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.

Random Great Moment From 2010 Jets Season – Episode 1

A brief new series at Turn On The Jets —

“Random Great Moment From 2010 Jets Season”

Yes, I know I have posted this video probably five times in the past two months for various reasons but this needed to be featured as our first installment of Random Great Moment…

Let’s be honest, even the most optimistic among us had a tough time seeing the Jets upsetting the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs. The game got off to a rough start in case you forgot with the Jets punting on their first possession and New England rolling right down the field on a confused looking Jets defense.

Fortunately, Tom Brady made a horrific throw on this screen pass attempt and David Harris was there to capitalize. It still amazes me to this day that Harris was caught by Alge Crumpler. Honestly, Harris looks like he is running with a piano on his back (coming from somebody who used to look the same way in the open field).

Even though the Jets didn’t score on the following drive, this play gave both the team and everybody watching confidence that the Jets could slow down the supposed unstoppable New England offense. Brady was rattled from that point on and the Jets smacked him around the rest of the afternoon, en route to their upset victory.

Personally, I can say when Harris intercepted that pass it was the highest I jumped after a play all season, almost hitting my head on the ceiling in the my cousin’s apartment. We are all in a bit of daze watching New England surgically move down the field, feeling another blowout coming on, yet this interception snapped us back to life as well as it clearly did for the players.

12 Pack Of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #9

The 12 pack is back on Friday where it belongs, after a special Thursday edition last week. As always, a friendly reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter. Today, I will be summarizing where I think the Jets stand at each position and what the appropriate moves would be at those positions this off-season. Check back a little later in the day for a mock draft round-up as well.

1. Quarterback – Mark Sanchez took major strides in the right direction in the second year of his career. Despite his inaccuracy and inconsistency, he has the “it” quality all great quarterbacks need to succeed. He plays better when the spot is bigger and has quickly developed into a leader on the team. The Jets plan to bring Mark Brunell back as his primary backup, which is a foolish and shortsighted decision that could kill their 2011 season (if it ever occurs). They should investigate a better, younger veteran option like Bruce Gradkowski, Tyler Thigpen, or Billy Volek.

 2. Running Back – Despite a somewhat disappointing 2010 season, I remain confident that if given the proper amount of carries on a weekly basis, Shonn Greene can be a capable lead back. LaDainian Tomlinson should move into being the primary third down back and occasionally spell Greene. Joe McKnight also needs a shot on offense this year and should be given a few series as the third down back, split out wide occasionally, and have a package of plays to get him involved. John Conner will be the starting fullback, which means Tony Richardson will likely announce his retirement sometime relatively soon.

3. Wide Receiver – The Jets should prioritize getting Santonio Holmes back before Braylon Edwards, which they seem to have. Getting Edwards back would be a nice luxury but it shouldn’t come at the cost of Antonio Cromartie returning to the team. It has now been revealed that Jerricho Cotchery played through last season with a herniated disc in his back, explaining some of his struggles. He can handle the starting role if needed and I think will bounce back with a big year in 2011. It sounds like the Jets are interested in Brad Smith returning, but if the price gets too high they can afford to let him leave. My guess is that it is about 50/50 on seeing him back next year.

4. Tight End – One of the main reasons I think the Jets can handle Braylon Edwards departing is Dustin Keller. He can assume a bigger role in the passing game and provide the size on the outside that Edwards did last year. Matthew Mulligan is poised to become the primary blocking tight end with Ben Hartsock not returning, and should see plenty of playing time. Jeff Cumberland remains an intriguing prospect, who could factor into the Jets plans, especially if Edwards doesn’t return.

5. Offensive Line – Thank god we have Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Brandon Moore. I believe Matt Slauson will continue to develop into a quality starter at guard. The battle for right tackle will be one of the biggest in camp, between Wayne Hunter and Vladimir Ducasse. Hopefully, Ducasse can pull it out or it means the Jets wasted a second round pick on him last year.

