New York Jets – 2014 Off-Season Checklist 1.0

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This off-season will provide General Manager John Idzik an opportunity to make his imprint on the New York Jets. Flush with cap space (likely somewhere between 40-50 million dollars) and draft picks (likely 12 total after compensatory selections are handed out), Idzik will have the assets to address the team’s many roster holes. Let’s take an initial inventory of the Jets needs, position by position and examine how they could potentially attack their weaknesses.

QUARTERBACK

Geno Smith had an overall rough rookie season. The numbers don’t lie (55.8 completion percentage, 12 touchdown passes, 21 interceptions). However, Smith played substantially better in the team’s final four games, showing an ability to bounce back after a brutal stretch of football in the middle of the season. In the season’s final quarter, Smith protected the football, showed an increased willingness to use his legs (he finished with a highly impressive 366 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns) and a better ability to read defenses. It is fair to think that with a full off-season with the same offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, along with improved skill position players around him he will take major strides in year two. It would take a surprising turn of events for him not to be under center in week 1 of the 2014 season.

That being said, the Jets must improve their depth chart at quarterback. Smith needs to be pushed in training camp by a proven veteran and potentially another draft pick. I don’t anticipate the Jets adding a quarterback in the first round unless somebody falls into their laps at #18 that they simply cannot pass on. However, I think quarterback will be looked at long and hard in the middle of rounds, especially with all the extra draft picks. As for veterans, we aren’t sure exactly what the market will shape up to being yet but players like Matt Schaub, Mike Vick and Chad Henne will be out there, along with potentially Kyle Orton, Matt Cassel and maybe even Jake Locker.

Mark Sanchez is likely going to be cut before March 25th (when 2 million of his contract becomes guaranteed). Some people have raised the notion of him restructuring and coming back. I just don’t see it. I think the ship has sailed on both sides of the relationship and it is time for him to move on, which I think the Jets new front office will happily oblige. Matt Simms should be back in camp competing for a roster spot with a draft pick or an undrafted free agent, while David Garrard could be back with the team as a coach in 2014.

WIDE RECEIVER

Santonio Holmes will be cut sooner, rather than later and likely walk into a very limited free agent marketplace for his services. The Jets would be wise to extend Jeremy Kerley now before he enters the final season of his contract. Kerley is a consistently productive player who showed good chemistry with Smtih. He can be lethal in the slot with some actual weapons on the outside of him. David Nelson will be back next year, likely as a rotational 3rd/4th receiver. He played well for the Jets in 2013 and is a valuable, reliable receiver to keep on the depth chart. Stephen Hill will be back but should be doing nothing more than competing for a roster spot or a limited role as a deep threat. Do not be surprised if the Jets attempt shopping him around for a late round draft pick or another receiver. This front office and offensive coordinator didn’t draft him. Similar to how Jonathan Baldwin and AJ Jenkins were moved last summer, the Jets may simply cut bait on the so far disappointing second round pick.

Clyde Gates and Greg Salas could be brought back into camp next year but I wouldn’t maintain any type of expectations for either. The Jets need to aggressively attack their weakness at receiver this off-season, both through free agency and the draft. Hakeem Nicks, Anquan Boldin, Golden Tate, Eric Decker, James Jones and Jeremy Maclin headline an intriguing and reasonably talented group of free agents. The Jets would be wise to avoid overpaying for Nicks, who has injury and attitude baggage. Maclin may be able to be had on the cheap, since he is coming off surgery and is already familiar with Marty Mornhinweg’s offense. Decker is likely to return to Denver and it is fair to wonder how he’d produce away from Demaryius Thomas and Peyton Manning. Tate or Jones deserve serious consideration, as both could be productive starters for the next 3-5 seasons, particularly Tate who is coming off a career year in Seattle.

The NFL Draft is loaded with talent at wide receiver this year. Expect many mock drafts to link the Jets to a first round name like Mike Evans of Texas A&M or Marquise Lee of USC. While it is always smart to stick with taking the best player on the board, regardless of the position, the Jets do need to give a little bit of priority to wide receiver and tight end. They cannot continue to function with groups of retreads and substandard talents rotating through at both positions. We’ve said this before and haven’t seen it come to fruition but considering their quantity of picks, it would be very surprising to see the Jets not add at least two receivers this April.

