NFL Free Agency Madness: Early Updates

NFL free agency has started fast and furious, particularly in the AFC East

As expected, NFL free agency is roaring out the gate, particularly in the AFC East where the New York Jets primary competitors are either making major moves or are on the cusp of making them. Mike Tannenbaum has been quiet so far. Let’s round up the early chatter. Make sure you are following Turn On The Jets on Twitter and Facebook.

– Miami and Chicago made the biggest splash right out of the gate with the Dolphins trading Brandon Marshall for two third round picks to the Bears, reuniting Marshall with Jay Cutler. Jets fans should be concerned that this move was a prerequisite to signing Peyton Manning who reportedly wanted no part of playing with Marshall. However, there is also the chance the Dolphins new coaching staff wanted a more reliable number one receiver, regardless of their QB. The move cleared over 5 million in cap space for the Dolphins.

– The Buffalo Bills are hosting visits with Mario Williams and Robert Meachem tonight. They are expected to make a monster offer to Williams, if he accepts, it should be a large kick in the rear end to the Jets to add a tackle immediately. Meachem is a speedy receiver who would provide a needed downfield threat for the Buffalo offense, while limiting the Jets options in free agency.

– New England is expected to pursue and eventually land Brandon Lloyd.

– The Jets have already inquired about Chad Henne but he is currently visiting Jacksonville, where he is expected to receive more money than the Jets are willing to offer. Early reports are making it sound like the Jets want Henne but the feeling isn’t mutual.

– In other free agency battles with Jacksonville, the Jets have expressed interest in Laurent Robinson but he is also meeting with the Jaguars. You would hope the Jets and Mark Sanchez’s reputation hasn’t fallen far enough that a receiver would pick Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars over them.

– Two linebacker options off the market: Tavares Gooden to San Francisco and Curtis Lofton to Tampa Bay. Gooden was a former Raven who could have fit in the Jets defense well.

– Pierre Garcon has signed with the Redskins.

– Jason Campbell is expected to sign with the Chicago Bears.

– The Jets will be competing with the Indianapolis Colts for outside linebacker Jarret Johnson.

Stay with us people…@TurnOnTheJets

New York Jets: Last Second Free Agency Considerations

TOJ with some last second considerations for the New York Jets on the first day of free agency

The NFL free agency floodgates open at 4 PM today. Here are a few last minute thoughts related to the New York Jets before anything can become official later this afternoon –

1. Jamaal Westerman, Matthew Mulligan, and Marquice Cole weren’t tendered, leaving them unrestricted free agents. Mulligan is a goner, which is a good thing unless you are in favor of penalty yardage. Rex Ryan is a big Cole fan and he is a very good special teams player, so I would expect the Jets to make a strong push to resign him. Westerman could probably go either way, I am sure Greg Schiano will want to bring his former college player in for a visit to Tampa Bay. How hard the Jets work to bring him back, will likely depend on their luck bringing in other linebackers in free agency.

2. Bryan Thomas gave an interview yesterday to Jenny Vrentas of The Star Ledger about his desire to return to the team. It makes sense for the Jets to monitor his progress rehabbing from his injury last year and then consider bringing back on a veteran’s minimum deal. Thomas is a good fit in Rex Ryan’s defense and is stout against the run. If Thomas comes back healthy, they could sign Jarret Johnson and spend a first round pick on a player like Courtney Upshaw, Melvin Ingram or Andre Branch, it gives them leverage to move Calvin Pace in a trade.

3. If the Jets are looking improve wide receiver through free agency, they’d be wise to make a strong push to sign former San Francisco 49ers receiver Josh Morgan, who likely won’t be brought back now that the team has signed Randy Moss. Morgan will likely come much cheaper than Laurent Robinson or Robert Meachem, but could have way more upside.

4. I still remain hopeful the Jets will seek out Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson, particularly if they can’t sign Jameel McClain. It is hard to feel comfortable cutting Bart Scott until you sign a viable replacement. It certainly didin’t look like Josh Mauga was ready to be a full time starter last year.

5. It will be interesting to see who the Jets get after first later today. I can’t see any fathomable reason for them not to redirect any previous plans and shift their primary focus to Eric Winston but you easily them focusing on players with a history with their coaching staff out of the gate like Chad Henne, Ronnie Brown, Vernon Carey, Jarret Johnson, and Jameel McClain.

New York Jets: Who Could Be On The Trading Block?

What New York Jets could be on the trading block in the coming weeks?

We have documented Mike Tannenbaum’s propensity for getting involved in trade market here at TOJ last week, so with that in mind which current players on the Jets roster could be on the trading block?

