A few thoughts on recent moves in the AFC East and how they will impact the New York Jets off-season. Make sure to tune at 8:30PM tonight for our free agency preview podcast, call in number is 347-215-8903.
Bills Go Full Rex
Off the field they got trucks, Pizza Hut commercials and tattoos. On the field, they got Richie Incognito, LeSean McCoy and Matt Cassel. We know Rex doesn’t prioritize linebackers, especially those he doesn’t feel fit his scheme so in retrospect this trade wasn’t that shocking. With how devalued running back is, it is surprising to see a trade for McCoy’s contract, particularly after a down season behind a great offensive line. However, the Bills are going to run the football more than any team in the NFL and they wanted a top tier running back, so they went and got one. More importantly (from this site’s perspective at least), how does it impact the Jets?
First off, it means the Bills pursuit of David Harris is going to be that much more aggressive. The Jets need to ask themselves how much they are willing to overpay for him. There will be sentiment to not lose another home grown player to a division rival mixed with the logic that Harris is a two down player who isn’t worth a huge multi-year investment. It will be a tough balance and decision for a new regime. The Jets can sign a player like Brandon Spikes and get 90-95% of Harris and then invest at improving outside linebacker or see if they can prevent Harris from hitting free agency at all and maybe spend less at outside linebacker.
The addition of McCoy to Buffalo, confirms CJ Spiller will be leaving and increases the likelihood of him ending up in New York. It would be surprising if Spiller wasn’t one of the first players the Jets hosted in free agency.
It was an odd decision to trade for Cassel who has 34 interceptions, 13 fumbles and 30 touchdowns over his last 30 starts and was putrid when he played against New England last year. There will be plenty of middling quarterbacks available next week that you don’t need to trade picks for. For the Jets, I’d still watch for the odd man out in Houston (Ryan Fitzpatrick/Ryan Mallett) or Matt Moore.
Buffalo is also now getting a little tight on cap space, which could potentially limit their rumored interest in Mike Iupati and Darrelle Revis.
Dolphins Go Full Tanny
Credit to Mike Tannenbaum for cutting the bloated contracts of Brian Hartline, Cortland Finnegan and Brandon Gibson. He may also soon be doing the same with Mike Wallace, Philip Wheeler and Randy Starks. The Dolphins are clearing cap space for an anticipated run at Ndamukong Suh and if they don’t get him, I’d expect them to be aggressive elsewhere on defense, potentially putting them in the mix for David Harris and secondary players the Jets could be targeting.
Suh would be a major boost but are the Dolphins going to exceed 8-8 with Joe Philbin? (Credit Patrick Daugherty for this epically written paragraph on Philbin while ranking him the league’s worst coach.)
The grandest of mediocrities, Joe Philbin is not an NFL coach. He is a shrinking violet garbed in an aqua polo and adorned with a headset. He is a man unloved by his players, outwitted by his rivals and overwhelmed by his duties. An “offensive mind,” Philbin does not call his own plays. That leaves his primary function as “leading.” This is not good because Philbin’s primary failing is leadership. Not every NFL coach is going to be Pete Carroll or Mike Ditka. Loud does not equal “lead.” But if you’re going to be the quiet type, you better have a firm grasp on the pulse of your team. This is something Philbin insisted he didn’t have when he pled ignorance again and again in the Dolphins’ “Bullygate” scandal. Philbin’s locker room was fracturing into factions, and whether it was willful or intentional, he had no idea. Once Philbin finally does discover his problems, he ships them out instead of coaching them up. Brandon Marshall and Vontae Davis have both thrived since Philbin sent them packing, while the Dolphins have spent millions and many draft picks trying to replace them.
Not that Philbin’s failures all come behind closed doors. As a game manager, his top innovation has been calling late timeouts on defense in one-score games. This brilliant tactic helped produce two wins in 2014 … for the Packers and Lions. Philbin’s other speciality is dialing up field goals. Unfortunately for Dolphins fans, only five teams had worse field-goal percentages last season. Philbin is John Harbaugh if he never won. He’s Mike Tomlin if he never showed fire. He’s Jason Garrett if he never smiled. He is the worst coach in the NFL.
The Patriots Waiting Game
We are going to give New England the benefit of the doubt on Darrelle Revis and Devin McCourty, even though it was surprising to see McCourty not get the franchise tag. Bill Belichick is not going to lose both these guys and if he does lose one, it will probably be McCourty.
Under the hypothetical that McCourty is gone, the Jets should be in the mix but they will be bidding against Philadelphia, Jacksonville and Tennessee among other teams. McCourty should get a Godfather type offer from the Jets if they get the opportunity considering their glaring need at free safety, cap space and McCourty’s skill set. As for Revis, we know the Jets are interested since Woody Johnson publicly said it. I don’t doubt the Jets would give Revis whatever he wanted monetarily, the question is does New England let it get to that point and does Revis want to leave a ready made Super Bowl contender? I won’t get my hopes up for either but getting one of those two would be a dream start to the Jets off-season.