With the Super Bowl in the rear-view mirror, the off-season rumor mill is going to pick up speed and begin to be overflowed with endless amounts of crap being thrown against the wall. Remember that before you get yourself in a huff about the Jets contemplating the possibility of trading Darrelle Revis for Alex Smith or thinking any team will have interest in Tim Tebow.
Considering the New York Jets have a new GM and it is unclear what the power dynamic in the front office will shake out to be, it is hard to project what will happen. We can discuss what needs to happen or just how many issues there truly are but there isn’t much concrete information available right now. What can we piece together at this point?
With the salary cap situation, the release of Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Eric Smith and Jason Smith is a foregone conclusion. There is also a reasonable chance that Sione Pou’ha will be cut. The team will try to trade Tim Tebow but realistically the trade market for him is non-existent, which will also likely lead to him being cut. Trade markets will similarly be gauged for Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and David Harris but there won’t be any takers. The only trade pieces teams are going to be interested in are Antonio Cromartie or Darrelle Revis.
The Jets will assess the type of offers received for both players, along with their confidence level in signing Revis long term. If it becomes clear that isn’t happening, they are taking a deal for Revis. The San Francisco 49ers are going to join the Denver Broncos at the top of the list in teams pursuing him, particularly after seeing their secondary ripped apart last night and with the knowledge they have 14 draft picks. If negotiations with Revis are more amicable, there will still be a strong market for Cromartie and the chance for the Jets to acquire a pair of mid-round picks for him.
In free agency, it is hard to see the Jets making a hard push to bring LaRon Landry back. It should become apparent early on that he will land outside of their price range. Similarly, don’t expect the Jets to give much of an effort, if any, to bring back Matt Slauson or Shonn Greene. Despite being a Restricted Free Agent, the Jets will probably do what it takes to bring Austin Howard back. The team will also look to sign Brandon Moore to a short term deal. Braylon Edwards would be smart to bring back and won’t cost much more than the veteran minimum. The same goes for Yeremiah Bell. The most interesting players to watch will be Dustin Keller and Mike DeVito.
The Jets will want to use their franchise tag on Keller, who likely isn’t going to be happy about that desire. This could turn into an ugly situation where Keller refuses to report without a new contract and the Jets look into trading him post Franchise Tag. Keller would be a nice fit in Marty Mornhinweg’s offense but the Jets aren’t going to give him a monster contract after such an injury plagued and inconsistent season. This has prolonged dispute written all over it.
DeVito is a valuable cog in the defensive line rotation because of his versatility. Yet, he might be a luxury the Jets cannot afford, particularly after spending a first round pick on Quinton Coples last year and a third round pick on Kenrick Ellis two years ago. The Jets will probably engage him aggressively in the coming weeks about returning but he might leave for more money elsewhere.
People anticipating a big name brought in at quarterback are going to be disappointed. Alex Smith is going to be out of the team’s price range and that isn’t a bad thing. Smith is going to get vastly overpaid somewhere by a team who is ignoring that he needs an elite supporting cast around him to be successful. Matt Flynn is more realistic than Smith, only because the price tag will be lower and because of Idzik’s ties with Seattle but he will still likely be out of the team’s price range and is far from a proven commodity. Expect the Jets to look at names like Tavaris Jackson, Matt Moore and Jason Campbell.
The no big name approach won’t be limited to quarterback as the Jets are going to be relegated to second tier free agent options at linebacker, wide receiver and running back as well. Don’t waste your time thinking about Reggie Bush or Greg Jennings. This doesn’t mean the Jets can’t find value but it won’t be headline players.
Draft weekend will be particularly critical for the Jets this year. The team currently has a pick in every single round, including the 9th overall selection. Hopefully, via trades they find a way to end up with a few more picks. Mid-round contributors are a must this season and is the only away depth can slowly be reestablished on this team. Heading into the summer, it will be interesting to watch “Tannenbaum era” players battle it out with new selections for the all the open jobs on the roster.
Without question the headline stories this off-season will be how the Jets approach finding competition for Mark Sanchez and how they handle Darrelle Revis. Expect to see Sanchez pitted against one of the previously mentioned veterans and a mid-round draft pick, while endless speculation swirls about how he is handling this off-season and how “open” the competition truly is. With Revis, things could move fast once we get into March. The Jets are going to have to quickly evaluate how realistic a long term deal is while a barrage of stories are leaked from both sides about contract demands and trade options. Expect a new rumor per hour on contract value and what teams are offering.
We know the Jets never give us a dull day but let’s hope these next few months are productive steps in the necessary rebuilding process.