Please Take Him

Wayne Hunter, Right Tackle – We have already discussed the futility of trading Hunter but apparently a NFC team actually engaged the Jets in discussion for him. I can’t see them finding a willing trade partner, even for a conditional seventh round draft pick. Most likely Hunter will be brought back as a highly paid backup.

Bart Scott, Inside Linebacker – Similar to Hunter, there isn’t going to be much of a market for Scott. Maybe…maybe if a team suffered an injury at linebacker, they’d give up a late round conditional pick for him. However, are the Jets going to hold on to him that long? I can’t see him lasting with the team much longer when he clearly wants more playing time and the Jets aren’t going to give it to him.

Reasonable Market

Calvin Pace, Outside Linebacker – Pace has a contract that exceeds his actual production but that doesn’t mean he isn’t an effective player, particularly as a run stopper in a 3-4 defense. The Jets would love to dump his hefty contract but whomever they trade him to, would likely want to renegotiate with him first. He is a player they could get some decent value for and might be somebody they need to part with in their quest to fill their long list of needs. They could carry on at outside linebacker by signing Jarret Johnson, bringing back Bryan Thomas on a veteran’s minimum deal and then picking a player like Melvin Ingram in round one.

Mike DeVito, Defensive End – The Jets could save 3 million this year by parting ways with DeVito, a valuable run stopper in the 3-4 defense. Yes, he is a good player and a strong fit in Rex Ryan’s defense but he had issues staying healthy last year as a full time player and the Jets have decent depth behind him with Marcus Dixon, Ropati Pitoitua, and the potential of Kenrick Ellis sliding over for reps as he continues to grow. DeVito would be highly coveted by any team who runs a 3-4 and needs help at defensive end.

High Value

Dustin Keller, Tight End – A player who has been good, not great for the Jets and might never get the chance to be great in Tony Sparano’s offensive system. Keller’s skill set, which includes plenty of receiving but not alot of blocking could thrive in the right offense. Would the Jets part with Mark Sanchez’s best friend and a player he has good chemistry with on the field? Probably not but if the right offer comes along that helps them improve safety, offensive tackle, linebacker…they just might.

Antonio Cromartie, Cornerback – In order to improve other parts of their defense, the Jets could look to pick away at one of their strengths at cornerback. Kyle Wilson took positive steps last year and if the right offer came along for Cromartie, wouldn’t you have to consider moving him and giving your previous first round draft pick a chance to start?

New York Jets: Safety Remains Major Concern

The New York Jets enter the off-season with major issues at the safety position

The New York Jets have had inconsistent play at the safety position since Rex Ryan took over as head coach. The problem is magnified because they play in the same division as the New England Patriots, who have the best tight end in the league, Rob Gronkowski, and another top ten tight end in the league in Aaron Hernandez. It isn’t just New England who attacks the middle of the field on the Jets, any team with an athletic tight end smartly stays away from the outside of the field, where the Jets have Darrelle Revis, Antontio Cromartie, and Kyle Wilson and instead attacks their safeties.

Currently the Jets have Eric Smith under contract and nobody else. (Sorry Tracy Wilson and Gerald Alexander, until you play a down for the team, I can’t count you). The free agent market is thin, as it is currently headlined by LaRon Landry, Dwight Lowery, and Reggie Nelson. Jim Leonhard and Brodney Pool were with the team last year but both are free agents now as well.

In the draft, Mark Barron is considered the top safety by a good margin. His recent double sports hernia has prevented him from working out thus far, keeping his positioning on most draft boards in somewhat of a flux. He will be available at #16 but might slide far enough where the Jets could consider trading up their second round pick to snag him in the back end of the first round, or just trading back in the first round to take him. Harrison Smith, Markelle Martin, Antonio Allen, and Brandon Taylor could all be 2nd or 3rd round options for the Jets at safety if they don’t end up with Barron.

So, how will the Jets proceed? Brodney Pool most likely isn’t coming back. He can’t stay healthy and hasn’t distinguished himself in the past two years with his play. It would likely be wise to bring Leonhard back on the veteran’s minimum, considering how well he knows the defense. Eric Smith is coming back and if used in the proper role, can be an effective player. Don’t forget how well Smith was playing in 2009 when he was used as a situational player and on special teams. He simply lacks the skill set to be a full time starter.

