The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack looks at the key debates among New York Jets fans this off-season
Every off-season brings plenty of debates with it for fans of NFL teams and the New York Jets are no exception. With a rebuilding process about to begin under newly hired GM John Idzik, the team is likely to make a good amount of polarizing decisions in the coming months as they try to dig out of the salary cap quagmire created by Mike Tannenbaum. This week’s 12 Pack is going to sort through the most prominent debates of the off-season. Sit back. Crack a beer. And enjoy another 12 Pack from TOJ.
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One of the more divisive debates among New York Jets fans this off-season is the value of keeping safety LaRon Landry, who is reportedly seeking around 6 million dollars per year as a free agent. Landry quickly became a fan favorite last season with his intimidating, physical brand of football. He finished with 99 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions, 8 passes defensed and 1 touchdown. Yet, is he worth 6 million per year, particularly for a team with so many salary cap constraints and holes on their roster?
A closer look at Jeremy Kerley and how he compares to Santonio Holmes as a wide receiver
The New York Jets wide receiver position remains a question mark heading into the 2013 season. There is potential for a productive, deep group but there are a concerning number of “ifs” surrounding that potential: If Santonio Holmes can return healthy from off-season foot surgery. If Stephen Hill can return healthy from off-season knee surgery. If Hill can begin to improve his route running and consistency catching the football. If Braylon Edwards is brought back on a minimum contract to provide necessary depth. If Jeremy Kerley can take another step forward in his development. If one or two of those “ifs” break the wrong way, the Jets are going to have another season with an ugly situation at receiver.
One of the questions worth exploring for both the 2013 season and future seasons is can Jeremy Kerley become a capable full time starting receiver in the place of Santonio Holmes? The Jets are going to try (and fail) to trade Holmes this off-season, we don’t know how healthy he will be 2013. After this season, barring a surprising turn of events, he will be released to free up cap space long term.
The Turn On The Jets 12 pack goes through a wish list for the New York Jets off-season
In the coming months there will be no shortage of additions to the New York Jets roster, which currently is closer to resembling a CFL team than a competitive NFL team. In today’s 12 pack we are going to sort through every position and outline our “wish list,” “most likely,” and “long shot” outcome for the Jets in free agency, mindful of the salary cap situation. We will also go over a handful of draft prospects they could consider at each position. Let’s have a look –
What current New York Jets need to make the jump in 2013 to help expedite the team’s rebuilding process?
In a previous article this off-season, we discussed the necessary components of a rebuilding process for the New York Jets. When citing an example from how they quickly turned a disastrous 2005 season into a productive 2006, we mentioned younger players “making the jump” and having career years. A few examples of this in 2006 were Jerricho Cotchery becoming a capable, productive starting receiver, Victor Hobson becoming a playmaking linebacker, Bryan Thomas having a career high in sacks and Kerry Rhodes putting together a Pro-Bowl caliber season at safety.
The Jets aren’t going to be able to fill all their holes via free agency and the draft, there are simply too many. They are going to need young players currently on the roster to take their games to the next level the way Jeremy Kerley did in 2012, as one of the team’s few bright spots on offense.
Kerley having 56 receptions, 827 yards and 2 touchdowns in last year’s passing offense is a borderline miracle. He needs to continue building on that production because nothing is guaranteed with Santonio Holmes coming off such serious surgery and the rest of the wide receiver position in flux. Kerley showed he was capable of being more than a pure slot receiver and hopefully new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhingweg is more creative at using him than Tony Sparano was. But what rostered players outside of Kerley will the Jets need to make “the jump”?
An overview of what to expect from the New York Jets off-season
With the Super Bowl in the rear-view mirror, the off-season rumor mill is going to pick up speed and begin to be overflowed with endless amounts of crap being thrown against the wall. Remember that before you get yourself in a huff about the Jets contemplating the possibility of trading Darrelle Revis for Alex Smith or thinking any team will have interest in Tim Tebow.
Considering the New York Jets have a new GM and it is unclear what the power dynamic in the front office will shake out to be, it is hard to project what will happen. We can discuss what needs to happen or just how many issues there truly are but there isn’t much concrete information available right now. What can we piece together at this point?
With the salary cap situation, the release of Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Eric Smith and Jason Smith is a foregone conclusion. There is also a reasonable chance that Sione Pou’ha will be cut. The team will try to trade Tim Tebow but realistically the trade market for him is non-existent, which will also likely lead to him being cut. Trade markets will similarly be gauged for Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and David Harris but there won’t be any takers. The only trade pieces teams are going to be interested in are Antonio Cromartie or Darrelle Revis.
