Road To Redemption: The Lost And Found

25

Every year NFL teams suffer major losses due to injuries. Last season, the New York Jets lost two key role players in Antwan Barnes and Mike Goodson to season ending knee injuries. Ironically, both were the Jets’ most notable free agent acquisitions just a few months before going down.

With the 2014 free agency period in full swing and the draft on the horizon, many have forgotten both of these players plan on returning to gang green for the 2014-2015 season.

Mike Goodson:

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets

 

Goodson was signed in the 2013 offseason to a three year contract worth $6.9 million. The Jets have lacked a dynamic threat in their backfield that could take it to the house on any type of play. During his time with the Panthers and Raiders, Goodson had flashed ability to do just that.

The Jets eventually traded for Chris Ivory during the 2013 NFL Draft and officially formed a speed/power duo between him and Goodson. While their cap space hindered them throughout free agency in 2013, the fans had a reason to be excited.

Things got off to a terrible start for Goodson in Florham Park. It was reported that he was found passed out in a car on I-80 in the center lane with friend Garrant Evans. Police claim to have found a .45 caliber pistol loaded with illegal hollow-point ammunition. The cops also found various narcotics at the scene. There is currently no proof that the gun or narcotics belonged to Goodson.

While Goodson faces a maximum of a 10 year sentence (the court case is still pending), he already served a four game suspension to begin the 2013 season. Upon his return, he had seven carries for 61 yards in two games (8.7 yards per carry). He also caught two passes for 19 yards.

Even more evident was the skill set Goodson brought to the Jets offense. He was the fastest playmaker on offense from the moment he stepped in. He possesses great cutting ability and Marty Mornhinweg seemed determined to get him into open space.

Unfortunately for Goodson, his troubles continued as he tore his ACL while attempting to make a tackle against the Steelers. His season had ended before he could even finish his second game of the year.

While I can not touch on his legal matters too much (that will play itself out), what can Goodson bring to the Jets in 2014? If he is fully recovered from his ACL tear, he could find a nice role in Marty Mornhinweg’s west coast offense.

He is a reliable pass catcher out of the backfield with top end speed. He is also on an extremely reasonable contract that has been restructured since he originally signed it. While Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell had very solid seasons in 2013, Geno Smith clearly suffered without a safety blanket.

After Mark Sanchez’s rookie season, the Jets signed LT to be their third down back. Although Sanchez is no longer with the team, he benefited greatly from having LT. Which leads to my next thought: How will the Jets let this play out? In my opinion, there are three very realistic options.

1) Pencil Goodson in as the 3rd RB

The Jets can cut Goodson outright if they want to, but that would not make sense due to his reasonable contract (barring his court case). While John Idzik preaches “competition”, Goodson was penciled in as the second running back on the depth chart until Bilal Powell found plenty of success early in the season. I do not think the Jets go this route, but you never know how things will play out.

2) Goodson vs. a draft pick for the 3rd RB spot

In my opinion, Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde is the only “complete back” in the 2014 draft class. Although the drop off is quite clear after hyde, the crop of running backs has a ton of day two candidates. If the Jets select a speedster such as Kent State’s Dri Archer or Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas, Goodson will find himself in a competition for his job come training camp.

3) Goodson vs. a free agent vs. Powell

Chris Ivory proved he is the real deal last season. Bilal Powell proved to be extremely reliable in spot duty (especially when Ivory is injured). I have seen recent reports that the Jets are interested in free agent running back Maurice Jones-Drew. I have also heard from various people (who are much closer to the team than myself) that the interest is genuine.

If the Jets bring in a runner such as MJD (although he has a lot of tread on his tires), Goodson would have to outplay that free agent or Powell by a wide margin. Powell have proven his worth and clearly John Idzik will want his latest free agent acquisition to look like the right choice. This will be a very interesting storyline come training camp.

 

Antwan Barnes:

buccaneers-jets-football-antwan-barnes_pg_600

The Jets signed Barnes to a three year contract in the 2013 offseason. He made $1.65 million in his first year with the Jets and is due to make $1.2 million the next two seasons. That $1.2 million can rise to $2 million, depending on how Barnes produces.

Under Rex Ryan, the Jets have clearly lacked a speed edge rushing presence at the outside linebacker position. In 2011 (Barnes last full season), he had 11 sacks with the Chargers. With Calvin Pace and Quinton Coples penciled in as the starters for the Jets, Barnes was brought in purely as a situational rusher (a perfect role for a player who is often hurt).

