Dear Mr. Idzik,
Corey Griffin, TheJetsBlog.com
Consider this an open letter from a concerned fan. Not because I lack confidence in your decision-making skills or your leadership – you’ve proven yourself quite adept in the past 13 months – but because I’m fearful of history repeating itself.
For the past five years, we Jets fans have sat idly by – Do fans sit any other way during free agency? Pensively, perhaps – as this coaching staff has devalued two of the true impact positions in today’s NFL.
For the past five seasons, we’ve watched pedestrian safety after pedestrian safety walk through Florham Park’s doors, matched in mediocrity only by the wholly-subpar class out of outside linebackers that Rex Ryan has continually insisted fit his scheme better than a high-money free agent could.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for Jim Leonhard’s grit and smarts and I totally understand that Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace have done yeoman’s work setting the edge and allowing Rex’s blitz-happy tendencies to confound signal-callers. But for crying out loud, John (Can I call you John? I feel like we have that sort of relationship.), is it too much to ask for Ed Reed before he’s on his last legs? Do we have to live with Antwan Barnes and Aaron Maybin and just cross our fingers like school children and hope for lightning in a bottle?
To read more of this story, click here
“If he plays consistent, he can be, to me, probably the next Ed Reed.”
- Former Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie on safety Antonio Allen, whom he also referred to as “freakish” (Source: Star Ledger)
Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comIf you take a look at our free agency tracker, the Jets have been linked to a number of players at many different positions. With over $40 million in cap room available, let’s take a look at the players we think would be the team’s best choice to add through free agency at a few given positions.
WR – James Jones: In the Packers offense, Jones has been a very productive player although he’s never been the focal point of the offense. No matter, he’s a good athlete with good quickness, a physical game and who has worked out some issues with drops in the past few years. For a team like the Jets that was said to be interested in Jeremy Maclin before he was re-signed, a player like Jones represents the sort of upgrade the team was seeking rather than doubling down on a player like Emmanuel Sanders. The question of course is was Jones productive because of the Packers system or was he productive because he’s a good receiver? We think the answer lies in the middle but if the Jets make a number of upgrades and maybe even draft a long-term talent Jones will be a more featured part of the offense without needing to tilt the field.
RB – Maurice Jones-Drew: MJD’s career as a feature back is effectively over, but it is fair to ask whether the Jaguars offensive line was so bad it precipitated his decline. While the Jets need to add some pieces back to the line on the right side, they would represent a better line with which to work. If the Jets are indeed looking to become a run-first team this year then they will need to add more talent at the running back spot, most especially a player who can be utilized on third downs and in a pass catching capacity. Geno Smith seems talented with screen passes (something Sanchez never was) and adding a player like MJD could help Geno immensely.
OG – Geoff Schwartz: The Jets were said to have interest in Schwartz a year ago but it never worked out and he ended up playing spectacularly in relief of Jon Asamoah down the stretch for the Chiefs. Asamoah is rumored to be heading to Atlanta (though the Jets were interested) and so the Jets should turn their attention to Schwartz to help solidify the right side of the line, especially in the wake of the uncertainty right now with Austin Howard. Schwartz is a punishing run-blocker and can play on the left and right side. To read more of this story, click here
Brian Costello of the New York Post writes today that regardless whether Revis would be an option for the Jets, the team is working to bring in at least one of the league’s top corners.
The Jets are believed to already be far down the road with an unknown cornerback in free agency. The belief in league circles is the Jets will land either Titans Pro Bowler Alterraun Verner or Colts free agent Vontae Davis. The Jets have been in talks with both, according to sources, and are said to be committed to landing one of them.
Verner spoke glowingly of the Jets in an interview with Adam Schein on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio on Monday.
“[Playing for Rex and the Jets] could be a [great fit],” Verner said. “Revis and [Antonio] Cromartie both thrived in that system.”
Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com
As Costello outlines in the lede of his story, Revis returning to the Jets is possible in the never say never NFL. But I do think the likelihood of Revis tucking his tail between his legs and coming back to New York is something that I won’t expect he would do, even if it meant taking less money elsewhere.
The Jets have Dee Milliner, their first rounder for whom the lights seemed to click on at the end of last year, in addition to Kyle Wilson, one of the better slot corners in the NFL. The team will feel secure in their depth with Darrin Walls, Ellis Lankster and the possibility that Aaron Berry might return. Adding a player like Verner or Davis would be an excellent way to rebuild their secondary quickly even at the rather pricey cost.
If Verner or Davis do come to New York, there is every likelihood that Rex Ryan and the Jets can tailor the system to feature them as players, making good players even better on Sundays.
It seems like things have been all quiet on the wide receiver front over the past few days, but there’s a new name that might be a serious target:
The 29-year old is a former third round pick and has been with the Packers for seven years. He has caught over 300 passes in his career and won a Super Bowl.
Jones should be slightly less expensive than the top free agent targets, but he’s still a productive player with 123 catches in the last two seasons. While he has never had a 1,000 yard season, he did set a career high with 817 yards last year. In 2012, he had 14 touchdown receptions – Jeff Cumberland led the Jets with four in 2013.