TIGHT END

If you don’t see a mock draft with the Jets taking a wide receiver with the 18th overall pick, it will likely have them taking a tight end. The position needs to be addressed and it would be nice to provide a young talent at the position to Geno Smith or whoever is under center. Kellen Winslow Jr could be brought back on a one year deal and he has value in a situational role. It is time to let Jeff Cumberland walk, considering he hasn’t progressed as a blocker and is still inconsistent catching the football. Zach Sudfeld is a more intriguing young tight end to keep around and could be a valuable role player next season. Again, we’ve said this before and been let down but do not be surprised if the Jets spend one of their first few draft picks on a tight end.

In free agency, maybe a veteran like Brandon Pettigrew or Fred Davis could be considered for depth. I wouldn’t waste your time getting excited about JImmy Graham. He isn’t going anywhere.

OFFENSIVE LINE

The Jets offensive line had their share of struggles throughout the 2013 season. Left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson had an inconsistent year and is no longer a top tier player at his position. Nick Mangold was relatively steady but is also no longer the All-Pro caliber player he was from 2008-2010. Rookie Brian Winters finished the season strong but had a very rough middle patch of the season. However, it should be remembered that he was a tackle at a small school in college and missed most of training camp and the pre-season with injuries. He should improve substantially with a full off-season under his belt at his new position. Willie Colon gave the Jets 16 solid starts at the other guard spot. Austin Howard was the star of the group in 2013 and earned himself a new contract from the Jets, which should be one of John Idzik’s first orders of business this off-season.

Despite their struggles, expecting any type of major overhaul is probably unrealistic. Colon tore his biceps in the Jets week 17 win, which may actually help the Jets get him back on another short term, affordable contract. If Winters takes the strides he should this off-season, he will likely be the opening day starter at one guard spot. Ferguson may be approached about restructuring his deal but ultimately the money sunk into him and Mangold basically guarantee their return in 2014. As previously mentioned, Howard is looking at a new long term contract from the team.

The Jets would be wise to add insurance at guard by examining low-cost players with some starting experience. A few names to watch could be Travelle Wharton, Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah. However, it wouldn’t be shocking if the Jets didn’t just return their five starting lineman but also three of their backups. The team invested draft picks on Oday Aboushi and Will Campbell last year and kept them on the 53 man roster all season, the same goes for Ben Ijalana who was signed off waivers right before the regular season. Considering the pick and time investment, it is reasonable to assume the Jets think they have long term potential to be both backups and starters. Dalton Freeman was also promising in training camp last year before suffering a season ending injury. Ultimately, the Jets top 9 or 10 offensive lineman may not look that different in 2014 than they did in 2013.

DEFENSIVE LINE

The Jets first move this off-season should be giving Muhamamd Wilkerson a long term contract extension, so he avoids playing in the final year of his contract. Wilkerson was 2nd team All-Pro this season and is the team’s best overall player. With the cap space available, the Jets should properly reward him.

Damon Harrison, Quinton Coples, Kenrick Ellis and Sheldon Richardson will all be back next season on their current deals, to help round out one of the league’s best defensive lines…if not the league’s best. Leger Douzable is a free agent and had a very nice season for the team in 2013. The Jets will likely attempt to bring him back but it is fair to wonder if another team will offer him more money and more extensive playing time. If the Jets do bring Douzable back, they could consider floating Ellis in a potential trade. With the emergence of Harrison, Ellis has seen his role shrunk but remains an intriguing talent who could easily start elsewhere.

The Jets have drafted a defensive lineman in the first round the past three seasons and we are willing to bet the streak is broken this season.