6. Defensive Line – The Jets need to add two or three players to their defensive line rotation, while getting younger and faster. Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito will return as starters and I’d like to see the Jets get Shaun Ellis back on a short term deal so he can finish his career where he started it, and can mentor whomever the Jets draft to replace him. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kris Jenkins return at a cheaper price. Marcus Dixon and Ropati Pitoitua will both be given chances to become part of the rotation and both have flashed potential.

7. Linebacker – The Jets need to improve their depth and find a long term replacement for Bryan Thomas, who can rush the passer. I don’t expect Jason Taylor to return to the team. Calvin Pace needs to put together a full 16 game season and reach his double digit sack potential. It would be nice to see more impact plays from both David Harris and Bart Scott, but especially Scott.

8. Secondary – I don’t know if there is a Jets writer out there who is more pro bringing back Antonio Cromartie than me. I am not the number one person in his fan club but in terms of how this team is constructed, he is needed back before Braylon Edwards is. Kyle Wilson gave no indication that he is ready to start and Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery are better suited to be role players. Personally, I don’t think the Jets can swing Nnamdi Asomugha in the free agent market and why go get somebody else besides him when Cromartie is already comfortable in the system? They also need to decide what they are doing at safety opposite Jim Leonhard. The team will likely pick between Brodney Pool and Eric Smith to return, and I’d go with Pool because of his upside. I also wouldn’t object to taking a long look at UCLA’s Rahim Moore with the 30th overall pick.

9. Special Teams – The new kick return rules could arguably limit Brad Smith’s value as a returner and might make somebody like Cromartie or Joe McKnight a better fit. Rex Ryan has said Jim Leonhard won’t return punts anymore and that the job will be split between McKnight and Jerricho Cotchery, which I agree with. Leonhard needs to stay healthy for defense. I expect Nick Folk to remain the Jets kicker in 2011 and for Steve Weatherford to eventually return.

10. Coaching – My guess is that this will be the last year for Brian Schottenheimer before Bill Callahan takes over as the offensive coordinator and Mike Pettine’s last year before he gets a head coaching job, leaving the defensive coordinator position to Dennis Thurman.

11. Front Office – There is no reason not to be confident in Mike Tannenbaum’s ability to navigate through this difficult off-season. However, he needs to get the most out of his six draft picks this year, after the Jets have only walked away with seven players in the past two years, many with question marks still around them.

12. Weekend Video Clips – Sanchise Edition

Concern About The Jets Front Seven

And now back to football…

Appropriately there is a general consensus that the New York Jets need to improve their defensive front seven this off-season, which has been spearheaded by most mock drafts pairing them with a defensive lineman or outside linebacker.

At defensive line and linebacker, the Jets are a little bit old and a little bit slow. Outside of David Harris, all three starting linebackers are over 30 and none (including Harris) have great speed. On the defensive line, Sione Pouhaand Shaun Ellis (if he returns) are both into their 30’s and if you saw Mike DeVito trying to cover Danny Woodhead last year, you know he didn’t run track in high school or college.

The depth isn’t great at either position, Jamaal Westerman and Josh Mauga don’t project as future starters at linebacker. On the line, Marcus Dixon, Ropati Pitoitua, and Matt Kroul have potential but still a long way to go to prove they deserve regular spots in the rotation.

Where will the help come from? At a minimum, the Jets need a long term replacement for Bryan Thomas at outside linebacker, a defensive end to replace Shaun Ellis (even if he ends up coming back), and another interior lineman to boost the rotation and maybe eventually take over for Pouha.

The draft could only solve so much, especially with the Jets missing a second round pick. Hopefully, Mike Tannenbaum’s first round pick can contribute immediately and he finds another later round prospect or two that contribute at defensive line or linebacker. The Jets will likely be handcuffed in signing new players in free agency, as they will be limited by the same “Final Eight” rules they were last year, if an injunction is granted as expected on April 6th.

In reality, it is going to take multiple off-seasons to get the defensive front seven where it needs to be. The Jets can take a big step in the right direction this year by having a strong draft, hoping a few of their developmental players (Dixon, Pitoitua) contribute, and maybe swinging a deal or two via free agency or trade.

