Sanchez Should Be A Fall Back Option, Not A Scapegoat

TJ Rosenthal on the future of New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez

When the free agency period kicks off on March 1st, the New York Jets will instantly be in the market for a veteran quarterback with starting experience. One who could compete in training camp next summer with Geno Smith or simply take over due to Smith’s struggles or injury. Now assuming the Jets aren’t looking to go quarterback in the first round this April and challenge Smith with a rookie, then this decision will be one of the keys to 2014. Having a veteran backup who is both a insurance policy and viable alternative option is something the Jets have lacked under Rex Ryan. Of all the potential names at the top of the current free agent QB list only one has won four playoff games and has appeared in more than one conference championship. Don’t laugh. You guessed it. Ladies and gentleman, presenting Mark Sanchez.

Before any case can be made to include Sanchez in the very least as a fail safe possibility for the role, there can be no denying that the former USC wonder boy virtually played himself out of New York. A major part of the blame for that falls squarely on his shoulders.

Since the start of the 2011 season, when at the time the Jets readied for the ascension of their third year star into a top tier caliber quarterback who could rear 300 yard passing games when the situation called for it, Sanchez has descended instead. His QB rating was 23rd overall in 2011 and he was ranked 31st out of 32 in 2012. The last we saw of him in regular season action.

Sanchez’s high interception total and poor body language have turned much of the Jets faithful against him. So has his current contract. Former GM Mike Tannenbaum awarded Sanchez with three additional years and 40 million dollars of new money in March of 2012 almost as compensation for the public pursuit of Peyton Manning. An apology of sorts that if one read in between the lines saw the Jets trying to say “We are sorry Mark. We trust you but Peyton is a once in a lifetime player. We had to test the waters, but here. Please accept our apology and just know that we truly believe in you. We swear.” This days before adding Tim Tebow to the mix to further prove their “trust.”

Sanchez has become the symbol of the Jets fall from early Rex Ryan era grace. There was the Buttfumble. The sloppy Vine video capturing his derrière weeks prior to battling Smith in training camp for the starting job.

Then inexplicably, the senseless shoulder injury that took place in garbage time against the Giants in August that put him out for the 2013 season after he had arguably won the QB1 job albeit by default, to start week one at home against Tampa Bay. How ironic it was however to see Sanchez surrounded without protection and support from a sideline that didn’t have to insert him to win a preseason game as he went down.

After all, the case FOR not giving up on the Sanchise offered by any Sanchez apologist points to the fact that Ryan has never focused on offense, he has had three offensive coordinators in five years, questionable protection since 2010, and spotty weapons since then too that have made him look worse than he actually is.

Sanchez will most certainly be released before March to save the two million dollar bonus that keeping him would cost (Trading him would mean that another team will have to pick up his contract so don’t count on that happening). However, if his price tag after release becomes reasonable in the world of veteran backups, then bringing him back under new circumstances shouldn’t be crossed off totally as an option.

Consider five of the most coveted signal callers outside of New York set to hit the open market:

Michael Vick knows Jets OC Marty Mornhinweg from their days in Philly together. Vick is dynamic and explosive when he is able to use his legs. Now 33 though, Vick can’t stay healthy and play the style he thrives in the way he used to. Who knows if Mornhinweg is even fond of him at this point either.

Vick has also expressed a willingness to remain as a backup behind Nick Foles if no better opportunity presents itself. Are the Jets willing to let Vick compete against Smith to pry him away from Philly and if so, at a cross between starters and backup money? Vick won’t come cheap.

Matt Schaub was a force to be reckon with in Houston for prior to last season especially downfield, but can he be again in a system that emphasizes a short passing game and mobility? Schaub will head into 2014 looking for a new home to escape the tag of pick six artist. He was benched after a record breaking string of four consecutive games tossing an interception for touchdown. Now like Sanchez, the jury is out as to whether he carries emotional baggage from his own downward spiraling past into the future.

Career clipboard carrier turned pleasant surprise Josh McCown was impressive during his month long relief of injured Jay Cutler in Chicago. The Bears offense was running on all cylinders this past November much in part to McCown making rising second year star Alshon Jeffrey his primary target. McCown also benefitted from other high level pieces around him like WR Brandon Marshall and RB Matt Forte. A trio of top ten talent McCown wouldn’t exactly be walking right into as a Jet. If he even decides to return next year at all. Now 34, McCown has tossed around the notion of retiring altogether.

Josh Freeman entered the league as the new strong armed kid to keep an eye on but after last year, how many are willing to race out and grab him after his dust up with Greg Schiano in Tampa and brutal Monday night performance when he was rushed into service as a Viking? We hear the Raiders are, which given their recent track record picking quarterbacks may be enough proof that Freeman is worth avoiding altogether.

Chad Henne is well, Chad Henne. Mobile, strong armed, but can be hot and cold and unpredictable. Quite inaccurate at times too.

Career Stats:  Starter  Comp %   TD   Int  QB Rating

Mark Sanchez  33-29     55.1        68    69     71.7

Michael Vick    58-48.     56.2      128    85     80.9

Matt Schaub    46-44.     64.0      130    84    89.8

Josh MCown.  16-22       59.4         50    45   77.5

Josh Freeman  24-36.     57.6.       80    67    77.8

Chad Henne    18-32      59.5        55    62    75.3

Sanchez looked decent in Mornhinweg’s system briefly last summer and who is to say what the addition of more weapons could do for him in what would be his second year in the system. At this point in his life though Sanchez (despite constantly telling the media how much he wants to be a Jet) is probably looking forward to testing the market. After all, recent rumors have brought news of an alleged handful of teams interested in his immediate services once he is freed from Florham Park. Maybe the Sanchez camp feels the chatter has some merit to it.

Or maybe John Idzik has already moved along. This because he doesn’t believe Sanchez will ever mature into the type of player who can lead the Jets offense all the way. Even though the poker faced GM has offered no clues as to what cards he feels he now holds in his hand at quarterback at all.

Still, all free agent signings carry with them a risk and reward. If the price is right and a player can fill a need, then the Jets must at least keep the option of obtaining that player on the table. Even if it’s a fall back safety option at the back of that table. Even if that players name happens to be Mark Sanchez.

  • Jay

    It was hard but I got through this entire article. At least you acknowledge that he would have to be cut and then re-signed. I’m not sure Mark’s ego would allow that.