LINEBACKER

The Jets are still need of a full time pass rushing outside linebacker. Quinton Coples is listed as an outside linebacker but is really more of a defensive lineman in the Jets scheme. Calvin Pace had a career year statistically in 2013 and is a valuable player but obviously isn’t the long term answer. It is likely Pace will be back on a one year deal, perhaps for a little more than the minimum after he locked up 10 sacks last season. Antwan Barnes will be back from injury but isn’t more than a situational pass rusher. It will be interesting to see if the Jets make a run for either Brian Orakpo or Jason Worilds of the Steelers, especially with the amount of money they have free. The Jets are also in a position to consider pass rush options off the edge with one of their early draft picks, if not one of their extra mid-round compensatory selections.

At inside linebacker, David Harris is overpaid but had a nice bounce back season in 2013. He still struggles in coverage but is solid against the run and in defending the screen game. The Jets may approach him about a restructure but he will back as a starter in 2014. Demario Davis had a decent sophomore season but similar to Harris is a liability in coverage. He is likely to be back as a starter but the Jets may invest a mid-round pick on another inside linebacker, if not explore adding a little depth in free agency.

CORNERBACK

This is an interesting position for the Jets this off-season. Without question, Antonio Cromartie will be released at his current price tag (about 9 million). Yet, there is a chance they could bring him back on a restructured deal and hope that with a healthy hip, he will improve in 2014. There is talent on free agent market if the Jets want to go a different direction. Brent Grimes, Alterraun Verner, Aqib Talib are top level free agents who could step into starting roles immediately opposite of Dee Milliner. The Jets could also target second or three tier options like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Vontae Davis, or Sam Shields to compete with Cromartie if he is brought back on a cheaper deal.

Kyle Wilson is likely to be back as the nickel corner and Darrin Walls is talented player who deserves a longer look from the coaching staff. Overall, the Jets would be wise to add another veteran to their group of corners and consider using one of their extra mid-round picks for a developmental player.

SAFETY

The Jets are overdue to make a big investment at this position. Both Jarius Byrd and TJ Ward are Pro-Bowl talents who will be on the market and the team should consider making a run at one of them. Antonio Allen played well enough to merit a starting job in 2014 but the team could do better than Dawan Landry and a beaten down Ed Reed playing major reps. There is a push among some to bring Reed back because of his influence on the young defensive backs, particularly Dee Milliner. However, can Rex Ryan help himself? Reed shouldn’t be playing more than 10-20 snaps per game this point of his career and if he is around, can Rex properly give the starting job to Allen and use Reed in that manner? I wouldn’t bet on Reed being back but crazier things have happened. Regardless, it is time to invest at safety and stop starting retreads from the Jaguars and Texans.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Nick Folk has more than earned a multi-year commitment from the Jets, which will likely be one of their first moves this off-season. Ryan Quigley will likely be pushed by another punter in camp next year, which is fine. Tanner Purdum is a steady long snapper. The Jets need to figure out their kick and punt returning situation, which was a bit of a mess this season. Let’s see what they come up with in the draft and if nobody is stepping up in the summer, they could also bring Josh Cribbs back on a low cost deal.

1.0 Approach To The Off-Season (What I’d do, not necessarily what I think will happen)

- Cut Santonio Holmes

- Cut Mark Sanchez

- Cut Antonio Cromartie

- Extend Muhammad WIlkerson

- Re-Sign Austin Howard

- Extend Jeremy Kerley

- Re-Sign Nick Folk

- Re-Sign Leger Douzable

- Re-Sign Calvin Pace

- Explore trading Kenrick Ellis for a 5th or 6th round pick.

- Explore trading Stephen Hill for another team’s struggling young project receiver. Nick Toon of the Saints?

- Let Jeff Cumberland and Ed Reed walk.

- Gear up to make a big free agency run at Golden Tate or Jeremy Maclin, TJ Ward or Jarius Byrd. Also prepare to pursue for Jason Worilds and Vontae Davis. Bring Antonio Cromartie back on a low cost deal. Explore adding a low cost guard with starting experience.

- Add a veteran quarterback with previous starting experience, potentially Matt Schaub (depending on price), Shaun Hill or Chad Henne.

- Stick with taking the best player available in the draft, with a priority on locating a TE and WR in the early rounds.

