Mike Tannenbaum’s Career As New York Jets GM: Part 2, The Ryan Years

An evaluation of Mike Tannenbaum’s career as the New York Jets GM, focusing on 2009-2011

New York Jets General Manger Mike Tannenbaum deserves a large share of the credit for the New York Jets being a playoff team in 2006, 2009 and 2010. He also deserves a large share of the credit for the Jets missing the playoffs in 2007, 2008, and 2011. Since taking over as GM, the Jets have been a .500 or better team in 5 of 6 seasons but have only made the playoffs half of the time. Basically, you are getting a 8-8 to 10-6 team who could sneak into the playoffs depending on how strong the rest of the conference is. Mike Tannenbaum is going to field a competitive team but he hasn’t shown the ability to put together a roster good enough to be one of the NFL’s elite.

Zero division titles. Zero 12 win seasons yet three playoff berths and four playoff wins. Tannenbaum’s resume is an inconsistent one, as a closer look at this history reveals, a history that should provide some insight into what the Jets will do in the coming months:



Primary Additions

Draft Class – Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Matt Slauson

Free Agency Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, Marques Douglas, Donald Strickland, Ben Hartsock, Howard Green

Trade Lito Sheppard, Braylon Edwards

Primary Subtractions

Released Laveranues Coles, Mike Nugent, Chris Baker, Bubba Franks, CJ Mosley, Eric Barton, David Bowens, David Barrett, Hank Poteat, Ty Law

Traded Chansi Stuckey, Jason Trusnik, Kenyon Coleman, Brett Ratliff, Abram Elam

Mike Tannenbaum hired a new coach in Rex Ryan and spent the entire off-season rebuilding the roster to fit his new coach’s identity. He succeeded in giving him the necessary pieces to help create the league’s top defense in 2009 but made his biggest splash in the draft by trading up for quarterback Mark Sanchez and then supplementing it by trading up for Shonn Greene. If you look at the list of players the Jets parted ways with this off-season, it is encouraging especially when you consider how many of the players brought in contributed to two teams that made the AFC Championship Game. Ultimately this off-season really can’t be judged until we see what happens with Sanchez and to a much lesser extent, Greene in the coming years.


Primary Additions

Draft Class – Kyle Wilson, Vladimir Ducasse, Joe McKnight, John Conner

Free Agency Nick Folk, Brodney Pool, LaDainian Tomlinson, Lance Laury, Jason Taylor, Mark Brunell, Trevor Pryce

Trade Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes

Primary Subtractions

Released Donald Strickland, Howard Green, Thomas Jones, Alan Faneca, Jay Feely, Lito Sheppard

Traded Kerry Rhodes, Leon Washington

There were plenty of controversial moves this off-season, notably releasing Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca, along with trading Leon Washington. Fortunately for Tannenbaum, the team improved from 9-7 to 11-5 and returned to the AFC Championship Game for the second straight year. However, he did continue a damaging trend of walking away from the draft with four or less players. He also selected his second major bust by taking Vladimir Ducasse in the second round. Kyle Wilson has been average for a first round pick as well. If Santonio Holmes doesn’t get his head on straight, this off-season is going to look very ugly a few years from now.


Primary Additions

Draft Class – Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, Bilal Powell, Jeremy Kerley, Greg McElroy, Scotty McKnight

Free Agency Donald Strickland, Plaxico Burress, Derrick Mason, Aaron Maybin

Trade Caleb Schlauderaff

Primary Subtractions

Released Damien Woody, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Taylor, Kris Jenkins, Shaun Ellis, Tony Richardson, Trevor Pryce, Brad Smith, Drew Coleman

Traded Dwight Lowery, Derrick Mason

One of the Tannenbaum’s worst off-seasons, if not his worst. He went for names over needs by focusing the team’s effort on chasing Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency and came up empty. He then replaced Braylon Edwards, the only player Mark Sanchez ever had deep ball chemistry with, by signing Plaxico Burress. The Jets badly missed Cotchery and Ellis in the locker room and the depth Lowery provided at safety. The Mason signing was a disaster and he was traded in the middle of the season. The best move ended up being finding Aaron Maybin on the scrap heap and then giving him a second chance after initially cutting him. It is too soon to clearly evaluate the draft but Wilkerson looks like he will be a solid starter and Kerley has very good potential. I believe the Powell selection will turn out to be a major head scratcher.