Jones used to have a reputation for dropping passes, but seems to have resolved those issues. After dropping 10 in 2009 (per PFF) he has reduced his number of drops in each season since then and only had three in 2013. If signed, he could provide a solid veteran presence, albeit perhaps without the explosiveness that the receivers unit needs someone to provide.
Could a Darrelle Revis trade be imminent? (Whoa…major deja vu right about now). Alex Marvez has this:
UPDATE: Adam Schefter drops another bombshell:
This is important for several reasons. First of all, where he goes could dramatically affect the NFL landscape. What if he goes to a contender, returns to the AFC…or even (shudder
) joins another team in the AFC East?
Secondly, whether or not the acquiring team is prepared to take on his existing contract could send major ripples through the cornerback market, of which the Jets look set to be a participant. Is there a chance his deal will be restructured by the acquiring team or could the Bucs eat some of his 2014 salary by way of a pre-trade bonus?
Finally, and – I suspect – of a primary concern to Jets fans (although, personally, I think this is less of a big deal than the first two) is the question of the pick that the Bucs owe the Jets. If Revis is still on the Bucs roster on the third day of the league year (Thursday), then the Jets will receive the fifth pick in the third round (which should be the 69th overall subject to any forfeited picks). If he is traded (or released) before then, the Jets will receive the fourth pick in the fourth round, which will be around 103rd overall.
Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com
I do hate the idea of Revis playing back in the AFC, let alone the AFC East, but the immediacy of the third option Bent outlines above really bothers me most right now. Adding a third pick in the top 70 would be fantastic for a team needing to upgrade skill positions through the draft. That said it’s not like we didn’t worry Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith would do this
as soon as they were hired. Teams might be picking up interest
in Revis … but it won’t matter when it comes to the Jets and that draft pick.
Regardless, the Jets got Sheldon Richardson out of the bargain and parted ways with a cornerback who now just a year removed from his big deal. Might Revis be lucky to see 75 cents on the dollar from a new team? It’s ironic in that case if it was what he fought for years to get from the Jets. Revis is still undoubtedly one of the top talents in the league, but up until today we can’t imagine many teams were planning for the idea that Revis would be available … will even one team jump at the chance to pay him what he thinks he deserves?
Talk about “cornering the market”. By the time all is said and done, the Jets will have been linked with every possible Antonio Cromartie replacement available. Here’s two more:
Davis was thought to be on the brink of an extension with the Colts for around $10m, but local writers have been suggesting that those reports were “jumping the gun”. Pauline’s twitter feed implies that the Jets may have made a “hefty” offer for the 25-year old, who has also been linked with San Francisco. It’s possible the Jets might be being used for leverage here. Davis is probably best remembered by Jets fans for suggesting himself and Sean Smith were the best cornerback tandem in the NFL when he was with the Dolphins in 2011. Still, he’s a talented and well-respected player.
Munnerlyn is a scrappy and feisty 5’8″ corner who does a lot of his best work in the slot. Any Jets interest in him is presumably of an exploratory nature at this time, as they would ideally prefer someone with more size. Munnerlyn has been a leader in Carolina as they’ve transitioned into a good team over the past few seasons. Jets fans will recall that he responded defiantly to Santonio Holmes’ comments that the Panthers’ corners were the weakness of their defense and then returned an interception for a touchdown when the teams met last season.
The Jets have released Santonio Holmes (Jets, March 10).
“I appreciate Tone’s contributions over the last four seasons,” head coach Rex Ryan said in a statement. “I’ve always admired his knack for making the clutch play. He’s a tremendous competitor who wants the ball in his hands when the game is on the line. I wish him nothing but the best.”
The team will save $8.25 million in cutting him (Cimini, March 10).
Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com
Like the Cro move, this has been in the cards for a while now, with the difference being that Cro had a chance to return and his move wasn’t two years in the making. The Jets now add another chunk of change on the cap and we can expect them to be very active in the coming week.
The Jets continue to get their ducks in a row before free agency gets underway, making a move to retain a core special teamer:
I’ll be delighted if Bellore is back on the roster next year. Bellore was one of the Jets’ best three special teamers last year and the Jets have already addressed the other two, by franchising kicker Nick Folk and re-signing Ellis Lankster.
Any other team could sign Bellore to an offer sheet by May 2nd, which the Jets would then have the option to match (with five days to decide). As he was undrafted, there is no compensation involved. He could agree to a long-term deal with the Jets in the meantime, but if he simply remains on the tender he’ll be under contract for this year at $1.431m and then an unrestricted free agent this time next year.
Bellore, still only 24, has only played sparingly on defense (18 snaps) over the course of his three seasons in the league, but has made some promising plays in preseason. 44 of his 46 career tackles were on special teams. Incidentally, I think the tackle total in the above tweet is a typo because he only had 17 total tackles last year, according to NFL.com.
Isaiah Trufant and Garrett McIntyre are also restricted free agents. We’re still awaiting confirmation as to whether either will be tendered.