After bringing in former second team All-Pro Jason Babin in for a workout on Monday, Kim Jones of YES just reported that the New York Jets signed him to a two year deal. Terms were not disclosed, but let’s take a look at what this means for the Jets on the field.
Babin has excelled primarily as a left defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. but also has experience playing as a standup OLB and at right defensive end. With the Jets utilizing more four man fronts Babin fits as a situational pass rusher and as a great depth signing. The New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks have proved that you can’t have too many pass rushers. With a young secondary in place, the best way to help them is by getting to the QB consistently. Babin does exactly that. Don’t be surprised to see formations where Babin, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Quinton Coples line up on the defensive line. This gives you four legitimate pass rushers with the ability to rush throws or knock passes down.
Babin uses a 4 point stance, which is something of a lost art in the NFL (think Carmelo’s midrange jumper for you Turn On The Knicks readers), and can consistently rush the QB. He had 7.5 sacks last year while playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars and has notched at 4 or more sacks in 7 of the 8 seasons where he’s played at least 12 games. His best statistical season came in 2011 when he led the Eagles with 18 sacks at the age of 31. Babin has forced multiple fumbles in five straight seasons. He is a below average run stopper so look for Rex to get keep him in situations where he’s asked just to rush the passer. Good job by John Idzik continuing to try and improve the roster even after the waves of free agency have passed.
This signing doesn’t bode well for what the team thinks of Antwan Barnes’ health or the potential of Jermaine Cunningham. It is safe to assume that Babin will primarily be used as a situational pass rusher, which was Barnes’ role last year. You have to wonder if Barnes will begin the season on the PUP list or maybe not make the team. Although, being able to add Barnes midseason would be a boost for the Jets defense, so it will be a interesting situation to monitor.
JC Quick Thoughts – I think more than anything this move is an indictment of how the team feels about Barnes heading into this season. Babin is the type of player who can fill the role the Jets had likely envisioned for Barnes last season and this season. At this point of the summer, this is a nice value addition as the Jets could always use more juice off the edge. Babin managed 7.5 sacks last season without Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison and Sheldon Richardson taking on blockers lined up inside of him. Rex Ryan will move him around on third downs and get him a position to make plays. The Jets are going to be able to get after the quarterback this year in a way we haven’t seen for awhile.