TOJ New York Jets Free Agency 12 Pack

TOJ with a 12 pack of thoughts on the New York Jets in free agency

UPDATE: The Jets have signed quarterback Drew Stanton to a one year, 1.25 million dollar deal to backup Mark Sanchez.

Kick off your St. Patrick’s Day Weekend by sitting back and enjoying a 12 pack of thoughts on the New York Jets potential moves in free agency. Then tomorrow when you are prowling the streets of New York City, look for the tall, not that athletic looking guy with the Revis Island shirt and Eric Smith signed snapback hat and buy him a real 12 pack…

1. The biggest news of the day, as far as I’m concerned is two fold, first that LaRon Landry is coming for a visit to the Jets facility but more importantly that the team believes they have a chance to sign both him and Reggie Nelson. It is financially feasible as long as the deals are structured the right way, which is Mike Tannenbaum’s speciality. I have not been high on pursuing Landry this off-season but if you can sign him on the right deal (an incentive laden one that protects you from his injuries) and you pair him with a centerfield/ballhawk type safety like Nelson it makes sense. Landy at strong safety with Nelson at free safety, along with Eric Smith back as the top reserve is a good situation. Nevermind the potential of still bringing Jim Leonhard back on a veteran’s minimum for depth purposes. How nice would it be to bring back your previous #1 and #2 safety as your new #3 and #4 safety…now that is depth.

2. If the Jets can lock down the safety position via free agency, it gives them ability to push their chips to the middle of the table to get a pass rusher in the draft. If you solve safety via free agency, go solve outside linebacker in the draft by moving up if necessary to grab Melvin Ingram or Courtney Upshaw.

3. It is also being reported today that the Jets have interest in inside linebacker Jameel McClain. This has long been a speculated move for the Jets as McClain has experience with Rex Ryan. If he does sign, you can start counting the seconds until Bart Scott is cut.

4. All of a sudden you are a seeing a blueprint for a much improved Jets defense in 2012. Keep in mind, this is if everything breaks right. But the potential is there to add two new starting safeties, an outside linebacker early in the draft and a new inside linebacker in McClain. You can then add a few depth players later in the draft and all of a sudden you have the potential for a very scary defense in 2012. Can you imagine a starting defensive backfield of Landry, Nelson, Revis and Cromartie with Wilson as the nickel back…that is five first round draft picks.

5. There are mixed reports about the Jets search for a backup quarterback. At this point, both Drew Stanton and Brady Quinn remain likely options. I would expect one to be signed in the coming days. Both have shortcomings but both are upgrades over Mark Brunell. UPDATE – Stanton was signed to 1 year deal.

6. I like what I heard from Mark Sanchez’s comments to the media yesterday, most notably that he took the time to fly down to Florida to patch things up with Santonio Holmes, calling out his anonymous critics as “gutless,” and retracting the comments he made about his new contract making him leader and saying that he needed to earn it on the field. He sounded like a confident guy ready to have an improved year…obviously we’ll see what happens on the field.

7. Jamaal Westerman signed with the Dolphins. I always felt he could have done more for the team with extended playing time but with the emergence of Aaron Maybin he became expendable.

8. This has flown under the radar but the Jets would be foolish to let Robert Turner walk. He is a versatile backup, who can play in certain big packages. I am sure Dallas will take a run at him but the Jets need to remember the importance of depth on the offensive line.

9. I think the Jets will get around to bringing Marquice Cole back. He is a quality depth player who is a key part of all their special teams units.

10. At wide receiver, I will reiterate my stance on Chaz Schilens. If you sign him on a cheap, incentive laden contract it has the potential to be a smart move. The size and speed is there but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. There is a chance he could be next year’s Laurent Robinson or miss 10 games with an injury, which is why it would be smart to pair his signing with either a mid-round draft pick, Braylon Edwards, or Jerricho Cotchery. The problem is that I doubt Cotchery or Edwards come here unless they are given a chance to start and I think the Jets are signing Schilens with the intention of him being a starter.