What that equates to, is that you need two more safeties in a bad way. Smith should be the #3 safety, used in certain packages and as an emergency starter. Leonhard should be the place holder for the rookie the Jets add in one of the first rounds of the draft, helping ease his transition and gradually sliding into a part time/depth player only role. A free agent needs to be brought in who can start immediately or the Jets need to swing a trade for one.

LaRon Landry is a big name that will get people excited. The problem is that he will command a big price tag that comes with durability concerns and questionable coverage skills. In reality, Lowery could be the best option out there. He spent last off-season preparing to be a full time safety and then the Jets traded him to Jacksonville where he took advantage of that off-season by putting together his best year in the NFL. Mike Tannenbaum would have to swallow his pride but bringing Lowery back makes plenty of sense.

New York Jets: Free Agency Primer 3.0

What will free agency look like for the New York Jets after restructuring Mark Sanchez’s contract?

We are now only two days away from NFL free agency starting up and the picture has changed substantially for the New York Jets with the restructuring of Mark Sanchez’s contract, which freed up 6.4 million of cap space this year and dropped them out of the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. What kind of changes will this roster have in the coming weeks?

Offensive Line – We knew not to take Mike Tannenbaum at his word when he said Wayne Hunter would be back as the starting right tackle. There are already reports about the Jets trying to trade him, which we all know isn’t going to happen unless a team’s GM gets dropped on their head. Vernon Carey has long been speculated as a veteran replacement for Hunter but with the extra freed up cap space could the Jets look to take a run at Demetrius Bell or Jared Gaither? I wouldn’t rule it out or rule them out looking to swing a trade for a team with a surplus at tackle.

Wide Receiver – If they Jets are going cheap, Braylon Edwards will always be there as an option around May after they take the time to exam his leg and make sure he is healthy. If they are going to spend a little money, Laurent Robinson remains an intriguing option that will hit the market, as is Early Doucet. If the Jets don’t sign a wide receiver in free agency, they will need to address it early in the draft as there is a lack of talent and size opposite of Santonio Holmes.

Running Back – We know the Jets need some veteran insurance at this position and the only name we have heard mentioned is Ronnie Brown. He does make sense considering his history with Tony Sparano and the role the Jets are looking to fill. The team isn’t look for somebody to do much more than provide insurance as a third down back and maybe give them 10-12 plays a game. Joe McKnight is going to be given a larger role and they have to give Bilal Powell some type of a look after spending a fourth round pick on him last year.

Tight End – The Jets will likely sign another tight end to compliment Dustin Keller, with Anthony Fasano being a favorite if he becomes a free agent. If not, they could look at Maretellus Bennett, John Carlson, or Jacob Tamme.

Quarterback – Chad Henne or Jason Campbell might not want to come here considering Sanchez’s security the next two years. The Jets could look to the next tier of backups like David Garrard, Josh Johnson or Drew Stanton…or they could always trade for Tim Tebow after Denver signs Peyton Manning…just kidding.

Defensive Line – Expect Sione Pouha to be locked up in the next day or two.

Linebacker – The Mario Williams rumors have picked back up since Sanchez’s contract was signed but from everything we have heard that isn’t going to happen. They will likely make a push for Jarret Johnson and Jameel McClain, while hopefully also considering Erin Henderson. I wouldn’t expect them to sign more than one linebacker, instead looking to boost the position through the draft.

Secondary – The safety market has been picked apart by the franchise tag, leaving LaRon Landry, Dwight Lowery, and Reggie Nelson as the top players out there. Landry is going to cost too much for a player who can’t cover and can’t stay healthy. Would Tannenbaum swallow his pride and bring Lowery back? He might have to strongly consider it. The Jets could also consider trying to swing a trade here or aggressively going after Mark Barron in the draft.

The End Of The Peyton Manning Colts

Justin sorts through the wreckage Peyton Manning is leaving behind in Indy

They started angry. Disrespected. No one believed they had a chance to compete without Peyton Manning. 4-12, 2-14, etc. Many a radio and television personality go against the stream of public opinion, even advocate it while simultaneously agreeing with about 90% of their colleagues. Some would call this hypocrisy. Sometimes though, you just can’t fight it, and as the 2011 season got underway things started to look…strange.

The Colts have bad blood with the Texans for as long as the Texans have existed. As soon as the Texans got any sort of momentum, the Colts have proceeded to stomp out their playoff dreams. This did not sit well with the Texans, so hearing that Peyton Manning would be out for a good portion of the season was the old “Christmas came twice” idea, literally.
Looking back, even Peyton Manning would have had trouble with the new look 3-4 Texans defense. A brief list of defensive stars: JJ Watt, Brooks Reed, Brian Cushing, Demeco Ryans, Mario Williams, Jonathan Joseph. Not what a team who lost their coach/qb/coordinator/predictor of the future is ready to handle.