Mike Tannenbaum’s Career As New York Jets GM: Part 1, The Mangini Years

An evaluation of Mike Tannenbaum’s career as the New York Jets GM, focusing on 2006-2008

New York Jets General Manger Mike Tannenbaum deserves a large share of the credit for the New York Jets being a playoff team in 2006, 2009 and 2010. He also deserves a large share of the credit for the Jets missing the playoffs in 2007, 2008, and 2011. Since taking over as GM, the Jets have been a .500 or better team in 5 of 6 seasons but have only made the playoffs half of the time. Basically, you are getting a 8-8 to 10-6 team who could sneak into the playoffs depending on how strong the rest of the conference is. Mike Tannenbaum is going to field a competitive team but he hasn’t shown the ability to put together a roster good enough to be one of the NFL’s elite.

Zero division titles. Zero 12 win seasons yet three playoff berths and four playoff wins. Tannenbaum’s resume is an inconsistent one, as a closer look at this history reveals, a history that should provide some insight into what the Jets will do in the coming months:


Primary Additions

Draft Class – D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Eric Smith, Kellen Clemens, Anthony Schlegel, Brad Smith, Leon Washington, Drew Coleman, Titus Adams, Jason Pociask

Free Agency Andre Dyson, Matt Chatham, Brad Kassell, Kimo Von Oelhoffen, Tim Dwight, Anthony Clement, Trey Teague, Monsanto Pope, Wade Smith

Trade C.J. Mosley, Kevan Barlow, Sean Ryan, Patrick Ramsey,

Primary Subtractions

Released Kevin Mawae, Jason Fabini, Jay Fielder, Barry Gardner, Lance LeGree, Jerald Sowell, Harry Williams, Ty Law, Mark Brown,

Traded John Abraham, Brooks Bollinger

An active off-season in which Tannenbaum succeeded in digging the Jets out of salary cap hell (they were 25 million over the cap when he was promoted to GM) and retooling them by signing and trading for a large crop of mid to lower level free agents and putting together a productive draft. The John Abraham trade did net the Jets All-Pro center Nick Mangold, which makes it hard to argue with even though the Jets have never properly replaced Abraham as a pass rusher. Outside of Mangold, Tannenbaum had a good draft by pairing him with Ferguson and finding late round contributors in Brad Smith, Leon Washington, Drew Coleman, and Eric Smith. Most of the acquisitions contributed in some way, either as a starter or a key reserve to a 10-6 playoff team.

The negatives were missing on Kellen Clemens and Anthony Schlegel in round 2 and round 3, respectively. Teague never played but was a smart insurance signing because Mangold was an unproven rookie. Tim Dwight couldn’t stay healthy but was productive when on the field. Overall, I would say this was a very good off-season for Tannenbaum mostly because of how he salvaged their cap situation and put together enough role players to field a playoff caliber team. Also at the time the hiring of Eric Mangini looked like an incredibly savvy move.


Primary Additions

Draft ClassDarrelle Revis, David Harris, Chansi Stuckey, Jacob Bender

Free AgencyMichael Haynes, Marques Tuiasosopo, Andre Wadsworth, Wade Smith

Trade Thomas Jones

Primary Subtractions

Released – BJ Askew, Dave Ball, Rashad Washington

Traded – Pete Kendall

There was much less volume this year as Tannenbaum constantly preached keeping as much continuity from the previous year’s playoff team as possible. The draft emphasized quality over quantity and the trade ups for Darrelle Revis and David Harris remain arguably the two best moves Tannenbaum has made since taking over as GM. Despite a disappointing 2007 season, the Thomas Jones trade turned out to be a major success.

