Free Agency Focus: Inching ever closer

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Some news and notes around free agency (with some Jets sensibilities) to get the day started.

Double-down — The Daily News speculates Wednesday that because Jeremy Maclin has been signed by the Eagles, the Jets are all the more interested in Sanders. I see the point, but am calling foul. The key here is that Emmanuel Sanders and Jeremy Maclin are two very different types of receivers capable of vastly different types of production. Yes, the Patriots were interested in Sanders last year … but for what role in a pass heavy offense? If the Jets had interest in a player like Maclin, instead of projecting greater expectations on Sanders, better to begin courting a player like Golden Tate or James Jones.

Stay at home — Speaking of James Jones, the veteran receiver would like to stay in Green Bay, but with a crowded roster at receiver we understand why the Packers might not re-sign the 29-year-old. All the same, Jones has worked through his issues with the dropsies and will likely be a moderate priced receiver who can deliver in the right offense. Jones was on the NFL Network’s Around the League and talked about the idea of landing with his old team or the Colts or Chargers … sadly … no word on the Jets.

jairusbyrdBye-bye Birdie — With the Bills backing the Brinks truck up for Aaron Williams on Wednesday, it would seem that Jairus Byrd will in fact walk from Buffalo as a free agent. Would the Jets be interested? They have the money and the need for a coverage safety … if they aren’t, they should be.

Rent-a-receiver — Jermichael Finley is seeking to return to football, and the Jets are in need of renting some talent for their offense in the interim as they add in pieces in varying stages of productivity through the NFL Draft in May. Finley is set to get his medical clearance to play football again “very soon” according to his agent and seems to have a line of teams interested in bringing him in. A short-term, yet slightly paunchy contract might fit the bill for a player like Finley.

Roberts on the rise? — Yesterday on the podcast, NFL insider Tony Pauline told us he expects the Jets to show interest in 24 year old free agent Andre Roberts. Roberts put up more than 700 yards with the Cardinals in 2013, ranking 82nd by ProFootballFocus and 75th by Football Outsiders. At this point, Roberts has learned the NFL game and might be a third receiver at best right now but could definitely add a level of production to the Jets offense when combined with other moves in free agency or the NFL Draft.

Point of no return — Devin Hester won’t be back in Chicago, Dexter McCluster looks to be moving on from KC. Teams looking for special teams returners (like the Jets) might consider either of these players … as long as they don’t expect to get almost any value out of them on offense.

Cut the Champ — Champ Bailey was finally released last night by the Broncos, which seems to have made Bailey soften his stance on playing safety. It’s an interesting footnote, but I don’t expect the Jets to be in the mix for a player like Bailey, who wants to go begrudgingly to the position in which he is now most suited.




132 comments
SackDance99
SackDance99

I don't get the Nicks love on this blog.  He was awful last season.  He looked like Plax with Rusty Staub's speed.  He's nothing like the prototypical WCO WR with quick twitch skills and YAC capability in crossing patterns.  IMO, the Jets already have a Nicks clone, his name is David Nelson.  Also, I don't want to debate what Nicks WAS.  It's what he IS NOW that's the problem.  The Jets need to increase team speed at the offensive skill positions and Nicks is a step way back.

bklyndude
bklyndude

Idzik, Bradway and Rex are all at Clemson's Pro Day.  Terry Bradway was at Auburn's Pro Day on Tuesday

as per Steiny.

davem
davem

I'm in the minority but I want to see the jets be conservative in terms FA contracts given out this offseason. Until we know whether Geno's the answer it would be prudent to save our resources. Granted we must get Geno some better weapons to properly gauge his abilities, but that can be done without taking on large, long term deals. We were loaded a few years back but didn't have a capable QB to shoulder the load. Everything was in place except the QB position and it was all for naught. Don't want to see the jets repeat that. I see 2015 as the true potential breakout year for both the mets and the jets. I'm not writing off 2014 by any means, but I'm trying to be realistic. I think saving our resources for when we're confident in our QB situation is the way to go.

machoking
machoking

Get Byrd... somewhat "splashy" but he is a talent and might help our D be as dominate as we all feel it can be.  I would pass on Sanders and draft rather then someone like Byrd...

bklyndude
bklyndude

@SackDance99

He was injured at the start of 2013 and Eli had a rough year with that OL.  If you don't look at his body of work and only look at 2013,  and don't think at 26 he has the ability to ever play at a high level,  I understand.  