11. All quiet on the running back front. The Jets may be content to just add a player through the draft in the middle or late rounds and roll with what they have instead of paying Ronnie Brown any type of money.

12. It was good to see the Jets focus on taking care of their own this off-season by bringing back Sione Pouha and Bryan Thomas, respected veterans in the locker room. Those type of moves go a long to improving locker room chemistry.

New York Jets: Getting Closer To Action

Believe it or not, the New York Jets should be making some moves in free agency in the coming days

It is easy to be frustrated at the moment if you are a New York Jets fan. The Buffalo Bills signed Mario Williams and have already been crowned the best defense in the AFC East but you should know better than anybody not to buy into March coronations, right? While your anger is justified at right tackle until a player not named Hunter or Ducasse is starting, the Jets do appear to be preparing for action at other positions.

Most notably, highly coveted safety Reggie Nelson will be coming in for a visit tomorrow. Considering what is left on the safety market and Nelson’s skill set, the Jets shouldn’t let him leave the building without a contract. He is coming off a very good season for the Bengals and would provide much needed athleticism and ball skills to the safety position.

Chaz Schilens is also coming in for a visit and the Jets do expect to sign him in the coming days. Schilens has good upside and as long as the Jets give him a low cost, incentive laden contract, this has the potential to be a smart move. However, a signing of Schilens could stop a return from either Jerricho Cotchery or Braylon Edwards, both of whom would like to start. It is my impression that the Jets are signing Schilens to start opposite of Santonio Holmes and if they do that, look for them to not consider bringing back Edwards or Cotchery, as unpopular of move that will be with fans.

At quarterback, Drew Stanton visited the team today and Brady Quinn is coming in tomorrow. Quinn is a bigger name than Stanton who also has more NFL experience. Yet, keep in mind Quinn’s NFL struggles and not his flashy name when you are screaming for him after three straight incompletions from Mark Sanchez in a pre-season game.

Beyond that, do not sleep on the Jets becoming active in the trade market in the coming weeks.

New York Jets Free Agent Activity Picking Up

The activity around the New York Jets in free agency is starting to pick up

The news around the New York Jets in free agency is starting to pick up a little bit. Let’s go over what we have learned so far today about the direction the team could be heading in –

1. Folk Back – The team has re-signed kicker Nick Folk, who has been inconsistent in his two years with the team. They are expected to bring in competition for him in training camp. There is also chatter they could draft a kicker in the later rounds, as special teams coach Mike Westhoff said this is the best class of kickers and punters he has seen in years.

2. Cotchery Back? Schilens Close? – The Jets have expressed interest in bringing wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery back. However, they will be competing with the Steelers for his services who also want him back after his one year stint with the team. Chaz Schilens is expected to visit the team tonight and apparently the team is high enough on him that they see him as a potential #2 receiver opposite Santonio Holmes.

Personally, I’d take Cotchery over Schilens as a number two receiver any day of the week. Look at Schilens’ career and try to argue otherwise. Obviously, at this stage of his career Cotchery is better fitted as a number three or a part time player but it appears the Jets are looking to go cheap at wide receiver in free agency and if they do, take Cotchery over Schilens.

3. Quiet At Linebacker/Offensive Line – The San Diego Chargers signed OLB Jarret Johnson, a player the Jets were rumored to be interested in. The Jets never made any formal inquiries about bringing Johnson in for a visit. It appears they will let Bryan Thomas mentor whatever outside linebacker they add early in the draft. They have to add one early in the draft, right?

We still haven’t heard a thing about the Jets inquiring about any offensive lineman. Are they confident about getting Vernon Carey to join his former coach, Tony Sparano? Or are they really considering going into the year with Wayne Hunter and Vladimir Ducasse competing at right tackle as Mario Williams takes a physical in Buffalo?

TOJ Roundtable – A Tribute To Jerricho Cotchery

The NFL is a cold business sometimes and that was on display today as the Jets decided to release veteran wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, in favor of signing Derrick Mason. Our writers discuss the move and their memories of Cotchery with the Jets, who gave them his entire seven year career.