    However, even if he would come back, you can’t underestimate what a clusterf*ck it would be, and how unnecessarily it would start the NY Jets beat into QB controversy mode with Geno (a la Mark and Tebow).

    Why in the world would we do that to Geno? How could that be a positive thing?

  • Harold

    The best option is actually to let Sanchez’s agent look for a trade partner who wants take Sanchez for a 5th round pick and let them renegotiate his contract. No extra cap hits for the Jets and no absurd cap hit for the acquiring team because of the previously agreed on renegotiated contract. Sanchez gets a chance to start for the Jaguars, Browns, Vikings or Raiders or whoever wants him and we get rid of a distraction and turn it into an asset with the pick.

  • KAsh

    Trade him or cut him, but it is for the best if Sanchez and the Jets part ways.

    We do not need just any backup or starter competition. We need someone we can rally behind when Geno struggles. The backup must have legitimacy. If the backup wins the competition in training camp, his hold on the starter’s spot cannot last only until the first interception. If Geno throws three interceptions before halftime and the game is still winnable, the backup has to be able to take over the rest of the game without people questioning it. If Geno has several multiple-turnover games in a row, you need to start the backup without people wondering how until he gets pulled.

    I love Sanchez. I have supported him and will continue to support him. I also choose to believe the stories about him getting starting opportunities, as he is young, talented, and not injury-prone, and no other FA QB is this year. But his value is limited to the Jets. He is a veteran that comes with the same reservations as a rookie alternative. I agree with Harold: let his agent see if there is any interest in a trade for him, and cut ties if none develops.

  • Nick Riggio

    I think Sanchez and the Jets need a parting of ways. If Geno wins the starting spot and Mark is on the team, his fans will make it terrible for Geno. I see keeping Sanchez as a divisive effect on the team. A team divided, loses! Trade or cut Sanchez for the well being of the team!

  • Lidman

    In a vaccuum it’s easy to say ‘it’s time to part ways with Sanchez’. Unfortunately, the NFL and NYJ don’t exist in that vaccuum.

    I think it all really depends on $. If you can’t get a Schaub or Vick in the $4mm range, and Sanchez is open to that, he’s the better option.

    By the way, TJ, don’t ‘pigeon hole’ MM into the short passing WC offense. Look at his Philly days, and you can see he takes shots down the field more often than Andy Reid’s version ever does. Even if you check the tape, from early last year, you can see the NYJ took shots downfield until both Hill and Holmes got injured.

    I think familiarity with MM’s system is big. If they can somehow get Vick here, I like his upside, as a back up, because he’s had a modicum of success, in the NFL. If not, Sanchez, if healthy and willing to take a pay cut, is a better option than any of those other guys.

    Another guy who intrigues me is Terrelle Pryor. Early in the year, he appeared to have made great strides. After he got injured, he wasn’t as good, but all this talk that Oakland will be looking for a QB might make him available. From a ‘physical skill set’ standpoint, there aren’t many guys in the NFL who can do what he can. And, I think his early games illustrate a guy who put in a lot of time, last off season, which talks of his character/work ethic.

  • Sean

    “awarded Sanchez with three additional years and 40 million dollars of new money in March of 2012 almost as compensation for the public pursuit of Peyton Manning. An apology of sorts..”

    I stopped reading right there. This is the type of idiotic, easy storyline beat writing that I thought this website stood against. “Mission to Civilize” my ass.

    There were $0 dollars of guarantees in those 3 years (2014-2016)!

    The whole point of that extension was to spread the remaining cap hit of his signing bonus over more years, and reduce his 2012 cap number. Yes, he got some of his 2013 salary guaranteed as a trade off, but that year was already on his contract.

    The “extension” doesn’t start until 2014, and he has not nor will not receive any of it!

    The apology angle is a ridiculous ESPN manufactured storyline, that I can’t believe I just read on this site.

  • Lidman

    Sean..I if Sanchez would have taken that next step, this contract would have looked great, from a NYJ standpoint.
    It’s a similar situation to Cromartie’s restructure last year, where he made an additional $2.9mm last year, but basically created a situation where he’d be getting ‘Revis money’ or cut/restructured this year.

  • Lidman


    We all know David Harris has limitations in the pass coverage. He just turned 30, and is entering the last year of his contract.

    If the NYJ cut him, they’d save $5mm to the cap this year. However, if they cut him, they also lose their signal caller, and a true pro, in their locker room. I’ve seen calls for Dansby and Daryl Smith. Those 2 players make $2.25mm and $1.25mm respectively and had solid years. Smith will be 32 by the beginning of next season and Dansby will turn 33. Dansby left AZ once, and I think returns there unless he doubles his salary, or gets a 2yr guarantee. I don’t think Smith is as good as Harris. I think NYJ should go to ‘Hitman’ and give him a 2yr 6-7mm extension, and make his 4.9mm salary a bonus, this would allow his cap number, for the next 3yr to move down to the 6mm area. If they were to cut him next year, it would be an 8mm cap hit and 4mm in 2yr, but they’d only be paying him 3mm/year. I think that’s the move, but would love to hear opinions.

  • Johnny

    we should rework sanchez and keep him. i don’t want any of the backup qb alternatives mentioned. most of them are old and have done nothing to prove they are going to do anything special if signed by us if they were to end up with an opportunity. while sanchez struggled his last two seasons, it was clear that he lacked offensive support. he is not payton manning but he is not chad henne either. it would be foolish to cut a guy that we have invested years of development in and millions of dollars. on top of that, he has shown the ability to win big games under the right circumstances. he was given that huge contract for a reason.

  • John X

    I’d be shocked to see Idzik hold on to the last negative remnants of the TBaum regime. This is what new GM’s do – they clean house of unwanted leftovers. Mark’s ship has sailed and we all pretty much realized this when Geno was selected. If we were to actually get a pick for him, I’d be ecstatic. I’m crossing my fingers for that.

    I’m with you on the concern for releasing Harris for the reasons you list but I think it’s for the best. And as I said above, this is a new regime and he’s older, overpaid and slow. I’d be more surprised if he stayed. I mentioned in another posting about an RFA from Cincy named Vincent Rey. Look him up regarding his start vs the Ravens this year at ILB. Maybe you’ll like him as much as I do. And there are a few prospects in the draft – Smallwood, Skov.
    It’s sad to be talking about another position with all these needs on the board but realistically, this team is in a rebuild mode with a new GM with money and draft picks. You might as well address everything you conceivably can and coach everyone up for the bright future ahead of us.