The Jets will assess the type of offers received for both players, along with their confidence level in signing Revis long term. If it becomes clear that isn’t happening, they are taking a deal for Revis. The San Francisco 49ers are going to join the Denver Broncos at the top of the list in teams pursuing him, particularly after seeing their secondary ripped apart last night and with the knowledge they have 14 draft picks. If negotiations with Revis are more amicable, there will still be a strong market for Cromartie and the chance for the Jets to acquire a pair of mid-round picks for him.
In free agency, it is hard to see the Jets making a hard push to bring LaRon Landry back. It should become apparent early on that he will land outside of their price range. Similarly, don’t expect the Jets to give much of an effort, if any, to bring back Matt Slauson or Shonn Greene. Despite being a Restricted Free Agent, the Jets will probably do what it takes to bring Austin Howard back. The team will also look to sign Brandon Moore to a short term deal. Braylon Edwards would be smart to bring back and won’t cost much more than the veteran minimum. The same goes for Yeremiah Bell. The most interesting players to watch will be Dustin Keller and Mike DeVito.
The Jets will want to use their franchise tag on Keller, who likely isn’t going to be happy about that desire. This could turn into an ugly situation where Keller refuses to report without a new contract and the Jets look into trading him post Franchise Tag. Keller would be a nice fit in Marty Mornhinweg’s offense but the Jets aren’t going to give him a monster contract after such an injury plagued and inconsistent season. This has prolonged dispute written all over it.
DeVito is a valuable cog in the defensive line rotation because of his versatility. Yet, he might be a luxury the Jets cannot afford, particularly after spending a first round pick on Quinton Coples last year and a third round pick on Kenrick Ellis two years ago. The Jets will probably engage him aggressively in the coming weeks about returning but he might leave for more money elsewhere.
People anticipating a big name brought in at quarterback are going to be disappointed. Alex Smith is going to be out of the team’s price range and that isn’t a bad thing. Smith is going to get vastly overpaid somewhere by a team who is ignoring that he needs an elite supporting cast around him to be successful. Matt Flynn is more realistic than Smith, only because the price tag will be lower and because of Idzik’s ties with Seattle but he will still likely be out of the team’s price range and is far from a proven commodity. Expect the Jets to look at names like Tavaris Jackson, Matt Moore and Jason Campbell.
The no big name approach won’t be limited to quarterback as the Jets are going to be relegated to second tier free agent options at linebacker, wide receiver and running back as well. Don’t waste your time thinking about Reggie Bush or Greg Jennings. This doesn’t mean the Jets can’t find value but it won’t be headline players.
Draft weekend will be particularly critical for the Jets this year. The team currently has a pick in every single round, including the 9th overall selection. Hopefully, via trades they find a way to end up with a few more picks. Mid-round contributors are a must this season and is the only away depth can slowly be reestablished on this team. Heading into the summer, it will be interesting to watch “Tannenbaum era” players battle it out with new selections for the all the open jobs on the roster.
Without question the headline stories this off-season will be how the Jets approach finding competition for Mark Sanchez and how they handle Darrelle Revis. Expect to see Sanchez pitted against one of the previously mentioned veterans and a mid-round draft pick, while endless speculation swirls about how he is handling this off-season and how “open” the competition truly is. With Revis, things could move fast once we get into March. The Jets are going to have to quickly evaluate how realistic a long term deal is while a barrage of stories are leaked from both sides about contract demands and trade options. Expect a new rumor per hour on contract value and what teams are offering.
We know the Jets never give us a dull day but let’s hope these next few months are productive steps in the necessary rebuilding process.
The Turn On The Jets 12 pack looks back at the lows…and lows of the 2012 season
The Super Bowl is only two days away, which sadly means we are about to enter a dark period of no football. Gone are the days when you could disappear for 12 hour chunks of the day surrounded by multiple TVs and enough wings/beer to make you look like Vince Wilfork. I have really enjoyed using this blog as a consistent “work” crutch to gain freedom Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays from September to February. “Babe, I’d love to come to brunch and shop for cutlery but I HAVE to work today. Goddamn Jets are at 1 and then I have to keep an eye on the Patriots game at 4, and it is important I tweet during the Sunday night game. This BLOG IS SO HARD SOMETIMES!” She will usually rebuttal by asking why don’t I have one of our 8 other writers take care of it, at which point I have to throw Chris Gross under the bus despite him being a terrific writer and fully capable of it. “LEAVE IT TO HIM? HE CAN”T EVEN FIGURE OUT HOW TO OPEN WORPRESS! HE ISN’T READY!”…And with that I’m free for 12 hours of this paradise
I’m not sure how the rest of you consume your NFL but I have developed a nice little system.