(The photo above is Cotchery’s last reception as a New York Jet, a touchdown in the AFC Championship Game)

TJ Rosenthal

All heart. all soul. What a sad day. Many are asking us why is the release WR Jerricho Cotchery imminent. J-Co is a staple of consistency, toughness and symbolic of the notion of the phrase “Play Like A Jet.” The answer is simple. It’s business. A cruel business. Football is the greatest sport but the business aspect of it is the worst.

Cotchery had back surgery in February. We’ll assume that his health is playing a primary part in this decision. Derrick Mason is now a Jet, replacing one vet for for another.

To remember Cotch here in New York, you only have to look back to one play. One day. One moment that embodied the quiet class and leadership from a guy who has done nothing but what he’s been asked to do here.

It happened at the Dog Pound last season, when Cotchery pulled his groin BEFORE making a key drive saving third and nine catch in OT at Cleveland. The first down never amounted to the game winning drive. That took place later for the Jets, but it was the “team first” effort, the willingness to sacrifice the body in order to help the team, that stuck with players and fans after the game. It was a play repeatedly shown on ESPN and all of the sports news sites.

Damien Woody called it one of the best plays he’d ever seen. We call it the symbol of what Jerricho Cotchery was here. A player who provided the Jets heart, soul, and selfless spirit.

You will be sorely missed J-Co. Get healthy and get back onto the field. You will be a great addition to any club that hires you.

Derrick Mason has been a productive player for years. His presence has dropped since he landed in Baltimore but what WR ever thrives there? He’s 37. The Jets would be taking a chance if they felt he could provide extensive production at this point in his career, one that includes 900 plus receptions.

The Jets can take what they can get out of his experience, especially on third down. All the while hoping that a speedier option like a Jeremy Kerley turns into a slot weapon a some point in 2011.

Rob Celletti

To no one’s surprise, the Jets continue to roll the dice, looking to catch lightning in a bottle on offense, but this move will certainly be met with some negative reaction.  A lot of people looked at Cotchery as a comparable receiver to Mason, although Mason has quietly put up eight 1,000 yard seasons in his career.  Still, something about this move just doesn’t seem right.  Cotchery is 8 years younger than Mason, and you’d think that the Jets would want to keep as many pieces around Sanchez in tact as possible as they shift to a more pass-oriented offense.  It’s a shame the Jets couldn’t find another way to save $900k, instead of losing a heart-and-soul guy like Cotchery.

It’s tough to pick one favorite Cotchery play, but one comes to mind immediately: In 2006 vs. the Patriots, the Jets were mounting a furious comeback after falling behind 17-0 at halftime, and Cotchery made one of the most hard-nosed, heads-up plays I’d ever seen.  He caught a pass from Chad Pennington and was knocked off of his feet by Chad Scott, but somehow fell directly on top of Eugene Wilson and never hit the ground.  What looked like a tackle and the end of the play to the other 21 players on the field plus the 80,000 in attendance was turned into a touchdown by Cotchery, who athletically got to his feet and coasted home for six.  The comeback fell short of course, but this play typified #89.  As Herm Edwards used to say about Cotchery and his penchant for timely heroics, “there goes 89 again, makin’ a play.”  J-Co will be missed.

Chris Celletti

This is just a head scratching move as far as I’m concerned. Santonio Holmes is a given, but who knows what you’re going to get from Plaxico Burress? He’ll be 34 in a few days and has already picked up an injury in training camp. Not to mention he’s spent the past 24 months in the slammer. Derrick Mason has been productive the past few years but his reception and yardage totals have gone down each of the past three seasons. At 37 years old, how are we to expect that trend will reverse? I know they won’t be expecting a ton out of Mason, but what if Burress is not healthy, or not close to his old self? Cotchery would have been a perfectly reliable number two if Burress goes down. You’d much rather have Cotchery in that situation than Mason.

Cotchery’s catch against the Browns last season when he came up lame in mid-route and still made a diving catch summed him up as a player. It was a gritty, selfless, and clutch play. Cotchery embodied those three traits, and he’ll be seriously missed.

