Three For Three: What To Do?
Eric Weeks , TheJetsBlog.com
As of yesterday, John Idzik has spent a month as the New York Jets’ general manager and anticipation continues to saturate the fanbase and media alike. While he’s been busily analyzing team needs as well as the salary cap, there has been debate over a myriad of topics in regards to the future direction of the franchise. We’re here to take a brief look at some of the more pressing debates.
What To Do About Dustin? — It seems like an easy decision but it depends on how much value the Jets will put on Keller. Injuries plagued his ‘contract year’ and he was virtually unmissed in an offense that, following Santonio Holmes’ injury, went downhill before it could get half way up the hill very quickly. While he posted a 26.0% DVOA, good for third in the league, his highest overall DVOA over four years ranked him 22nd in the league. Not good. The maddening thing though is he’s not sickeningly bad either. He’s had his share of drops and continues to be an average, if not below average, run blocker but he was the security blanket for Mark Sanchez when things got rough and put up respectable totals. However, in a year where every cent has to count, do the Jets really want to A.) Re-sign him to a long term deal based on inconsistent production or B.) Franchise him for approximately $6 million?
While Cumberland, Reuland and Baker don’t exactly inspire confidence, it’s not as if Keller has given the team a reason to lock him up long term or franchise him–which is something he would rather avoid anyway. Ultimately, it will come down to priorities but in a year where you can find quality tight end talent late in the draft with the likes of Mychal Rivera, Nick Kasa, Joseph Fauria, Chris Gragg, Levine Toilolo, Ryan Otten, and D.C. Jefferson, the Jets may be inclined to move on. On the flipside, you could argue that when the Jets meet with Keller’s agent at the Combine, they approach him about returning on a one year deal to see if he can be successful in Mornhinweg’s system, which is predicated on pass catching and run blocking of which Keller does the former well, while proving his injuries are behind him. That way, you keep one of the foundations the passing game has relied upon, albeit inconsistently, while giving him a chance to prove his worth or market himself to the NFL.
The Draft — The Jets need to be smart this year. A host of bad choices has come back to bite them as evidenced by their top-heavy roster.
The general consensus is this years class of quarterbacks are, generally speaking, underwhelming. There are some talents that will go higher than others but there is no clear cut RGIII or Andrew Luck to greet quarterback-depleted teams. Mike Mayock mentioned Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib, Landry Jones, and Tyler Wilson as possible fits to offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s version of the West Coast Offense however, the Jets would be wise to veer from this class maybe taking a flier on a late round talent. It appears, barring an unforeseen event, Sanchez will remain at least another year and will undoubtedly compete with Greg McElroy, Matt Simms, a veteran that currently is not on the roster and possibly a late round flier. And you know what? That’s okay. I’d much rather have a filler instead of the team making another poor choice that will blow up in their face four years down the road.
So, with the Jets’ luck that they’d have a top ten pick in a year where, according to Mayock, it’s “bad” to own a top ten pick, what can the Jets do? What else but bolster other areas–there will be no shortage of them.
One such area is at the guard position. With Matt Slauson and/or Brandon Moore likely to be casualties of the Jets’ roster purge, replacements will be necessary. Vlad Ducasse, who had been splitting repetitions with Slauson in 2012, is currently the top choice to replace one of the two, likely Slauson, however concerns linger about his ability to play a full season at a consistent level despite there being little, if any, drop off in the line’s performance with him in. Assuming eight other teams give him a pass, Chance Warmack, who has been a dominant force, is an attractive candidate with Mike Mayock describing him as “the best player I’ve seen on film this season”.
The Jets could also look to finally address their pass rushing woes that have plagued them since the days of John Abraham when, stop me if you heard this before, he wasn’t injured. With the Jets set to lose Calvin Pace and possibly Bryan Thomas, the Jets need to finally come to terms with the fact that they NEED an edge rusher. Dion Jordan fits the billing quite nicely with impressive speed and athletic ability. His technique is still raw and he would need to put on some weight but Mayock seems to think he can be an Aldon Smith-type player within a matter of a couple years. Jarvis Jones is another possibility and is the more refined of the two causing Mayock to deem him starter ready. So long as he is medically cleared, as there are some concerns about possible spinal stenonsis, he would be another excellent choice.
It’s going to come down to rounds 2-7 that really determine the draft’s worth when we look back on it. The Jets have been caught in their own web by not stockpiling depth players and addressing needs as efficiently as they could. While the quarterback position may be lacking, this class is filled with talent at multiple positions, including tight end and cornerback, that can be had in deeper rounds and that is where the Jets really need to focus their attention once they get past the first round. They need to develop or, at the very least, re-assess their eye for finding value in players later in the draft and it starts with Idzik.
Darrelle Revis — I’ll restrain myself here because the story is only about a day old and I’m already sick of hearing it as I’m sure most of you are too. The bottom line is Revis needs to understand that Idzik is controlling the personnel decisions and the salary cap. He’s trying to get all affairs in order before jumping headfirst into the pool and once the Jets shed some contracts thereby freeing up cap space and have a plan of action in place for the draft, if they don’t already, I’m certain Revis’ concerns will be addressed. As much as I’d like to see him return, the Jets also have to consider that they can’t bankrupt the future on one player which means they will need to think long and hard about retaining Revis or trying to get maximum value in return via trade.