  • Harold


    Daryl Smith and Dansby are both far better all-around players than David Harris.

    Daryl Smith has been injured (so he was cheap) and Dansby contract was bloated so he was cut.

    We should cut Harris period! He is a poor all-around player. He can play the run and the screen game. Anything other than that and he is a HUGE liability.

    You are failing to acknowledge the changing NFL. Smith and Dansby are capable run defenders. However, both are far superior players in space and have far better coverage skills. They both make impact plays Harris can only dream about.

    The last impact play from David Harris I can remember was the AFC divisonal game against the Pats. For 5 million in salary we can and should do better.

    Lastly, again these are far better all around players (even though slightly older) these guys would be huge upgrades and for similiar dollars make too much sense to ignore.

    Hopefully, Jets management makes the tough choice that gives us the best chance to win, by moving forward with players that fit today’s NFL.

  • Nikolas

    Cut David Harris? Are you people insane?
    It is going to take 10 to 12 games plus the off-season for this defense to recoup.This is the most drastic, rediculus and destructive change you can have. This is no fantasy football.
    If you want to cut Harris you need first his young replacement!!!! Draft one this year, make sure he learns and then you cut ties.

  • Harold

    Ray Lewis retired and the Ravens improved at his spot. Just because a player was good. Doesn’t mean you owe him anything.

    He has been overpaid for his play. He should expect to get cut based on his recent production in 2012 and 2013.

  • Nikolas

    @Harold …get your facts straight.
    How many Championships do the Ravens have without Ray Lewis?

    Without him and the “asserted” by you improved defense they did not even make the playoffs.

  • Dan in RI

    Thanks for the article. I think Sanchez has earned the right to compete for a starting job–any place other than with the Jets. Sometimes you just have to let it go. I like Sanchez, but can you imagine the press if the Jets create another “QB controversy” (for the third straight year) by bringing him back, even if agreed to a lower salary. Unless the Jets draft another QB in the first or second round, Geno will be the presumptive starter, regardless of what Idzik says about competition.

  • Lidman

    My own opinion on Harris is he isn’t easily replaced because he knows this defense inside and out. I do recognize he’s overpaid, so it really depends on whether or not they need the cap space. I don’t see what you see with Dansby. Yes, he played well this year, but he was cut, from Miami, because he didn’t live up to his FA contract. In theory, we hope D Davis’s athleticism makes him the ‘coverage’ LB, but he too struggled in coverage this year. Will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

  • KAsh


    Harris, much like Cromartie, is a prime candidate for a restructure. Both cost too much in 2014 for the play they bring to the field, but they are still an intregal part of this team. Harris has a cap charge of $7 million but with potential savings of $5 million. You can dangle the savings over his head and sign him for the next three years for a cap charge of $3-4 million/year and $3-4 million guaranteed. Harris gets slightly more money guaranteed and a two-year extention; the Jets save cap space, reduce his bloated salary almost by half, and have three years to find and develop a replacement.

    As for those who find fault with Harris’s coverage skills, does he really need them? First, you should have Davis learn to cover better; he has the tools and he can still learn. Second, the only time a LB would have to cover one-on-on in this defense is when there are five receivers on the field. Again, that should be Davis, with Harris either dropping back into zone or coming in for a blitz. It would be great to have a coverage ILB, but this systrm does not need one as much as it needs an enforcer and run stuffer to spy on the QB.

  • Lidman


    I can see that type of extension, which is what I suggested above. Again, if the NYJ don’t ‘need’ that cap room for anything this year, why not let him play it out and then you don’t have to worry about cap space next year. His cap number isn’t that honerous, even if he is probably slightly overpaid, at this point.

  • Lidman


    I can see that type of extension, which is what I suggested above. Again, if the NYJ don’t ‘need’ that cap room for anything this year, why not let him play it out and then you don’t have to worry about cap space next year. His cap number isn’t that onerous, even if he is probably slightly overpaid, at this point.

  • Harold

    Ray Lewis just retired your question would be more relevant if you at least had a decent amount of time pass. Also you point ignores that Daryl Smith was much better this year than Lewis has been over the last several seasons.

    I will post Dansby and Smith’s stats but it may be pointless with your love affair.

    2013 stats

    Dansby 6.5
    Smith 5
    Harris 2

    Dansby 4
    Smith 3
    Harris 0

    But Harris will certainly dominate in tackles

    Smith and Harris 123 each
    Dansby 122.

    Pass defensed
    Dansby and Smith 19 each
    Harris 1

    And you think the Jets will be better off with Harris, I smell, I smell Homers

  • John X

    If you read in between the lines of Idzik’s most recent interview, he wants to mimic Seattle’s “fast” defense. Harris is not fast. And he can’t cover – he had ONE pass defensed this year. One!
    He’s horrible in space and is nothing more than a run-stuffer at this point. Beyond that, he’s vastly overpaid. No reason to restructure if he doesn’t fit into plans. With the team going towards bigger OLB’s, our #3 rush defense has been very solid thereby lessening the need for a one-dimensional run-stuffer.
    Much like Cro, who has been diagnosed by his own doctors as having a degenerative hip condition, you cast these guys out as they hurt your team last year and would only continue doing so in the future. Restructure? For what?
    Some of you guys are clinging to the past and need to move forward. This is why Idzik is here.

  • Harold

    John X:

    I believe Idzik is looking at things our way. Even if the Jets don’t cut Harris (which I think is a good possibility). Then they will give him a dummy year on his contract for 2015 (non-guaranteed) and reduce his salary and cap hit for 2014 to the 2-2.5 million dollar range.

    Hopefully Nikolas and Lidman see the light.

    I like Harris but he just not an impactful player anymore. Players like him are a dime a dozen. He was a 2nd rounder when he came out in today’s NFL he would be a likely 4th to 7th rounder. The NFL is changing and the Jets I believe know it as well.

  • Lidman

    John X

    While I can certainly see he’s been less effective, he’s not a ‘dime a dozen’. If you can fill his spot with an impact guy, I have no issue. However, Dansby left Az once, and the only way he’d leave again is if you paid him to do so, and guaranteed him money for 2yrs. Sorry, based on a ‘recovery year’ at 32, I’m not paying him 2yr guaranteed to come here.