27 thoughts on “New York Jets – 2014 Off-Season Checklist 1.0

  1. Love it. But the one interesting trade I think you could do with Stephen Hill is send him to the Rams for Steadman Bailey. The Rams get another deep threat, and the Jets get Geno’s favorite college receiver.

  2. Joe, one question we do realize Stephen Hill is only 22 years old, right? We all have to admit in pre-season and in the first 4 games of the season he played at a decent level. Injuries caught up with him for the 2nd straight year. Given a full off-season and if we can get him past rehabbing and really working at his craft without limits, I feel he can be a Alvin Harper, Wilie Gault type deep threat.

    Will Hill ever be Calvin Johnson or Demaryuis Thomas? Not likely but he can develop into a solid player. But he is only 22 years old. Give him a chance he has a really good chance to be a solid player and the deep threat we need.

    We should Cut David Harris as well and pursue Dansby. If we are going to pay a ILB millions it should be on a true 3-down player. If we got Dansby and then Verner or Shields (I prefer them because of their age Verner 25 and Shields just turned 26 less than a month ago. That way you have really solid players on the outside to team with Milliner for the next 5 years. Safety, I think is way overblown. A combo of Allen, Landry and Reed is still as good or better than Leonhard, Pool and Smith (We were the number 3 defense in the entire league).

    On offense, I agree Boldin is a good selection. I personally would because he is a 2 year deal and gives a then 24 year old Hill the ability to learn and take over when his contract expires. We draft the eventual number one WR in the draft Lee, Watkins, or Evans. OR if we opt to wait until the second round to go WR you can draft Benjamin and give him time to develop as well.

    Lastly, a TE is a good selection in either 1 or 2. Round one Ebron or Amaro. Round 2 Seferian Jenkins would be a solid pick. Excellent Size and very good production as a Freshman and Soph.

    I think this would lay a solid foundation for the future of the Jets.

  3. I agree with 99% of this. The only thing I’d be hesitant to do is trade away depth on the D-line (Kenrick Ellis). All it takes is an injury or two for a strength to become a weakness. Kenrick Ellis has played very well in his limited snaps. He’s also not very expensive. I’d think long and hard before parting with him for a mid to low round draft pick.

    Excellent article as usual!

  4. They have to lose Hill, trade him for anything or cut him. Hate to lose Eliis but he’s probably valuable as a trade for picks like you said. Great article!!!

  5. It is a fair point on Hill. Although his early season production was a bit deceiving because it all really came in one game against Justin Rogers of BUF, who is already out of the NFL. However, ultimately I do think the Jets will hang on to Hill and give him a limited role as a deep threat this season. I only see him playing 10-15 snaps per game as I expect to see him buried behind Kerley, Nelson, a FA signing and a draft pick on the depth chart.

  6. Great Article!! Spot on as usual. I think Hill and Ellis should be back though, for depth if nothing else.

    Hope they can get TE and WRs in draft and address S,CB, and a quality WR in free agency. I’m sure they’ll draft another G in draft too. Should be an interesting off-season..alot to build on

  7. Ellis for a possibly a 6th??? Get out… he provides great depth and is cheap… also he is one of the highest rated d lineman on a per snap basis by PFf… we invested a 3rd in him, i don’t get that one

  8. Agree w the comments on Ellis…he’s a good cheap back-up who we need. Investing a 3rd & getting a 5th is useless…I don’t understand why they would do that.

    I also love the idea of Stedman coming over. I would have been ticked link if we ended up w Tavon & Geno (full disclosure…I’m WVU alum). I can’t imagine Stedman being any worse than Hill. While it’s similar to the Ellis argument about trading a higher pick for a lower one, at least you know what you’re getting vs a random 5th/6th rd pick.

    Also on Hill…would we keep a 5th WR who wouldn’t play specials? I can’t really see him on specials. He’ll break down even faster w all the extra contact probably.