Unfortunately, Tannenbaum began a disturbing trend of mistreating veterans and overestimating his talent on the offensive line by refusing to bump Pete Kendall’s contract up and then eventually trading him. The trade sunk the Jets season, as replacement Adrien Clarke was awful. Tannenbaum compounded the mistake by keeping Anthony Clement for another year as the starting right tackle. Clement was adequate when supported by a strong guard like Kendall in 2006 but flamed out in year two with Clarke on the line with him. The weakness of Clarke and Clement led to Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens getting beat up all season en route to a 4-12 year.

Without the Kendall trade, acquiring Revis, Harris, and Jones would have made for a great off-season but the trade knocks it down substantially.


Primary Additions

Draft ClassVernon Gholston, Dustin Keller, Dwight Lowery, Erik Ainge, Marcus Henry, Nate Garner

Free AgencyAlan Faneca, Calvin Pace, Damien Woody, Tony Richardson, Andre Woolfolk, Ty Law, Bubba Franks, Jesse Chatman

TradeBrett Favre, Kris Jenkins

Primary Subtractions

Released Erik Coleman, Anthony Clement, Andre Dyson, Justin McCariens, Chad Pennington

Traded Jonathan Vilma, Dewayne Robertson

Credit Tannenbaum for taking advantage of the cap space he cleared in 2006 to do everything in his power to improve on the previous year’s 4-12 team. In retrospect, Faneca and Woody stabilized the line in the upcoming years despite only playing 2 and 3 years with the team, respectively. Pace was overpaid but has been a good starter since joining the team. Jenkins was a beast for one year but couldn’t stay healthy after that. Favre…well we know the story there. Trading Vilma hasn’t looked like the smartest thing in the world and the draft was probably Tannenbaum’s worst.

It is difficult to evaluate this off-season. Tannenbaum did improve the team in the short term but at the same time didn’t build for the future by sinking so much money into veterans and having a weak draft. This extremely active off-season didn’t equal a playoff spot in 2008 but Woody, Faneca, Pace, Keller, and Richardson were big parts of a team that reached the AFC Championship game in 2009 and 2010 (with the exception of Faneca).

After this season, Eric Mangini was fired and replaced with Rex Ryan. Tannenbaum’s first attempt at hiring a coach found a guy who had a winning season two out of three years, made the playoffs once but never won a playoff game and only had a 23-25 career regular season record.

Coming tomorrow: Part 2, The Rex Ryan Years

How Will The New York Jets Play The Peyton Manning Hand?

The Jet Report explores how the Jets could approach Peyton Manning in the coming weeks

Not enough has been said out of Florham Park regarding Mark Sanchez, to change our minds about this. In seven days when the “play clock” runs out on the Colts who would owe Peyton Manning 28 million unless they release him, the Jets will be one of those teams who inquire about his services. Not just to grab a few headlines either. At first, they will try to do it subtly. It won’t work. Given their recent history, the Jets just don’t do subtle very well. On the field or off of it.

The Colts have to make a move on March 8th. If they don’t cut Manning loose, his 25 million dollar bonus kicks in. The number would be an insanely steep price to pay, when considering that QB Andrew Luck is slated to be selected first overall by Indy in the NFL Draft this April.

After the shock we all experience in seeing Manning actually let go dies down, the sharks will immediately hit the water smelling for blood.

Miami, looking to make a splash these days and in need of a starter, will claim they own the best chance to catch him. They could even be right. The Redskins and Daniel Snyder should be in the mix too because after all, an exorbitantly high priced big named star coming off of many surgeries will be available. It’s possible Peyton ends up as a Cardinal, paired with WR Larry Fitzgerald.

There will be other teams coming to the surface too. Recent reports from around the league support this belief.

The Jets? They will do more than just survey this situaton.

Because of the delicate nature of possibly having to fall back to Mark Sanchez should Manning sign elsewhere though, we expect the Jets to play it off early on. Posing as a club that is dipping it’s toes in the water just to “feel the temperature” of things.

How quickly however, could the Rex Ryan coach speak of “Mark’s still our guy” turn into “Mark was our guy,” should a crush on Peyton and the chance to sign him be too much for Jets owner Woody Johnson to resist?

Pretty quickly.

