I don’t expect Michael Vick to be back in Philadelphia…And then he’s gonna have to decide what’s the best circumstance for him moving forward. I think the Jets will be in play. … I definitely think the Jets will have some level of interest in Michael Vick. Definitely.”
- Adam Schefter, speaking on the Ross Tucker Podcast (Source: Rotoworld)
Having reported earlier that it’s being reported that Bills safety Jairus Byrd is going to hit the open market, it looks like another top defensive free agent could be joining him. Jason La Canfora from CBS Sports reports:
[Washington] are unlikely to tag Brian Orakpo, according to league sources.
The 27-year old former first round pick is regarded by most experts as the top unrestricted free agent pass rusher. Other than in 2012, when his season was cut short by a torn pectoral muscle, Orakpo’s pass rushing numbers have been extremely consistent with at least eight sacks in each of his other four seasons and 38.5 in total over those four years. He had 10 sacks and his first career touchdown in 2013. He’s not bad against the run, either.
Bent, TheJetsBlog.comI outlined my thoughts on which needs I’d like to see the Jets allocate their resources to in the offseason in the Jairus Byrd post earlier. Pass rusher was not one of them. However, if the Jets were going to make a big money move in free agency, I’d be more on board with upgrading the pass rush rather than the free safety position. Orakpo would definitely be an immediate upgrade over Calvin Pace, not just in 2014 but also over the next five years or so.
If Byrd is going to command close to $10m, you can expect Orakpo to command at least a few million more than him. I’m not sure the Jets will target Orakpo, who could still get an extension from Washington although La Canfora has described the sides as “not close”. However, if the Jets did manage to land Orakpo, that would give them a front seven that would terrify offenses.
Let us know if you agree or disagree in the comments!
Buffalo radio station WGR 550 has some breaking news on the player most feel is the top unrestricted free agent safety this year:
According to a source, the Bills and Jairus Byrd may be parting ways soon. Byrd is set to become an unrestricted free agent, and the team has until Monday at 4 pm to place the franchise tag on their star safety. I’m told that it’s unlikely they’ll use the tag and that it’s unlikely they’ll reach an agreement before that time.
The 27-year old Byrd is regarded as one of the top deep safeties in the league, but the expectation had been that he’d be franchised. He intercepted four passes last season with the Bills, who drafted him in the second round in 2009.
Bent, TheJetsBlog.comByrd is definitely one of the better center fielders in the league and the Jets certainly have the cap space to bid for him, but how much of an upgrade would that provide? They received competent-to-good play from their free safeties last year at a fraction of the price, so the question becomes whether the additional investment in a player like Byrd is worth the impact he would have on their defense, or would spending the money elsewhere give you more “bang for your buck”?
Regular readers will recall that I was strongly against bringing back LaRon Landry at $6m+ because I felt they could spend a fraction of that amount without downgrading their defense too significantly (and I’d suggest that’s the way things played out). While I do prefer Byrd to Landry (for many reasons, including his coverage skills and Landry’s recklessness), both have had health issues in the past, which should also be a consideration.
The Jets do have Dawan Landry under contract for $1.5m next year and their young crop of safeties (Antonio Allen, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Josh Bush and Rontez Miles) have all displayed varying degrees of promise and are all also still under contract. In addition, Ed Reed – whose late season performances once he settled into his role had a positive effect upon rookie cornerback Dee Milliner – is a free agent who has expressed a desire to return, again presumably at a low cost.
On the basis of the top safety contracts, Byrd could be seeking somewhere close to $10m per year. A quick review of that list does appear to show that hardly any of the teams spending significant money on the safety position are among the league’s elite.
I know many people, including Bassett, see the safety position as a major need, but my preference would to be to allocate resources to upgrading at cornerback, receiver, tight end and offensive line and just bring back Reed.
Let us know if you agree or disagree in the comments!
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Over at ESPN New York, Rich Cimini ranks the Jets’ free agents. However, this is more than just a list because it includes speculation – some informed, some assumed – about where they are with each of these guys.
