Three For Three: Planning For the Future

Eric Weeks , TheJetsBlog.com

The Santonio Holmes/Shonn Greene Conundrum — Sources have claimed the Jets are expected to approach Santonio Holmes to try and restructure his cumbersome contract following a foot injury that required a final surgery this month. Holmes’ tenure with the Jets has been nothing short of enigmatic with up and down performances, meltdowns and now injury. Aside from David Harris and Mark Sanchez, Holmes enters 2013 with the third highest cap value on a top-heavy roster, per NY Jets Cap, and with the Jets a mere $7 million under the cap, they need additional room just to sign the draft class never mind any available free agents, including their own. The immediate concern is Holmes’ willingness to cooperate. Coming off a Lisfranc injury, Holmes may be inclined to stick to his current deal which guarantees he will see $7.5 million come his way in 2013. In that case, the Jets can either ride it out or cut him with an $11 million dead money hit and an approximate $1 million cap savings. The good news is if he does sign elsewhere, Holmes could only earn up to $7.5 million leaving the Jets responsible for the difference between his maximum earnings and his new salary which is more than likely to be low with teams concerned about his health. Granted, the Jets could avoid all of this and convince Holmes to restructure. It’s pretty clear he plays to win and the Jets could put their cards on the table and tell him that the only way they can win is to compete and the only way to compete is if they upgrade the roster and the only way they can upgrade the roster is by freeing up cap space.

As for Shonn Greene, while he rushed for 1,000 yards again this past season, it was another underwhelming performance for the former Iowa running back. Slow starts, injuries, lack of explosion and occasionally awareness have hampered the Jets’ plans for Greene to become the feature back they hoped to mold him into when they drafted their one-two punch at quarterback and running back in 2009. The Jets have heir apparents in waiting in Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight both of whom have game changing ability. They’re certainly not the end all to be all and are likely a temporary solution for the Jets’ running game but it’s time for everyone to move on. Whatever the asking price, the Jets seem unwilling to pay Greene based not only on results but their current cap structure. They need to economize in 2013 and only be prepared to dole out cash towards what is absolutely necessary and while Greene and the  Jets have had memorable moments in the past, his time as a Jet is over.

Cuts and What’s to Come — I leave the computer screen for a good two hours and come back to find the Jets initiated Phase I of their Tannenbaum-credited plan by releasing Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, Eric Smith, Jason Smith, and Josh Baker. They all had their moments but this was about getting under the cap by March 12 and the production of four out of these five guys by no means justified their contracts. Returns are not precluded from this conversation as Scott, Jason Smith and Baker could potentially come back. The hard part for John Idzik now is figuring out what to do with the remaining pieces. While shopping Tebow at the Combine is a cute idea, it’s more a formality to gauge interest than anything else. Everyone knows he’s getting the boot at some point and it’s plain to see the lack of bait on the fishing pole. Whenever Tebow is cast off the team, there is unlikely to be an overwhelming interest even without having to move assets via trade. The Jets also have some lower-level players on the roster and their departures would create a small amount of savings but, that will only go so far. Consequently, that leaves New York with little to do except restructure contracts namely those of Mark Sanchez, David Harris, and the aforementioned Santonio Holmes. The Jets also have the option of restructuring Po’uha’s contract or outright releasing him if they feel comfortable moving forward with Kenrick Ellis and Damon Harrison, whom they are very high on. In theory, they could reach out to Cromartie though of all the players mentioned, he seems to be the least likely to be asked for a restructure. Obviously the elephant in the room is Darrelle Revis. His return or departure will ultimately dictate how the Jets address the remainder of the roster and their future.

Step Away From the Ledge — I get it. Matt Barkley is a quarterback from USC and Jets fans are deathly scared of the connection and were especially frantic yesterday after the Jets interviewed him at the Combine. To that I say this: relax. I’ve seen various comments on the topic ranging from sites such as ESPN to Twitter to here. The overreaction is not necessary. It was an interview. Do you know how many interviews the Jets conduct with ‘questionable’ players at the Combine or free agency for that matter? I know I certainly don’t but such meetings have taken place and will undoubtedly continue to take place, with or without our knowledge. One interview does not, nor should it, dictate who the Jets will select with this year. For all the times the Jets have been ‘interested’ in JaMarcus Russell you don’t see them handing out a $100 million contract for him either. It’s due diligence and with as many needs as the Jets currently have there’s nothing wrong with covering all the bases at all positions. Aside from that, Barkley is an unlikely option because they simply cannot afford to waste a pick on a “I may or may not be good” quarterback. The experts can rant about intangibles all they want, I want to see accuracy, consistent arm strength and an offense that is capable of moving the ball, scoring, and not putting the defense in precarious positions.

Final Take — Now that the Darrelle Revis-Richard Sherman saga has been discussed ad nauseum, here’s my final take. Sherman is a pretty good liar. He said Revis provoked him into their Twitter spat which is only partially true. Sherman made disparaging remarks about Revis well before this took place. True, Revis could have been the bigger man and let it go but that’s social media for you–to be honest I’m somewhat glad he did respond. You need a confident attitude to succeed in the NFL but, Sherman is more of an a*****e than anything else. I will concede Sherman is probably one of the next best cornerbacks in the league but, what each player has been asked to do is vastly different than the other and Revis’ impact has been much greater than Sherman’s. Despite all of that, I can’t help but believe part of this was posturing on Revis’ part given his current contract status–while we may be quick to defend him, we’re also not stupid.