Turn On The Jets 12 Pack – February Offseason Musings

Joe Caporoso with a Turn On The Jets 12 Pack of February offseason musings on the New York Jets

Welcome back to another edition of the Turn On The Jets 12 Pack. Make sure to subscribe to the TOJ podcast (hit us with a rating!)…

1 – Sunsetting Gawd

It seems like an inevitably that wide receiver Robby Anderson will not be on the New York Jets in 2020. In a thin wide receiver market, the 26 year old speedster is going to get at least 12 million per year from some team. Anderson has demonstrated a baseline of about 800 yards and 6 touchdowns per season with less than ideal quarterback situations the past three years (Josh McCown! Bryce Petty! Luke Falk!) and has a unique ability to unlock other areas of the offense because of his speed. He is also something many receivers with his speed are not – durable, as he’s played in 46 of his past 48 eligible games.

You can make a reasonable argument either way about the Jets keeping Anderson or letting him walk pending where his final contract size nets out but if you are letting him walk, there better be a strong contingency plan in place. There is nothing more important than ensuring Sam Darnold’s success in his third season and letting his top receiver from his first two years, who is entering his prime, walk over a few million dollars is not a wise strategy unless the team will be adequately backfilling through both free agency and the NFL Draft.

The Jets boxed themselves into this undesirable corner by not paying Anderson sooner or by not dumping him for assets at the trade deadline or last offseason. Ideally, you always want to keep your young talent, especially your young offensive talent….especially when your offense has been so damn bad.

I’d personally find a way to get Anderson back but I’ve accepted it is highly unlikely to happen. The challenge will now be filling another hole on an offense that already needs massive amounts of work.

2 – Buy The Poole

Bill Barnwell projects Brian Poole is likely to get a contract around the 30 million dollar range this offseason and it is a contract the Jets should work on hammering out before free agency opens. If the team is wise, they will cut ties with both Daryl Roberts and Trumaine Johnson and ensure Poole is back in the critical slot corner role. The outside cornerback positions still need work but they shouldn’t even let Poole flirt with free agency because of how challenging his position is to fill. Unlike Anderson, this is a deal I am more optimistic about getting done and one that Gregg Williams will undoubtedly be standing on the table for.

3 – Offensive Line Or Bust 

Pre-draft chatter can be notoriously misleading and with the Jets picking 11th, instead of their usual top 6 spot there is an increased opportunity for unpredictability in front of them in round one. Despite all that, I can’t find one person who thinks Joe Douglas would take a wide receiver in the first round, a position many fans would like to see the team consider depending on how the board breaks. I tend to think the Jets are fixated on one of the top four tackles (Thomas, Wirfs, Wills, Becton) with the 11th pick and if none of them are there, they will either look to trade down (something I feel like is rumored every year with this team) or would look at an edge rusher.

Pending how free agency goes and what specific tackle was available, if any, at #11, I would strongly consider Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb but I am in full zealot mode when it comes to improving the Jets offense this offseason to overcome Adam Gase and help Sam Darnold in a pivotal season, which is making me reconsider a generally negative stance towards taking a receiver in round one. Regardless of all that, I don’t think it is something the Jets will seriously consider at #11, as it will be offensive line, trade down or edge rusher.

4 – Everything Is Fine 

We have long known that Adam Gase would be back as the Jets Head Coach but this team really didn’t have a single change to make to their offensive staff. Not one? They were dead last in multiple categories and their “Offensive Coordinator” is 30th or lower in total offense in his past three years in the job across three different teams. They couldn’t change him? They couldn’t find a positional coach to upgrade? Everything is really all good after the offensive display the team put on last year?

(Also, please spare me anything about them “coming on” down the stretch. The Jets offense scored six touchdowns in their final five games last year despite playing two terrible defenses in Miami and Cincinnati, along with getting the Bills’ backups).

5 – Free Agency Reality Checks

He wasn’t a top tier free agent but Arizona brought back offensive tackle DJ Humphries yesterday on a 3 year, 45 million dollar contract extension, a player who would have been a nice fallback for teams who miss out on Jack Conklin and Anthony Castonzo. This won’t be the last time in the next few weeks an enticing free agent is either brought back by his current team or is slapped with the franchise tag. The market is ultimately never as good as it looks on paper in November/December when fans of teams outside of the playoff race start digging into it, particularly at premium positions like offensive line. The ever thinning market only further pushes for the remaining competent players to get overpaid, which is an inevitably with free agency…another reason why Robby Anderson should feel confident he is getting 12M+ per year in the next month or so.

