Welcome to free agency, New York Jets fans. Here at Turn On The Jets, we are going to keep this post updated with transactions, rumors and observations throughout the next few days, as the craziest time of the NFL season kicks off. Make sure to continue checking back as the news starts to trickle in and to follow us over on Twitter right here and Facebook right here…
11:25 PM - Late night BOOM from Denver, who has just signed Aqib Talib to a 6 year, 57 million dollar contract with 26 million guaranteed. They are also rumored to be closing in on DeMarcus Ware. Wow. The ripple effect from this signing is going to make tomorrow quite an interesting day when Darrelle Revis is released by the Tampa Bay Bucs (a seeming foregone conclusion after today’s Verner signing). New England is expected to pursue Revis and yes there are rumblings about the Jets being in the mix as well. Will they be despite the acrimonious history between Woody Johson and TEAM REVIS? Will New England pay a likely 12 million+ per year for a cornerback? Let’s also not forget that Antonio Cromartie is still on the market and could remain an option for either New England or the Jets. Captain Munnerlyn is another free agent corner available. However, all eyes will be on #24 speculation tomorrow…
10:25 PM - Forgot to add this earlier, but it seems like the Michael Vick negotiations have cooled off. He says he wants to be a starter and the Jets can’t (and shouldn’t) offer this guarantee. Going forward, Jets may be a fall back option for him if he doesn’t come to terms to be starter somewhere. He better hurry up though because Josh McCown is coming in for a visit after he visits Tampa Bay and Houston.
10:10 PM - The latest report from Seth Walder is that the Jets are “very interested” in Maurice Jones-Drew. At first, it seems a little strange for the Jets to be chasing a veteran who may be on the decline, but they have had pretty good success bringing in Veteran running backs in the past. He is a similar runner to Chris Ivory, but we can’t complain about adding proven playmakers to this offense, especially with Ivory’s injury history. If the Jets did sign him the backfield could have some combination of MJD, Ivory, Bilal Powell, and Mike Goodson to rotate through. Is Marty Mornhinweg trying to recreate his Three Headed Monster days in Philly when they had Duce Staley, Brian Westbrook, and Correll Buckhalter?
Also, the Dolphins amazingly were able to trade Jonathan Martin to the 49ers where he will reunite with his college coach.
9:25 PM – And it appears that the undisclosed team was the Tampa Bay Bucs. They signed Verner to a four-year deal worth $26.5M with $14M guaranteed which actually seems somewhat cheap. He will most likely be replacing Darrelle Revis in Tampa as they will most likely cut him soon if they can’t get a trade in place. Lovie Smith’s zone scheme was probably a better fit for Verner than Rex Ryan’s man heavy schemes.
In other heart breaking defensive back news, Jairus Byrd signed on to play in Rob Ryan’s defense in New Orleans. Byrd was the top available free agent for many around the league. Ryan now has a crazy safety tandem to work with between Byrd and Kenny Vacarro.
9:00 PM - It has been pretty quiet on the Alterraun Verner front today, but Ian Rapaport reported on NFL Network that Verner is in “Intense Negotiations” with an undisclosed team. Considering that Jets have kept most of their personnel activity close to the vest in the Idzik era, there is reason to believe that they could be the undisclosed team. On the other hand, it could just be a report planted by Verner’s agent. Let’s hope it’s the former.
7:50 PM – Some additional Strief information: Strief is an underrated player who often was overshadowed by the Saints’ guard tandem of Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs and would be an immediate upgrade over Austin Howard. Strief was named the top Right Tackle in the NFL by both Pro Football Focus and The Bleacher Report 1000. He is 30, which is not that old for a lineman, but 4 years older than Howard. Would be interesting if Jets could potentially land Strief for similar contract that Howard was asking for.
7:20 PM – Still no Jets news. Hopefully patience is a virtue in the John Idzik era. The Chicago Bears just released Julius Peppers, which adds another potential Hall of Fame Defensive End to the market. Don’t see much interest from Jets here as he is a pure 4-3 DE. Miles Austin has been designated for Post June 1 cut. We’re not big fans here as we want to see young, ascending talent sign on, but he has been linked to the Jets. Another safety is off the market. Mike Mitchell signed with the Steelers after a breakout 2013 campaign in Carolina. The pool of safeties has quickly thinned out. Only Jairus Byrd and Chris Clemons are left of the top 8 or 9 guys.
Elsewhere, Golden Tate is heading to Detroit for a visit and Jairus Byrd is heading to New Orleans for a visit. One player to keep an eye on is Saints tackle Zach Strief, who the Jets have reportedly inquired about. According to our resident OL expert, Mike Nolan “Strief is an underrated player who would be an upgrade over Howard and would be a smart move if they could get him at similar money.”
