New York Jets – Four Days of Free Agency Thoughts

Joe Caporoso with thoughts on the New York Jets first four days of free agency

The New York Jets have entered the weekend with a handful of different players on their radar. Here is a review of what has happened so far, what the roster currently looks like and what could be on the way shortly. Make sure you are following on Twitter and Facebook for the most up to date information. 

1. I went through this on Twitter but I want to post it on the site as well. I realize I often refer to wide receiver positions without properly clarifying what each of them means. Using the picture below from the Jets week 17 game against Miami, let’s clarify:


At the bottom of the screen, Santonio Holmes is lined up as the “X” receiver. At the top of the screen, David Nelson is lined up as the “Z” receiver. Jeremy Kerley is in the slot. The letter varies for the slot offense to offense, in some systems it can be “S”, in others it can be “H”, in some it doesn’t have a letter and is simply left being “slot.” Jeff Cumberland is lined up in the traditional tight end spot or the “Y.”

The “X” receiver lines up on the line of scrimmage, on the weakside of the formation or away from the tight end. He cannot go in motion. The “X” can also be referred to as the split end.

The “Z” receiver lines up off the line of scrimmage, on the strongside of the formation or on the same side as the tight end. He go in motion. The “Z” can also be referred to as the flanker.

The slot receiver can be on either side of the formation and lines up off the line of scrimmage. He can go in motion.

The “Y” is the letter assigned to a traditional in-line tight end, who lines up in a three point stance next to the tackle. The “H” can be assigned to the previously mentioned slot receiver or a flexed tight end, who lines up off the ball and moves in motion.

In many offensive systems, including Marty Mornhinweg’s, wide receivers are moved between the different positions frequently. As we discussed in his breakdown, Eric Decker has shown an ability to succeed with the entire route tree and move between both the X or Z spots, along with the slot.

Normally (and this can vary offense to offense) the X receiver is a possession receiver who has good size. The most common routes tend to be posts, slants, fades and short to intermediate comeback routes. Generally, he is running routes isolated by himself more often than being in a route combination with another receiver or two. The Z receiver usually has a little more speed and quickness. Common routes for the Z tend to be quick screens, in-cuts, hitches, whip routes, double moves like a post corner and speed outs. Generally, he will run more routes in combination with another receiver or the tight end. The slot receiver works on the inside of the formation and runs mostly crossing routes, quick slants and option routes where he is required to find a soft spot in a zone.

For Jets fans, think of the 2010 offense. Braylon Edwards was the “X” receiver. Santonio Holmes was the “Z” receiver and Jerricho Cotchery was the slot.

Decker has a skill-set that seems to be more conducive to being a “X” receiver. If the Jets sign James Jones to go with him, it’d be likely that on the majority of routes, Jones would be the “Z” while Decker was the “X.” However, similar to Decker, Jones is versatile enough to bounce between both positions and slide into the slot. Mornhinweg would be able to have a field day moving Decker, Jones and Kerley between the three positions.

2. Anyway, enough Xs and Os. The Jets are expected to meet with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie tonight before he moves on to visit the New York Giants. Hopefully, the Jets don’t let him leave the building. Rodgers-Cromartie is coming off a very good season. He has a perfect skillset for Rex Ryan’s defense and the Jets can offer him the opportunity to play in a defense he should thrive in, which will rebuild some of the value he lost on the open market by discussing retirement at the Super Bowl.

3. John Idzik was watching Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro workout yesterday. Considering New England will be lining up Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner on the outside, it will be important to have guys who can make plays down the middle of the field. Amaro could be an option for the Jets at #18. It is expected he will be back in Florham Park today to try to close Rodgers-Cromartie and maybe James Jones.

4. As for for the backup quarterback market, the current players are available: Jason Campbell, Mike Vick, Shaun Hill, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Freeman and potentially Matt Schaub and Mark Sanchez. The teams reportedly in the market are Oakland, Buffalo, Cleveland the Jets. We know the Jets have until March 25th to make a decision on Sanchez’s contract. It will be interesting to see how this handful of quarterbacks shake out.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • Harold

    Great breakdown:

    Right now I am only interested in one thing is DRC in the building…:)

  • KAsh

    I wonder what DRC’s contract demands are. To be honest, I think a six-year, $54 million contract is crazy for him as he has been inconsistent to say the least. If the Broncos did make such an offer and he turned it down, I hope that either the market has cooled his head or that he just has different priorities than most people.

  • Lidman

    Wacky FA period..Nicks signs 1yr deal for $3.5mm. Now, maybe he wanted to play with Luck, figuring it gives him best opportunity to produce and get big, long term deal. But, that’s a great risk/reward in my book.

  • Joe Caporoso

    Something I had been saying all along and the reason I never mentioned Nicks as a viable option for the Jets…it seemed pretty clear he would sign with a team who had a proven QB and passing offense on a short term deal for a chance to rebuild his value. Jets didn’t present that. Also didn’t think Jets would go so high risk/reward on a WR for their young QB.

