon!

 




54 comments
rstysanchz
rstysanchz

since yesterday was signing day for colleges i was looking at this years and past recruiting ranks and was surprised to see vidal hazelton was ranked as the 3rd best recruit in 2006 and joe mcknight was the number one recruit in 2007...in 2009 the 107th best recruit was the droy sheldon richardson...pretty cool to see like the draft recruiting is not an exact science either 

gregparm
gregparm

I'm just thrilled that we can finally say goodbye to vlad.

rstysanchz
rstysanchz

signing austin howard would be big hes a good a rt and would be nice to keep some continuity on the ol...if the price is right im not 100 percent ready to give up on cumby 

marcus81
marcus81

except for Howard everyone on that list is expendable, Colon should be kept but not for too much

SackDance99
SackDance99

Of this group, only Howard qualifies as a "must-sign."  Colon played adequately and provided good veteran leadership.  He should be re-signed, as well (assuming the price is right), but the Jets should be grooming his replacement as nobody would mistake Colon for an All-Pro.

bob
bob

I think the Jet will resign Howard, Folk and Cumberland.1st and then work on Colon and also  extend Wilkerson contract.




juunit
juunit

We have to do something at TE. But I wouldn't really be mad if we brought none of these guys back. Pantale was moved to the roster from the practice squad, so it seems the team has him in the plans for 2014. I know some people like Sudfeld, but I don't particularly know why or what he did to deserve being liked. So I'd go with a draftee, a FA (either one of our own or someone else) and Pantale. I wouldn't be against carrying 4 TEs either.

a57se
a57se

@gregparm  

I don't understand how any Jets fan would be thrilled  to get rid of one of our draft picks......I will be sad to see him go.

frustjetfn
frustjetfn

@marcus81 +1000. I was going to say the same. The fact that so many players can be let go shows how weak the roster was.

Brendan
Brendan

@juunit  Sudfeld looked solid towards the end of the year. I'm not in love with the guy, but if he's the #2 TE I'm not going to be upset. 

a57se
a57se

@juunit  

How about  a TE group of Gilmore, Lyerla, Sudfeld and Pantale?

Sort out who starts and who goes in training camp?

Vinnie Pedi
Vinnie Pedi

@a57se @gregparm  


And as annoying he maybe, if for example Colon had his injury mid-season instead of week 17 (talk about being lucky) and would be gone, I'd feel the most comfortable plugging Vlad in at RG than Campbell or iljalana. Atleast we know that Vlad can dominate big gap plugging maulers like vince wilfork.


Unless he gets an offer from someone else, I see big ugly coming back on a 1 year and fighting for the RG spot

a57se
a57se

@frustjetfn @marcus81 

If we let everyone go, we do have to replace them.......who do you wish to replace all these guys with?

Bytor
Bytor

@williamg1 @SackDance99  Sign Howard and maybe a Geoff Schwartz to a multi. We know we're going in with Winters. The 30 o-linemen we drafted last year will provide the depth. 

Bytor
Bytor

@a57se @juunit  Replace Lyerla for Cumby. Maybe Lyerla as an udfa to the practice squad? 

juunit
juunit

@a57se @juunit 

Not even covering the specific players, I'm not a huge fan of the only TEs with NFL experience being blocker first type TEs. Both Sudfeld and Pantale can catch the ball, but they're not gonna be big time receiving threats. I see Sudfeld and Pantale as redundant and I like Pantale more. 

NJJDB
NJJDB

@Bytor shocking that a guy going by "Bytor" would hate a guy named "winters" #SnowDogHatred

Bytor
Bytor

@Brendan @Bytor  Sounds good. I just can't see dealing with another draft pick or one of last years draft picks while Winters continues to get his sea legs. Even Mrs Bytor was asking me and 9yr old Bytor Jr. who the heck this Winters guy is. I guess she heard enough variations of "Geez, Winters you s***!" being yelled at the tv. 

Brendan
Brendan

@Bytor It sounds like Schwartz will be the guy the Chiefs want to bring back, but that just means the guy he took over for (Asamoah) should be available and he's pretty good as well. 

a57se
a57se

@juunit @a57se 

So if we take a 7th round comp pick flyer on him you can root against him!

I'll root for him.