6 – In House Money

The Jets have only made two minor moves in the pass few months to keep internal talent, both at the tight position by bringing back Ryan Griffin and Daniel Brown. We have already discussed Robby Anderson and Brian Poole but the next crop to focus on is Kelvin Beachum, Jordan Jenkins and Alex Lewis, who seems like the safest bet to be back after Joe Douglas gave up a draft pick for him (and he held his own last season). It depends how the market shakes out but I wouldn’t bet on Beachum being back to play another year with this offensive coaching staff, while Jenkins will be an interesting one to watch play out. The Jets would be wise to proactively get ahead of him hitting the market because edge rushers are hard to find and his contract value could quickly swell, despite never reaching double digit sacks and really being a better fit as a secondary rusher/edge setter. I am assuming Gregg Williams will be an advocate for keeping him around, although I think the drop off from him to Tarell Basham as a full time player may be less than most fans expect.

7 – Old Friends Are Not Necessarily Good Friends

The Jets are understandably being linked with old Gase favorites in free agency rumors, particularly at receiver where many expect them to pursue either Emmanuel Sanders or Alshon Jeffrey. I can’t say I am fan of investing in either. Sanders will be 33 years old this season and faded down the stretch for San Francisco while Deebo Samuel chewed up a larger role in the offense. He has been less productive than Robby Anderson the past two seasons and is 7 years older. Sanders is a big name but this isn’t the 2015 Broncos. Jeffrey looked fully washed last year and just turned 30 years old. It isn’t inconceivable he could get healthy and be a solid one year flier but there is immense injury risk associated with him. When Robby walks, the Jets would be better served looking at the trade market for a receiver or potentially taking a flier on Breshad Perriman, Demarcus Robinson, Rashard Higgins or maybe even Devin Funchess, if they are going to take a swing on an injury prone player.

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the Jets sniffing around Albert Wilson (if cut), Danny Amendola and yes even CJ Anderson. I can’t say I’d be a fan of any of these moves, outside of maybe Wilson but don’t be surprised to see it happen.

8 – Mock Draft Stacks 

Recent names mocked to the Jets

9 – One More Time, One More Bell

It makes no financial or football sense for the New York Jets to move Le’Veon Bell this offseason. In the best case scenario, they are paying him to play somewhere else in exchange for a mid round draft pick while opening another hole on their depth chart (Ty Montgomery is a free agent who I wouldn’t bet on being back and you can’t count on Bilal Powell at this point). Bell was not the same player he was in Pittsburgh last year. However, he was not used properly by the coaching staff and was stuck behind a below average offensive line. He also still caught everything thrown his way and was terrific in pass protection. The Jets will already be making Sam Darnold’s life harder by letting Anderson walk in free agency, they should not compound his difficulties by giving away a veteran back, who at a minimum is a wall in pass protection and an elite safety valve.

10 – Digging Deeper 

Hopefully Joe Douglas will hit a home run or at least a triple in free agency but he will earn his salary by winning in the second and third tier of available options. Here a few names worth considering in that group (not including any receivers since we touched on a few names above)

  • Germain Ifedi, OT
  • Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OT
  • Andrus Peat, OG
  • Graham Glasgow, OG
  • Connor McGovern, OG
  • Quinton Spain, OG
  • BJ Finney, C
  • Emmanuel Ogbah, Edge
  • Shaq Lawson, Edge
  • Darqueze Dennard, Corner
  • Bradley Roby, Corner
  • PJ Williams, Corner
  • CJ Prosise, RB
  • Dwayne Washington, RB
  • Dan Bailey, K

11 – The Douglas Reality 

Joe Douglas is currently immensely more popular with fans than Head Coach Adam Gase. Fairly or unfairly, certain transactions going forward will be partially or fully blamed on Gase due to his reputation. For Douglas, he is likely to enjoy a similar honeymoon to other leadership members in the organization’s history. Any of Rex Ryan’s mistakes were blamed on John Idzik. Any of Mike Maccagnan’s mistakes were blamed on Woody Johnson (at least in his early years). Any of Mike Maccagnan’s mistakes were then blamed on Todd Bowles (until Adam Gase knifed him). If the Jets are #bad next year, it won’t be Douglas who pays the price and he will likely be given a clean slate by most with a new HC. It is a tough situation for Adam Gase but if he was better at his job, he wouldn’t be in it.

12 – FanSpeak Mock SZN 

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