Is Manning the best move for the Jets right now? Given the legend’s health risk, age, and the addition of OC Tony Sparano to spearhead a “rushing first” attack on offense we’ll say no, but explain why in further detail another day.

Our focus for now is on how the Jets will play this hand.

We will guess that the Jets level of interest in Peyton is already more serious than just window shopping. Yet following our theory regarding the team hedging their bet to appear “Pro Sanchez” in case they lose the lottery, or learn that Manning is damaged goods, GM Mike Tannenbaum will try to employ the “stealth bomber” style.

One that calls for diving in and out of the water gathering “data” regarding Manning’s neck, cap solutions, and even Reggie Wayne, unknown to other GM’s and reporters like a Navy Seal. Tanny will do this by taking cover behind his go to tag line of doing his yearly “due diligence,” in the market. Claiming the club naturally has to look at every player and position, including Peyton Manning.

Signs of a clear interest by the Jets will become apparent however, after ESPN shows video highlights of Mr Laser Rocket Arm firing balls on a high school practice field, with Jets officials on hand. While Johnson is spotted that same night by Page Six with Archie Manning, having dinner on the West Side.

The Jets cover will have been blown. Then, look out. Can you imagine the back pages?

The Mannings May Own New York….Peyton and Eli?…Jets Trying to Steal Thunder from Super Bowl Champs.. Jets have lost faith in Sanchez. Manning-sanity.

Once that line of “covert” crosses over into “buyer” it will be tough to reel back in for any NFL club. Much less for the team that lost it’s cameo role as the top team in New York, in a matter of six winter weeks, and may want it right back. Thinking that the Manning THEY would be purchasing would be the same great one they last saw when he last played an NFL game. Against them in the 2010 playoffs.

For the Jets, the downside of a drama growing from a quiet inquiry into a media circus, is the lingering affect it could have on the guy who WILL steer the ship next season: Mark Sanchez.

A player whose confidence seems so adolescent at times, yet a guy who at 25, is still young. In need of nurturing, better coaching, and alot of emotional repairing. As opposed to further psychological damage that could be obtained from having to answer endless questions starting in July about his near exit OUT of New York.

Should Manning be pursued by the Jets yet end up elsewhere, Sanchez COULD take a lesson from Jets CB Antonio Cromartie. A player who after Nnamdi Asomugha signed with the Eagles after a maniacal post lockout chase by the Jets for the top free agent corner ended, harbored no visible ill will in playing temporary second fiddle. Cro stated instead that “it’s a business,” where teams have the right to do what is in their best interests to upgrade wherever they see fit.

As of now, with less than a week to go until the Colts press that red “detonate” button it’s all just speculation. For us, you, Manning, the Colts themselves, any NFL teams who covet him, and of course the Jets.

Gang Green could have avoided all of this Peyton talk that swims around them now, by declaring that “Mark Sanchez is the starter in 2012” with a stronger, more forceful tone since that final loss in Miami on New Years day. Instead they haven’t.

So what are we supposed to think? What many out there believe already. That the Manning sweepstakes may very well include the team from New York that doesn’t own one yet.

TOJ New York Jets Free Agency Primer 2.0

TOJ breaks down how the New York Jets could approach free agency as March 13th draws closer

As March 13th gets closer, New York Jets fans are starting to feel a rush of anxiety. They just watched their hyped team flame out at 8-8, while the New York Giants threw salt in the wound with yet another Super Bowl victory. Mike Tannenbaum is out in front of the media saying things like “Wayne Hunter is coming back as the starting right tackle” and the team won’t be taking an overly aggressive approach to free agency…take a breath everybody, let’s go over what we know as of right now –

We know Mike Tannenbaum gives no valuable information to the media. If a player is under contract, Tannenbaum expects him back in the same role next year. If a player is a free agent, the Jets will review their options and make the best decision for the franchise. This is all company line BS. Tannenbaum isn’t giving anything away. The Jets don’t have a ton of money to spend but with a few more maneuvers, will have enough to make a reasonable splash staring March 13th.