So how does Jim Caldwell counter this relentless pass rush? He puts in Dallas Clark, the only “tight end who is not a tight end and is really a slot receiver” to block Mario Williams. Wait, doesn’t Mario Williams play defensive line? No. Wade Philips saw to it that he assembled the wildest 3-4 defensive end/linebacking core in the AFC, and Mario Williams is the new centerpiece.

So Kerry Collins gets hurt, before which he is illustrating rather blatantly that he has to huddle every single play because he is looking more and more like a guy who should have stuck to recording music on his farm and not decided to attempt a savior role in the most complex NFL offense in the history of the game. But that’s OK, because Curtis Painter has been around and can attempt a paper tiger version of the offense. Hell even Reggie Wayne backed Painter because he’s had enough time to watch Peyton orchestrate like my main man MTT (Michael Tilson Thomas). As the announcers pointed out during the Browns game, Painter got a lot of mental reps watching Peyton Manning, but watching Picasso paint and painting like Picasso are two different things.

Here we stand at week 2, where Colt McCoy and his band of mediocre skill players, his mediocre offensive line (save for Joe Thomas), and his mediocre defense decided to put on a clinic on how to completely demoralize a team that was a field goal away from the AFC championship game and was what could be considered the second or third best team in the last ten years.

In his second year in the NFL, with his second head coach, in his second offensive system in two years, McCoy was privy to a revelation. Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney are old. So old that they only play 50% of snaps. Despite this, they are ferocious when they are on the field, so McCoy took his time, and when he didn’t want to get pancaked and knew Freeney and Mathis were coming, he handed off to Peyton Hillis, the greatest “throwback to 1950’s football” running back this game has ever seen.

This formula worked for a few reasons. The Colts defense is small, the secondary is awful, and the Colts were slowly realizing that life without Peyton was awful on all fronts. Even the people in the concessions handed out popcorn with the look of someone who just came back from the killing fields. When Adam Vinateri starts missing field goals, you might as well curl up into a ball to start protecting vital organs.

So it’s week 5, Joseph Addai has been replaced (due to injury) by the tandem of Delone Carter and Donald Brown, who are completely opposite types of running backs and both of whom should be kept, with Delone Carter getting the starting nod because of his “bowling ball full of steroids” frame and flashes of Darren Sproles lateral agility.

THE ROAD TO PERDITION

The Chiefs were without Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry for this game, which should help both sides of the football for the Colts. Trouble is, the Colts suck. I’ve been waiting to say it, but it must now be said. Reggie Wayne can’t be Reggie Wayne, Jacob Tamme hasn’t had anyone even attempt to find him, Pierre Garcon is up and down, and Painter is starting to have serious doubts about the possibility of even converting a 3rd and 7.

How long lord? 11 weeks to go. To review, the Colts put up a decent fight in both prime time games, got rolled on by the Chiefs, Browns, and Texans, and are now heading into a game against the Bengals.

The Bengals are starting to turn into a serious contender at this point in the season. The running game and the new offense coupled with a very aggressive and well coached defense would have put the Bengals into a bye week if they didn’t play in the same division as the Steelers and the Ravens. None of this is good for the Colts, who proceeded to keep the game close until about 5 minutes to go, when a missed field goal, an interception, and a fumble all sealed the fate for the rest of the year.

So the Colts didn’t win that game. And so they limped into the Superdome, for another shot at Sunday Night Football.

LIFELINE

Although Aaron Rodgers and his band of receivers put up points and numbers at will, the fact that Drew Brees throws to sequoias at receiver and tight end, has a rookie running back who won the Heisman, and the most complete running back in football is something straight out of Madden. The Colts had no chance. Everything was scripted to perfection. Colts play zone? Find the soft spot. Colts blitz up the middle? Check it down to the hot route.

What started to look life an offense that could have mustered a competitive game started to fall apart. Painter missed throws, threw interceptions, and everything began to look disengaged on all fronts. This was essentially the beginning of the end.

They go to Tennessee, where the blandest team in the NFL decided to play out of their mind for the first quarter on special teams and block a punt in the end zone for a touchdown. That was pretty much the most exciting part of the game for Colts fans, as Donald Brown got ripped by Caldwell, Pierre Garcon looks like he doesn’t care anymore, and Dallas Clark decided to start catching passes.

So how can the strange get weird? A nice sideline throw by Painter getting tipped by the corner back, and the Cover 2 safety catching the tip for an interception. Again, general ugliness. I started sewing myself a Luck jersey at this point, and would variously look up to find the score slipping away. Donald Brown had a touchdown, but Donald Brown’s touchdowns are like noticing a ruby necklace on a leper.

DREAM THEATER

In review, the Colts are 0-8. Peyton Manning is explaining to Curtis Painter how the goal of the defense is to sack him, and that he should attempt to throw the ball down the field towards the end zone, upon which he will be awarded 6 points. The winner…most points.

The “Suck for Luck” campaign begins somewhere around here, and the true clowns in the audience are starting to show up in Luck jerseys. So here it is, Atlanta, namely Roddy White and Julio Jones, who are proceeding to put on a show of complete dominance against the Colts defensive backs. DB’s are being shuffled in at breakneck speed, and Curtis Painter is throwing interceptions number 15, 16, 17, etc.

Matt Ryan is too good to not take advantage of the now scripted Freeney/Mathis substitutions, and is gashing the Colts up the middle with Michael Turner and Jaquizz Rodgers while Pat Angerer attempts a halfhearted tackle against the much larger Tony Gonzalez. Things are beginning to get sad.

There would be a chance for redemption the next week, as the Jaguars, helmed by another long haired blond excuse for a quarterback is somehow making Curtis Painter look poised and in control of his offense. Think about this, if the Jaguars didn’t have Maurice Jones Drew, they would be the ones getting Andrew Luck, and it wouldn’t even be close. They would score somewhere around 160 points on the season and their owner would have personally paid for a trip to expedite Blaine Gabbert as soon as possible.

As a side note, many experts had Gabbert over Newton in last years draft. Experts.

So what prevented a Colts victory? The JETS. Well, the fact that the Jets undervalued Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery to the point that they let them walk and single-handedly rescue the Jaguars from both the Colts and the Ravens. But the Jets didn’t need them. Eric Smith did in fact have a…um….”competent” season for a starter. No, no he did not. He was awful.

Despite only allowing one touchdown through 3 quarters, the MJD factor reared it’s head, pitting a small man in Drew against an even smaller man, Angerer, and the Pro Bowler won. Easily. It might have been the most deflating loss of the season, simply for the fact that they could, and should have beaten the worst rookie QB in the league, and that’s being nice.

The matchup was the Patriots, and looking at the matchups, it wouldn’t even be close. Any chance Indy had on defense was thrown out because Pat Angerer was out, Mathis and Freeney are so one dimensional all it took was a few step ups into the pocket from Tom Brady to pick apart the zone (zone with an undersized defense against Tom Brady? Really?).

The Indy offensive line at this point was Jeff Saturday and a bunch of Wayne Hunter impersonators, so the Patriots simply laid back in off coverage with a 5 man defensive front and waited for Dan Orlovsky (who looked more Manning than Painter) to try and air it out deep.

The highlight of the game was Pierre Garcon’s chuck of anger after a receiving touchdown at a sign with a bulls-eye intended for Rob Gronkowski. I watched it and mumbled to myself “screw your contract, this place is a lake of tears”.
After starting 0-12, things start to get comical.

The Colts had beaten the Ravens the last 10 times they played each other, so they were going to use this opportunity to promptly destroy any hope of even going on a 4 game winning streak, which was the largest streak possible at this point in the season.

It is common knowledge that any action, according to the laws of science, has an equal and opposite reaction, so if the play of the Patriots offense could be seen as “action”, the Baltimore defense is “reaction”. It demoralizes teams in the exact same way, keeping your offense off the field, getting blitzed on 3rd and long, and a complete lack of rhythm and timing.
Like the Saints blowout, this was one of the games you only pay attention to for moments at a time, because even I was starting to feel bad for guys like Mathis and Freeney, knowing that Ray Rice was going to negate every spin move by cutting back through the middle and gashing the middle linebacker for 8 yards at a time. It was completely relentless for the Ravens defense, as they pressed the receivers at the line, clogged the line of scrimmage and occasionally sent a corner blitz to keep Orlovsky on his toes. 0-13.

TURNING POINT

0-16? The blandest, most middle of the road team in the NFL! The Titans! I suppose after 0-13, you take what you can get.

So how did it happen? Orlovsky channeled his inner Peyton off the play action, and wings one to Wayne in the corner. The CORNER of the endzone, where hope was born. But QB’s are ok, Jacob Lacey, man of iron and steel, decided to put the team on his back and snag a pass right out of the hands of a Titans receiver and run that the whole way to the endzone. 1st of the season. Game 14. Too late? Not In Indy! Not long after that the floodgates opened. Angerer strip for a turnover. Donald Brown running like a wild man, and then ANGERER! Interception in the Tampa 2.