  9. i guess we see the same guy differently but the jets are gonna bring back jeff and let winslow walk. i like what i see from jeff he just needs to be more consistent and he is still a young player unlike winslow who is in his thirties and his health is still an issue. i dont see the jets going for a top tier corner in free agency espcially if they restructure cro’s deal and i def dont see them going for a top tier saftey not because we dont need one cause we do but because of the money so expect to see the same starters next year and they r probably gonna bring back reed other then that i agree with every thing else.

  10. Is Walls a free agent ? if so sign him on the cheap he has talent , I’d do Hill for Steadman maybe shotty convinces Rams to do it ..Do not trade Ellis

    Why not Orapko as OLB free agent signing ? Draft TE, WR, OLB ,WR, G in some order

  11. Joe..nice write up. If you care:

    QB–I like that Rex/Idzik aren’t guaranteeing Geno anything, but unless they were to make a run at Locker or an unforseen trade, he’s going to start. Of all the guys you mention, Vick played for Marty and has a simliar skill set, and might be a good back up for Geno.

    WR-I bet Holmes finds a home with a good team. I could see NE taking him on a flier. When engaged and healthy he’s a very good number 2. I think Brady would be able to control him, and get the mose out of him.
    A number of top WR ‘got it’ in year 3. You point to Hill’s production coming in that Buffalo game, but I thought he played well in the first NE game. I thought after coming back from the concussion, vs Tenn, he was invisible for the majority of the Atl game, but came through with 2 big catches, over the middle, in traffic on the winning drive. He also made one of the toughest catches of the year, vs Pittsburgh, when Polamalu laid him out. That said, I understand your concern. Whether it’s injuries, work ethic or an ability to play the position he needs to make a big impression next year. I wouldn’t trade him for a low round pick. They will have enough of those. I know Idzik didn’t pick him, but he’s not expensive and does have the height/speed ratio found in many top WR. The position needs to be addressed. I like what I’ve seen from Evans. He’s 20, and has only been playing football since his Sr yr in HS. He goes up for the ball, and is simply a physical mismatch for anyone he will play against. As for FA, Maclin does make some sense, but after seeing Griffin/Revis not be back to full speed following ACL surgery, I wouldn’t take a chance on him as a starter, and he’ll want starter money. I hate Golden Tate. He’s not that fast and he’s 5’10″. Just look at the top 20WR and you’ll see big guys, not small ones.

    TE-I would back up the truck for Graham. He’s a game changing talent, who would immediately make things easier on Kerley and whoever is on the outside. Just imagine if they had him, and got Evans. They could be the NFL answer to the NBAs ‘Lob City Clippers’!

    OLine-I think you’re being too hard on ‘Brick. He had a bad year, plain and simple. He’s only 30. He’s never had a major injury and the past 2 years he’s had 3 different guys playing to his right. One is not NFL caliber. One the NYJ whiffed by letting him get away (Slauson). The third is the small school rookie. I expect both ‘Brick and Mangold to be top tier players at their position next year, but drafting some big boys, in the mid rounds is certainly a good move to build depth and develop the future.

    DLine-trading Ellis for a 5th or 6th, when they’ll likely have 12 picks isnt’ smart, IMO. Packaging him with a pick for a better pick or established player would be a better tact. This guy would start on a lot of other teams. With 12 picks, expect Rex/Idzik to find another big body to develop, ala Harrison.

    LB-Karlos Dansby is 32. When he left Az, for Miami, he never panned out. No, Harris is overpaid, but he knows the defense, is a great character guy and a solid player. You can’t have All-Pros everywhere. If the NYJ make some moves where they need cap room, then they’ll likely ask him to restructure and take a pay cut. If they don’t need the money, fans shouldn’t have an issue with him. I love the possibility of going after Orakpo who is a true edge, pass rushing LB. I think using their cap space to make impactful signings is huge.

    Safety–TJ Ward is restricted, and I expect Cleveland to keep him, but Byrd is a nice player. I still think they should consider cutting and resigning Cro and moving him to FS. He has the skill set and range to play the position. At 30, it would also be easier on his body and allow him to return kicks/punts, where we lack anyone with the open field explosiveness to have success. Allen can play SS and finding a S, in the draft in rounds 3-4 would allow them time to develop.

