New York Jets Exploring Running Back Market

The New York Jets are showing interest in free agent running backs, but they should be considering swinging a trade

With most of the focus on the New York Jets improving the secondary by adding LaRon Landry and potentially signing another safety, there have been some rumblings about the team looking to boost their depth chart at running back.

By the way, Wayne Hunter and Vladimir Ducasse are currently the Jets top two right tackles. I just needed to remind everybody of that…now back to the article.

Anyway, the Jets have expressed interest in BenJarvus Green-Ellis and there are rumors they could have interest in Michael Bush. Both are intriguing as they would signal an attempt to return to the “Thunder/Thunder” approach of Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene during the 2009 season. Both running backs were considered top tier free agents at their position but have seen lukewarm interest so far. Bush is a bruiser, who is a quality receiver out of the backfield who is coming off his best season and Green-Ellis, as we know plenty well, is a solid, not spectacular back who never fumbles the football…literally.

A more intriguing option has presented itself with the Carolina Panthers signing running back Mike Tolbert. The Panthers were already well positioned at running back with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, so the Tolbert signing has led to speculation that either Williams or Stewart could be traded.

Carolina would love to move Williams and the asinine contract they signed him to last year. However, nobody will be taking it on unless he agrees to restructure. Stewart on the other hand has one year left on his rookie deal and it is hard to picture any scenario where they will have the money to re-sign him after how much they spent on Williams and now on Tolbert. So, why not move him now and get compensation for him?

Stewart is coming off a season where he racked up 761 rushing yards at 5.4 yards per carry and 47 receptions for 413 yards. He is an explosive playmaker who would make a terrific combination with Shonn Greene. If I am Mike Tannenbaum I am embracing my trading roots and offering Carolina a 3rd and 5th round pick for him. If that offer doesn’t satisfy them, I’d be willing to move up to a 2nd rounder this year and a conditional 5th rounder next year.

Bush and Green-Ellis are nice role players. Stewart has the ability to be a star in Tony Sparano’s run heavy system. Tannenbaum traded for a running back in 2007 in Thomas Jones who piled up 28 touchdowns and 3,833 rushing yards in three seasons. Stewart is capable of that type of production.

Jets vs. Panthers Game Breakdown/Prediction

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First a few updates:

1. Rough slate of games yesterday for the NFL. I still don’t understand how the Raiders beat the Bengals and Eagles. The Giants laid a big time egg, which caught me off guard especially because of how bad Denver had been playing. Unless they get things turned around quickly, the Giants might be joining the Jets at home in January.

2. Rex Ryan press conference today: He took some time to stand up for Vernon Gholston, who will be active this week. Donald Strickland and Dwight Lowery are going to be out. He expressed frustration with how the news about Kerry Rhodes being benched got out, and reiterated that he will still be on the field in nickel and dime packages.

Jets vs. Panthers Game Breakdown/Prediction

Offense: Expect a run heavy game plan from the Jets. The Panthers have struggled against the run all season and I think the game plan will work to protect Mark Sanchez. He will likely be started out with a bunch of short throws and pass plays with very basic reads. More important than the Jets winning this week, is Sanchez not turning the ball over, improving his completion percentage, and throwing a couple of touchdown passes. Regardless, I’d be shocked to see Thomas Jones have anything less than 20 carries and see Sanchez throw more than 20-23 passes.

Defense: If the Jets are smart they will stack the box to prevent DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart from beating them, leave Darrelle Revis one on one with Steve Smith and see if Jake Delhomme can beat them. This unit has been good all season and dominant at times but they struggled to create big plays. If there is a week to rack up some interceptions, forced fumbles, and sacks…this is it.

Prediction: I expect an ugly, turnover filled, low-scoring game. I am going  with Carolina 16-13.

Darrelle Revis Will Have His Hands Full