Brendan
Brendan

@juunit Searching the internet, I didn't find anythign where Mark Helfrich said they were on good terms. He said Lyerla's really athletic once, so there's that. 

juunit
juunit

@a57se @juunit  

He quit the team on October 6th and was arrested three weeks later. FACT.


http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/12/28/former-oregon-te-colt-lyerla-pleads-guilty-to-cocaine-possession/


http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/pac12/2013/10/24/oregon-football-tight-end-colt-lyerla/3176273/


He was suspended for a game for a completely different reason, being late to practices and missing them completely. Then he decided to quit after that suspension. FACT. 


http://www.csnnw.com/ducks/colt-lyerla-leaves-oregon-ducks-football-program-and-school


“I love everyone at Oregon; everyone’s on good terms, I believe,” Lyerla said. “Just for my own benefit, it was time to move on.”

For "his own benefit" he dropped out of school in the middle of the season. FACT. 

a57se
a57se

@juunit @a57se 

He didn't quit on the team. Repeating it over and over isn't going to make it true. The Team suspended him for a game and then after talking with his coach, it was decided Lyerla should leave the team. Lyerla is on good terms with his coach despite the problems he had.

You are making more of this then is there though  any team drafting him is taking a risk. A 7th round COMP pick is not too much to worry about when the reward could be phenomenal.

juunit
juunit

@a57se @juunit 

If he's 21, then yes he's younger. But lots of teams cross some guys off as undraftable, and Lyerla is one of those guys for me. I can handle a guy getting arrested once for something stupid, but quitting on the team isn't acceptable, ever. 

a57se
a57se

@juunit @a57se 

OK......let's write off a 21 year old. That makes sense! He is actually YOUNGER than you,no?

juunit
juunit

@a57se @juunit 

He's a problem waiting to happen. He's a quitter and has no business in the NFL and definitely not on my team. 

a57se
a57se

@juunit @a57se 

So if a team far from his hometown could provide that kind of structure, he might make it.....

juunit
juunit

@Brendan @juunit 

Yup. I've been saying since we grabbed him, I feel like he could be a #2 TE for us for a long time. One of those guys everyone else says is garbage but people who watch him every week call underrated. Like the Cotchery of TEs. 

juunit
juunit

@a57se @juunit  

No. He quit on October 6th and then he was arrested weeks later, around the 23rd. He was caught sniffing coke, then he tried to run from the cops. 

Quotes from two different NFC scouts:

"He's going to be a problem. He reportedly has some issues with alcohol, fights and other stuff at school. ... Bad dude. ... Nothing malicious, but the kind of stuff that makes you worry about how he will handle the pro lifestyle. ... He has a tendency to go off the rails when he leaves a structured environment."

"The kid comes from a tough background and is a bit of a problem child. ... He really struggles when he gets away from a structured environment. In fact, the coaching staff constantly worried about his whereabouts and dealings whenever he was away from campus on extended breaks. Now, I would worry about bringing him into my building, but he is definitely a big-time talent with the potential to become a special player as a pro, if it comes together."

a57se
a57se

@juunit @a57se 

He got busted for cocaine and was thrown off the team.....he was sentenced to 10 days in jail and 2 years probation. He has been training and working hard to get ready for the draft......you are willing to write him off very quickly....maybe he learned his lesson?

Brendan
Brendan

@juunit I was very impressed with Pantale as a college player. He was surprisingly adept at pass-catching, had big soft mits and was good at finding a spot and sitting in it. Dynamic? No. Dependable? I'd say so. 

juunit
juunit

@SackDance99 @juunit@a57se 

I never watched Sudfeld in college. But I did watch practically every BC game while Pantale was there and the guy is a natural receiver. He just doesn't have the athletic ability to be a #1 receiving type of TE in the NFL. 

SackDance99
SackDance99

@juunit @a57seSudfeld is taller and did have more dynamism as a pass-catcher in college, while Pantale was more blocker.  Sudfeld is nearly 6-7 and ran the 40 under 4.8 (Panale is a solid 6-5 and ran the 40 in a pedestrian 4.98).  IMO, Sudfeld's the better pass-catching prospect.

a57se
a57se

@juunit @a57se 

Lyerla would be one of the top rated TE's in this draft if not for his off-field stuff.