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