    CB-After they move Cro to Safety and Tampa cuts Revis, bring him back. When I look at all the other names you listed, there are faults with all them. With Revis, you get what you pay for. If he’s healthy, Woody knows he performs. It’s a business and Woody shouldn’t force Idzik/Rex to look away because of personal pride. Even if they didn’t move Cro to FS, I’d rather have Revis than him. He will be cut. He’s making 36% more, APY, than the average of the next 3 CBs. No other highest paid player, at their position, is even at 10%. No way a rebuilding team with 2 All Pro defensive players (McCoy and David), who will be looking for new contracts, can allow that type of disparity to occur.

    You bring in Orakpo and Revis (if you can’t get Graham), the defense will be stellar. All Geno will have to do is be December Geno and the team will make the playoffs. If he improves and you draft some impact WR, they’ll be set up for a nice run..methinks..

    HNY Jet fans!

  12. @shanft, I honestly thought the same thing while reading the article. Stedman Bailey!

    The only problem is that the Rams really like this kid. They drafted him earlier than he was initially projected to go after already taking a receiver early. On top of that he has produced in every opportunity he has had on the field. (both off-season and regular season).

    Hill on the other hand has battled injuries and not shown signs of improvement. If the Rams wanted him they could probably wait for him to get cut.

    Summary: I would love trading Hill for Bailey, but the Rams would not do it.

  13. Most of the moves (not all) proposed are good, but they are too many, cohesion and continuity would suffer, and some are way too risky.
    First you cannot invest serious money on a safety, especially when what you have is more than adequate.
    Second, I would not let Cumberland or Reed walk; I would resign both.
    Third, there is no way that I would trade Kenrick Ellis for a 5th rounder.
    Fourth, on free agency I would focus on three positions; cornerback (e.g. Vontae Davis) to replace Cromartie; on a number 1 wide receiver (e.g. Hakim Nicks) and a veteran QB (e.g. Shaun Hill of the Lions).
    Now if we can draft TE Jace Amaro in the first round and Devante Adams or Brandin Cooks in the second round, the team will be solid.
    Note: I would like the team to draft early in the third round (if available) either Tajh Boyd or Zach Mettenberger.

  14. I wrote up a long, complicated analysis of the roster, unit by unit, but that is the wrong approach. This can be simplified.

    The 2014 Jets roster has the same problem it had last year: big contracts with players on the decline and not enough ascending, productive players worth a contract that would establish them as our foundation. The roster consists largely of aging veterans and developing players. But this year, we have enough money to start addressing these issues.

    First, Cromartie, Sanchez, Ferguson, Holmes, Mangold, and Harris have the highest salary cap hits in 2014 and all of them need to have their contracts renegotiated at the very least. Ferguson and Mangold are waning players, who cannot be cut because of the money tied up in their contracts, but still constitute part of the core of this team. We cannot lower their salaries, but we can give them more job security and an extra year’s extention to spread out their prorated bonus over five years. Even spread out evenly, we clear up $4.2 million this year, more than enough to resign Colon or even Howard. Ferguson and Mangold keep their line stable, get more job security, while we get the money to resign a major contributor, and start to transition Nick and Brick to lower-end contracts. Harris and Cromartie are both in the last year of their contracts and the cap savings from cutting them give the Jets a lot of leverage. If Cromartie’s struggles were because of his hip and he can get healthy, we can get a few more productive years out of both of them, so we lower their salaries significantly and plan to find long-term replacements in the next two years. If Cromartie cannot get back to form, then we cut him and get another corner in FA. Sanchez and Holmes are cuts. We need a proven veteran to compete with Geno and Sanchez got hurt before he could prove himself; it is better for both sides to part ways. Holmes has not been productive enough in his time here to keep him as a starting receiver and it is better for him to find another roster than be a backup. In the worst case scenario, should all other FA acquisitions fall through, we can try and resign both, if they are still available.

    That brings us to a discussion of the new foundation players. Wilkerson is an obvious one and must be locked up long-term. Howard can be resigned with the money saved from renegotiating Ferguson’s and Mangold’s contracts. Ivory is already under contract. Kerley can get extended. Folk should be resigned. Beyond that, crickets.