Big TV set to Jets game with volume on LOUD because I am immature and embarrassed of my exaggerated claps and yells for 4 yard Bilal Powell gains, which is pathetic until you realize a 4 yard Powell run looks like a 96 yard Adrian Peterson run to a Jets fan who has been watching Shonn Greene average .089 yards per carry the past three years.
Little TV muted with NFL Red-Zone on…you don’t see many touchdowns or red-zone action watching the Jets so I take in all I can from Red-Zone. Tony Sparano must HATE the Red-zZne channel. His preference would be repeated punts and 48 yard field goal attempts followed by fist pumps and BOOMS for all!
When the Jets aren’t on, I get the red-zone on the big TV with whatever other game is airing locally on the little TV. Nothing like watching Eli Manning skittish his way through a mediocre season with the knowledge that every 3-4 years he is going to randomly become Joe Montana for 6 weeks in December and January leading to another Giants Super Bowl. ELITE ALL-IN!
Laptop on the lap all day (probably doesn’t speak well to my future as a procreator) with the following windows open – Twitter (#LOLSANCHEZ), The running box score from the Jets game (Wait, it is the 3rd quarter and we still only have 19 yards of total offense?), A running conversation thread with a group of my friends from home who are all Giants fans (LOLSANCHEZ), My fantasy match-up (C’mon CROMARTIE’S KIDS!), and a running draft for my Initial Reaction at Turn On The Jets (Usually something cheerful like this)
Cell phone in constant contact with dismayed fellow Jets fans (I DON”T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING?!)
Anyway, this season saw plenty of this from your editor, let’s recap some of this year’s greatest hits –
1. Way back in week 2, we had the apartment packed with Jets fans including fellow writers Chris Gross, Rob Celletti and Chris Celletti. Here were the Jets 1-0, coming off a beat-down victory over the Fredo Buffalo Bills and rolling down the field to a 7-3 lead against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Did you know through the first 5 quarters of the Jets season Mark Sanchez was 23/32, 344 yards, 4 TDs and 1 INT?! Then this happened –
It is like Lawrence Timmons knocked the hope out of this franchise. From that point on the game went south and early shock/excitement in the room wore off into anticipated depression about the season.
2. A few weeks later the Jets had a devastating overtime loss to the New England Patriots. I’m not sure about you but the loudest I cheered all season was when Antonio Allen recovered Devin McCourty’s kick return with only a few minutes left in the fourth quarter. The game (and hope for the season) was there for the taking but was of course not taken advantage of. As soon as Stephen Hill dropped that pass, most Jets fans knew the door was left open too far for New England and they were right.
3. In retrospect, the real season ender was the drubbing they took at home to Miami the following week…that was when radio personality/special teams savant Mike Westhoff’s unit allowed a blocked punt, blocked field goal and onside recovery in ONE HALF! I set a record for uses of the word “Awful” in Initial Reaction headlines this year.
4. The latter part of the season was a mash-up of boring wins and ugly losses until the Jets somehow found their way to 6-7 and relevant in the playoff race thanks to a thrilling 1 point win over Arizona and a heart-stopping 7 point win over the mighty Jacksonville Jaguars in front of 82 TEEEE-BOW fans who passed out in joy over the thought of seeing him run for 2 yards on 2nd and 14 and flex in conquest! SUCH INTANGIBLES!
5. In a miserable year, you had no choice but to get excited for the Monday Night game against the Tennessee Titans when the Jets still had a chance at the playoffs. Their offense and Sanchez in particular were such an unmitigated disaster that it truly reached levels of comedy. Even when they scored their only touchdown of the night (on a short pass to Jeff Cumberland), you couldn’t help but laugh because everybody looked so confused and awkward at how it happened.
6. The last two games were a picture perfect edition of how to play out the string awfully. Needless to say I wasn’t surprised when MCELROY-SANITY didn’t pan out considering he has zero arm strength or pocket presence. I’ve seen plenty of bad quarterbacking in recent years as a Jets fan and he fits right in.
7. Around this point you are probably saying, what about Thanksgiving? And to that I say…I have no idea what you are talking about. I remember turkey and some exciting day games…that’s it.
8. At least a couple of weeks ago we got to enjoy New England bombing out at home in the AFC Championship Game while Jim Nantz quietly wept in the background. Shocking how RAWBY NINKOVICH and company could be so awful on defense when the Patriots only draft captains! Don’t worry bandwagon Boston fans, you turn back to the Celtics…err…the Red Sox…err. Well Hockey is back!