Joe Caporoso

Jerricho Cotchery was never truly appreciated during his time with the New York Jets. Whenever he was given the chance, he found ways to make plays, specifically at the most important of times. I will always remember Cotchery consistently moving the chains on third downs, running impeccable routes, and carrying himself with a degree of humbleness and class only matched by Curtis Martin since I have watched this team.

Favorite play? Too many to pick. I will remember him as a Patriot killer. In 2006, staying on his feet when everybody thought he was down and turning it into a 70 something yard touchdown at the Meadowlands. Later in the season, when the Jets upset New England in their building, he pulled in a ridiculous over the shoulder touchdown to ice the game and then in their playoff meeting scoring a 77 yard touchdown to give the Jets a first half lead. What about in 2008, when he acrobatically pulled in a bomb from Brett Favre with the ball pinned against his shoulder and helmet? In 2009, he turned the momentum in the Jets week two upset of New England with a huge catch to start the second half and of course last year, he scored a TD against them in week two and swung the momentum in their playoff game with a 58 yard 4th quarter reception.

Derrick Mason is 900K cheaper and has had a much more productive career than Cotchery, and I do think he can be a valuable addition. However, let’s not turn a blind eye to him being 8 years older than Cotchery and the Jets continually switching up the wide receivers around quarterback Mark Sanchez. Do you think Plaxico Burress or Derrick Mason will be here in a year or two? I am not so sure. Sanchez has continually been asked to work with a receiving group filled with moving parts.

In the end, I have faith in Mike Tannenabum and like his desire to constantly improve. However, that doesn’t mean I have to approve of he handles veterans of this organization who are leaders in the locker room and examples of how you want your players to act. This was a cold move, but let’s hope it proves to be a smart one.

New York Jets Putting Finishing Touches On Roster?

We know the New York Jets still have plenty of money available to spend, so a pair of recent decisions made by the front office shouldn’t come as a surprise.

First, they smartly decided to re-sign safety Brodney Pool to a one year contract. Pool came on strong at the end of last year as a starting safety and has a greater upside than Eric Smith opposite Jim Leonhard. Rex Ryan has already declared Smith the starter but Pool will be involved in plenty of defensive packages, especially on passing downs and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him taking the bulk of reps by the end of the year. He improves the depth and continuity of the Jets defense.

Second, the Jets are bringing in veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason for a visit today and it is believed there is a good chance he will leave with a contract. Mason would be a very good addition to the Jets offense, as he had 802 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns last year, which compares very well to the 904 yards and 7 touchdowns the Jets lost from Braylon Edwards. Also prior to last year, he had three straight 1,000 yard seasons. Mason could hold down the number two receiver spot as Plaxico Burress gets acclimated and then could move into the number three role later in the season.

Unfortunately, a Mason signing would likely mean the end of Jerricho Cotchery’s career with the Jets. If Mason signs for a veteran minimum’s contract, he would cost half as much as Cotchery, meaning Cotchery will either be traded or cut. This would be a tough move to swallow as I already documented Cotchery’s value to the team yesterday.

Does it make sense from both a football and financial standpoint to switch from Cotchery to Mason? The answer is yes, considering the questions about Cotchery’s health that have currently landed him on the PUP list. It is a sad reality because the guy deserves better. The NFL can be a cold business and I still don’t want to see him leave, but if they lock Mason down it is hard to see him staying on the team and getting after Mike Tannenbaum for making the move.

A Closer Look At Jerricho Cotchery’s Value

When the 2009 season started the New York Jets made the decision to have Jerricho Cotchery be their number one receiver. He responded with 23 receptions for 356 yards and a touchdown in the team’s first four games, averaging out about 6 receptions and 88 yards each week. The team then traded for Braylon Edwards, minimizing Cotchery’s role. Despite this, dealing with a hamstring injury, and the Jets dramatically scaling back their playbook he still finished with four games with over 68 yards receiving the rest of the year, en route t0 821 total yards.

When the playoffs started, Cotchery pulled in 6 receptions for 67 yards in the wild-card game against Cincinnati, four went for first downs and two converted third downs. The following week he only had 3 receptions for 25 yards, yet two of those receptions converted third downs. He also drew a pass interference penalty on a third down to move the chains.