    There are some players that are entering the final year of their contract that might seem to deserve extentions, but they need to prove their worth. Kyle Wilson and Bilal Powell have been marginal players who need to show that they are worth greater investment. Landry, Nelson, and Green are journeymen. The two biggest names on this list are Harrison and Ellis. Neither has a body of work over a single season. There are several interesting dimensions with them: they can rarely be on the field at the same time; it would be foolhardy to extend either one with their limited time on the field; they are going to charge a premium next year if they keep up their level of play; you cannot keep both past this year; the best time to trade one is in this offseason, before rosters solidify. Harrison, or whichever you go with as your starter, needs to show that he can play at the same level for two years straight. Then, he will be worth every dollar you give him. For holding on to Ellis, he leaves in 2015, and we likely get a fifth-round compensatory pick in 2016. It is better to trade him for a player of need or a high draft pick and replace him with a more developmental player.

    Most of the salary cap itself needs to go to good free agents who will form the identity of our team for the next few years. A wide receiver – we do not have productive ones. An outside linebacker – 34-year-old Pace is our most productive linebacker. A tight end – Cumberland is inconsistent and Winslow consistently misses games. Maybe a free safety – someone to finally stop the deep ball. We cannot go crazy and get everyone, but we need to plug needs. Most of our cap space should go to supplementing this core. With the remainder, we need to balance cost and talent. A veteran QB that does not demand a lot of money ($4.5 million max). Some cheap depth signings. Perhaps a starter or two whose cost are diminished by risk.

    Finally, we come to the free agents we should retain. Ducasse has to go. Pace got ten sacks, but we all know it was because he was always the last person accounted for by the pass protection. He may generate more attention this offseason, but we do not want to fight for him. Douzable is a nice backup, but someone will probably offer to pay him starter money. Garrard may not be able to play anymore. Cumberland and Winslow should be allowed to hit free agency; you can resign one if your other options fall through. You need to evaluate Reed and maybe resign him on a veteran’s minimum. Cribbs and Reynaud should be let go, but you should keep a tab on Cribbs in case you need a return man. Berry, Mauga, Simms, and Lankster should be invited back to camp on minimal contracts. The only RFA you might consider tendering is Walls, but only so that you have the right of first refusal.

    In the draft, analyze players by talent and fit and go with the best player available. All draft picks, even the ones that start, are developmental players and should not be relied on to be productive. For that, you have to rely on the core talent that you have collected.

    @Lidman

    Evans is not a mismatch against everybody. You can rewatch the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and see him get owned by Ross Cockrell. Who is Ross Cockrell? Exactly. He is 6’0″, 190 lbs., plays number 6 for Duke, and is ranked as the 14th corner eligible for the 2014 draft.

    In the biggest game of his college career, in which his team had to come back from behind, Evans was limited to four receptions for 72 yards and had two personal fouls for thirty yards, the first for arguing with a ref when Evans thought a flag should be thrown, the second a few plays later from the same ref for what he determined as shoving Cockrell after the play. More importantly, Manziel had eight incompletions in this game: three or four were to Evans in the first quarter, as Evans got outmaneuvered and outmuscled by a 6-foot, 190-pound corner.

  15. I would trade Hill for a 6th rounder, before I would trade Ellis for a 6. As others have said, one injury and depth is gone – right now DL is a strength – Ellis is cheap insurance that it stays that way. Once we get another true edge rushing LB, Coples will be DL depth also – Do we trade him for a 5th?

  16. Kash

    You pick 1 game on Evans and that’s what we are supposed to go on? Did you know that Calvin Johnson, the best WR on the planet, went 4/37 against Minny in week 1, 4/44 against Chicago in week 4, 3 for 25 against Cleveland in week 6 and 3 for 43 against NYG in week 15, with at least 3 big drops in his most important game of the year.