    I’m not married to the guy, but I don’t simply believe you can just fill the guy makes your defensive calls spots, with just another guy. Yes, the NFL is changing, but there aren’t many guys who can play that spot adequately against the run, and pass. It will always be a chess match. Good QBs recognize personnel and run plays with the highest probablity of success. Luke Kuechly is probably the ‘flavor of the day’ in MLBs, and his coverage skills are average, at best. I just don’t think finding these guys is as easy as you do.

  • Harold


    The argument to keep Harris is weak at best.

    Contrary to what you want to believe the numbers put up by Harris the last few years is production that as many 40 or 50 other ILB can give you. 25 of those other ILB are better than Harris.

    The Seahawks drafted better ILB in the 2nd round two years ago. the Bills rookie ILB is better. The Bengals undrafted ILB is better. I can go on and on. Harris has been a very good football player for the Jets.

    In sports though we can’t get so emotional that we hang on to players who are no longer quality players or players that can be replaced by better players at a similar price.

    Men Lie, Women Lie Numbers don’t.

    Sadly for Harris the numbers are not good.

  • Mike Z

    I am a big fan of your blog but I was shocked that you are suggesting Sanchez is a real option for us as a back up next season. First, as others have mentioned the last thing Geno Smith needs is a Tebow like circus in Training camp. I cringe thinking of Sanchez telling the media, “I am here to start”. Not fair to the 2nd year QB. Second, how soon you forget how horrible Sanchez played after he got PAID. Two seasons of poor play and an attitude that needed serious adjustment. We all appreciate players that give it all they have and he did his first two seasons but he turned into yet another Southern Cal Primadona once he got that ridiculous contract extension. Have you watched those post game press conferences. Isn’t amazing how every interception he thru was “a great play by the defender” The jury is certainly still out on Geno but he took full responsibility when he had those poor games.
    3rd and perhaps most important is we can only pray that John Idzik is going to become a great GM, the real deal. One that finds the right players and goes after them. Keeping Sanchez is an easy way out and certainly not what the team needs. Trade for Kirk Cousins, Sign Henne, McNown, maybe Schaub, (by the way please don’t compare Sanchez to Schaub. Schaub had a terrible season but his body of work is far better than that of Sanchez). Or maybe he has another idea we are all missing. That is what you have to hope.
    Keep up the good work but please let this one go. Sanchez needs to go for a multitude of reasons and having him back would put an early damper on what looks to be a very promising season.

  • Lidman


    Again, read what I wrote..I’m the one who brought it up. Like anything else though I think it comes down to money and space.

    I don’t argue that Bobby Wagner (picked with the NYJ original pick, in that round after they moved up to take Joe’s favorite-Stephen Hill), Alonso, or Burfict-who I begged for on many a blog-are all superior LB. That said, it doesn’t mean you will find a guy who can replace him. Harris’ presence isn’t hurting this defense.

    Fans, and I’m not suggesting you, consistently complain about how letting Faneca, Woody, Jones, and Richardson were major reasons for the NYJ steep decline. How losing players like this hurt the locker room. Fact is, Faneca was one of the worst pass blocking G in the league, and they were going to a more aggressive approach. Woody, had an achilles tear, and Hunter, was more than adequate on their playoff run, in 2010. Thomas Jones had a big cap number and they drafted Shonne Greene to take his place. The same is true of Richardson and J Conner. Sometimes moves work out-Slauson was a good player here-people forget the guy basically played all of 2011 with a shoulder that had to be reconstructed, and never missed a game. He goes to Chicago, and helps their line improve immensely. Hunter, Green and Conner were misses, plain and simple.

    If Harris’ pay needs to be cut, because they need the cap space, I’m sure it will be addressed. I will be surprised if they simply cut him. He’s a very solid run stopping, ILB. Yes, he struggles in coverage, but so do the majority of ILB. In order to play Rex’ complex schemes with multiple calls (if you read Collision Low Crossers, it’s amazing how many D calls this team employs), requires someone who knows the defense back and forth, and can change calls, at the line, as needed. Scott taught Harris and I’m sure Harris is teaching Davis. So, I think if they don’t need his cap space, he plays at that price and they maybe draft an ILB who they can develop to take over possibly next year. If they need cap space, then I believe he’ll be asked to take a pay cut, and extended by a year or two.

  • Lidman

    Harold..last point..similar to my arguments for keeping Rex. If you tell me we can replace Harris, with clearly a superior player, but will need his cap space to so, I agree you must do that. However, we don’t know who they can replace him with, and what the cost will be. So, until that becomes more clear, I don’t think you just ‘cut him’.

  • KAsh


    You are cherry-picking your numbers again. Dansby has had sub-Harris or Harris-like numbers every year except for last year and the same goes for Daryl Smith. This is the major reason why their salaries are so low. One year does not a pattern make, and both guys are even older than Harris, so, mark my words, they are going to decline fast.

    If you want to replace Harris, you cannot do it with a guy even older than him. But that takes out the entire FA market this year. You are left sifting through backups and starters coming off their rookie contracts that not even their teams want back. Harris at a reduced contract is superior to 99% of what these guys offer.

  • Lidman

    I agree with Kash here. You can torture numbers 18 different ways to paint your picture. At every position, except QB, the majority of players see a quick decline, once they get north of 30. Here is a list of the FA ILB available this year:
    Beason and Mays will be 29 this season. I think the most interesting guy is Donald Butler, who turns 26 during next year, and played out his option year. Most of the others are older than Harris.

    To me, Harris’ value as your defensive captain, is worth more than the 2-3mm you’d save on cap space to get an older player.

    If nothing else, this little exercise certainly points to the NYJ needing to address this position, via the draft.

  • John X

    Great discussion on David Harris which generally goes unspoken as a topic.
    One thing that got me started on this topic was PFF’s rankings of LB’s by regarding coverage. And Harris was nearly equal with Davis at the bottom of the list in pass coverage. If this is to be believed, something needs addressing at ILB. And when you look at the stats of the two combined, they accounted for exactly TWO pass break-ups for the entire season! With Rex going towards bigger OLB’s as witnessed with Coples and Pace, the emphasis on coverage comes from the ILB’s. We know who Harris struggles, but Davis too? We have two ILB’s who can’t cover their own shadow. This is why I think you will see movement at this position especially when you consider the secondary will be improved and our rush defense holding its top 3 status.
    You would expect Belichik to go back to exposing our ILB’s with his TE’s (if and when health, of course).