  • Gustav Genovese

    I can’t believe the front office allowed the Patriots to sign the best two corners available on the market. I am sure with our cap space we could have tried to sign both Browning and Cro jr.

  • Steve Windeler

    Since you don’t know his name I’m going to guess you really don’t know too much about Browner. Not the best CB available, and just got reinstated from a lifetime ban. Suspended for the first 4 games, and one strike away from out of the league. He’s not the same player he was anyway. Also the Pats just rented Revis for a year which is all anyone ever does with Revis. I’m pretty sure Idzik will have some pretty good corners starting this year, and he has a long term plan he’s sticking to. Renting Revis is not part of it.

  • Frank Antonelli

    Gustav. Nice name?! Do you ever do any research before you use your fingers to type some nonsense on the internet?

  • Mark Phelan

    Anyone who is NOT disappointed by the first 4 days is a Kool Aid drinker.

  • David

    @Mark Phelan, I agree with you 100%. Time for Idzik to get off his *** and spend some cash. Plenty of low cost deals have been made with players who could help the Jets!!!

  • John X

    DRC is visiting the Giants tomorrow.

    Plan B options?
    Maybe sign Berry and platoon him and Kyle Wilson at WO.
    Maybe signing Thurmond and rolling the dice with him?
    Maybe another draft pick who will surely struggle as much as Milliner did?

    Not looking good.

  • Worldboy90

    I’m just trolling now… but Joe if you’re reading this, if we miss out on Jones and DRC, will you be able to hate on Idzik then? Or will you say “He got the right idea, we’re not ready to contend, we need another year of sucking, LETS BUILD THROUGH THE DRAFT!!!” 😛 Sorry couldn’t resist. Honestly I don’t want DRC, but I’m more worried about our Guard Spots TBH, we currently do not have an NFL O-line. Walls, Milliner, AA, Dawan, Rookie, Rontez Miles (He’s super athletic, that’s why I mention him), could be coached up to be average- above average with that D-Line, but no QB or RB is surviving behind our current O-line.

  • Nikolas

    Fire Itzik

  • Nikolas

    Also Fire Woody and bring……

    Phil Jackson

  • John X

    Joe keeps preaching patience and this was necessary last year as the team had very little money. This year, the Jets are being outmaneuvered by many teams that have much less spending ability for the top FA talent in this class. Denver, NE and Baltimore have helped themselves out very nicely.

    It looks as though Idzik is more obsessed with money value than we guessed. When you are vying with multiple teams for the same player you have to do more than hope they will take a team-friendly contract. Keep in mind the cap just went up creating more competition in the market. This is a good year for FA’s to get paid. John hasn’t realized this yet. I think he was fortunate to sign Decker’s deal which may have been motivated by his wife’s desire to be in NY.
    But John can’t lure FA’s into taking a team-friendly contract when he has no recent Super Bowl trophies or HOF QB. He has no such leverage and he’s losing out on nearly all the top talent at every position. Here’s a short list of the players we have been linked with but as Joe points out, we don’t always hear about some players so the list could conceivably be quite larger:

    TE Pettigrew
    TE Finley (possible but not documented)
    CB Munnerlyn
    CB Davis
    CB Verner
    CB Rodgers-Cromartie
    OT Howard

    I hope the WR’s Sanders, Jones, LaFell and CB Browner were all simply exploratory but we may not know about that. It could be that they all laughed at John as well.

    I guess the overall point here is that Idzik has a much different approach towards acquiring FA’s than Tannenbaum did. And while John may keep this team in a cap-friendly state, his talent level is going to suffer noticeably.
    From my perspective at work on federal government contracts, the regulations use to state that we must award bids to the lowest offerer. As we have evolved, the term “best value” has finally emerged as the standard which allows the gov’t to select higher bids that better fit the missions of the particular agency’s needs. In essence, you pay more for what you need as long as you can justify this “value”.
    Idzik doesn’t seem to grasp this and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he shops at Wal-Mart. If you want something of higher quality, you have to pay more. This is simple economics. I think we have a bean-counter on our hands. In New York!

  • John X

    Schefter confirms that many talks took place between LaFell and the Jets. Another player they were seriously interested in gets away…and signs with our rivals to the north. Another fail.

  • Mark Phelan

    Remember how MTs rep was that he may not be a personnel guy but he was a CAP magician. Well, we came to see that the slight of hand MT employed was big money for many years…usually for guys already on the roster.

    While I can’t begin to understand all the ins-and-outs of professional football player contracts one principal I do understand is: Pay more for less time.

    We have the cap space to offer ‘premium PLUS’ salaries for a 2 year contract.

  • KAsh


    Ask yourself: from who does Schefter “know” what he is reporting? Airing this information does not benefit the Jets camp in any way. But LaFell’s desirability rises, LaFell’s agents seem to have good rapport with more front offices, and Schefter gets more recognition.