It feels like the Colts have been waiting the entire season to play like this. At home! “Give the people a show”, Caldwell mumbles to himself as a single tear of a thousand hours labor falls with the grace of a dove down his quiet cheek. Peyton is overjoyed.

OK, OK. Not to get too overjoyed, it’s going to be the dream killing Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. And what happens first play? Brian Cushing decides to hit Orlovsky hard enough that he is, to put it nicely, “parted from the ball”. 10-3 Texans. Reggie Wayne is getting pissed, as multiple passes tip off Wayne’s fingers, old man time is standing on the sideline, waiting, smiling at Wayne. But if 6 is ⅓ of 18, then Orlovsky will hit 1 of 3 passes to Wayne. But 12, Jacoby Jones gets an insane tip pass. Ah damn this logic!

This is the Orlovsky hour, and he never cared about rivalries, or the fact that his team has 1 victory in 14 games. And it’s Reggie Wayne with 13 seconds left for the win. And that’s all I care about. Two feel good wins at home for the Colts in a season of complete disaster. It was fate that they won at home, because it would have been laughed off as a joke if they didn’t do it at their own place. I, a Jet fan, actually felt good for the Colts.

They lost the last game of the season. Andrew Luck will have some work to do next year.

EPILOGUE

As I’m writing this, literally at 6:32 PM March 6, 2012, the fact that Peyton Manning is getting cut is becoming abundantly clear as Chris Mortensen preps the montage of Manning clips, and then delivers the notice that Peyton Manning will be released by the Colts. I always had a relatively emotionless relationship as someone watching Manning (which wasn’t all that often), appreciating the myriad of achievements but never really appreciating just how well versed he was in a system he created for himself after years of being mentored by the irreplaceable Tom Moore (to whom Dallas Clark owes his career).

Manning will not be duplicated. He might not have always executed up to his potential, but he certainly could have, and he almost always knew how to work over a defense with audibles at the line of scrimmage, “check with me” calls, and a slew of incomprehensible code words that may have just been psych out material. We will never know, but we will see if there’s one last go round for what Rex Ryan called “the hardest working quarterback he’s ever seen”.

New York Jets Start Off-Season Strong: Extend Mark Sanchez

The New York Jets have extended quarterback Mark Sanchez’s contract and ended their pursuit of Peyton Manning

The New York Jets made the right decision tonight. It had become clear, very early that Peyton Manning wasn’t coming here unless he did a complete 180 so the Jets assertively supported their current quarterback, the one who they invested their future in three short years ago, by extending his contract and guaranteeing his money the next two years.

The official numbers are a three year contract extension with 20.5 million guaranteed over the next two years and a total of 58.25 million over the first five years of his initial contract.

This is Mike Tannenbaum realizing early when he isn’t going to get his big name, which is what he didn’t do last year with Nnamdi Asomugha and then going all in on the player he went all in on three years ago.

This was the right move from the beginning, even before it became clear that Peyton Manning was never coming here. You don’t throw away the identity you have been building after three years that netted a 28-20 regular season record and four playoff wins. You build around your guy, who now clearly has the confidence that his organization has his back. The restructuring of Sanchez’s deal makes the Jets serious players in the free agent and trade market.

After the Jets lock down Sione Pouha in the next day or two, expect an aggressive upcoming month from Mike Tannenbaum, where he turns every rock to find a new starting right tackle, a new starting wide receiver opposite Santonio Holmes, a pass rushing linebacker, and a safety.

The Jets are all in on Mark Sanchez and it is going to help them have a successful off-season addressing the other holes on their roster.

If you have followed this site, we have always been Pro-Sanchez…let’s hope the kid proves us right in the next couple of years.

What Would You Trade For Wayne Hunter?

What in the world does Mike Tannenbaum think he is getting for Wayne Hunter?

Is there anything more simultaneously entertaining and sad than hearing about the New York Jets shopping Wayne Hunter for a trade? I didn’t think it could get any worse than trying to get a team to trade for Bart Scott, an aging linebacker who can’t be on the field on passing downs, can’t tackle and is owed 4 million dollars…well it can when you are trying to trade a right tackle who simply can’t block for 2.5 million guaranteed.

Can you hear Tannenbaum’s pitch on the phone?

“Listen, I know this guy almost got our quarterback killed last year and was repeatedly beat like a drum every single week but there is potential there. What? Yes…I know Andre Carter, Jason Babin, Jarret Johnson, and Von Miller all won Defensive Player of the Week because of Wayne, you see he is a giver! C’mon now, he yelled at Santonio Holmes in the huddle for us at least. How about a 5th rounder? A 6th rounder? A conditional 7th?. Fine. Bye”

I think the Jets could probably get Justin McCariens in return for Hunter, if he un-retired and joined the Titans again. They might be able to get Ray Lucas from SNY to backup Mark Sanchez. They could always trade him to us here at TOJ, we could use an enforcer, I’ll send back a signed picture of me catching a 6 yard out route in college for our Division III team.

TOJ 12 Pack: New York Jets Quarterback Position

TOJ with 12 thoughts on the New York Jets quarterback position

Mark Sanchez. Peyton Manning. Mark Sanchez’s feelings. Peyton Manning’s neck. Mark Sanchez’s attitude. Peyton Manning’s flights. Chad Henne. Jason Campbell. And so the cycle continues, let’s talk about the New York Jets quarterback position –

1. It certainly sounds like the New York Jets are just about out of the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. Is it over? Of course not but right now with trips lined up to Denver, Miami, and Arizona those three seem like the most logical destinations. By the way, why isn’t everybody worried about Tim Tebow’s feelings being hurt as John Elway aggressively recruits Manning? Personally, I have thought Manning will end up in Arizona all along. It makes the most football sense and he could use Miami to drive up the price on them. Nobody in sports, outside of maybe the New Jersey Nets, gets more hype for going after big names and then continually comes up nothing more than the Dolphins.

2. None of these teams could be crazy enough to give Manning any type of guaranteed contract without watching him workout first, right?

3. I am as pro-Sanchez of a person you will find out there but by no means do I think Mike Tannenbaum did the wrong thing by inquiring about Manning. He is doing his due diligence like 12 other team’s GMs did. Tannenbaum has made plenty of mistakes recently, most notably guaranteeing Wayne Hunter’s contract and then trying to trade him a month later when he is arguably the worst offensive starter in the league, but this isn’t one of them.

4. On to Sanchez, I am exhausted of hearing about his emotional and physical anguish because of the Jets inquiring about Peyton Manning. First off, Sanchez has been off the grid since the season ended, so unless you have been hanging out with the guy, you have no idea what his current mental state is. According to reports he has been working out at the team facility recently and prior to that likely took a few weeks off to be with his family and friends. Bottom line is that Sanchez has to deal with this. Since he has been drafted what has he done to show you that he isn’t competitive or not intelligent? I can’t remember too much. He knows this is part of being quarterback in New York and he has no choice but to prepare to make improvements next year.

5. That being said, it is about time to hear something from Sanchez. Let’s end the media blackout. I am not against “letting his play and actions” do the talking but it doesn’t hurt to give an interview or two. It is time to hear “this is my offense, I will get it in order and I am ready to roll.”

6. Can we stop acting like Sanchez was Josh Freeman last year? Oh wait, you mean Freeman who is constantly lauded by the mainstream media as having “tons of potential” despite winning 4 games last year, throwing 16 touchdowns and 22 interceptions while Sanchez is considered “done and a lock to be an average quarterback” even though in his supposed “worst year” threw 26 touchdowns, ran for 6 more, and threw 18 interceptions along with winning 8 games.

7. We all know Sanchez struggled down the stretch last year but why, oh why would you give up on him after three years? Go look at Eli Manning and Drew Brees stats after 3 years and then remember they didn’t beat Tom Brady and Peyton Manning head to head on the road in the playoffs within those first 3 years. I don’t know if Sanchez will ever be a “top ten” quarterback in this league and honestly I don’t care because I do believe he has already proven to be good enough for the Jets to win with him, because with him as a starter they are 27-20 in the regular season and 4-2 in the playoffs.

8. Focusing on building around Sanchez, the most important thing is protecting him. I don’t believe for a second that Wayne Hunter will be the opening day starter at right tackle next year. I also think the Jets will add a solid blocking tight end and have improved depth with Robert Turner back and Austin Howard continuing to develop.

9. Valid criticisms of Sanchez – He gets rattled after taking a few hits. He lets a few bad throws snowball into a bad game. His body language isn’t great. His mechanics are inconsistent.

10. Invalid criticisms of Sanchez – He doesn’t have the arm to make every throw needed. He doesn’t work hard. He isn’t athletic. He has never “won” any games for his team.

11. I think the Jets want to add Chad Henne as a backup and it makes a ton of sense but he could very well end up being too costly.