    FA is very weak regarding ILB’s as Donald Butler isn’t exactly great in coverage either and he sustained a concussion his last game. There are some good rookie prospects – Smallwood and Skov (my favorite). Beyond that. I have suggested RFA Vincent Rey but no one has taken notice. He surpassed the Jets ILB tandem for pass break-ups in his only game started for the Bengals along with an INT and 3 sacks ans 15 tackles. I guess I’m the only one impressed by this.

  • Harold


    Here are their combined stats over their last two full seasons.

    Smith 8.5
    Dansby 7.5
    Harris 5

    Dansby 4
    Smith 4
    Harris 0

    But Harris will certainly dominate in tackles

    Dansby 256
    Harris 246
    Smith 230

    Pass defensed
    Dansby 28
    Smith 27
    Harris 4

    He is still last in every category except tackles where he is 2nd. What am I cherry picking. We are talking about a severely declining player.

    Versus Two players still performing a high level.

    Not sure I can cherry pick that. Harris is not an impact player anymore. You can spin it anyway you like.

    Lastly your point about Dansby and Smith is either a lack of knowledge or ignoring the facts.

    Dansby was overpaid and was cut (As should Harris who by comparison is grossly overpaid). Smith was hurt and was cut.

    They were cut for two different reasons. Neither of which was because they were bad players.

  • Lidman

    John X..on Rey it has nothing to do with not being impressed, but anyone can have a good day: see Larry Brown and AJ Duhe!

    The points of the lack of coverage skills from Harris/Davis don’t go unnoticed, however, with Antonio Allen’s development, it allows the NYJ to bring in a bigger body, who is capable of playing the run, if the oppositing QB audibles as a result of their on field personnel. Davis has the athleticism required to cover, he simply has refined his technique. The other thing to remember is the NYJ play much more man schemes which leave the LB very susceptible to covering short crosses. It’s a big field, and you only need a step to be open.

    It’s too simplistic, in my view, to say Idzik is going to do what he did in Seattle. Really? To do that you need to say he’ll be able to draft a 2nd team All-Pro SS in round 5, a 1st team All-Pro CB, in round 5, on top of having a 1st team All 1st round FS.

    Credit where credit is do, no doubt, but expecting that kind of success, in 2 consecutive drafts isn’t likely. Who did they get late, in 2012, that we believe turns into those picks.

    Again, I can see the case for cutting or resturcturing Harris. What I want to know is who do you get to replace him, and how do you get him? If they cut Cro and Harris, now they need a CB and ILB. Add to that help at FS and probably another OLB, and how do you improve your offense which has really been the big problem for this team since Rex’ arrival.

    It’s easy to say this is what should be done, but it’s a cap league and you have to choose which positions are the higher priority. Even when this team had great defenses, the offense’s inability to score left them in a tough spot. What hurt this team more last year: Harris’ performance or the lack of talent at the WR/TE position?

  • John X

    I don’t think the question is simply what is the bigger need, WR or ILB? What’s the point in that? Does that mean we must now dismiss all talk of ILB? I don’t appreciate that statement of yours to somehow demean all discussion by everyone made to this point. It’s a cop-out. The Jets are not in a position of only being able to address one or the other so it’s totally irrelevant on top of being rude.

    And to categorize pro-bowl appearances to demean a point regarding the structuring of the defense as we see it trending is also appalling.

    I thought you were better than that, Lidman.


  • John X

    To whoever said that 3 pass breakups, one INT, 3 sacks and 15 tackles in a player’s only start somehow resembles a fluke..well, we’ll have to agree to disagree. I think you have to be smart, prepared and have great quickness, suddenness and ability to pull such a feat.

  • Lidman

    John X

    Honestly no idea what you mean. I’m not stating definitively what is more or less important. I simply point out that if the NYJ cut both Harris and Cromartie, they leave themselves less 2 starters. Maybe Walls can step in for Cro, but that’s no guarantee. Who steps in for Harris?

    What did I say to ‘demean anyone’? Your resources are limited, and at some point your needs get prioritized. All I’m saying is we know the NYJ have needs on the offensive side of the ball. They also have needs on the defensive side of the ball. I simply asked what you, or anyone else, thought would have improved the team more last year-with a look to next year: better coverage from the ILB, or better play at the WR and TE positions? I’m of the opinion better WR/TE would have improved the team more, that’s all? I don’t know how that’s rude?

    “And to categorize pro-bowl appearances to demean a point regarding the structuring of the defense as we see it trending is also appalling. ”

    A-It’s a comment board, if I criticized your family or made a racist comment I could understand the use of ‘appalling’. Disagreeing with an opinion? I think that’s a bit strong.

    B-I never said anything about Pro-Bowls. If you’re referring to my comment about finding the 2 5th round All-Pros as ‘demeaning’, I don’t get that? If we go over the past 10 drafts (I haven’t and won’t be), how likely is it for 1 team to have found All-Pro players, in the 5th round, in consecutive years? Heck, in the past 10yrs, how many non-K/P All-Pros have been 5th round draft picks in total? So, when people talk about ‘how Seattle built there team’, it has to be taken into consideration the odds they beat, by finding both Chancellor and Sherman. If these 2 players were solid, say like Antonio Allen, it’s not likely Seattle is where they are. Would you agree? I don’t see that being ‘demeaning’. I see it as pointing out something they did that isn’t very common.

  • Lidman

    You know just getting back to the original point of this article. When you look at Sanchez’ ‘dead money’ figure next year, of $4.8mm, unless Idzik simply doesn’t want him around anymore, if you restructure his deal to simply a 1yr contract, worth $3.2mm, it would be the same as cutting him, from a cap perspective. However, if you keep him, at that number which is in the neighborhood of what back ups Henne, Moore and Orton were paid, at least you know you have a guy who knows the playbook, and, like him or not, has proven he can win big games for you, on the road.

    If you’re of the opinion it’s better for both sides to ‘party ways’, or you believe there will be a market for him in a place like Jax, or Houston, I get it. If not, it’s not the worst thing in the world.

  • Joe Caporoso

    Personally – I’m not a fan of Sanchez coming back and do not think it will happen. However, I think TJ makes a compelling case here. It never hurts to play devil’s advocate.

  • Harold


    With our cap situtaion we should look at quality starters in F/A to replace these positions.