But I don't think he's done as a player with high level ability.  It's so much harder to find talented big body WR's than the smaller, faster types.

Brendan
Brendan

@SackDance99  My pro-Nicks argument would be something along the lines of the below: 


His PFF ranks from 2009 - 2012 were 24th, 13th, 7th and 20th. He's a strong, big-bodied receiver (in length and girth, but not height). He's athletic. He had one bad season when he saw the #2 on his team get the shiny new contract he wanted and then the team basically showed him they have no intention of making him an elite paid WR. He was battling injuries and was pissed off. They tried to trade him midseason. 


I think a change of scenery and a new deal gives you 2009-2012 Nicks, not 2013 Nicks. 


I also think you trying to make him into a different player than the guy he was the first four seasons isn't fair, either. That was one season, vs. four above-average ones. I'll take my chances with the likelihood that the #1 receiver Nicks resurfaces with a player's coach like Rex, a offensive savant like Marty and a locker room like the Jets'. 

juunit
juunit

@bklyndude  

And TJ McDonald was at Wisconsin's Pro Day checking out Dezmen Southward (a safety who apparently had a very good day.)

Brendan
Brendan

@bklyndude  They have a guard, CB and a non-Watkins WR who are worth checking out. Hm...I wonder who Rex is there to watch? 

harold
harold

@bklyndude


Trade up for Watkins if he slides out of top 5.  A first this year and next year?  If we improve as much as we think do you think it is worth considering?

Bytor
Bytor

@davem  Nah, build the strongest team you can. If Geno doesn't work out and you draft another qb or get one in free agency, everything else is in place. Look at our Marky years. We won in spite of him with a great D, strong o-line and running game, Santonio/Braylon/Keller.

bob
bob

@davem


At the end of the day you just maybe right check out a57e what he wrote below.

MarshRandy
MarshRandy

@machoking  it's a lot of money but he's a stud. I don't really understand the Antonio Allen hype by many, I think we were just happy to see anyone but Eric Smith back there

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @SackDance99 

SD, we agree again....WTF is going on here???

Nicks the last TWO seasons is not the player he was 2009 through 2011....

bklyndude
bklyndude

@juunit @bklyndude   Yeah, I heard he ran like a 4.35 and had a vertical of 42",  not bad for FS prospect. 

They talked after his workout.....hmmm.

Stanley Bostitch
Stanley Bostitch

@Brendan @bklyndude  Must be looking at everyone if the entire braintrust is there. And thinking seriously about moving up for Watkins. That'd be a statement.

juunit
juunit

@Brendan @bklyndude 

Bryant is a bum. And, don't rule out Boyd. Rex has already met with him during this process. 

bklyndude
bklyndude

@Brendan @bklyndude   If I'm guessing either G, WR  or CB,  I'm guessing cornerback.

Brendan
Brendan

@harold Nah. 1st and Tampa's 3rd, plus late picks. That's the most I'm trading for any draft pick. Jimmy Graham, on the other hand....

bklyndude
bklyndude

@harold @bklyndude   I love Watkins,  but no.

edit: I don't think he's sliding out of the top ten and there is a lot of WR depth in this draft.

harold
harold

@Marvel @davem


The difference you guys ignore is the QB was a huge cap hit as well.  We don't have that to worry about for 3 more years.  Any F/A you sign now would be front loaded contracts to take advantage of or salary cap space.  We could easily cut those guys in 2016 and restore our cap if we needed to overhaul or extend young players, Geno, Sheldon, Dee.

machoking
machoking

@MarshRandy @machoking  Hahaha you might be right.  Yea, def a lot of money but you see teams these days that a heavy on one side of the ball and steady on another... it would seem that if we had a heavy side, it's D.  So, get this guy, focus your draft on offense and potentially finding a great talent. Just my thoughts. 

bklyndude
bklyndude

@a57se @SackDance99 @Brendan    Steve Smith was hurt and Manningham was the third WR in SF.

Nicks would immediately be the Jets top guy and get many targets.

a57se
a57se

@SackDance99 @Brendan@a57se 

The last Giants WR to leave after his rookie deal was Mario Manningham. He had a similar reduction in production his last year with the Giants and hasn't produced anything better since leaving.......deja vu all over again?