Among the things Cimini notes are the following:
- Adam Caplan tweeted that Austin Howard could get $7m per year on the open market as the Jets try to finalize his deal
- The Jets would like Leger Douzable and Ellis Lankster back
- Willie Colon and Ed Reed are respectively classified as looking like “a fallback” and a potential “emergency pickup down the road”
- There’s “a chance” Josh Mauga and/or Lex Hilliard could be back and Aaron Berry “could be a post-draft option”
- He suggests five other free agents (Josh Cribbs, Darius Reynaud, David Garrard, Vladimir Ducasse and Kellen Winslow) are unlikely to be back
- He reiterates previous reports that there is interest in bringing back Calvin Pace and Jeff Cumberland
Read the whole article to see his full thoughts on each of these.
Bent, TheJetsBlog.comIn a video blog the other day Cimini predicted that Cumberland, Folk and Howard would all be re-signed before March 11th. However, in this article, he correctly notes that Folk (and Pace) cannot sign with the team until the free agency signing period begins because each qualified for the vested veterans exception last year. That exception means that the cap hit for a player earning the minimum with more than four credited season will be limited to the equivalent of a minimum salary for a player with just two credited seasons. Essentially, this reduced the cap hit for each of them to $620K last year, even though their actual salary was higher than that. Sometimes teams will forego this cap reduction in order to retain the option to negotiate before the following league year by paying $1 over the minimum. Folk was of course franchised instead, although that could in theory just be a placeholder for a longer term deal.
Following the combine, the Jets are in negotiations with a few players and have will obviously met with representatives for some of the others at the combine where they would have discussed where talks will pick up down the road. At some point, they may make offers, which the player concerned will either sign or reconsider once they have had a chance to test the market.
Many of these free agents won’t receive deals much bigger than the minimum, so it won’t cost much in terms of cap space to keep some of these guys on the team.
Clearly Folk and Howard are the top priorities for the Jets, but in terms of free agents I’d like to see return, Reed, Colon and Douzable are high on my list. Douzable already suggested he is going to test the market, whereas Reed and Colon expressed a desire to return at the end of last season. I’d also stress the importance of bringing back Lankster (and restricted free agent Nick Bellore) for a special teams unit that struggled last year and can’t afford to lose their tremendous under-the-radar contributions.
News broke today of an interesting development in the Jimmy Graham saga. For those not keeping score at home, the Saints placed their franchise tag on their pro bowl tight end earlier this week, albeit with the looming threat of Graham filing a grievance to say that he should be treated as a wide receiver and therefore receive a higher sum. The Saints don’t have a very good cap situation, so they will have been relieved to hear the recent news of recent cap hikes, which might mean they’re well positioned to extend him long term. The latest development is an interesting one though…
This would allow a team to negotiate with Graham and, although the Saints could match the offer, if they chose not to they would lose him and receive draft pick compensation instead. It opens up the possibility that a team with more cap space than the Saints could offer him a contract with front-loaded cap hits that could be difficult for them to match.
So what do you reckon, Jets fans? Would it be worth a shot? Answer the poll below and elaborate in the comments.
Corey Griffin and Brian Bassett chatted all thing New York Jets and answered questions from fans and readers during Friday’s Spreecast.
The Jets officially announced that they have placed the franchise tag on free agent placekicker Nick Folk.
The value of the tag is likely to be approximately $3m.
Bent, TheJetsBlog.comEarlier in the offseason, I was asked if the Jets could place the franchise tag on Folk and my response was this: “No chance”. Shows what I know!
It’s possible the Jets could have put this down as a placeholder so that negotiations on a longer term deal can continue beyond the start of the league year, which is what they did with David Harris back in 2011. Ordinarily I’d say that $3m is decent money for a kicker, so Folk should choose to take the money this year and hit unrestricted free agency again in 12 months, but there have been a few bigger kicker contracts dished out recently. Carolina kicker Graham Gano got a four year deal that averages more than that earlier today, so it did start to look like things might be headed in this direction.
I’m not generally a fan of the franchise tag, other than as a mechanism to extend negotiations or facilitate a trade, because of the lack of flexibility a one-year deal provides. However, with the recent reports of the rising salary cap, I don’t think cap flexibility will be a concern for this team for a few years.
If the Jets were to negotiate a longer term deal with Folk, they would definitely need to guarantee more than the amount of the franchise tender to get Folk and his agents to sign. That could in theory reduce Folk’s cap number for the 2014 season, although that’s not necessarily a primary concern.