    I’d argue that Evans’ bowl game was just another game, rather than the ‘biggest game of his college career’. He wasn’t playing for a national title and he wasn’t playing against his stiffest competition. In fact, I’d argue his ‘biggest game of the year’ was when both A&M and ‘Bama were 2-0 going into their 9/14 game. The loser of this game clearly would be at a disadvantage. Now, A&M did lose. Evans did OK though: 7 for 279 and 1TD against the team that spent every week of the season, until the SEC title game, at number 1. Oh, and as a follow up, against the Auburn Tigers, who will play for a National Title on Monday, he went 11 for 287 and 4TDs. So, against the best competition he played this season, he averaged over 280 receiving yards. As for his game against Duke, he was doubled the entire game, but if 4 for 72 is a ‘bad day’, I’ll take it. A&M still scored 52pts, with Manziel throwing for 382. So, Evans didn’t have his biggest day, but you can bet the extra attention he received opened things up for his teammates. You should have pointed out how he went 4 for 8 (yes, 4 for 8) against Mizzou, if you wanted to illustrate he’s not a God.

    Guys have bad games Kash….it happens.

    Donte Moncrief in round 3-4!!!!

  17. Remind me, who are the corners for Auburn? I know for Alabama, it’s Kirkpatrick and Milliner. Oops, that was two years ago.

    Alabama has lost starters in its secondary for several drafts in a row now. Evans’s biggest game was the equivalent of Hill going against Justin Rogers. He put up nice stats, but who was he up against?

    Evans has had good games against players either too young or not talented enough for the NFL. The SEC this year is short on talented, NFL-level corners. Its best corner is probably EJ Gaines, who was matched up against Evans when Texas A&M played Missouri. Evans stat line from that game – 4 receptions for 8 yards. That is 2.00 YPC, in case you are wondering. Evans did not have concentration drops against Duke. Granted I could only watch the first hour, but Evans had his routes redirected and his catches knocked out by a corner that draped him like a jersey. This was a guy willing to play physical with Evans and not let him have uncontested catches. Height-wise Evans may be a mismatch. But he has had 190 pound corners out-physical him this year.

  18. Jets deficiencies:

    1 – pass coverage
    2 – possession passing
    3 – blitz protection
    4 – special teams coverage

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  22. Whatever…you’re right Alabama and Auburn suck that’s why Evans had huge games, Megatron-like games against them.
    You watched an hour of the ‘Chick-Fil-A Bowl’ and you were able to tell that Evans’ routes were redirected? Interesting, didn’t realize network TV is showing the ‘All 22′ view now. What they did point out, on that broadcast was how Duke always had him doubled, which allowed for one on one match ups for his teammates-5 different receivers had 3, or more receptions (I was stuck w/a Duke grad, so I watched the whole game). Oh, and read my comment, I pointed out the Missouri game. Finally, yeah, maybe ‘Bama doesn’t have a top CB this year, but they do have 2 Safeties, who last I checked play in the secondary ,that Evans scorched for 7/279. Like I pointed out, Megatron had some weak games this year too…it happens.

  23. LB Orakpo would be perfect, but have a gut feeling he is going to Giants or another NFC team.

    WR’s – not high on Tate. Love to have James Jones. Hakeem Knicks would be a nice move for right price. Agree Macklin would take a full year to (maybe) get back to speed, would be a good 3rd if we can sign James Jones and draft WR in 1st or 2nd Round.

    Safety- Idzik needs to find the next Reed/Polomolo.

    CB – agree with article on bringing someone in. Revis will sign with his home town Pitt before coming back to jets(by the way, NFL just said he is staying with Tampa ending that scenario).

    Trading away Kendrick Ellis for a 5th rounder is ridiculous. I say, he can be packaged to move up in draft if you want someone that bad). Hahn resign Douzable.

  24. Trade Ellis for a 5 or a 6??? Ridiculous! You must be a Belicheck spy. He’s a 3rd rounder who turned into a top NT. He would start almost anywhere else in the league and dominate.

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  26. I would love the jets to draft Ebron they In the second draft allen Robinson, In the third draft Boyd. I would sign macklin. Then we would have macklin Kerley hill Robinson Nelson. N Ebron.

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