Looking Back on 2010 New York Jets Predictions Part 1

Before the season began, I made 40 predictions for the 2010 New York Jets. Let’s see how I did in my first 20…I never claimed to be Nostradamus and I have a feeling this article will show that I am far from it

1. Despite potentially missing up to four games, Calvin Pace will still lead the Jets in sacks this season with 8.5. David Harris and Jason Taylor won’t be far behind with 6.5 each. WRONG — Bryan Thomas led the team with 6 sacks, Pace only finished with 5.5. Harris finished with 3 sacks and Taylor ended with 5. Can we get a pass rush?

2. Darrelle Revis won’t begin playing at his 2009 level until around week five. However, that doesn’t mean he still won’t be very, very good the first few weeks. WRONG — Revis was good week one against the Ravens but hurt himself in week two. He didn’t start playing at his 2009 level until around week 7 or 8.

3. Antonio Cromartie will lead the Jets in interceptions with 7. RIGHT…Kind of — Cromartie did tie Dwight Lowery for the team lead in interceptions, but it was only at 3, not 7.

4. Kris Jenkins will benefit from having Sione Pouha spell him and from his weight loss this off-season to put together an All-Pro year. WRONG — Jenkins was lost for the season in the first quarter of the Jets first game this year.

5. Vernon Gholston will finally record his first NFL sack at some point during the 2010 season and prove to be a decent part of the defensive line rotation. WRONG — Gholston never recorded a sack and never became a consistent contributor on the defensive line.

6. Mark Sanchez will throw for more touchdowns than interceptions in 2010, finishing with 19 TDs to 14 INTs. RIGHT — Sanchez did throw for more touchdowns than interceptions, finishing with 17 touchdowns to 13 interceptions…not bad TOJ…not bad.

7. LaDainian Tomlinson will finish with 950 total offensive yards and 8 total touchdowns. WRONG — Tomlinson finished with 1,282 rushing yards and 6 total touchdowns, exceeding most of our expectations.

8. Shonn Greene will lead the Jets in rushing yards with 1200, and also add on 6 touchdowns of his own. WRONG — Tomlinson led the Jets with 914 rushing yards, Greene finished with 766. I still want to see what Greene can do with 20+ carries in more than one game next season.

9. Joe McKnight will make no significant contributions to the Jets offense this season. RIGHT — Bingo…no week 17 doesn’t count.

10. Jerricho Cotchery will lead the Jets in receptions, Dustin Keller won’t be far behind him and lead the team in touchdown receptions. WRONG — Dustin Keller led the Jets in receptions and Braylon Edwards led the way in touchdown receptions. Cotchery had a fairly disappointing year.

11. Motivated by not being the only member of the Core Four who didn’t get paid, David Harris will put together his best career season and get Patrick Willis type money next off-season. TBA — It is hard to say whether Harris had his best career year, statistically he certainly didn’t but he was voted Team MVP. He just received the franchise tag, which gives him the average pay of the top five linebackers in the league and there is still a good chance he will get a long term deal.

12. Kyle Wilson will put together a strong rookie year as the Jets nickel back and will eventually become the primary punt returner. He will have two interceptions and two sacks in 2010. WRONG — Wilson struggled on defense and special teams, finishing with zero interceptions and zero sacks.

13. Shaun Eliis will have a quiet but productive year with 4 sacks, in what will likely be his final season in green and white. RIGHT — Sounds about right to me as Ellis finished with 4.5 sacks but was still strong in run support. Let’s hope he comes back to finish his career in New York.

14. Brodney Pool will get his feet under him in the Jets defense after the bye week and finish the season strongly, proving to be an upgrade over Kerry Rhodes. RIGHT — It took a little longer than I thought but Pool did play better after the bye week and finished the season especially strong. I would argue he was better than Kerry Rhodes was for the Jets in 2009.

15. The Jets will go 4-2 in their six games prior to their bye week. WRONG — The Jets went 5-1 in their six games prior to their bye week, not far off though.

16. The Jets will finish 7-3, en route to a 11-5 record and AFC East title. — RIGHT…kind of, I know they actually finished 6-4 in these games but I still got the final record right despite them not winning the AFC East.