His impact was apparent from the opening week when the Jets played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Barnes flew off the edge multiple times, showing excellent momentum while swimming under blockers shoulders. He finished the game with a sack and 1.5 tackles on limited snaps.

After the first four games, Barnes had two sacks and plenty of quarterback hurries forced on passing downs. He was the rotational edge rusher Rex Ryan’s front seven had desperately needed. Then, disaster struck Barnes once again. After just 18 snaps verse the Atlanta Falcons, he had torn his ACL and was out for the season.

So what can Barnes bring to the Jets front seven in the 2014-2015 season? It might seem crazy, but Barnes job will be even easier. He will be playing alongside one of the best front sevens in football on limited snaps. Young players like Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison, Kenrick Ellis, Sheldon Richardson, Demario Davis, and Quinton Coples will all have another year of experience under their belt.

If the Jets do not add another rusher in the draft, Barnes will be used on passing downs to get after the quarterback once again. He showed a ton of promise in this role although he was only available for a quarter of the season. Having him back should help the Jets defense get off the field much faster.

Conclusion:

ESPN gave Goodson an “F” grade and Barnes a “D” in their free agency review. I understand the low scores but I think grading free agents after one season is quite questionable.

Both are signed to extremely reasonable deals and could end up being contributors for the Jets in 2014.

It will be a warm welcome back for both of these players as we look forward to seeing what they can contribute for Gang Green in 2014.

  • blastingzone

    I loved the Goodson signing and if he can stay healthy (thats a big If) and stay out of jail the jets might have the best FA signing of 2013? Just like Goodson Barnes is injury prone and you have to hold your breath everytime one of them plays a down but if Barnes stays Healthy he could have double figures in sacks just like Pace did in 2013 because of their defensive line!

  • @RobbyJerzee

    I love this piece , great job. You guys are best at x and o ‘s

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  • Frank Antonelli

    ESPN grading anything is like the Patriots winning a Super Bowl without cheating. ESPN picked the Jets as the worst team in the NFL before the season started. How did that grade work out for ESPN! Goodson and Barnes were excellent signings. The fact that they were both injured was just bad luck. Hopefully this year they will pay off like they should have last year. Goodson and Barnes give the Jets two things they sorely missed last year.

  • joeydefiant

    It wasnt totally bad luck. Both players came with an injury prone reputation and surprise both got injured.

    Unrelated note. Really hoping the Jets sign Marqise Lee. He is being under valued and should be there at 18. HE WILL BE THE TOP RECEIVER TO COME OUT OF THE DRAFT THIS YEAR.

  • Frank Antonelli

    Injuries are luck related. How many times does a team sign someone who has never been injured and he joins them and is all of a sudden injury prone. And the opposite also applies. They are completely unpredictable.

  • Dave2220

    How do you rate a signing poorly based on injury. If we had signed P manning. Goes down with a injury and it is a d or f? Incomplete is the reality

  • joeydefiant

    Some injuries are luck related. Some are not. If a guy has bad knees and has had multiple surgeries to his knees and two games into the season he hurts his knee you cannot say damn thats bad luck

  • Dan in RI

    It’s silly to give grades on FA signings when the players get injured. Who knows what they can contribute over a whole season?

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  • Mark Eckhardt

    Antwan Barnes does not have a bad history for injuries so his getting hurt was definitely bad luck. He did pop a hamstring the previous year and missed the end of the season – but it almost seemed like the chargers were eager to have him sit so they could seem more of ingram (who many Jets fans desperately wanted instead of Coples). Prior to that he was healthy nost of the time and missed few (if any gamessin he was in Baltimore)

  • Lidman

    Frank,

    Goodson was found, asleep, on the side of the road, in a car loaded with drugs and guns. If this is an EXCELLENT signing, we’ll agree to disagree. At best, he’s an idiot, for putting himself in that position, after signing the biggest pay day of his life. That’s not a guy I’d want on my team.

    I agree with you 100% on injuries, you simply can’t predict them. Barnes did look as though he would be an impactful player for them before he was hurt.

  • Frank Antonelli

    He was an excellent free agent signing since at the time of the signing the price was right and he fit our need. Predicting that he would get into legal trouble and hurt requires Nostradamus like powers. No-one at the time he was signed was predicting that outcome. If you say you or someone else did then let’s see some evidence where that is the case. Also, the story is not complete so he could still pay off, time will tell.