Quarterback – The Jets are going to do their due diligence on Peyton Manning, like nearly every team in the NFL will. If they feel like they have a real shot, they will go after him hard with no regard for Mark Sanchez’s feelings. I still say this has about a 5% chance of happening but the Jets will be at the top of the Manning rumor mill under he signs elsewhere. As expected, Chad Henne has also been linked to the Jets as a logical backup to Mark Sanchez. If I was gambling man, I’d put my money on Henne being in New York next year and Manning being in Arizona.

Running Back – No chatter here. It would serve the Jets well to add a low cost veteran but that seems like the type of move that won’t happen until closer to training camp. Joe McKnight is going to be talked up a ton this off-season as a big part of the Jets plans and Bilal Powell will also be hyped as somebody who will receive more of an opportunity.

Wide Receiver – A position of constant debate on Twitter among Jets fans. The impression that I am receiving is that the Jets won’t have enough money to spend on Pierre Garcon or Robert Meachem. If they spend it will be on the third tier of free agent wide receivers, like Early Doucet or Braylon Edwards. There was a Daily News report yesterday that the Jets had interest in bring #17 back if he was “healthy and the price was right” aka on a veteran minimum deal with some incentives attached. The Jets expressing interest in Edwards shows the type of money they are looking to spend at WR this off-season…not much.

Edwards has the potential to give a high return on investment. If you are going cheap at receiver, who would you expect more from than Edwards who has proven he can be productive with Mark Sanchez in New York? What I am saying if there is one receiver the Jets are getting for the veteran’s minimum this off-season that can produce 60 catches, 750 yards, and 6 touchdown, it is Edwards.

Tight End – I still believe if Anthony Fasano gets cut he ends up in New York. Don’t be surprised if the Jets spend more on him than they do on a wide receiver in free agency.

Offensive Line – I really hope Mike Tannenbaum hasn’t talked himself into a Wayne Hunter/Vladmir Ducasse battle for right tackle but I wouldn’t rule it out completely. At this point, I still expect some type of veteran to be brought in for insurance but the market isn’t full of quality options. Vernon Carey makes sense but might end up costing more than the Jets want to spend.

Defensive Line – I am confident Tannenbaum gets Sione Pouha locked down before free agency starts.

Linebacker – Jarrett Johnson is the first name that has been linked to the Jets with any kind of mainstream media report. It makes sense, as he is familiar with Rex’s system and could be a veteran stopgap to be paired with a first round pick at outside linebacker. Rex Ryan needs to drop the “I can get a pass rush from anybody” attitude and the Jets need to get a player who can get double digit sacks in a season. If there is an aggressive approach in the draft, pass rushing outside linebacker needs to be the position that is targeted.

Secondary – There is a crop of talented safeties out there and if the Jets are going to spend money at a position, than why not here? You are trying to beat a team that features Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez out for the your division, remember? Tyvon Branch, Reggie Nelson, LaRon Landry and Michael Griffin are all out there.

New York Jets Ready To Move On From Bart Scott

Bart Scott’s time with the New York Jets appears to be coming to an end

It is being reported today that the New York Jets have given inside linebacker Bart Scott permission to seek a trade. There are rumors a handful of teams are interested, as long as the compensation is some type of food product or memorabilia. What you thought teams would be lining up to hand out players or picks to pay Scott 4.2 million guaranteed next year? Unfortunately that is a little high for a slow linebacker who can’t be on the field for passing downs…especially in a predominantly passing game.

The only way the Jets might receive even a late round pick is if Scott restructures his contract…in the end it is more likely that he will be cut. The cap hit will be hard to take but it is a necessary move in retooling this defense into a quicker, more versatile unit. I wouldn’t expect the Jets to find a replacement in free agency. Instead don’t be surprised to see them spend a mid-round draft pick on a inside linebacker and give Josh Mauga a larger role. It won’t be a popular move but adding a premium inside linebacker, alongside finding a outside linebacker, two safeties, a wide receiver, and right tackle just might not happen.

At least Bart Scott left us with this –

TOJ Monday Night Rant: New York Jets Passing Game

TOJ with a Monday night rant on the New York Jets passing game

Considering the disappointment of the 2011 NFL season, I find it fitting to kick off the next few weeks with a rant. Today’s topic is the New York Jets passing game…or lack thereof.