SackDance99
SackDance99

@Brendan @a57seBrendan, I'm basing it on what I saw more than stats.  And, the stats aren't a rave.  Like I posted yesterday, he was targeted over 100 times, with only 56 receptions.  I saw a guy who couldn't be where he was supposed to be on a consistent basis anymore.  Plus, he just isn't a typical WCO WR.  He's only getting older and hoping he can reach back to his 2010-11 numbers might be too much of a stretch.  He might be Steve Smith, Part II.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se I don't have a narrative. If you noticed, I said at the top "IF" I was to make the argument. I don't even care if they sign Nicks, I have no horse in this race. 

Brendan
Brendan

@Bent There were talks going on, but they weren't able to finalize a deal. I would think because the Giants were asking for too much. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@a57se @Brendan  Well, Nicks is now going to be walking for nothing, so you can't blame them for trying to cash in and get some kind of return while seemingly out of contention.


I'd say the fact nobody bit is more telling.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se Because he wanted a top-level WR contract that they mislead him into thinking he was going to get? Then he got pissed when it became evident they mislead him? 

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @a57se 

Why do you think they tried to trade nicks mid-season? because they loved his work ethic, performance and locker room character?

Come on.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se The team that drafted him and he played under a rookie contract for four years under gave an extension to the team's #2 WR, tried to trade Nicks in-season and then acted shocked when he became disinterested. 


That's one red flag. Besides that, what history of off-field issues does he have? 


The Giants are making Cruz their #1, Randle their #2 and making Jernigan the slot. Pardon me if I'm skeptical that that unit is as good as Nicks/Cruz/Randle. The Giants aren't perfect, this could very easily come back to haunt them. 

a57se
a57se

@Brendan @a57se 

When you add in the off-the-field stuff and his diva like statements to his decline in production and the fact that the Giants have no one to replace yet won't even consider bringing him back...I'd say there are enough red flags to make me shy away from him.

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se And yet he was still the 20th WR on PFF in 2012, so he wasn't nearly as bad as you're making it out to be. That was an injury-riddled "okay" season where he was still above-average. 2013 was his only true sub-par year to date. 

juunit
juunit

@bklyndude @juunit 

Interestingly, I read that not a single NFL receivers coach bothered to show up to watch Abbrederis. Perhaps people are overestimating how high he's gonna be drafted. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@Stanley Bostitch @Brendan @bklyndude  Maybe they have one guy each that they like!  They might even have arrived at the same time and then said "You're here too?  Man, we should've car-pooled!"

SackDance99
SackDance99

@bklyndude @BrendanNot really.  MM has a system, so if you build out the system with the right component parts, then the QB can be plug and play, if he has WCO skills.  Look at Flynn and McCown last year.  Nobody thinks those guys are starter material, but in a turnkey WCO offense, they performed nearly equal to the regular starters.  Building the offense out is, in and of itself, a hedge on Geno...just put in the guy that can drive the car.

charlie duck sauce
charlie duck sauce

@bklyndude @Brendan    That's the key. When the 2014-15 season commence are the Jets going to get the last four weeks of the 2013-14 season Geno or have a veteran like Vick to fill the void. If the Jets get either, then go all in on the best receiving talent whether it be FA or the draft because then the team would have the best QB to maximize the offense's potential.

bklyndude
bklyndude

@Brendan @bklyndude   Plus,  if you invest in a great receiver,  which is what you are getting Graham for,  wouldn't you want to maximize that investment only if you had a great QB.

Brendan
Brendan

@bklyndude It's worked out fairly well for Atlanta (Julio Jones). 


Like I've said, I don't expect it to happen and I won't get mad when the Jets don't do it, but I would be thrilled if they did it. 18 & mid-20's next year for one of the best receivers in the game isn't that huge of a price to me, considering how deep drafts are becoming. 

bklyndude
bklyndude

@Brendan @harold   Trading two first rounders is kind of like a poison pill type of thing to prevent owners from stealing each others best players.  That's why smart teams don't do it.  

When's the last time it's happened and worked out really well.

davem
davem

@harold

I see what you're saying

Bytor
Bytor

@harold @Marvel @davem  This is why I think we're in a perfect storm (in a good way) to improve this team dramatically. As always it hinges on our qb becoming legit. But we can solve for that in the next 3 years as long as the rest of the team is in place.