  • Worldboy90

    @Joe

    I get antwan barnes as a pass rusher, but I’m really lost on your love affair with goodson. I mean I guess he’s kind of fast? Stephen Hill is fast, Clyde gates is fast, n they’re not all that special. I’m not even trying to hate, but I really don’t understand why you think Goodson is good, outside of a couple big runs, he’s been consistently unspectacular in his career.

    @Frank

    (Insert curse)

  • Frank Antonelli

    Worldboy90. Amazing post, fits right in with your level of intellect! Let me say again that you’re an idiot and a hypocrite. Why don’t you concentrate on your own life instead of pointing out Vick’s past which he has more than paid for. I’m sure that he is a much better human being than you are presently or ever will be. I’m sure you probably did much worse things than Vick ever did. Why don’t you go and do your little boy troll job somewhere else and spare everyone your constant negative diatribe.

  • Lidman

    Frank..I don’t know, call me crazy, but I don’t think you need ‘Nostradamus like powers’ to properly vet someone. This is a billion dollar business. If this guy was involved in guns/drugs, you’d hope an investigator could find that out. Sure, there is a chance the guy signed a contract, and then started hanging around people involved with guns and drugs (not likely, but possible). I have nothing that can tell me differently. However, that’s a pretty big coincidence. I don’t know how you call anything ‘excellent’ that hasn’t paid any positive dividends, on the field.

  • Frank Antonelli

    Lidman. Really, come on now. If we limited ourselves to people who had totally clean backgrounds we couldn’t field a team. I’m sure the Jets did the proper due diligence. I love how the haters say that Idzik is too thorough and then claim he stepped out of character and wasn’t with Goodson. Don’t buy into the clown media hate and use common sense. Again, I said that it was an excellent free agent signing at the time because of the price and filling a specific glaring need. The jury is still out on the final judgement. Your confusing results with strategy. The signing at the time it happened was an excellent move.

  • Lidman

    Frank

    I don’t ‘buy into the clown media’ or anything else. I just look at things objectively and make my own judgements, rightly or wrongly.

    BTW, ‘hater’ has to be of the most exaggerated expressions used in the english language. You don’t agree with something, you’re ‘a hater’. Look, so far, the Goodson move has been at best, a non move, and right now it has to be considered a miss. Just because it didn’t cost a ton of money, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a bad move.

    I get that we agree to disagree, that doesn’t make me a hater. So far, you have thought everything is right, or excellent. Should you get labeled a ‘blind follower’?

  • Frank Antonelli

    Lidman. I never called you a hater just a fairly negative poster. I’m far from a blind follower. The Jets have made many mistakes in the past. Idzik is embarking on a new path which is a proven one. I’m not Nostradamus so I can’t predict whether he’ll be successful. However, I can confidently say that he’s pursuing the correct plan/strategy. Let’s not confuse results with strategy.

  • Frank Antonelli

    Lidman. If you don’t believe in the clown media than you are naive. Check this clip out:

    http://www.bobsblitz.com/2013/08/video-keith-olbermann-returned-to-tv.html

    When one member of the media calls another out for making up stories then we have a clown media intent on damaging the Jets. If you don’t get it then I can’t help you.

  • Worldboy90

    @Frank

    “I’m not following blind faith” lol, okay buddy, w/e you say. Hey frank, curious, in your wonderful mind, has Idzik made a single mistake since he joined the Jets? Or what would constitute a mistake? I’m curious from your “un-biased” position, give an example of a realistic move that would be a mistake?

    Dude, whose career stats would make for unimpressive year stats, gets arrested for drunk/ high driving, passed out on the side of the road with a loaded weapon, does nothing to contribute to the team, yet it’s still a great signing. How about garrard, was that a great signing too?

    So far the only signings I’ve like are colon and Barnes, but colon should of been replaced this off-season with a younger, better guard, many of which were available. But ya know, Idzik lord and savior, he of the mighty prowess to sign washed-up QB’s who were never too great and sign a WR. ALL HAIL LORD IDZIK, and frank, president of his fan club.

  • Lidman

    Frank..I’m not saying I don’t believe the media doesn’t sensationalize things (yet another reason to not love the Vick move). I’m saying, I don’t buy into everything they say. You keep preaching that the process is correct, even without the desired results. I simply disagree with that, and think that is more opinion, than proven fact. Today’s NFL is vastly than even 5-6yrs ago (new CBA, rookie contracts, spending floor, and rising cap are just a few examples). You show me one team that has had sustained success, and I’ll bet there has been stability at the QB position, for the years they’ve generally been considered a winner. The idea that Idzik is right, because he’s being shrewd, or cautious is just as wrong as me saying he’s wrong for spending virtually nothing.