In the 2009 AFC Championship Game, Cotchery led the team with 5 receptions for 102 yards. all five of those receptions went for first downs and three of them converted third downs.

We all know last season wasn’t Cotchery’s finest year. He struggled with drops and finished with only 433 yards and 2 touchdowns. We later found out he played the whole season with a herniated disc. He also dealt with a groin injury mid-season, which didn’t stop him from making plays like this –

When the playoffs came around, Cotchery only had 2 receptions for 17 yards in the wild-card win against Indianapolis, yet one of those catches again converted a third down. The following week in the divisional round was his best performance of the year, as he led the team with 5 receptions for 96 yards, including a momentum turning 58 yard reception to start the fourth quarter. Four of his receptions were for first downs and two converted third downs.

In the AFC Championship Game, Cotchery had 5 receptions for 33 yards. Three of them were for first downs and two converted third downs.

Are you detecting a trend here? Forget about being flashy and forget about stats. Jerricho Cotchery moves the chains when it matters the most. He has converted 12 third downs in the Jets six playoff games over the past two years. After a difficult 2010 season, he still managed to lead the team in receiving during their divisional round win.

The bottom line is that Cotchery is a clutch, reliable player who is exactly the type of guy a young quarterback like Mark Sanchez needs in the huddle. It would be an extremely poor decision to trade him and assume a journeyman like Patrick Turner or a fifth round rookie, like Jeremy Kerley, could replace him. Never mind the fact that we don’t know if Plaxico Burress is even ready to be a full time number two receiver.

Jets Training Camp 8/1: Unhappy Rumors & Smack Talk

Check back for more updates after this afternoon’s practice

Today started off with the good news about the New York Jets reaching an agreement with Antonio Cromartie, unfortunately it was followed with the bad news about veteran wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery being on the trading block.

I am not sure who the Jets could be thinking of targeting with the extra cap space they would free up by getting rid of Cotchery. At wide receiver, the only intriguing veteran left is Malcolm Floyd but would he be any cheaper than Cotchery? Is there an outside linebacker they are eyeing up like Matt Roth, Tully Banta-Cain, or Manny Lawson? I have a hard time finding it to be a wise decision to move Cotchery, a respected, reliable veteran who the Jets need as of right now.

There is no guarantee Plaxico Burress is ready to be a full time number two receiver and behind him the Jets have Patrick Turner and rookie fifth round pick Jeremy Kerley. How could they feel safe with that kind of depth chart? Cotchery had a down year in 2010 but was dealing with a herniated disc in  his back, which is now repaired and if you saw what he did against New England in the playoffs last year, you know he can still play.

Unless they are getting great value or have a free agent lined up we haven’t heard about that could be an immediate, high-impact player, it would be a huge risk to part ways with Cotchery.

Rex Ryan was back at the podium today…

  • He encouraged the rest of the NFL to find a way to beat New England as the Jets have been “the only team who can beat them.”…Two of the Patriots three losses were against the Jets in 2010.
  • Eric Smith was named the starting safety opposite Jim Leonhard.
  • The roster this year is “the best he ever had.”
  • Ryan is challenging Wayne Hunter to be “the best right tackle in football.”
  • He stood up for Braylon Edwards against recent reports that said some in the organization thought he was a diva by saying he was a great teammate and a hard worker.
  • Judging from his and Mike Tannenbaum’s words, the Jets are going to make another handful of moves.

By the way, you can go back to hating Jason Taylor again. He re-signed with the Miami Dolphins today.

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.

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?

An Inside Look At Jets Camp Lockout

Enjoy the third episode of Sione Pouha’s “Life of a Lockout” series with an inside look at Jets Camp Lockout:

  • Good to hear that Mark Sanchez thinks Kyle Wilson was the most impressive player on the field.
  • Mike DeVito has some serious moves in touch football.
  • How good is your Bart Scott impression? Check out the his new contest…

Also check out some footage from Jerricho Cotchery’s recent surprise birthday party