    Clear Upper Tier players based on age and Performamce would

    A. Verner
    S Shields

    Mid to Upper Tier
    Tarell Brown
    Captain Munnerlyn

    ILB I have noted a few but may also look at Donald Butler who is a young F/A at 26.

  • KAsh


    I have told you this before: you have a tendency to make my argument for me. Let me spell it out for those that missed it:

    You showed the stats for Dansby, Smith, and Harris for 2013. I said you cherry pick facts when you consider only one year’s performance from Dansby and Smith. You come back with their performance over the last two years, but you forgot that you already posted their 2013 stats. From that, their stats from 2012 are:

    Smith – 107 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 Int, 8 PDef
    Dansby – 134 tackles, 1 sack, 0 Ints, 9 PDef

    Both had twice fewer passes defended and tanked in their interceptions; Smith kept up his sack numbers while Dansby tanked there too, and this was all from the year prior. You wanted to make the argument that they have been consistently better, but the numbers already fall off with one extra year. And you are comparing them with Harris, who that year had an injured NT in front of him and a struggling partner assisting.

    But this is still a dishonest numerical analysis because we are talking about three guys who have been in the pros for almost a decade. Here is the median year for all three (medians eliminate unusually good years and unusually bad ones):

    Harris (year achieved in parenthesis): 123 tackles (’12), 3 sacks (’10 & ’12), 0 Ints (all years except ’09 & ’12), 3 PDef (’07, ’09, ’10, ’12), 1 FF (’10, ’12’ ’13)
    Dansby (10 years, so the median is an average of the 5th and 6th best): 100 tackles (97 in ’07, 103 in ’11), 3.75 sacks (3.5 in ’07, 4 in ’05 & ’08), 1 Int (’04, ’09, ’11), 4 PDef (’04, ’09, ’10, ’11), 1.5 FFs (1 or 2 every year except ’07 & ’12)
    Smith (same as Dansby): 84.5 tackles (81 in ’05, 88 in ’06), 2.75 sacks (2.5 in ’08, 3 in ’06), 1 Int (’04, ’05, ’06, ’09, ’10, ’11), 4.5 PDef (4 in ’07, 5 in ’10), 1 FF (’05, ’06, ’08, ’10)

    So, for a player with an additional three years of wear and tear, you get a player that defends one extra pass per year and has twenty or fewer stops in an average year. Dansby and Smith, over their entire careers, have been slightly above Harris in defending passes and way below Harris in getting stops.

    Finally, as Lidman pointed out, you are cutting the leader of your defense and replacing him with a guy that is only a mild improvement, if he has a good year and if his age does not catch up with him. In some aspects, 2013 was an average year for Harris; it was an abberation in all aspects for Dansby and Daryl. You are not going to get a much better player this year than Harris and you can do much worse. Restucture and look at draft picks (I like Skov; he is a second or third round pick, but we have to nail FA first.)

  • Harold


    I am beginning to think you are delusional. No offense.

    You took numbers over a 2 year average and made yourself see something that wasnt there.

    What the numbers showed was that Smith produced more sacks, pass defensed and INT’s than Harris in each season. Dansby the produced more in every category collectively over a two year period.

    Why are talking about total careers? Your argument is nonsensical.

    I get it lets pretend Harris will turn back the clock and it will be 2009 again.

    The points you think you make do not make any sense. You compare tackle numbers showing your ignorance both these guys played outside linebacker for parts of their careers so they have lower numbers.

    Again I like talking with you but your lack of knowledge is somtimes a hindrance to you making coherent points.

    It is okay I know when to stop. You get more knowledge and we can have a better discussion.

    These guys are better but if you dispute facts I cant help that you want to believe. Drink the kool aid but Harris probably has two more years in the league the way he is playing.

  • Lidman

    Harold..don’t disagree on Butler. I brought him up earlier (my 1:36pm post).

  • KAsh

    Harold, WTF are you talking about?! You are the one who brought up tackles! You used them as a substitute for me calling Harris an “enforcer.” I could have just as easily blown you off by reminding you that an enforcer does not just tackle, but also hits hard, and that Harris is the rare player who both hits hard and with proper technique. But I dove into the numbers not knowing what I was going to get and the numbers showed me two guys who had extraordinary good years unlike anything they have had in their decade-long careers. Dansby and Smith are Pace; you are trying very hard to replace Harris with Pace. Drink the Kool-aid: Dansby and Smith just had their last hurrah! They will both be out of the league in two years and I would put a lot of chips on one year, if I were a betting man. They are looking for the sucker who will pay them their last contract ever, and then they are done.

    I also think you do not know what a “median” is or what it is used for. You wanted to compare their numbers over the last two years, but those are twice as good as anything they had in their careers. You do not become good at coverage in your tenth year as a professional! And these two were Harris or slightly better than Harris before then, at this area where they are supposed to excel him by so much! I am not the one pretending, as you obviously think Dansby and Smith figured it all out at the very end of their careers (or you think they are highlanders and can continue playing at their previous level when every LB their age starts a death dive).

    The numbers also disprove your repeated statements that Harris has started to decline. (I know, this point is important for you and you will defend it beyond he realms of reason because if Harris has not started to decline, there is absolutely no point in gambling on two players with three more years of wear on them.) Fact is, numerically, Harris had an average year for him in 2012 stuck in a bad situation and he kept it up in 2013. Meanwhile, Dansby and Smith had highly irregular years that they are never going to match again.

    But you can campaign for Dansby and Smith till you are blue in the face. Lidman is absolutely right that he will be offered a restructure, if anything, long before the Jets sign somebody else to fill Harris’s shoes. This will turn out similarly to how you were wrong about Ducasse, wrong about Geno winning the preseason competition, wrong about Geno’s transition to the pros, and wrong about Garrard’s “healthy” knees. It is good that you are not too self-conscious because I would have reexamined my thinking long ago if I were you.

  • Harold


    Ducasse was supposed to be terrible and he won the job out of camp. The team made a decision to move on, because they wanted to go with a rookie. Ducasse faced top notch competition and held his own. He played 4 All Pro’s (McCoy, Wilfork, Williams, Casey) in the first 4 games and still allowed us to have a downfield passing game. I feel pretty good about my evaluation of Ducasse and think his play encouraged me and did not discourage me at all.

    Geno played very well whenever we had NFL caliber starting talent on the field. In the games with just Kerley on the field he was 8-4 with a QB rating around 80 and approx. 60% completion.