12. Any backup is an improvement over the Mark Brunell joke from the past two years.

Mike Tannenbaum’s Career As New York Jets GM: Part 2, The Ryan Years

An evaluation of Mike Tannenbaum’s career as the New York Jets GM, focusing on 2009-2011

New York Jets General Manger Mike Tannenbaum deserves a large share of the credit for the New York Jets being a playoff team in 2006, 2009 and 2010. He also deserves a large share of the credit for the Jets missing the playoffs in 2007, 2008, and 2011. Since taking over as GM, the Jets have been a .500 or better team in 5 of 6 seasons but have only made the playoffs half of the time. Basically, you are getting a 8-8 to 10-6 team who could sneak into the playoffs depending on how strong the rest of the conference is. Mike Tannenbaum is going to field a competitive team but he hasn’t shown the ability to put together a roster good enough to be one of the NFL’s elite.

Zero division titles. Zero 12 win seasons yet three playoff berths and four playoff wins. Tannenbaum’s resume is an inconsistent one, as a closer look at this history reveals, a history that should provide some insight into what the Jets will do in the coming months:

READ PART 1: THE MANGINI YEARS

2009

Primary Additions

Draft Class – Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Matt Slauson

Free Agency Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, Marques Douglas, Donald Strickland, Ben Hartsock, Howard Green

Trade Lito Sheppard, Braylon Edwards

Primary Subtractions

Released Laveranues Coles, Mike Nugent, Chris Baker, Bubba Franks, CJ Mosley, Eric Barton, David Bowens, David Barrett, Hank Poteat, Ty Law

Traded Chansi Stuckey, Jason Trusnik, Kenyon Coleman, Brett Ratliff, Abram Elam

Mike Tannenbaum hired a new coach in Rex Ryan and spent the entire off-season rebuilding the roster to fit his new coach’s identity. He succeeded in giving him the necessary pieces to help create the league’s top defense in 2009 but made his biggest splash in the draft by trading up for quarterback Mark Sanchez and then supplementing it by trading up for Shonn Greene. If you look at the list of players the Jets parted ways with this off-season, it is encouraging especially when you consider how many of the players brought in contributed to two teams that made the AFC Championship Game. Ultimately this off-season really can’t be judged until we see what happens with Sanchez and to a much lesser extent, Greene in the coming years.

2010

Primary Additions

Draft Class – Kyle Wilson, Vladimir Ducasse, Joe McKnight, John Conner

Free Agency Nick Folk, Brodney Pool, LaDainian Tomlinson, Lance Laury, Jason Taylor, Mark Brunell, Trevor Pryce

Trade Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes

Primary Subtractions

Released Donald Strickland, Howard Green, Thomas Jones, Alan Faneca, Jay Feely, Lito Sheppard

Traded Kerry Rhodes, Leon Washington

There were plenty of controversial moves this off-season, notably releasing Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca, along with trading Leon Washington. Fortunately for Tannenbaum, the team improved from 9-7 to 11-5 and returned to the AFC Championship Game for the second straight year. However, he did continue a damaging trend of walking away from the draft with four or less players. He also selected his second major bust by taking Vladimir Ducasse in the second round. Kyle Wilson has been average for a first round pick as well. If Santonio Holmes doesn’t get his head on straight, this off-season is going to look very ugly a few years from now.

2011

Primary Additions

Draft Class – Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, Bilal Powell, Jeremy Kerley, Greg McElroy, Scotty McKnight

Free Agency Donald Strickland, Plaxico Burress, Derrick Mason, Aaron Maybin

Trade Caleb Schlauderaff

Primary Subtractions

Released Damien Woody, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Taylor, Kris Jenkins, Shaun Ellis, Tony Richardson, Trevor Pryce, Brad Smith, Drew Coleman

Traded Dwight Lowery, Derrick Mason

One of the Tannenbaum’s worst off-seasons, if not his worst. He went for names over needs by focusing the team’s effort on chasing Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency and came up empty. He then replaced Braylon Edwards, the only player Mark Sanchez ever had deep ball chemistry with, by signing Plaxico Burress. The Jets badly missed Cotchery and Ellis in the locker room and the depth Lowery provided at safety. The Mason signing was a disaster and he was traded in the middle of the season. The best move ended up being finding Aaron Maybin on the scrap heap and then giving him a second chance after initially cutting him. It is too soon to clearly evaluate the draft but Wilkerson looks like he will be a solid starter and Kerley has very good potential. I believe the Powell selection will turn out to be a major head scratcher.