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Watching the New York Jets passing game last year was an ongoing exercise in frustration. You know how your favorite NFL team has the ability to pick up big chunks of yardage by completing 15-20 yard passes to open receivers? Well, the Jets didn’t have that ability. It was at the point where if it was 3rd and 8 or longer, you knew they weren’t converting because it didn’t seem they had a play in their playbook to pick up the necessary yardage.

The Jets passing game last year consisted of check downs, 5 yard stop routes to Dustin Keller, 4 yard crossing patterns on 3rd and 12, and of course slants…and then more slants.

The blame falls on a number of people: Mark Sanchez, the wide receivers, former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and inconsistent pass protection to start. Basically, you had the toxic recipe of an awful right tackle, a usually premier left tackle having a down year, an offensive coordinator with limited downfield playcalls, a quarterback who struggles heavily with the pass rush in his face, a painfully slow #2 receiver, and #1 receiver double teamed who was playing frustrated. Yikes.

What is the solution? Tony Sparano isn’t known for his passing game knowledge and the Jets never got around to hiring that “passing game coordinator” there was talk of. However, Sparano should help improve the protection up front which will go a long way towards helping improve Mark Sanchez’s play. If you have watched Sanchez since he started playing in the NFL, you know he has enough arm strength to make the deep throws necessary but he needs the protection, personnel, and playcalling to support him.

Sparano has emphasized he wants to pick up “chunks” of yardage through the passing game, despite having a run first approach. He will need to find a way to create mismatches for Dustin Keller and Santonio Holmes, along with Jeremy Kerley in the slot for that happen. Hopefully they will be supported by a split end with some speed via the draft or free agency, which will help open things up. He should also work to get Joe McKnight out in space in the passing game. He has the receiving skills to make a large impact in both the screen game and being split out wide.

Fellow TOJ writer Rob Celletti asked me numerous times this season, “how come the Jets can get a broken coverage, where a corner falls down or the defense makes a mistake to allow them to get an easy big play?” The reason was the Jets never threatened down the field, there was nothing for defenses to get confused over or cornerbacks to trip from. Teams would just bracket Shonn Greene on his checkdown and Dustin Keller on his short stop route.

Times need to change with the Jets passing offense and hopefully Sparano can deliver on the “big chunks of yardage” he has talked about.

New York Jets: Where Does Dustin Keller Fit In The New Offense?

Where is Dustin Keller going to fit into Tony Sparano’s offense?

There has been some minor speculation this off-season about the potential of Dustin Keller being traded. Yet, it remains more likely he will remain on the New York Jets roster next season as an integral part of their offense. The question is, how will Tony Sparano use a tight end who is not much of a blocker and has a skill set more suited to being a wide receiver?

First off, the Jets are going to add a blocking tight end after parting ways with Matthew Mulligan (better known as “Holding. Number 82”). If Anthony Fasano gets cut, which seems like a strong possibility, look for the Jets to add him. Fasano or whatever blocking tight end is added is going to have a large role on the offense as a key part of the running game.

Keller is likely to see less reps in the traditional tight end spot. Look for Sparano to have him help fill the gaping hole the Jets currently have at split end by using him both as a H-Back and putting him out wide.

We have discussed the possibility of adding Robert Meachem, Pierre Garcon or Laurent Robinson here. Unfortunately, those three remain fairly long shots. Garcon is likely headed back to Indianapolis, where the Colts have prioritized him over Reggie Wayne. Robinson and Meachem will both be sought after by many teams. Are the Jets and their Ground and Pound approach really going to spend big money on a wide receiver in the free agent market? Beyond that, couldn’t you see them having reservations about coming into this offense, especially with both coming from wide-open passing attacks?

I think it is more likely the Jets will spend a 3rd or 4th round pick on a wide receiver with some size and groom him for the starting spot opposite Santonio Holmes. For the upcoming year, Keller could spend a chunk of reps at receiver, along with Jeremy Kerley taking some reps on the outside, while the rookie is working up to speed.