    As for LaFell, why would the Patriots want him? He was the #3 receiver on a bad receiving corps. People do not talk about the Panthers without mentioning how they need receivers. PFF here included his route tree:
    Some of his route stats look impressive, but the routes for which he generated a QB rating over 80 have a combined 30 targets. His other 53 targets – the bulk of his assignments – are crap. How do you generate a QB rating of 17.1 after 13 attempts on a post route?

    As for the rest of your “top free agents the Jets targeted,” DRC and Finley are still free agents (while DRC is the best left at his position, he is also not without awkward red flags, which make the contract details vital); Verner was a smokescreen; Davis, Pettigrew, and Howard were overpayed, the first two excessively; and we legitimately lost Munnerlyn to the Vikings. Davis and Pettigrew resigned with their old teams, so you would have had to make them a significantly higher offer than they received: Pettigrew got $4mm/yr even though he is not much better than Cumberland and Davis got $9.25mm/yr even though he has never performed at that elite level for an entire season. Howard left for $6mm/yr and we replaced him with an equal tackle for $4.5mm/yr.

    I really do not understand Jets fans sometimes. A week ago you were saying good riddance to Santonio Holmes and regreting how we payed him $45 million for five years (back when the cap was rising). Now, you do not care about the price tag as long as the guy is signed. Holmes was either a good signing or not: which is it?

  • John X

    I don’t know anyone more reliable than Schefter.

    All I know is DRC left without a contract. I’m not going to do cartwheels for that.

    Make excuses and cite exceptions for everyone else but the fact remains that the list of misses continues to grow and the talent is not coming to NY.

  • John X

    …and further, this team playing in the division with the great Tom Brady and great Bill Belichick cannot AFFORD to play Mickey Mouse with FA prospects as they actually need talent to not only run REX’ defense that can neutralize NE, but to make up for the lack of talent at QB and other positions.
    As a fan and consumer of product thru sales and tickets, I’ve been hanging in there and this is not what I expect – that the hold on to cap money like Bidwell. I won’t buy a penny towards this team without a commitment towards winning from the front office.
    So far, so bad. We’ll see what transpires.

  • Will

    I see both sides of this idzik argument..and im willing to be patient until free agency is over and the draft is over and see what the roster looks like when camp .breaks..

  • twoshady18

    we’ve made big Free Agency splashes in the past and the team died a year or two later. How about we put the pitchforks and torches away for the moment and see how this year pans out.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    “I really do not understand Jets fans sometimes. A week ago you were saying good riddance to Santonio Holmes and regreting how we payed him $45 million for five years (back when the cap was rising). Now, you do not care about the price tag as long as the guy is signed. Holmes was either a good signing or not: which is it?”

    “we’ve made big Free Agency splashes in the past and the team died a year or two later. How about we put the pitchforks and torches away for the moment and see how this year pans out.”


  • John X

    I’m sorry, should we be grateful that Holmes couldn’t play for two seasons after not only getting hurt but being a locker room cancer? Are you in favor of keeping him, Jeremiah? Do tell. The team cut him. Fans had nothing to do with that.

    And you want to dismiss any such criticism by labeling as “pitchfork” actions simply because you don’t agree. How about discussing person to person in a more respectful manner? Can you do that?

  • Cdot201

    I agree wit John X… we cannot afford to just try to wait to see if the draft is a cure all…he doesnt have to break the bank but you guys not mentioning all the free agents who sign reasonable low risk contracts either in which we could of used … this is a game of risk not going to be 100% all the time but you owe it to the fans to at least try and put a winning product on the field .. Rex job is on the line and he is not giving him the pieces to keep it! We all know Revis should be home and he would of came … yes we know he wants money but thats a risk you got to take because he is going to do his part on the field..its players who will produce and we just letting then go cause the want a little more….If we keep basement shopping the product will continue to be the same….I guess you Gm lover will blame Geno like everbody did Sanchez.

  • Emanuel

    I’ve been a jet fan for a long time and I understand the impatience and sense of urgency. But we chose this man to lead us in a new direction since the way we’ve been doing things for the last 38 years I’ve been a jet fan has not yielded the best results. So at this point I’m willing to exercise a little more patience and give the process a chance to do for our organization what has eluded us for so long. Remember my fellow jet fans we didn’t get in this situation over night

  • John X


    You know, I would agree with this mindset of watching/waiting to see what his strategy might be but if you’ll notice, he’s been trying to land all these players. It’s not a situation where he’s simply passing over players to get to others as part of a grand plan. Not the case at all. He’s actually failing to sign these guys.
    I’m not sure why this point is so lost on everyone. He’s missing out on the talent he’s pursuing. It’s very clear yet most of you don’t want to see it. You’re too caught up in giving him some imaginary pass. Society today cannot give criticism of anything. Everything is okay. Really?