9. What we’ll remember this season for –
Mark Sanchez turnovers
Tim Tebow irrelevance
Stephen Hill drops
Kyle Wilson Finger Wags
Calvin Pace being the slowest defensive player in the NFL
Shonn Greene being the slowest offensive player in the NFL
10. In fairness, let’s list Jets who had highly respectable NFL seasons in 2012 – Jeremy Kerley, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, LaRon Landry, Antonio Cromartie, Mike DeVito, Yeremiah Bell.
11. Snacks of the Year – Snyder’s Jalapeno Pretzels, Lime Tostitos, Cool Ranch Doritos (8 years running!) Atomic Wings, The chicken salad sandwich from Blue Moon Deli on 91st and 1st, Chicky’s on 86th, and East Side Eatery’s Steak Wrap.
The New York Jets and their fans need to accept a few frustrating realities about next year
New York Jets fans, like fans of any team, gain attachments to certain players and ideas about their team. Unfortunately that could lead to irrational thoughts and hopes for the off-season, particularly an off-season that is going to be step one in a rebuilding process. The Jets have no shortage of these. Before Twitter is flooded with “FIRE IDZIK” “IDIOT IDZIK” type commentary, prepare yourself for the following –
Mark Sanchez is most likely going to be the starting quarterback next year
Yes – He is going to come back because no team in the NFL will be interested in trading for him and because he isn’t going to re-negotiate his contract to take less guaranteed money. Sanchez will be on this roster and be a prime competitor for the starting job, along with a veteran and probably a mid-level draft pick. Considering he will be the opening day starter in training camp and has experience with the roster, he is the prohibitive favorite to win the job.
If Sanchez is comparable to the other options throughout the summer, he is going to get the starting nod. Why? The Jets have way more invested in him. If he puts together a competent 2013, there will be some type of trade market established for him and he remains a veteran option to compete with a rookie added in the 2014 Draft. Don’t think for a second if somebody like Tavaris Jackson or Matt Moore is signed and they play about the same as Sanchez in August, they are going to get the go-ahead to start. Will Sanchez have a much quicker hook this year? Absolutely. But if you were betting today on who will start the most games for the Jets at quarterback next year, the safest bet is Sanchez.
What is frustrating (outside of Sanchez’s horrific regression in 2012) is the personal hatred of Sanchez has reached such a high level among some fans that it seems they will openly root against him having any success next year, which of course makes no sense. It is only better for the Jets if he plays competently. For people who say that is abjectly hopeless, Sanchez’s career shows he is just as likely to have a 17 touchdown, 13 interception or 26 touchdown, 18 interception season as he is to bomb out the way he did last year. Sanchez isn’t a good quarterback but take away the Tim Tebow Wildcat Shuffle Circus, give him a somewhat threatening running game and upgrade above Mardy Gilyard, Clyde Gates and Chaz Schilens at wide receiver and the possibility exists for a 56 completion percentage, 18 touchdowns and 14 interceptions…AKA competent game-managing at quarterback.
When people say there are higher odds of Greg McElroy being an effective quarterback in Marty Mornhinweg’s offense, what are they substantiating that claim with? We’ve seen Mark Sanchez have a QB Rating above 100 in 15 NFL games that he started, including three playoff games. We’ve never seen Greg McElroy do that, we’ve just seen him be completely overwhelmed in his only NFL start. At least Sanchez has the skill set and knowledge he has done it before.
Only one of the following will be back next year: LaRon Landry, Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis
The odds of every single one of these three players being on the Jets roster next year is just about zero. The odds of two of the three of them being on the roster is fairly low as well. Successful teams are not built by dumping a third of the salary cap into your secondary while the rest of the roster crumbles around it. If Landry is requesting 7 million per year, the Jets are going to let him walk. You can’t pay that type of money for a safety who is average in pass coverage. When it comes to Revis and Cromartie, you can’t pay both long term. Trade one, get draft picks back and reallocate the money to the offense and the painfully awful group of linebackers.
The Jets have the most overpaid wide receiver, linebacker and quarterback in football
Santonio Holmes is going to be a 12.5 million dollar cap hit next year, second highest among wide receivers. David Harris is going to be a 13 million dollar cap hit next year, second highest among linebackers. Mark Sanchez is a 12.8 million dollar cap hit next year. None of these players are even top 25 in the league at their respective positions. That is what we call a financial disaster, my fellow Jets fans.
