The New York Jets signed former three time Pro Bowler Josh Cribbs today, after working out the former Brown and Raider in March and October. Cribbs, a 2009 All-Pro with 11 career returns for a touchdown, is expected to add depth to the wide receiver group and will hopefully provide a boost to a special teams unit that has been searching for an adequate punt returner for what seems like an eternity. Cribbs, at times, was the Browns only offensive weapon due to his ability to dictate field position and put points on the board on kick and punt returns. With a team like the Jets, field position is huge because of how automatic Nick Folk has been this year plus the defense’s ability to get three and outs. Giving your rookie QB short fields to work with will make his and the offense’s job that much easier. Let’s breakdown the signing.
Reason to be excited
Cribbs has a career kickoff return average of 25.9, good for 11th among active leaders. His 2,154 punt return yards has him ranked 4th overall all time among active players. His 11 yards per punt return ranks him 7th all time; by comparison, New York Jets WR Jeremy Kerley is averaging 7.5 yards per punt this year. Cribbs is also averaging 17.2 yards per touch (good for 25th all time), and his aforementioned 11 non-offensive touchdowns have him ranked 5th amongst active players. When used as a running back (which he might see some time at in the Wildcat), Cribbs has averaged 5.9 yards per carry for his career. Cribbs has, also, averaged 10.7 yards per reception in his career. Cribbs has played at least 14 games during his first 8 seasons.
Reason for Pessimism
Cribbs missed the entire season last year, and wasn’t deemed healthy enough to be signed after workouts in March or October. Cribbs tore his meniscus last season, and is 30 years old. Also, Cribbs isn’t a good run blocker so you worry about whether he’ll be able to help a team that may run the ball a majority of time the rest of the way.
Another good low risk signing by John Idzik. If healthy, you get a steal that can help your return game and offense. If not, then you’re not locked in to a long term deal with a 30 year old return man. Idzik’s been forced to make signings like this so far during his tenure with the Jets. The New York Jets did their due diligence on Cribbs, and pulled the trigger in hopes that he’s still a good player.