New York Jets Offense Preparing For Transition

The owner’s ratifed the proposed new CBA yesterday and now we are waiting on the players, with an anticipated vote coming at some point this weekend. I would still look for the league year to kick off at some point next week and along those lines, the news is rolling on the New York Jets, particularly on the offensive side of the football.

First off, the Jets made a terrific move by hiring Tom Moore as an offensive consultant. Moore is best known for his time spent working with the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning and is one of the most respected offensive minds in the game. He is going to consult on their game planning, particularly in the red-zone, which is an area we certainly know they need help in. (Cover your eyes)

Second, Braylon Edwards was in court today where he pleaded guilty to his DWI charge from last season. It will be interesting to see how this impacts how much money he receives in free agency. Edwards continued to express his desire to remain with the team and hopes he gets a deal done with them in the 3 day exclusive signing period. I still think it is a long shot that he comes back, as I think too much will be spent to keep Santonio Holmes. However, maybe if Antonio Cromartie walks, the Jets could work something out to keep both Holmes and Edwards.

If Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes happen to leave, Jets fans shouldn’t panic too much as Jerricho Cotchery will be returning 100 percent healthy this season. He is a terrific option as a #2 receiver when healthy. Between Cotchery and Dustin Keller, the Jets will still have enough weapons for Mark Sanchez if one of their big name free agents leave.

Finally, Damien Woody gave an interview yesterday where he made it clear that he was interested in returning to the Jets only as a starter and only above the veteran’s minimum. Personally, I think it is worth getting him back for another year so he can mentor Vladimir Ducasse as he learns a new position. If Woody ends up being too pricey, Wayne Hunter is a good enough fallback option to the hold the fort for a year.

Asomugha To The Jets Creates Other Free Agency Problems

Imagine all world CB Nnamdi Asomugha opposite another all world CB Darrelle Revis, in 2011. According to Rotoword it is possible. The popular sports news source reported today that SI.com’s Peter King “hears” that free agent Nnamdi Asomugah’s preference is to play with the Jets. King of course, still lists the Jets as a “longshot,” presumably for financial reasons.

Without getting specific financially, speaking only in general terms, to afford Asomugha, the Jets would be limited in free agency, able to only target ONE of their wide receivers. Not including veteran bargain bin finds. Other high priced Jets may even have to restructure their current deals to make it happen as well.

Their rumored to be favored choice at WR is Santonio Holmes. Keeping either Holmes OR Braylon Edwards (who struck a plea for his September 2010 DWI today), would be about the only high priced long term deal the Jets could take on if they wanted to go after Asomugha. Following that type of scenario, expect them losing Brad Smith, RT Wayne Hunter, and one or two of their free agents in the secondary: Brodney Pool, Eric Smith, Drew Coleman and James Ihedigbo.

Going for Asomugha and Holmes might be so costly that the replacement at the WR2 position might have to come from within, NOT from the open market where veterans like Randy Moss and Plaxico Burress, who won’t come dirt cheap, even as short term solutions, await their new address.

The Jets could try and replace the second receiver spot from within, using sure handed WR veteran Jerricho Cotchery there. Doing so with the added hope that TE Dustin Keller, with less top talent mouths to feed outside, returns to his early 2010 production, one that saw the former Purdue standout on pace for an All-Pro selection prior to the return of Holmes from a four game suspension due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Darelle Revis and Asomugha would make it extremely difficult for teams to throw outside at all. The loss of Edwards and any tall, big bodied presence replacing him outside, would hurt the Jets in the red zone, run blocking off the edges, and in certain match-ups where height inside on slant patterns in short yardage situations is often an advantage.

The Jets could, by using up much of their free agent salary cap money on Asomugha, also be faced with having to rely on second year pro Vladimir Ducasse at RT. This in the event that both Hunter and Damien Woody, who according to the NY Post today, wants to return as a starter, but not for the veteran minimum, don’t return. 

The loss of Hunter and Woody would create immediate growing pains up front. Similar to the way that the Jets offensive line took a step back early in 2010 when Matt Slauson replaced perennial All Pro Alan Faneca.

Everything is a trade off. If the Jets “want” Asomugha like he wants them, the Jets certainly would be taking a step towards shutting down passing games to a murmur. The bigger question would be, how many other key positions on both sides of the ball would Gang Green be taking a small step backwards with, in order to make the deal work.

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Antonio Cromartie Talks Free Agency

Antonio Cromartie was a guest today on Sirius XM radio with Adam Schein, and as he always does, managed to make a few ear opening comments:

  • He said returning to the Jets is his top priority but he won’t be offering any type of “hometown discount,” which seems to make sense for a somebody with nine children from eight different women.
  • Houston, Tampa Bay, Arizona, Seattle, Dallas, Jacksonville, and Oakland were all mentioned by him as other potential landing spots.
  • When discussing bringing back Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards, he remarked that he thought Holmes would be a bigger priority because he “is a workaholic, clutch player and doesn’t complain.”
  • He will likely wait to see the type of money Nnamdi Asomugha will be paid before signing a contract.

First off, it sounds like he is throwing Braylon Edwards under the bus which is a bit perplexing. We have heard nothing but positive things about Edwards attitude and work ethic in the past year, and it demonstrated itself on the field.

Second, don’t expect the Jets to come close to getting a deal done with Cromartie in their three day of exclusivity window to negotiate with their own free agents. He is going to want to see what the market will offer him (aka what Asomugha is paid) and look to max out his earning potential. If Houston can’t figure out something with Asomugha, I’d expect them to make a monster offer to Cromartie that the Jets can’t match.

2010 was a good, not great year for Cromartie. I have been a huge advocate of re-signing him because of his comfort playing opposite Darrelle Revis and because I am not sold on Kyle Wilson being ready yet. Cromartie is going to offer you a mix of big plays, shut down man coverage, along with penalties, and allowing his share of big plays. He is the best option the Jets will have to put with Revis at corner next year, but he could still end up being too pricey.

New York Jets: What We Learned This Lockout

I am thoroughly exhausted of hearing about “close” the NFL Lockout is to being over…will it end in the coming weeks? Probably…or maybe we will just get 8 more Michael Silver articles about how close they are, followed by an article 12 hours later about how far apart they are. Regardless, let’s run down what we have learned so far this lockout from our New York Jets —

1. Mark Sanchez is a busy man…even when football isn’t going on

I don’t know how this guy manages to organize multiple off-season camps, participate in NASCAR events, hang with Larry David, attend Harry Potter premiers and Broadway shows and get caught in some weird love triangle with the girl from Heroes and Scotty McKnight…but the guy has a full schedule. Regardless of his off the field ventures, it appears that at this point Sanchez has truly solidified himself as a leader of this team.

2. Sione Pouha is handy with a camera

His “Life of Lockout” YouTube series was an entertaining look at himself and the team the past few months. Personally, I thought the episode that featured “Camp Lockout” was the best one as it gave tons of footage of the team working out together and then competing in paintball. It does genuinely feel like there is very good chemistry with this current roster, so let’s hope Mike Tannenbaum can keep as much of it together as possible.

3. Wide receivers create contentious debate

Whether it is disagreeing about whether the Jets should bring Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards back, or who the top choices for replacements should be if one of them leaves, it is hard to find any consensus among fans. The Jets have been linked to names like Randy Moss, Plaxico Burress, Steve Smith, Chad Ochocinco, and Terrell Owens in the past months. If I was a gambling man, I’d say Holmes ends up coming back and the Jets sign either Moss or Burress to a short term deal to replace Edwards. Hopefully, I will be wrong and the team can find a way to get both Holmes and Edwards back.

4. Rex Ryan won’t stop guaranteeing a Super Bowl

Rex Ryan is going to guarantee the Jets are going to win a Super Bowl before every season, so just get used to it. He also published an interesting book this off-season, which provides plenty of trash talk for the upcoming year, especially to the New York Giants. Who doesn’t miss Rex these days?

Thoughts On New York Jets Flight Boys Celebration?

I think we have all been waiting for the New York Jets to come up with some type of organized “cool” celebration. We had Keyshawn spiking his helmet after his first touchdown…Chad Pennington’s awkward jump spikes…Curtis Martin praising the heavens, but never something quite like the Flight Boys celebration from last year, which to my knowledge was started by Santonio Holmes.

Prior to Holmes return from suspension, Braylon Edwards had taught the entire AFC East how to Dougie, which was entertaining enough.

Yet, when Holmes began scoring touchdowns he broke out the trademark wings, which we gleefully watched all over the field in New England this past January.

(Isn’t it great listening to the disgust in the voice of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms in this clip, by the way?)

Personally, I love it. Why wouldn’t the Jets, imitate airplanes when they score touchdowns or make big plays? It is only logical. I can tell you that I ran through the streets of Hoboken after the Jets knocked the Patriots out of the playoffs with the my arms spread, much my to girlfriend and her friend’s disgust. Earlier in the year, I also happened to see the Jets beat the Steelers in a sports bar and broke out the wings inside, leading to me accidentally knocking somebody’s drink over…still well worth it.

What do you think of the celebration? Should the Jets bring it back next year or work on something new?

TOJ Link Dump – July 13th

– A poll on the TOJ Facebook Page found that over 50% of you are looking forward to the Jets/Giants Christmas Eve match-up more than any other game this season. Week 1 versus the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football came in second place.

– Stay away from our receivers, Washington! Not only are the Redskins reportedly interested in Braylon Edwards, they also have their eyes set on Santonio Holmes. Personally, I don’t think there is any way the Jets are letting Holmes get away and overall I doubt either Holmes or Edwards could get too excited about catching one-hoppers from John Beck but then again money does talk and Daniel Snyder is certainly willing to spend, so we will have to see what happens.

A good round-up of the never ending lockout rumors and chatter at SB Nation New York, including a contribution from yours truly on the idiocy of James Harrison and Tiki Barber among other things.

– In case you didn’t see some of Harrison’s quotes, here is the link. Of course he is now claiming some of his quotes were taken out of context…I am sure they forced him to take that picture holding two guns as well.

– Glad to hear about Mark Sanchez’s confidence about his team being able to handle the lockout and being able to re-sign everybody. You have to wonder how many calls he has made to Mike Tannenbaum reminding him of the importance of a young quarterback having quality receivers…how about a temporary pay cut for Mark so the Jets can bring Holmes and Edwards back?

Nate Robinson at corner opposite of Darrelle Revis?

– Kiera Massette of the Lingerie Football League was kind enough to do an interview with TOJ at Gunaxin this past week, providing some interesting insight on her experience with the rapidly growing league.

Kenny Powers is back in action and Funny Or Die takes on the NFL Lockout…TOJ has you covered at Gunaxin.

Fast and Furious Free Agency On The Way

The latest reports on the NFL Lockout involve a tentative resolution being agreed upon on July 21st. In that scenario or really any scenario at this point, a frantic period of free agency will begin, which should truly separate the league’s best and worst front offices.

I would think most New York Jets fans should feel comfortable with Mike Tannenbaum pulling the strings, considering the success of the team since he has taken over as GM. Expect many teams to overpay for big name veterans in the opening days of free agency and for the more patient front offices to be rewarded with a few under the radar signings at very good market value.

There is a rumor floating around that the Washington Redskins have a strong interest in Braylon Edwards, which is about the worst news any Jets fan who wants Edwards back could hear. The Redskins are notorious for paying out lavish contracts to veterans and will likely drive Edwards price out of what Tannenabum is willing to pay, especially with Santonio Holmes likely a higher priority.

You would think Edwards would rather compete for a Super Bowl in New York than field one hoppers from John Beck on a mediocre Washington team but money talks and how much of a hometown discount would he really take?

Pro Football Focus recently compiled this list of the top 51 free agents (I strongly disagree with the ordering of these players but it does provide a good reference of who is available) and this list of bargain free agents. A few thoughts on how some of these available players could fit with the Jets —

  • I don’t see them making a big offer on an elite free agent that isn’t one of their own. The top priorities should be keeping Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, and Edwards and to a lesser extent Shaun Ellis, Brodney Pool, and Damien Woody.
  • A few middle of the road free agents I could them considering are linebackers Matt Roth or Manny Lawson, both could be options to improve depth and the pass rush, especially if Jason Taylor doesn’t come back.
  • If Antonio Cromartie leaves, I could see them adding a veteran corner…if Jonathan Joseph ends up being too pricey, Chris Carr or Richard Marshall could be solid alternatives.

Also don’t forget the Jets still need to work out a long term deal with David Harris, to finish off taking care of their “Core Four.” It is hard to see this getting done before the season starts with how much madness will be going on, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets weren’t afraid to visit the issue after week one considering the circumstances.

TOJ Top Five: Mark Sanchez Performances

Today’s edition of the TOJ Top Five looks at the top five performances of Mark Sanchez’s career —

Previous Editions of the Top Five

5. January 9th 2010 at Cincinnati – 12/15, 182 yards, 1 TD – I know the stats don’t jump off the page in this game but keep in mind that he was a rookie on the road in his first ever playoff game. This efficient performance led the Jets to a victory and remember that Braylon Edwards dropped a perfectly thrown 50 yard potential touchdown, so Sanchez’s stats should have been even better.

4. November 21st 2010 vs. Houston – 22/38, 315 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT – The second highest yardage total of Sanchez’s career but this game was more impressive because of how he directed the Jets on their last second drive to win the game. He dropped in two perfectly thrown balls, one to Braylon Edwards and one to Santonio Holmes, to lead the Jets to an improbable win.

3. September 19th 2010 vs. New England – 21/30, 220 yards, 3 TDs – After an ugly week one where people were openly questioning whether he was good enough to lead the Jets to their lofty expectations, Sanchez responded by shredding a Bill Belichick defense en route to a 28-14 Jets win.

2. January 24th 2010 at Indianapolis – 17/30, 257 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT – On the road in the AFC Championship Game as a rookie, Sanchez was poised and consistent after an erratic game in the Divisional Round the previous week. His highlights in this game included taking a blitz to the face while still delivering a touchdown pass to Dustin Keller on a third down and hitting Braylon Edwards for a 80 yard touchdown in stride.

1. January 16th 2011 at New England – 16/25, 194 yards, 3 TDs – With the Jets as heavy underdogs, Sanchez again lit up a Belichick defense with 3 touchdown passes as the they ended New England’s season with a 28-21 victory. The NFL Network just named Tom Brady the best player in the league in their top 100 player countdown and Sanchez completely outplayed him in this game, in his own building.

A Few Words On Braylon Edwards and Kyle Wilson

Two of the more contentious debates among Jets fans this off-season is whether to focus on keeping Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes at wide receiver and if the team can afford to let Antonio Cromartie leave via free agency because of the presence of Kyle Wilson. Personally, I have came down on the side of signing Holmes over Edwards and that bringing Cromartie back is a must.

This isn’t an indictment on the type of year Edwards had in 2010 and Wilson’s future as a NFL cornerback. Edwards was terrific for the Jets last year and you could make a very reasonable argument that he was more consistent than Holmes. Wilson is only entering his second year and still has plenty of potential to develop into a quality starter in this league.

However, looking at the Jets roster and considering they are ready to win a Super Bowl right now, consider the following…

Holmes is a more explosive playmaker and one of the most clutch players in the league. There is a reason for the general consensus that Holmes is a better player than Edwards and every report this off-season has the team prioritizing Holmes first: he is a better all-around wide receiver than Edwards. If the Jets end up being unable to afford Holmes and get Edwards back instead, would it be the end of the world? Of course not, the gap isn’t that substantial but the first priority should be Holmes. You can’t pass up giving your young quarterback a receiver that can change the game at any second the way he can.

In terms of cornerback, the Jets defense is built on primarily man to man coverage. They have a pass rush that struggles to get to the quarterback unless a blitz package is set up. It is too risky to hand a starting job to Wilson after the difficulties he encountered his rookie season, period. At a minimum you have to bring in another veteran to compete with him and provide better depth if Cromartie walks. You can’t allow yourself to be a pulled Revis hamstring away from Wilson and Drew Coleman (if he is even back) being your starting pair of corners.

Considering how much the Jets use three corners, it isn’t “giving up” on Kyle Wilson by asking him to be the nickel behind Revis and Cromartie, who I think is worth money considering how well he fits in the Jets man to man scheme.

In the end, I am a big fan of Braylon Edwards and what he brought to the team last year and do think Kyle Wilson has potential to develop into a reliable starter down the road, yet for the foreseeable future I think bringing Holmes and Cromartie back are the best decisions this team could make.