5:20PM - SO MANY TRANSACTIONS. Cornerback Vontae Davis signed a 4 year, 39.5 million dollar contract with 20 million dollars guaranteed. Wow. If he is getting paid that, what is Alterraun Verner looking at? Safety Malcolm Jenkins has signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, taking them out of the Jairus Byrd sweepstakes. Safety TJ Ward is signing with the Denver Broncos, taking him off the Jets radar. As for offensive lineman, Geoff Schwartz is signing with the Giants, Jon Asamoah is signing with the Falcons and Zane Beadles is heading to Jacksonville.
DeMarcus Ware and Lamar Woodley have been both been released either would be a logical target for the Jets.
Stay patient Jets fans, we are only 80 minutes in. There are plenty of viable options still on the market at cornerback (Munnerlyn, Verner), safety (Clemons, Byrd), and receiver (Tate, Sanders, Jones).
4:20PM – Right tackle Austin Howard is going to hit the open market, which is obviously not very good news for the New York Jets. He is likely to see a robust market from teams like the Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders and maybe a few others. Nothing is over until Howard signs on the dotted line with another team but the Jets are very likely to be looking for a new right tackle this offseason. Eric Winston? Winston Justice? The NFL Draft? It will be interesting to see how the Jets approach filling this need.
ELSEWHERE, Josh McCown is lined up to meet the Tampa Bay Bucs, the Houston Texans and then the Jets, in that order. Mike Freeman has also said that Mike Vick has told former teammates that his most likely destination is the New York Jets…so Mark Sanchez may not be very long for the world of Green and White.
A few other names, Dexter McCluster has actually signed with the Titans, not the Browns. Walter Thurmond is scheduled to visit the Jaguars tonight, where he could be reunited with his former defensive coordinator, Gus Bradley. Antoine Bethea signed with the 49ers, taking another safety off the market.
2:45 PM – Twitter is back up and it looks like Julian Edelman will officially hit free agency after not coming to terms with the Patriots. Don’t rule him out for the Jets just because Jeremy Kerley is already on the roster. It will be interesting to see what kind of money Edelman will warrant after a big year. He has had some injury problems prior to 2013.
2:10 PM – Twitter crashed and we are still two hours away from the official start of Free Agency. What will we do if we have no twitter?!?! I refuse to get my news in more than 140 characters. Before it shut down, there was a report that the Eagles and Redskins are the two finalists in the Jairus Byrd sweepstakes. He will either play 120 snaps a game in Philly or have to play under Jim Haslett in Washington. Let’s hope he comes to his senses in the next couple hours.
1:45 PM – Donte Whitner is reportedly signing with the Cleveland Browns today at 4PM, taking a free agent safety option off the market for the Jets. Despite all the Verner chatter yesterday, Vontae Davis could very well be the Jets first signing today and he could eventually be paired with a safety like Chris Clemons…unless John Idzik plans on pulling the rug out from everybody and making a big offer for Jairus Byrd. Stay tuned, 4PM is inching closer.
1:30 PM – A quick update on two of the Offensive Guards the Jets may have been interested in: Jon Asamoah, who was linked to the Jets last week, is reportedly going to sign with the Falcons for about $4.5 million a year. The Giants and Rams are reportedly in competition over his former teammate Geoff Schwartz. The fact that he has added both the Giants and Rams beat writers to his twitter follower list would seem to confirm this notion. Many considered those two guys to be the top guards available in free agency. With the Jets seemingly out of contention, Travelle Wharton, Zane Beadles, Wade Smith and Willie Colon may be the next best options out there.
11:30 AM - A few early transactions involving players the Jets could have targeted: Andre Roberts is heading to Washington on a 4 year, 16 million dollar contract. It will be interesting to see how this impacts what players like Emmanuel Sanders, Golden Tate and James Jones are paid. Dexter McCluster is expected to sign with the Cleveland Browns as well. The Jets have been very quiet in terms of the receivers they are interested in. Personally, we’d prefer Tate but there haven’t been any signs the Jets are seriously considering him. The New England Patriots have a three year offer on the table for Julian Edelman and it is rumored if he doesn’t accept by 4PM they will move on to other options. Edelman is an intriguing name for the Jets to consider. It is worth remembering he caught 70% of his passes as an outside receiver last season…not in the slot and he is a dynamic punt returner.
Elsewhere, Austin Howard isn’t signed yet and we are officially worried…
…And don’t get your hopes up about Darrelle Revis coming back here Jets fans.
8:45 AM - By this point, the Jets have been linked to what feels like 90% of the available free agents. The primary concern for today is preventing Austin Howard from hitting the open market, where a team like Miami or Oakland could land him with a monster deal. Many expect the Jets first outside signing to come at the cornerback position. Alterraun Verner has been the main name associated with them but keep an eye on Vontae Davis who will come cheaper and is a better scheme fit for Rex Ryan’s defense. As for wide receiver, James Jones was associated with the Jets last night but it seems more likely the Jets would look for a younger target.
Here is a little reading to start off the day, outside of our above links to breakdowns of Jones and Golden Tate: