New York Jets: WR Depth A Serious Concern

Chris Gross takes a closer look at the New York Jets depth issues at wide receiver

Among the positives that came out of yesterday’s Green and White scrimmage for the New York Jets, eyes were opened to a serious concern when starting Wide Receiver Santonio Holmes was sidelined with what was originally thought to be a fractured rib. X-rays have reportedly come back negative on Holmes, who is listed as day to day, however, with Mark Sanchez’s primary target down, it became truly evident how thin the Jets are at the Wide Receiver position.

Other than Holmes and Tight End Dustin Keller, there is an alarming lack of experience on the roster. Hopes are high for rookie Stephen Hill, but coming from a triple option offense at Georgia Tech, combined with the fact that he has never taken a single NFL snap, it is far too early to depend on him to carry the workload in the receiving corps. Jeremy Kerley had a very promising rookie campaign last season, but he’s been put in Rex Ryan’s dog house in the early days of training camp for what seems to be a conditioning issue. Regardless, Kerley is much more of a slot type receiver, who may not be very serviceable if plugged into the first or second spot on the depth chart.

Among the other receivers on the roster, newcomer Chaz Schilens has the most experience with four NFL seasons under his belt, however, his career has been plagued by injuries, having played a full 16 games in only his rookie season. Patrick Turner showed some positive signs at the end of last year, hauling in a touchdown in the season finale in Miami, but like many of his colleagues, he too has very little NFL experience, with just 20 games under his belt. Rookie Jordan White had an astounding college career at Western Michigan, but he has been hampered by a lingering foot injury during the first week of camp, so his potential level of production is still extremely hard to gauge.

To put it nicely, if Holmes were to miss significant time, New York would be more dependent on Sanchez and the run game than they have ever been. With this reality looming over the team, there is a good chance General Manager Mike Tannenbaum will look to bolster his group of receivers in some way, shape, or form. Certainly, trades are always a possibility with Tannenbaum, as he didn’t get the nickname “Trader Mike” because it has a nice ring to it. However with very few, if any, realistic trade scenarios out there, the most logical step would be to look at who remains in Free Agency. While there is certainly no abundance of talent left on the open market, New York could use, at the least, a veteran presence in its receiving corps. Here are some names to keep in mind in the coming weeks:

Greg Camarillo – 2011 Team: Minnesota Vikings, Stats: 13 GP, 9 receptions, 121 yards, 0 Touchdowns. 

Camarillo is coming off of his worst statistical season as a pro last year with the Vikings. However, the Quarterback situation in Minnesota was comparable to that of the Jacksonville Jaguars, simply atrocious. Donovan McNabb was released by December, and rookie Christian Ponder struggled greatly at times. However, Camarillo has a great sense of familiarity with new Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano’s system. The sixth year veteran out of Stanford played for Sparano during his first two seasons at the Miami Dolphins’ Head Coach, and accumulated the two most productive seasons in his career. In the 2008 and 2009 seasons, Camarillo played in a combined 27 games, while catching 105 balls for 1,165 yards and 2 touchdowns. Although these numbers aren’t jumping off of the stat sheets, this level of production looks impressive when compared to what is behind Holmes, if Camarillo can return to that under Sparano. The reliable target (0 drops in 2009) would likely come at a very cheap price as well. Tannenbaum may be picking up the phone to get him in for a workout at some point in the near future.

Mike Sims-Walker – 2011 Team: St. Louis Rams/Jacksonville Jaguars, Stats: 6 GP, 12 receptions, 150 yards, 0 Touchdowns (Season ending knee injury).

Sims-Walker faced a bit of a rough patch in his career last season, having played in just 6 games. However, before being hit by the injury bug, he was quite productive in 2009 and 2010 for Jacksonville, having played in 29 games while catching 106 passes for 1,431 yards and 14 touchdowns. Sims-Walker worked out for the Houston Texans in June, and reportedly looked healthy and impressive according to Head Coach Gary Kubiak. Concerns over his knee are likely why Sims-Walker remains a free agent, but he could be worth a glance.

Roy E. Williams – 2011 Team: Chicago Bears, Stats: 15 GP, 37 receptions, 507 yards, 2 Touchdowns.

Of the remaining free agents, Williams has probably been the most productive over the course of his career (393 receptions, 5,715 yards, 44 touchdowns), however he has been bounced around between Detroit, Dallas, and most recently, Chicago since becoming the 7th overall selection in the 2004 NFL Draft. At 6’3” 215 lbs, Williams has the physical ability to contribute as a solid run blocker, something that is crucial in this offense, but he must be willing to do so. At 30 years old, he likely has some decent football left in him, and the Jets could certainly look his way as well.

Bernard Berrian – 2011 Team: Minnesota Vikings, Stats: 5 GP, 7 receptions, 91 yards, 0 Touchdowns.

Berrian hasn’t played a full 16 game season since 2009, which was also the last time he caught a touchdown. After signing a $42 million dollar contract with Minnesota in 2008, Berrian was productive early for the Vikings (103 receptions, 1,582 yards, 11 touchdowns over 2008-2009 seasons combined). Unfortunately, like many of the others, he has been nagged by injuries lately, making him simply irrelevant. New York would be much better suited looking to one of the previous three, before kicking the tires on Berrian.

Anthony Gonzalez – 2011 Team: Indianapolis Colts, Stats: 8 GP, 0 receptions, 0 yards, 0 Touchdowns.

While the Quarterback situation in Indianapolis last year was well below par, Gonzalez has played in just 11 games over the past 3 seasons. He was signed by New England earlier this offseason, but was released prior to training camp due to lingering injuries. His career is seemingly over.

Terrell Owens – 2011 Team: Allen Wranglers (Indoor Football League), Stats: 8 GP, 35 receptions, 420 yards, 10 Touchdowns.

This is simply not going to happen. New York is trying to repair their public image and what many consider a fractured locker room, not further tarnish it.

Plaxico Burress – 2011 Team: New York Jets, Stats: 16 GP, 45 receptions, 612 yards, 8 Touchdowns.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter recently had a sit down with Burress, whom he reported to be in tremendous shape. While he was very productive in the red zone for the Jets last season, New York has simply moved on. Burress was publicly critical of Mark Sanchez and the organization after the conclusion of last season, yet still remains without a job. A reunion can be ruled out by nearly 100 percent.

It will be very interesting to see how this situation plays out in New York. The Jets have to be aware of the lack of experience on the depth chart behind Holmes and will likely look at some of the names mentioned above. While nothing is imminent, Mike Tannenbaum could be picking up the phone in a couple of weeks, particularly if the receiving corps does not impress in the early preseason games.

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New York Jets Fact Or False: New Jets Edition

TOJ’s weekly Fact or False from Chris Gross – Focusing on the newest members of the New York Jets roster

Our weekly Fact or False from Chris Gross…make sure to give Chris a follow on Twitter and let him know what you think –

The New York Jets have experienced yet another exciting offseason of player acquisitions. While the early weeks of free agency had the majority of Jets Nation convinced there was a new mentality in the front office due to the lack of pursuit of the marquee free agents, General Manager Mike Tannenbaum returned to his roots as “Trader Mike” and made the splash of the offseason in trading for the most polarizing figure in the NFL, Denver Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow. Beyond the Tebow trade, Tannenbaum and the Jets achieved, what could prove to be, their best draft in recent years. With the acquisitions of eight players in this year’s draft, there are plenty of newcomers on board with Gang Green this season, many of whom have already stood out at OTAs and Mini-Camp.

The Jets filled a great amount of needs on their roster this offseason, particularly at the safety position where they added four new players (two rookies, two veterans) to the position that was popularly considered the worst on the defense last year. New York has also gone international with the signing of Aussie Rugby Star Hayden Smith, who is vying to make the team as a Tight End, another position in need of depth on the Jets roster. It seems that Mike T and Co. have added players via every means possible this offseason – signings, trades, draft picks, international, domestic, you name it. With so many new additions to the team for the 2012 season, what can we expect from those who will wear the Green and White for the first time this year? This week’s New York Jets Fact Or False takes a look at the “New” New York Jets.

Chaz Schilens will have the greatest impact of all newcomers at the Wide Receiver position. False. While the Jets certainly have a young and promising group of speedy, athletic receivers, Schilens was signed to a one year deal after a season of just 23 receptions in 2011, prior to the Jets selections of rookies Stephen Hill and Jordan White in this year’s NFL Draft. While Schilens certainly has the physical tools (6’4” 4.3 40 yard dash) to be a dangerous weapon in New York’s receiving corps this year, durability will be the key issue, as it has been throughout his career. Schilens has already missed 20 games due to injury in his short four-year career, and has never once recorded 30 receptions in a single season.

However, Schilens showed flashes of brilliance during mini-camp after obtaining a surplus of reps due to injuries to Hill, White, and Santonio Holmes. While Schilens could certainly be a diamond in the rough for Gang Green if he can stay healthy, history does not look favorable for the four-year veteran out of San Diego State. In terms of Jets newcomers at the wide receiver position, Hill, who will likely be starting opposite Santonio Holmes come week 1, is the most likely to have the greatest impact among the new wide outs. Jordan White is certainly another name to keep an eye on if he can come back completely healthy from a foot injury that will have him sidelined until training camp.

Quinton Coples will have the largest impact of all rookies. Fact. DeMario Davis is another candidate here, however with Coples likely to crack the starting lineup right out of the gate this year, he will ultimately have more opportunity to provide a greater impact to the team this season. We’ve repeatedly gone over the physical intangibles of Coples here at Turn On The Jets, not to mention how the shift toward more four-man fronts will benefit his skill set. However, what has not been discussed to a great extent is the work ethic Coples has been displaying since joining the Jets.

Heading into the draft, Coples unfairly saw his character and work ethic come into question, although review of his college game film proves he is anything but lazy and unmotivated. So far, we have yet to hear these concerns about Coples. The first round selection out of North Carolina has displayed nothing but high character and a tremendous work ethic during OTAs and Mini-Camp practices, and has earned praise from the coaching staff and media alike. Coples has the ability to fill the void the Jets defense has been truly lacking since the days of John Abraham, a pass rusher that opposing offenses must game plan around. Rex Ryan will use his vast defensive knowledge and creativity in order to ensure Coples is in every position possible to succeed.

Hayden Smith will make the active roster. False. The idea of Hayden Smith is a very intriguing one for Gang Green. The Jets took a shot at signing the Aussie Rugby star who has never played a down of football in his entire life, but has the physical tools (6’6” 255 lbs) to be an elite tight end in this league. While Smith is highly unlikely to develop into the next Jimmy Graham or Antonio Gates, he could end up being a solid contributor down the road for the Jets. Rex Ryan has already praised his tenacity and work ethic, and for good reason. Smith seems poised to learn the game of football from both an intellectual and fundamental standpoint. However, his development will likely take more than just one offseason before he can contribute, not only on the Jets, but also at the NFL level in general. A year on the practice squad is likely the destination for Smith this year, but that may be just what he needs to build his game and become a contributor in 2013.

Yeremiah Bell will provide more bang for the Jets buck than LaRon Landry. Fact. This could easily turn if Landry stays healthy for the entire year, as New York obtained the Pro Bowl caliber player on a rather cheap one-year contract, however, like Schilens, Landry comes with serious durability concerns. When healthy, Landry has been extremely productive, but over the past two seasons, the former first round selection out of LSU has played in just 17 total games. Bell, on the other hand, has not missed a game in the past four seasons and has accumulated over 100 tackles in each. While the ex-Miami Dolphin was certainly a bit more of an under-the-radar signing than Landry, his impact will likely be much greater with the Jets defense this season due to his durability and production.

Of the two rookie safeties, Josh Bush will see the majority of the reps. Fact. This is a no brainer. Antonio Allen is absolutely a very young, promising prospect for the Jets. However, like Landry and Bell, Allen fits the mold of an in the box, strong safety type player. Conversely, Bush is the only true free safety on the Jets roster and will likely see his reps increase as the season progresses, while picking up the defense a bit more each week. Bush has been widely regarded as one of the better cover safeties in this year’s rookie class, as shown by his All-American and All-ACC honors last season at Wake Forest. While Allen could certainly be used on special teams and in some sub packages, primarily as a blitzer, Bush fills a greater need for the Jets as of right now, and will likely see the majority of the reps among the two.

Tim Tebow will cause a Quarterback controversy in New York. False. While everyone from fans and mainstream media are drooling at the prospect of seeing Tebow come in and replace Mark Sanchez, the reality of the situation is that there will be no controversy at the Quarterback position for the Jets this season. It is certainly easy to argue against this proclamation as Sanchez is coming off of his most criticized season as a pro, despite accounting for 32 total touchdowns in 2011, while the Tebow magic is still fresh in the minds of everyone who witnessed arguably the most polarizing figure in all of sports defy all the odds last season in leading Denver to a playoff victory.

While Tebow will remain the number two quarterback in the event that Sanchez gets injured, he was not brought to New York to take the job from number 6. Tebow will likely be used at quarterback in some wildcat and spread option sub packages, however he will take very little, if any, snaps at QB when the regular offense is on the field. Despite the fact that Sanchez is poised for a breakout season, Tebow’s unique skill set is too diverse to see him taking snaps under center this year. Expect to see Tebow in a variety of roles including H-Back and Running Back. New York has already begun to get him reps here, all of which will likely increase heading into the season. Remember, Sanchez AND Tebow, not Sanchez OR Tebow.

New York Jets Considering Needed Veteran Additions In Secondary

The New York Jets are wisely exploring making veteran additions to their secondary

The New York Jets are having both veteran free agent safety Yeremiah Bell and cornerback Chris Johnson in for visits today. While it is doubtful either will be signed before the draft, it is a smart move to prepare contingency plans depending on what happens this weekend.

We have already discussed the reality that the Jets need more than one player added to their safety depth chart. While he isn’t the Pro Bowl player he was a few years back, Bell is a productive, reliable player who would provide needed insurance for LaRon Landry at strong safety. Beyond that, he has more size and athleticism than Jim Leonhard at free safety, if the Jets end up starting a veteran at that position. Bell is familiar with the Jets through offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. He would be a low cost addition that would provide much needed piece of mind to a depth chart at safety that is currently paper thin and one injury away from being a complete disaster.

Chris Johnson saw his role decline greatly in Oakland last year but he has starting experience and would fill the hole the Jets currently have at their fourth cornerback spot. Donald Strickland isn’t coming back and was average at best last year. Marquice Cole has left for New England. Johnson would have a small role on the Jets defense in their dime package, provide depth if one of the top three corners got hurt and be a quality special teams player. He should be a nice upgrade over what Strickland gave them last year.

Unless the Jets leave the draft with two safeties they feel very good about, look for Bell to be signed in the coming weeks. Similarly, unless they add a corner in the middle rounds, I would look for Johnson to be signed sooner rather than later in the days after the draft. Both players would be needed veteran additions at positions that could used improved depth. Don’t be surprised to see the same approach taken at wide receiver. If the Jets don’t add a player in the first three rounds, they will likely add Braylon Edwards at some point in May if his knee checks out.

Santonio Holmes Organizes Team Workouts In Florida

Santonio Holmes has organized workouts for his teammates and notes on the Jets in free agency

It was reported today by Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger that Santonio Holmes reached out to teammates about holding organized workouts in Florida. He has since been joined by quarterback Mark Sanchez, wide receiver Patrick Turner and tight end Dustin Keller with running back Joe McKnight also on the way.

The words coming from the workouts are encouraging, with Sanchez leading his teammates a few other players through offensive sessions, hopefully from incorporating what he learned about Tony Sparano’s offense from Chad Pennington.

Obviously this is what you want to hear after reported disagreements between Sanchez and Holmes last season. To most of the media, Holmes has bought himself the role of villan thanks to his actions in the regular season finale and from his inconsistencies, Sanchez has bought himself the role of hapless quarterback waiting to be benched for a guy who can’t complete an out route.

Yet, we know this: since the season ended Sanchez has tracked down Chad Pennington to take time to learn his new offense, has avoided the media spotlight and now is working out with his top two targets. Santonio Holmes has done charity work in Africa, worked out in Florida and now invited his teammates to join. Not bad for a pair of guys who are frequently discussed only in negative terms.

Other Notes

– Don’t expect the Jets to make any moves in free agency until the dust settles after the draft. They will then assess their depth chart and likely add a couple of low cost players to boost their depth on both sides of the ball.

Something to think about when wondering why the Jets are keeping cap space available.

New York Jets: Moving Forward From Tebow…

The aftermath of the Tebow press conference and where the New York Jets go from here

Tim Tebow’s press conference didn’t leave us with anything we didn’t already know. He is a class act and easily handled the 40 minutes of questions hurled at him by the media. Unless you are surprised by hearing him say that him and Mark Sanchez have a great relationship, he is going to work his hardest to do whatever the coaches ask him to do, and that faith is a big part of his life, there wasn’t anything newsworthy said today. Tebow said all the right things, which is a good start for him with the New York media.

So now we move on. Tebow is on the Jets. He will either be a successful or unsuccessful role player, push Mark Sanchez to meet his potential or lead to an ugly quarterback controversy…only time will tell. As a Jets fan, I hope it works and I will be rooting for it work. That being said, can we shift to the discussion to the NFL Draft being exactly a month away and the Jets still having many holes to fill?

Perhaps their off-season strategy will be worked around draft weekend and looking to make moves in the dust that settles after that weekend. I do know this team can’t be comfortable with a current depth that boasts Tracy Wilson as the starting free safety, Chaz Schilens as the starting split end, Wayne Hunter as the starting right tackle, and Bryan Thomas, Bart Scott, and Calvin Pace all still starters at linebacker.

Mike Tannenbaum needs to find starters by using his draft picks (the team currently has six and will likely get a few more via compensatory picks), remaining cap space, and whatever trade assets the team has.

When you look at this team needs, you would hope they are building to beat the New England Patriots. They are the team who has owned the division the past decade. They are who represented the AFC in the Super Bowl last year. They are who is preventing the Jets from getting home playoff games on a yearly basis.

From what I have seen, you beat New England by hitting Tom Brady and slowing down their tight ends. Buffalo got the memo and signed Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. It is time for the Jets to beef up their pass rush and add a safety who has some type of hope of slowing down their duo at tight end. Beyond that, it is time to make sure other teams can’t batter Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow by improving their offensive line.

I welcome Tebow to New York but I soon hope to be welcoming an outside linebacker, safety, and right tackle to join him.

New York Jets and Tim Tebow? Hell No!

Trading for Tim Tebow is the wrong move for the New York Jets

Don’t do it, Mike Tannenbaum…don’t do it. Tim Tebow is a name and a big one at that, not a need. You know what is foolish? Extending your franchise quarterback’s contract, signing another quarterback and then trading for yet another one before you find yourself a right tackle. The Jets need Vernon Carey right now more than they need Tim Tebow. They need Damien Woody to come out of retirement right now more than they need Tim Tebow.

Nevermind the outstanding needs at wide receiver and running back and we haven’t even got started on defense, where they need a safety who can cover, along with a pass rusher.

Trading for Tebow is a headline grabbing move to show “hey, we care about fixing our locker room.” It is great that you want to fix your locker room but you shouldn’t have extended Mark Sanchez if you didn’t think he was capable of it. In reality, trading for Tebow brings an entire new wave of problems to this locker room and this team.

Is it worth it for Tebow? Absolutely not. I don’t care if Denver trades him to the Jets for a bag of footballs. Can we stop acting like it is 2008 when it comes to the Wildcat? The Wildcat helped the Dolphins to a division title that season, where they were crushed in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens. They haven’t made the playoffs since. Maybe you watched a different NFL than I did last year but I didn’t see the Wildcat make any type of impact anywhere. As a matter of fact, I don’t recall seeing a single Wildcat play run throughout the entire playoffs.

The five to ten plays a game (at most) the Jets should be running out of the Wildcat can be handled by Jeremy Kerley or Joe McKnight.

Those five to ten plays aren’t worth the circus coming to town. They aren’t worth potentially dividing the locker room as split between Sanchez and Tebow supporters. They aren’t worth the headlines and fans calls for Sanchez to the bench for Savior Tebow if the Jets start 0-1. Stop with the attempts to be headline whores and go improve your football team. Go get a tackle, safety and a running back. You want to improve your rushing attack? Go sign Michael Bush, Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis or trade for Jonathan Stewart, they will produce just as much if not more than Tebow in the running game without the insanity.

Everybody who is clamoring for Tebow to come here is basically talking him up as a short yardage running back. A short yardage running back isn’t worth the stupidly quick hook Sanchez will be on if Tebow is on this team. He isn’t worth adapting a Wildcat offense to in a league that has already figured out the Wildcat.

Look at the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens formula for success last year. They were both were fluke plays away from the Super Bowl and they got there with power running, defense and taking timely shots down the field. Build yourself in that model, don’t build yourself in the outplayed gimmick model. You can’t win how New England or the Giants won last year because you don’t have an elite quarterback but you can win how the 49ers and Ravens did last year, just make sure your punt returner can catch and your kicker can make chip shot field goals.

Don’t do it…Mike Tannenbaum. Build a winning football team not a media strategy.

New York Jets Exploring Running Back Market

The New York Jets are showing interest in free agent running backs, but they should be considering swinging a trade

With most of the focus on the New York Jets improving the secondary by adding LaRon Landry and potentially signing another safety, there have been some rumblings about the team looking to boost their depth chart at running back.

By the way, Wayne Hunter and Vladimir Ducasse are currently the Jets top two right tackles. I just needed to remind everybody of that…now back to the article.

Anyway, the Jets have expressed interest in BenJarvus Green-Ellis and there are rumors they could have interest in Michael Bush. Both are intriguing as they would signal an attempt to return to the “Thunder/Thunder” approach of Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene during the 2009 season. Both running backs were considered top tier free agents at their position but have seen lukewarm interest so far. Bush is a bruiser, who is a quality receiver out of the backfield who is coming off his best season and Green-Ellis, as we know plenty well, is a solid, not spectacular back who never fumbles the football…literally.

A more intriguing option has presented itself with the Carolina Panthers signing running back Mike Tolbert. The Panthers were already well positioned at running back with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, so the Tolbert signing has led to speculation that either Williams or Stewart could be traded.

Carolina would love to move Williams and the asinine contract they signed him to last year. However, nobody will be taking it on unless he agrees to restructure. Stewart on the other hand has one year left on his rookie deal and it is hard to picture any scenario where they will have the money to re-sign him after how much they spent on Williams and now on Tolbert. So, why not move him now and get compensation for him?

Stewart is coming off a season where he racked up 761 rushing yards at 5.4 yards per carry and 47 receptions for 413 yards. He is an explosive playmaker who would make a terrific combination with Shonn Greene. If I am Mike Tannenbaum I am embracing my trading roots and offering Carolina a 3rd and 5th round pick for him. If that offer doesn’t satisfy them, I’d be willing to move up to a 2nd rounder this year and a conditional 5th rounder next year.

Bush and Green-Ellis are nice role players. Stewart has the ability to be a star in Tony Sparano’s run heavy system. Tannenbaum traded for a running back in 2007 in Thomas Jones who piled up 28 touchdowns and 3,833 rushing yards in three seasons. Stewart is capable of that type of production.

New York Jets Sign Safety LaRon Landry

The New York Jets have signed safety LaRon Landry

The New York Jets have signed safety LaRon Landry to a 1 year, 4 million dollar contract. Landry was the 6th overall pick of the Washington Redskins in 2007, where he has spent his entire career up until now. In that time he has 383 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles.

At 6 feet, 225 pounds Landry is a physical player who is a “in the box” safety. He will replace Eric Smith in that role in Rex Ryan’s defense. Despite playing at a Pro Bowl level at times throughout his career, Landry has had major durability issues which has led him to miss 15 games over the past two seasons after only missing 1 over his first three years. He has had issues with left Achilles tendon and groin. In the past two years, he has avoided getting injury and instead received plasma and stem cell treatment.

Considering the duration of the contract, this was a needed risk by the Jets to improve their safety situation as their free agent options were dwindling and they needed two players at the position. If healthy, Landry will be an upgrade over Eric Smith and should help in run support. However, the Jets still must add a free safety with coverage ability, whether that is OJ Atogwe or an early round draft pick. Smith now has the ability to be the role player and special teams ace he was in 2009, a role that he thrived in for most of the season.

Landry was playing the best football of his career in 2010 prior to the Achilles injury, prompting Head Coach Mike Shanahan to make a Rex Ryan like statement that he would have been the Defensive Player of the Year if he hadn’t got hurt. The Jets will now have four first round draft picks in their secondary, with Landry joining Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Kyle Wilson.

New York Jets Moving To Next Tier Of Free Agents

After losing out on Reggie Nelson, the New York Jets have shifted their focus to a new crop of players

It is fair to be disappointed about Reggie Nelson clearly using the New York Jets to jack up the price on the Cincinnati Bengals, who he chose to re-sign with. Nelson is a rangy, athletic player who would have been an immediate upgrade at free safety. However, Nelson is a good…not great player and thus not worth despairing over for too long. It is certainly too early to feel like the Miami Dolphins, who couldn’t recruit a player they wanted if they offered him a share of ownership and named the stadium after him.

The Jets continue to have a viable chance at LaRon Landry, who visited the team’s facility over the weekend. Landry has the potential to be a quality strong safety who spends most of time inside the box. It is important that the Jets don’t overpay for him however, as he has major durability concerns. Landry is cut in a similar mode to Eric Smith but is more physically talented and would allow Smith to move back to the situational player role he thrived in.

The team is also expressing interest in OJ Atogwe, who has the ability to fill the hole at free safety. Atogwe is coming off a disappointing season in Washington, but who doesn’t have disappointing seasons in Washington? He was a very productive player in St. Louis from 2006-2010 and would be a nice upgrade for the Jets over Jim Leonhard whose health status remains unclear at this point.

It is also being reported the Jets are considering former Green Bay Packers safety/corner Jarrett Bush. While he is a versatile player with some upside, it is doubtful the team views him as a full time option at safety. He would more likely be a replacement for Donald Strickland and Marquice Cole in the Jets nickel/sub packages and on special teams.

On offense, the Jets are bringing in wide receiver Donnie Avery for a visit. Avery is a burner who has had health issues (sound familiar?) similar to Chaz Schilens, Avery is a low cost/potentially high reward player.

Inside linebacker Jameel McClain remains on the market so it will be interesting to see if the Jets work on bringing him in for a visit in the coming days. We know the team is interested and he gives them the ability to cut ties with Bart Scott.

TOJ New York Jets Free Agency 12 Pack

TOJ with a 12 pack of thoughts on the New York Jets in free agency

UPDATE: The Jets have signed quarterback Drew Stanton to a one year, 1.25 million dollar deal to backup Mark Sanchez.

Kick off your St. Patrick’s Day Weekend by sitting back and enjoying a 12 pack of thoughts on the New York Jets potential moves in free agency. Then tomorrow when you are prowling the streets of New York City, look for the tall, not that athletic looking guy with the Revis Island shirt and Eric Smith signed snapback hat and buy him a real 12 pack…

1. The biggest news of the day, as far as I’m concerned is two fold, first that LaRon Landry is coming for a visit to the Jets facility but more importantly that the team believes they have a chance to sign both him and Reggie Nelson. It is financially feasible as long as the deals are structured the right way, which is Mike Tannenbaum’s speciality. I have not been high on pursuing Landry this off-season but if you can sign him on the right deal (an incentive laden one that protects you from his injuries) and you pair him with a centerfield/ballhawk type safety like Nelson it makes sense. Landy at strong safety with Nelson at free safety, along with Eric Smith back as the top reserve is a good situation. Nevermind the potential of still bringing Jim Leonhard back on a veteran’s minimum for depth purposes. How nice would it be to bring back your previous #1 and #2 safety as your new #3 and #4 safety…now that is depth.

2. If the Jets can lock down the safety position via free agency, it gives them ability to push their chips to the middle of the table to get a pass rusher in the draft. If you solve safety via free agency, go solve outside linebacker in the draft by moving up if necessary to grab Melvin Ingram or Courtney Upshaw.

3. It is also being reported today that the Jets have interest in inside linebacker Jameel McClain. This has long been a speculated move for the Jets as McClain has experience with Rex Ryan. If he does sign, you can start counting the seconds until Bart Scott is cut.

4. All of a sudden you are a seeing a blueprint for a much improved Jets defense in 2012. Keep in mind, this is if everything breaks right. But the potential is there to add two new starting safeties, an outside linebacker early in the draft and a new inside linebacker in McClain. You can then add a few depth players later in the draft and all of a sudden you have the potential for a very scary defense in 2012. Can you imagine a starting defensive backfield of Landry, Nelson, Revis and Cromartie with Wilson as the nickel back…that is five first round draft picks.

5. There are mixed reports about the Jets search for a backup quarterback. At this point, both Drew Stanton and Brady Quinn remain likely options. I would expect one to be signed in the coming days. Both have shortcomings but both are upgrades over Mark Brunell. UPDATE – Stanton was signed to 1 year deal.

6. I like what I heard from Mark Sanchez’s comments to the media yesterday, most notably that he took the time to fly down to Florida to patch things up with Santonio Holmes, calling out his anonymous critics as “gutless,” and retracting the comments he made about his new contract making him leader and saying that he needed to earn it on the field. He sounded like a confident guy ready to have an improved year…obviously we’ll see what happens on the field.

7. Jamaal Westerman signed with the Dolphins. I always felt he could have done more for the team with extended playing time but with the emergence of Aaron Maybin he became expendable.

8. This has flown under the radar but the Jets would be foolish to let Robert Turner walk. He is a versatile backup, who can play in certain big packages. I am sure Dallas will take a run at him but the Jets need to remember the importance of depth on the offensive line.

9. I think the Jets will get around to bringing Marquice Cole back. He is a quality depth player who is a key part of all their special teams units.

10. At wide receiver, I will reiterate my stance on Chaz Schilens. If you sign him on a cheap, incentive laden contract it has the potential to be a smart move. The size and speed is there but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. There is a chance he could be next year’s Laurent Robinson or miss 10 games with an injury, which is why it would be smart to pair his signing with either a mid-round draft pick, Braylon Edwards, or Jerricho Cotchery. The problem is that I doubt Cotchery or Edwards come here unless they are given a chance to start and I think the Jets are signing Schilens with the intention of him being a starter.

11. All quiet on the running back front. The Jets may be content to just add a player through the draft in the middle or late rounds and roll with what they have instead of paying Ronnie Brown any type of money.

12. It was good to see the Jets focus on taking care of their own this off-season by bringing back Sione Pouha and Bryan Thomas, respected veterans in the locker room. Those type of moves go a long to improving locker room chemistry.