Tony Sparano is going to look at Dustin Keller and see more of a wide receiver than a tight end, so anticipate him being used that way and for the Jets to spend more money on a free agent tight end than a free agent wide receiver.

Early New York Jets Draft Thoughts

TOJ with a collection of early thoughts on what the Jets could do in April’s draft

The NFL Draft is still a few months away but with the Combine kicking off today, let’s discuss some of the early chatter about what the Jets might do this April.

1. There has been an alarming amount of talk about the Jets selecting a guard in the first round, which I am pretty sure would lead to a storming of the stage at Radio City. Listen, I understand the value of the offensive line but the Jets had three Pro-Bowlers on their line last season. They need to improve one spot on it and that is right tackle. Yes, Matt Slauson is coming back from surgery and Brandon Moore is into his 30s but if they draft a lineman in round one…it better be a right tackle and it better be after trading down.

2. So my preference is clear, I want the Jets to address their pass rush in round one even if that means moving up a few spots to get their guy. Courtney Upshaw is the most complete, ready to go player available at outside linebacker and if gets anywhere near #16 Mike Tannenabaum needs to move.

3. Mark Barron was a player originally being heavily associated with the Jets at the 16th overall pick. However, he is now recovering from double hernia surgery which will likely cause him to fall down most team’s boards. If he gets within close range of the team’s 2nd round pick (47th overall), would they consider moving up for him…especially if they stay put or trade down in the first round?

4. I am aware about the Jets having depth issues from having a limited number of picks in recent years, so it might seem crazy that I am discussing them moving up with their first two picks. However, if you get the guys you want…and need, it is the right move. Do you remember 2007? The Jets traded up for both Darrelle Revis and David Harris. I do not think the Jets will move up in both round one and round two but if they netted a duo like Upshaw and Barron by trading one or two of those picks it will be hard to complain.

5. Mike Tannenbaum has selected four running backs over the past three years and I don’t think anybody would be surprised if he added another one in the middle rounds. The Jets still need depth at the position thanks to Shonn Greene not truly proving himself as a lead back, Joe McKnight having injury issues, and Bilal Powell looking thoroughly average in limited opportunities last year. I am not throwing in the towel on any of the Jets three backs but they need insurance via free agency or the draft.

6. The Jets also need a wide receiver, particularly one with some size. Tannenbaum struck out looking for a big receiver when he selected Marcus Henry. He has had success in later rounds with smaller, slot receivers like Chansi Stuckey and Jeremy Kerley (hopefully). Now he needs to find a player to be a long term split end, unless he address the need in free agency.

New York Jets: What Is A Successful Off-Season?

What will be considered a successful off-season for the New York Jets?

The upcoming New York Jets off-season is likely going to disappoint a large portion of the team’s fanbase. Every need isn’t going to be filled. That being said, what do the Jets have to take care of, at a minimum, in the upcoming months for Mike Tannenbaum to do a satisfactory job?

It starts up front on both sides of the football, which means getting Sione Pouha signed to a 2-3 year deal to make sure he can keep anchoring the Jets run defense. On offense, that means bringing in a veteran right tackle to compete with Wayne Hunter, somebody along lines of a Vernon Carey. The offensive line should also be supported with a mid-round pick to develop.

Improving the pass rush is of equal priority. Mario Williams isn’t happening. There are a few decent stopgap players available in free agency like Anthony Spencer and Manny Lawson. If Tannenbaum is thinking big on draft day, it should be at this position. The Jets aren’t going to need to sell the farm to move up to get an elite pass rusher but if they need to move up to the 12-14 range to get their guy, Tannenbaum shouldn’t hesitate.

Safety is a position the Jets could address in free agency and support with a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Tyvon Branch or Michael Griffin are worth the investment on the open market and look for Jim Leonhard to be brought back on a veteran’s minimum deal to provide depth.

There is a need at wide receiver but compared to right tackle, linebacker, and safety the need is a luxury. Don’t be shocked if the Jets don’t add a starting caliber free agent at receiver. This is a run first team and the priority to spend in free agency at the position is lower than other spots on the team. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Jets add a mid-round receiver with some size and go into camp with him, Jeremy Kerley and Patrick Turner competing for reps opposite of Santonio Holmes, with Dustin Keller having a much larger role split out at receiver, while the team signs a blocking tight end to pair with him.

