Welcome to the TOJ Roundtable, where our writers debate a pressing New York Jets question
What was the smartest move the Jets made this off-season? Which one will they regret the most?
Joe Caporoso: In retrospect I think locking down Santonio Holmes will prove to be the smartest move. He provides Mark Sanchez with a legitimate number one receiver to grow with for the next five years and he should continue to flourish in this offense, while consistently providing the Jets with clutch plays. I think they will regret their handling of the Shaun Ellis situation the most. He could have provided a valuable and necessary mentor to rookies Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis, easing their transition into the NFL. Wilkerson now faces the pressure of being an immediate starter, which could backfire and hurt the Jets depth up front in 2011. Beyond that, they have to watch him go against their offensive line twice this year for the hated New England Patriots. You never want to see a decorated 11 year veteran of your franchise play for your rival.
Chris Celletti: I think the smartest move the Jets made was bringing back Santonio Holmes. If it was between keeping Holmes or Braylon Edwards, it was the right move for the Jets to pony up the cash for Holmes. He is a better all-around player than Edwards, and having him around long-term will only help further the development of Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense.
The move they will regret the most is letting Shaun Ellis walk to the Patriots. Firstly, losing Ellis to anyone is bad for the young Jets’ defensive line. Who is the leader of this group? Sione Pouha? Rex Ryan seems to really believe in first round pick Mo Wilkerson and fellow draft choice Kendrick Ellis, but keeping Shaun Ellis would have made the transition for those guys a lot easier. Ellis had his best game as a Jet in the playoffs against the Patriots last year, so you know he can still play. Lastly, Ellis going to New England strengthens the Jets’ chief rival.
TJ Rosenthal: Smartest Move: Going after big play WR Santonio Holmes immediately. The Jets haven’t stretched the field the way they have been with Holmes since Wesley Walker was racing down the sidelines. Keeping that connection intact before anyone else were to jump in, and there were teams rumored to be willing to break the bank over Holmes, is being overlooked right now due to the headlines garnered over players the Jets DIDN’T keep. It shouldn’t be. Holmes is a home run hitter who will keep the Jets in games for a long time to come.
Move They’ll Regret: Backup signal caller. Not upgrading the QB2 position frightens us. We like Mark Brunell as a third string QB/ coach type who, for the price of what Kellen Clemens played for last year, would give the Jets deep security and a wealth of knowledge. Should Sanchez be out of action for a length of time however, we seriously question whether Brunell could physically handle the various throws and play designs well enough to carry the offense over a lengthy stretch. We hoped that the Jets would have, through free agency, or via trade, taken the doomsday scenario regarding Sanchez more seriously.
Rob Celletti: I would say the smartest move was the re-signing of Santonio Holmes. His impact on the team after serving his 4-game suspension was undeniable, as ‘Tone basically won the Jets 3 games singlehandedly. I think he wanted to be an unquestioned number one, and now he has that chance. I think he’ll thrive in that role.
I think the Jets will regret the moves they didn’t make: mainly not significantly improving their pass rush. The Jets were the worst defense in the league on third down last year, and the lack of a pass rush is the primary reason for that abysmal statistic. I don’t want to make too big a deal out of them letting Shaun Ellis go, but clearly this team lacks defensive ends and outside linebackers that can pressure the quarterback consistently. A lot of people are looking at Calvin Pace to finally reach his potential and become that elite, go-to pass-rusher, but I have my doubts about that and was hopeful that the Jets would look to improve this area of their team via free agency. We’ll see