    I love Kerley but he is a 2nd option on bad team and a third option on a good team.

    If you want to boil his season down to when he was basically playing with 3rd and 4th stringers which skewed his percentages wildly over that 4 game stretch. That’s fine,
    however he still finished with 5 games with an ESPN QBR over 73 and 7 Games with a traditional rating over 79.2.

    Why is this important it is the same # of games in each of those categories as Andrew Luck in his rookie season. But he didn’t have Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton to throw to all season.

    Lastly, Garrard actually ended up back on the Jets because his knees did heal. So that actually became a poor point for you.

    Lastly, on tackles and career stats. I brought them up because you didn’t even realize they were playing different positions so career tackles may be skewed toward Harris. That was one reason I used the last couple years instead. Additionally we are also making an investment today not 5 years ago.

    Also, when did David Harris become a devastating tackler I like Harris he has been a solid Jet. But I have been watching the Jets for years and other than the occasional screen passes he has very few hard hits in the hole. He makes many tackles where runners get extra yards and are not stopped in their tracks.

    It is good to see nothing has changed same limited knowledge that is covered up by the internet. You look up a quick factoid, that you misuse because you lack the context to even utilize it properly. I have knowledge that allows me to walk in a room face to face and talk sports with the best of them.

    You my friend are an internet chatter with limited knowledge. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy the banter and hope to pass along a little sports knowledge along the way. My hope is you are young and you will acquire more wisdom with time, we can only hope.

  • Lidman

    We can all go off the reservation at times. It’s why all our thoughts and opinions are on chat/comment boards and not in NFL draft rooms.

    That said, I think Kash’s crunching of the numbers does illustrate that 2013 was a typical Harris year, and 2012 was an aberration-which has raised the chatter of his decline.

    Bottom line, it’s very unlikely this team cuts David Harris to bring in an older player, who will command more guaranteed money. Could it work? Yes, it could-because there are always anomalies. However, the probabilities suggest it won’t. Idzik seems more like a probabilities guy, than someone who would take a chance on an anomaly. Sure, if Harris suffered an ACL in the final week of the season, and wasn’t likely to be ready in week 1, then yes, you make that move for a short term fix. I’ll be very surprised if David Harris isn’t on this team next year.

    Glad I got some good back and forth going though.

    Now, let’s talk about how Stephen Hill is going to be 1st team All-Pro in ’14 (just kidding Joe…).

  • Harold


    Harris has 4 seasons with over 100 tackles and 3 season with under 100 tackles.

    Not sure what you mean about aberration.

    He has been in the league for 7 seasons and only has INT’s in 2 of them.

    Again didn’t see an aberration

    He has never been a consistent impact player. Not sure what you guys are missing.

    Despit the age, Dansby and Smith are built for the NFL today, even though they are older they fit better. That is my point and I am believe it is a fair one.

    Whether the Jets front office suddenly begins to follow my advice remains to be seen. But something tells me if they do make the decision my voice would have had no impact. But as fans it is fun to discuss.

  • John X


    Don’t forget his lone pass break-up this season…that’s not a compliment. We’ll see what direction Idzik goes with him. Impossible to know. If it were me, I’d cut him the first day of FA. Continue trimming the fat off the slow, long-in-the-tooth types preceded by Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas, Eric Smith, (Dawan Landry?) and replace with youth and speed and flash some coverage skills.
    I find it hard to believe that Idzik envisions David Harris in his plans to mimic Seattle’s defense.

  • Lidman


    You’re right. I misread one of the comments. Using the word abberation was incorrect.

    I think the info on his tackles is a touch misleading. He only played 11 games in ’08. He had 75 tackles. If you extrapolate that out, it gets you to 109. In 2010, he had 99 tackles. The guy has been a consistent performer since his arrival here. Good ILB play is paramount to good run defense. More than not the NYJ run D has been good. I agree the guy isn’t great in pass coverage. That said, much of that can be blamed on scheme. He’s their signal caller, so he doesn’t come off the field much, if at all. The NYJ play as much man concept as anyone in the NFL (since Rex’ arrival). No doubt, this has left him in alot of mismatches, that get highlighted. I’ll bet if you go back and watch all his INTs, most, if not all, are when he’s in a zone. If they played more zone, he’d have more INTs (like the one he had in the 2010 playoff game v NE).

    Moving on to Dansby..

    “Despit the age, Dansby and Smith are built for the NFL today, even though they are older they fit better. That is my point and I am believe it is a fair one.”

    If you want to make the statment that Dansby has had a better career than Harris, I wouldn’t argue that. His numbers have illustrated how well rounded a player he is. However, you’re talking about cutting one guy, to bring in another. This year Dansby had career highs, in his 11th season, in solo tackles (by 13), INTs (by 1), and PD (by fact he’s never had more than 9 in any other season..still much better than Harris) and his 6.5 sacks were his second highest total. Now, if you tell me that guy will come to NY for a total of 6mm, over 2yrs, I’d think about it. But, he’s not going to do that. He’ll be 33 next season and the probabilities don’t suggest he’ll either repeat this performance, or get better. As for Smith, he’s not the tackler Harris has been and his 19 PDs are
    +11 to his next best year (no other year of 10) and he’s going to be 32 before next season. Maybe he’s someone they could look to add, at a reasonable number, but not replace your signal caller..sorry, I just don’t see it.

    For me this isn’t a loyalty to a long time NYJ. I just look at prioritizing needs/holes to fill. If we believe that Rex, and the staff, can coach/teach, then both Allen and Davis should improve next year, in coverage. If that happens there, it will probably begin a passing of the torch, with Harris becoming a 2 down LB, and Davis assuming some play calling responsibilities (ala Harris and Scott in ’11). When you look at the scheme this team plays, I believe the needs in the secondary and at OLB, exceed those at the ILB position. Add to that the needs at the WR/TE positions, which I also believe are more crucial for overall improvement, in 2014. Changing over the roster, to become faster doesn’t happen in 2 off seasons, it’s simply not possible.

    John X, I would agree that Idzik probably doesn’t see Harris ‘in his plans to mimic Seattle’s defense’. Here is the thing though: NY will NEVER fully mimic Seattle’s defense. Why, you ask? Seattle plays a very simple 4-3 defense. Listen to any commentary this week and you’ll here that. They get after the passer with the front 4 (many times employing 4 DEs), jam the WR with press coverage, to disrupt timing, and give their Safeties freedom in the middle of the field to break up/make plays. The reason they are so good, is the athletes they have and that isn’t easily ‘mimicked’, especially when 2 of their best players were 5th rounders.