When you say things like, how can you pay Mark Sanchez but let LaRon Landry go?!? It all sounds well and good but that ship has sailed. The Jets made their bed with Sanchez and now they have to lay in it. Get ready for the reality of unpopular players like Sanchez and Dustin Keller (with a franchise tag) being back while guys like Landry and Cromartie OR Revis leave town. These are financial decisions. This team needs to be rebuilt with a more equitable distribution of the wealth so talent can be replenished on offense and linebacker. This team needs draft picks so they can establish depth and don’t have people like Jeff Cumberland, Garret McIntyre, and Chaz Schilens starting games.
1. Let’s start here – Darrelle Revis is an unique talent. He is the best cornerback in football when healthy by a wide margin. He is on pace to be a Hall of Fame player and his 2009 was the best individual season any New York Jet has ever put together. Revis has represented the team well off the field and is a homegrown best player on the roster. There is nothing easy about a decision to trade him and there is a credible argument for keeping him, regardless of the financial constraints.
2. However, the prospect of giving him a 15-16 million per year contract heading into this season has potentially dangerous long term ramifications for a needed rebuilding process. It is an exorbitant amount of money to sink into a position that isn’t quarterback, particularly when you have so many other holes in your current roster.
3. Do not kid yourself into thinking the New York Jets are not full of holes and do not need a complete roster makeover. This cannot be stressed enough. This team needs a starting quarterback. The top running back under contract is Bilal Powell. The top tight end under contract is Jeff Cumberland. The only guard under contract is Vladimir Ducasse. The only linebacker returning with starting experience is David Harris. The only two safeties under contract are Antonio Allen and Josh Bush. This is a team that currently has a CFL caliber roster. Do you want Revis at 16 million per year or four capable starters at 4 million per year, so you can field an offense that can score more than 6 points per game?
4. Revis is also coming off ACL surgery. Yes, with modern medicine that is not as daunting as it once was. Look at Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles. However, there is always an enormous risk in sinking that much money into a player coming off that type of injury.
5. If you don’t trade Revis now and he comes back healthy with a strong year in 2013, what if he walks away in free agency before the 2014 season? The Jets have a poor relationship with his agents (as evidenced by his previous two holdouts) and even with Mike Tannenbaum gone, they could still be difficult to deal with and bitter Revis wasn’t take care of before his walk year. It would be a crippling blow to lose a player of Revis’ caliber with zero compensation.
6. Cornerbacks are not that valuable. The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens do not have an All-Pro corner between them. The Ravens lost their top corner, Lardarius Webb, back in week 6 and have been fine. The Chicago Bears had two All-Pro corners, Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, and didn’t make the playoffs this year. The Jets finished second in the NFL this past season in passing yards allowed per game and Darrelle Revis played in 7 quarters.
7. Potential Trade Partner #1 – The Denver Broncos – They have done business with the Jets recently. They have a small window to win a championship with Peyton Manning. Their secondary was torched by the Baltimore Ravens in their divisional round loss. They have a low first round pick they wouldn’t be hesitant to part with and extra mid-round picks to spare. They also have a competent cornerback to spare (Chris Harris) and a running back who’d be a nice fit in the West Coast Offense (Ronnie Hillman). How about Revis for a 2013 first rounder, 2013 third rounder and Chris Harris? The Jets will have five picks in the first three rounds, which allows them to address their many needs and have flexibility if they want to move up for somebody.
8. Potential Trade Partner #2 – The Seattle Seahawks – (Pushed by our good friend Jeff Capellini) – They have a very good corner to offer back in Brandon Browner, along with a quarterback the Jets could have interest in with Matt Flynn. Seattle also had 10 draft picks this year and oh by the way…new GM John Idzik worked there last year.
9. Potential Trade Partner #3 – The Washington Redskins – Always willing to make a splash and badly need to improve their defense. They need a cornerback to deal with Dez Bryant, Victor Cruz and Chip Kelly’s new offense in Philadelphia. They have a few intriguing running backs on their roster in Evan Royster and Roy Helu that could be thrown in to sweeten a package of draft picks.
10. The difficulty of this situation comes from so much guaranteed money being locked up for Mark Sanchez, David Harris and Santonio Holmes which cripples the Jets flexibility and makes embracing a rebuild a necessary evil. Thanks Mike Tannenbaum!
11. A reminder of the point differential in all the Jets losses last year in case you think they are a player or two away from being a contender – 17, 34, 6, 3, 21, 21, 30, 4, 10, 19. That is an average margin of defeat of 16.5 points. They won 6 games, 4 against teams drafting in the top 12 this April and 1 against a team with a winning record.
12. Usually where there this is smoke, there is fire with these things…Jets fans should prepare for the reality of Revis being traded.