17. The Jets will split with Miami and New England. RIGHT — They split with both teams.

18. The Jets will avoid their yearly letdown against the Bills and sweep them in 2010. RIGHT — Yes, he is heating up…

19. Braylon Edwards will start the season strongly and remain a big play threat for the entire year. Yet, there won’t be enough touches for him to approach 1,000 yards receiving or have any more than 5-6 touchdowns. RIGHT — I am giving myself this one, Edwards started the year strong and was a big play threat all season. He didn’t reach 1,000 yards, finishing with 904 and ended with 7 touchdowns.

20. Santonio Holmes return will be a major boost to the Jets offense in week 5 and he will develop into their unquestioned number one receiver during the stretch run and into the playoffs. RIGHT/WRONG — Holmes was a huge boost to their offense and even though you would hesitate to say he was their unquestioned number one receiver during the stretch run and into the playoffs, he did lead the team in receiving yards in weeks 9, 10, 11, and 13 and led the team in receiving touchdowns during the playoffs.

Check back tomorrow to see how I did in the last 20…

12 Pack of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #3

The 12 pack is back with our third off-season edition, read it, comment on it, disagree with it, print it out and give it to your girlfriend for Valentine’s Day

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1. Early 2011 Procrastinating – The early talk on the 2011 season seems to place the New England Patriots as the favorite to come out of the AFC and make a Super Bowl appearance. I suppose this makes sense considering their collection of talented young players and all the off-season hardware collected by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.  However, the Patriots have now lost three straight playoff games when they were considered heavy favorites, including two in a row at home where they were smacked around pretty badly. Also remember, the reality of them not having a good defense, at all. It may be better for the Jets if New England is the consensus favorite to win the AFC East, as you know Rex Ryan won’t hesitate to use it as motivation considering the Jets have beat the Patriots in two of their past three meetings.

2. AFC East Quarterbacking – We know Tom Brady and Mark Sanchez aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Yet, it will be interesting to see how the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills handle their quarterback situations this off-season. The Bills could be content with Ryan Fitzpatrick who played well for most of last year, however they are a franchise in desperate need of a shot in the arm so I wouldn’t be stunned if they went quarterback with their number three overall pick. Cam Newton would be very intriguing for them. Miami has to decide whether to stick with Chad Henne. Maybe they will draft another quarterback in the second round, considering how well that has worked out for them. Those debates about Sanchez and Henne last off-season certainly sound funny now. The primary difference between the two is that when the spot gets bigger, Sanchez plays better and Henne plays worse…oh and that whole, being a winner thing. Remember Henne hasn’t won a single game of any importance yet in his NFL career.

3. Assistant Scorn – In the past month, the Jets have denied defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman the chance to interview for the Oakland defensive coordinator position, Bill Callahan the chance to interview for the Tennessee offensive coordinator position, and offensive line coach Mike Devlin the chance to interview for a few undisclosed positions. You have to wonder if frustration will start to build among the staff members. Callahan could have received assurance that he will take over for Brian Schottenheimer after his contract expires next year and there could be a thought that defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will get hired as a head coach after next season if the defense keeps playing well, and Thurman will take over.

4. Quick Hitters – Brandon Moore underwent successful hip surgery and is expected back for training camp, whenever that ends up being…Kicker Nick Novak was signed out of the UFL, where he won special team player of the year. It will be good to provide Nick Folk with a little competition, if the Jets decide to bring him back…Despite my dismissal of the Mark Sanchez’s off the field drama, the guy does need to remember who he is, where he plays, and use better judgment.

5. Maybe Next Time – It was a shame to see Curtis Martin not make it into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Martin handled it graciously as expected and mentioned the possibility of being inducted with Bill Parcells next year, which would be interesting considering their history together. It is only a matter of time for him, considering his qualifications.

6. Scary Stats – Mark Sanchez’s completion percentage was under 55 this year, for the second straight time in his NFL career…Dustin Keller scored five touchdowns in the Jets first four games, and didn’t score a single one after that…Jerricho Cotchery led the team in dropped passes this season…Shonn Greene only received more than 20 carries in one game this season.