    Idzik kept Rex, Rex’ defense is a complex 3-4, none of Seattle’s DLineman would fit here. The idea of mimicking their defense is more about improving team speed, which lends to Harris being moved. However, you improve team speed by getting younger, not older.

  • Harold


    Yoiu talk about career highs?

    His best two season are more than Harris has had in any season. He also was OLB for most of his career so Tackles would be less.

    The last two season he has more tackles this year they were basically even.

    Smith is an excellent tackler not sure where you get you info from.

    I am a huge NFL guy. I realize some guys are huge Jets fans only and that is cool. But I actually try to watch every guy play at least 4 games a year. So I can make good judgmnets on each player.

    I am giving you an educated opinion based on watching the games. From what I have seen these guys offer much more.

    Take it or leave it. IJMO

  • John X

    Umm, Lidman, you disagreed with my notion and then essentially backed it up by stating finally that the mimicry is about speed and youth, which is exactly what I said. Just sayin’.

    I couldn’t care less about which scheme is run, it’s the end result with players who fit the mold of an active, strong defense. The point is that physicality is taking over the ultra-finesse teams across the league.

    Let me demonstrate…look at the past Super Bowl champions since the league mandated rules that favored the offense greatly. Who were dominating the landscape? NO, GB, INDY, NE, ATL through wielding 50 passes a game, ignoring the running game and defense because they could. They lined up 4 WR’s and threw every frickin’ down like Arena football. The last three years you start seeing a trend towards more physical defense to counter this Mickey Mouse football as well as BALANCED offenses that keep these pass-happy, slinging offenses off the field and from winning any more Super Bowls. The football gods are restoring order to this brand of football that Peyton Manning essentially started. Teams like the NY Giants, Baltimore (last two SP winners), Seattle, SF, Carolina, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, our Jets and others are quickly following suit with this trend to combat these “sissy” teams. Sorry if I sound biased because I am. And I have rooting interest in this Super Bowl to continue the trend of keeping the foot on the throats of these despised styles of play that Denver now also employs.

  • twoshady18

    isnt trading Kirk Cousins a possibility too? I don’t see much talk about the likelihood and effect of that scenario.

  • Lidman


    You’re right. Dansby has been the better player. I just don’t see him being a fit, at 32, when he’ll likely require a 2yr guarantee north of $6mm guaranteed, per year. As for Smith being an excellent tackler, he may very well be, he just hasn’t been nearly as prolific as Harris. He has 42 more career tackles, in 35 more career games. He also has 2 more total sacks in that time frame. Yes, he’s been the better coverage LB, I don’t dispute that. But again, what is the cost of signing him at this age? I see things differently than you. From my perspective, this team has much more pressing needs than replacing Harris, with an older player. You disagree, and that’s your right.

    John X

    I’m not disagreeing. Every GM would like to mimic Seattle’s defense. However, the fact is the draft isn’t an exact science. Counting on finding All-Pros in the 5th round, isn’t a winning strategy in my book. If Sherman were an average 5th round pick, their scheme wouldn’t work that well. When they have to pay Sherman and Thomas market value, they won’t have the space to bring in guys like Avril and Bennett, big keys to their pass rush. You telling me a GM want to bring in young, fast, cheaper players isn’t a revelation. Executing the plan isn’t always as easy. Scott Pioli was a genius in NE, fired in NE. Holmgren was a genius in Seattle, fired in Cleveland. After winning the SB, in ’07, Jerry Reese was a genius and today he’s under the gun. All I’m saying is Seattle’s recent ‘hit’ ratio, on low round picks is more anomaly, than ability. Let’s see how their next few drafts work out.

  • John X


    Please refrain (like Kash) from placing words in my mouth as you know damn well I said nothing about needing or expecting pro-bowlers on the 3rd day of the draft to somehow “mimic” Seattle’s defense. Just stick to your opinions instead of falsely projecting others’. I can speak for myself quite well without your “assistance”.

    Once again (sigh), my only point (try to comprehend) was that going younger and faster while insisting on physicality is all that Idzik said and what I said. Stop with the propaganda, please.

    I see that can’t have conversations with you or Kash now. I’m learning here. Harold and most others “get it”.

  • Lidman

    When someone has a different opinion, it just means they have a different opinion. There is no need to get angry, just don’t answer.

    Propaganda? I’m not suggesting you said anything about ‘needing or expecting pro-bowlers on the 3rd day of the draft’. I don’t believe I said ‘John X, you said this…’.

    You brought up Harris not being what Idzik would have in mind in his attempt to mimic Seattle’s D. Is that not right?

    My point is simply, how their success in the lower rounds has been a HUGE part of the success on that defense. So, when the term ‘mimic’ is used, I think we need to take that into account.

    As for you assertion of the ‘sissy’ football against ‘physical’ football. I don’t think that is a trend. I also think you’re miscasting the 2011 NYG who finished 5th in passing yards per game, and dead last in rushing yards per game. Even if you look at the playoffs, where there 116.5 rush yard pg, were a big improvement over the reg season, it still would have been 17th in the league that year.

    I think football comes down to execution. Whoever executes best, generally wins. If the Broncos start fast and put up 14 quick points, Seattle is going to have a hard time being patient, on O, and probably starts taking chances on D. Converseley, if Manning can’t move the ball, and Seattle is able to eat some clock, run the ball, wear Denver’s D out, and play from the lead, it likely elimates a lot of Manning’s ablility to keep the Seattle D, off balance, with his ability to audible. Seattle won’t have to guess run pass, as much. This means they spend less time ‘disguing the box’ and are less likely to be caught out of position.

  • Anthony

    What’s the point of attempting to replace a position of strength last year with older players who have no knowlege of the system for the purposes of a slight upgrade. Dansby is not novarro Bowman or Patrick Willis. He’s a good middle linebacker who’s going to receive his final contract. We have Harris for one more year and we can take the season to draft his replacement and seamlessly move on. We could give him another year and drop his cap cost. We can give him 2 more years, non garunteed money and faze him out gradually. But no matter what the plan is, cutting him to save 5 mil when ee should have north of 40 million for a marginal upgrade is dumb.