7. TOJ Housekeeping – In the next week, we will be starting coverage of the 2011 NFL Draft with the assistance of a new writer…Remember to check out the new “TiqIq” widget on the right side of the page and the “Buy Tickets” page on the navigation bar for the best prices to local sporting events…we are still (and always) looking for more advertisers…TOJ is also still looking for assistance in designing a new banner for the site, e-mail me if you are interested…I hope everybody is enjoying TOJ’s contributions at SB Nation New York and Gunaxin…Finally, make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

8. Free Agent Talk – It looks like Cleveland is giving up on being the JV Jets by releasing Kenyon Coleman, Eric Barton, and David Bowens. They also released Shaun Rogers, which had some fans excited. However, Rogers has already visited Washington and there is talk Rob Ryan will go after him hard to join Dallas. I wouldn’t mind seeing Kenyon Coleman added back to the Jets defensive line rotation, as a depth player.

9. CBA – Not looking good so far…it is a scary thought to imagine next autumn without football. Beyond that, we can’t even enjoy the off-season the way we normally would because of all the negativity flowing around the negotiations. It would be a lie, if I said I knew anywhere near all the details of what is being discussed. Yet, everything I have heard or read, indicates the owners are being grossly selfish. Beyond that, it would be insanity to have an 18 game regular season. Did you see the type of injuries endured by the players this year?

10.  No to Ocho – Does anybody think it would be a good idea to target Chad Ochocinco, instead of focusing on getting the Jets own receivers back? Sorry Darrelle, I can’t agree with you on this one.

11. Franchise, Yes – Glad to hear the Jets are planning to use their franchise tag on David Harris, until they can negotiate a long term deal with him. It isn’t worth the risk of him hitting the market as a free agent, he is too important to their defense.

12. Random Video Clips – Enjoy your weekend

TOJ's Initial Thoughts On Jets 2011 Defensive Depth Chart

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First guess on the what the defense will look like 2011…

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Defensive Line – Draft Pick, Free Agent, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, Kris Jenkins, Shaun Ellis, Ropati Pitoitua – I think Kris Jenkins will agree to take a major pay cut and give it another shot for the Jets. What other option does he have? Nobody is paying him with how much time he missed the past two years. I can see negotiations with Shaun Ellis getting ugly, the Jets letting him waver in free agency for awhile but then ultimately finding a way to bring him back on a cheap, short-term deal. Does he really want to go somewhere else after spending his whole career here? He is another guy who won’t get big money elsewhere. The Jets do need to spend an early draft pick at defensive end and should sign a veteran to replace Trevor Pryce. Hopefully, Pitoitua can contribute this year.

Linebackers – David Harris, Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas, Draft Pick/Free Agent, Jamaal Westerman, Josh Mauga – This is another area the Jets need to spend a draft pick in. I am not sure what free agency will look like in this area but it would be good to see them add some youth here. Jason Taylor won’t be back. Westerman and Mauga have shown potential in the past couple years and are developmental players. David Harris isn’t going anywhere, you can bank on that.

Secondary – Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Jim Leonhard, Brodney Pool, Kyle Wilson, James Ihedigbo, Marquice Cole, Dwight Lowery, Draft Pick – I think the Jets will find a way to get Cromartie back after dealing with Harris and Santonio Holmes. They can’t keep everybody so don’t be surprised to see Drew Coleman and Eric Smith leave, as they will want Kyle Wilson to have a bigger role and Pool’s play improved down the stretch. I am sure Rex Ryan will insist they spend another draft pick in the secondary, either at safety or corner.

Overall – I think the Jets will be able to get Jenkins and Ellis back on the cheap as they work younger players into the defensive line positions. The bottom line is that long term replacements are needed for Ellis and Bryan Thomas and the Jets aren’t loaded with draft picks, so Mike Tannenbaum needs to hit in the first and third round or get creative with free agency or a trade. Rex Ryan loves his corners, which is why I think after taking care of Harris and Holmes, the Jets next priority won’t be Braylon Edwards or Brad Smith, but will rather be Cromartie. Eric Smith, Drew Coleman, Jason Taylor, and Trevor Pryce are the major contributors who won’t be back.