Beyond that, another quarterback is going to be brought in. I have a tough time seeing it being anyone besides Chad Henne on a cheap, one year deal. It is a necessary, logical move considering his history with Tony Sparano.

Hypothetically, if Tannenbaum brought back Pouha, signed Vernon Carey to play right tackle, signed Branch or Griffin at safety, and Henne to be the backup quarterback and then on draft day got a pass rushing OLB in round one, along with a safety and wide receiver in the middle rounds. Would you consider that a successful off-season? I would.

New York Jets Off-Season Discussion- Featuring NY Jets 101

TOJ and NY Jets 101 discuss the Jets off-season and draft

Throughout the New York Jets off-season TOJ will be discussing their ongoing free agency and draft situation with various other writers. Today we talked with Donald Lappe from Jets 101 on a number of different topics

NYJ101 – There is a lot of different things floating around about the Jets’ salary cap issues. Putting the salary cap craziness aside, what should be their first order of business when free agency opens?

TOJ – The Jets need to take care of their own first, which means bringing back Sione Pouha. This team has made a bad habit of letting leaders…and productive leaders at that walk away from the team. They need him back both as an anchor to their run defense in the 3-4 and one of the few people worthy of a “C” on his chest in the locker room.

NYJ101 – The guaranteed salary jump for Wayne Hunter basically means he’ll be on the roster this season. Are the Jets going to ride with him as their starter on the right side? Do you expect a new face to be brought in or will the competition be between him and some lesser-knowns(Howard, Ducasse, Rob Turner if he’s back)?

TOJ – I expect the Jets to bring in a mid-level free agent, maybe somebody like Vernon Carey and to spend a middle round pick on a right tackle. In camp, there should be an open competition for the job. Ideally, Hunter settles into a backup role and only plays in their “big” packages.

NYJ101 – The Jets are in the market for younger, somewhat cheap wide receiver to play across from Santonio Holmes. Any names that jump out at you?

TOJ – There are three that jump out: Robert Meachem, Laurent Robinson, and Pierre Garcon. Meachem in particular has the speed and upside to be a potentially great fit opposite of Holmes. I don’t think Indy is going to let Garcon walk but if they do, the Jets should take a long at him.

NYJ101 – You’re in the Jets’ War Room on draft day. What is the one thing you don’t let Rex and Tanny walk away from the draft without?

TOJ – A pass rushing outside linebacker. This problem has been ignored for far too long by the Jets front office. They need somebody who can get after the quarterback without Rex Ryan having to dial up a blitz.

NYJ101 – The Jets have shown a willingness to trade up and get their guy(Sanchez, Revis). They have a good amount of needs. Are you trading up for an impact guy or are you stockpiling picks?

TOJ – They haven’t had a high amount of draft picks in recent years, which has hurt their depth. However, after the compensatory picks are handed out the Jets should have 8-9 total picks this time around. While I would like to see them leave the draft with about that many players, I wouldn’t object to making a move to acquire Courtney Upshaw or another pass rusher.

NYJ101 – It’s pick No. 16 and Courtney Upshaw, Mark Barron and Melvin Ingram are all available. Who are you taking?

TOJ – Upshaw. He is somebody who played on a championship defense in college and can make an immediate impact getting after the quarterback.

TOJ – Are you confident in Shonn Greene as the Jets lead back? What kind of potential do you think Joe McKnight has in this offense going forward?

NYJ101 – I really am confident in Greene to be the main guy. There’s a lot of different opinions on Greene and I think that comes from his running style. He’s a plodder, but he wears on the defense as the game goes along. Early on in the season the Jets were quick to move away from him when the early returns in individual games were 2-3 yard per carry. I think a great example of the strength of Shonn Greene is the Redskins game. Before his 25-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter he only had 63 yards on 21 carries, but he helped the Jets control the pace of the game, chew up the clock and when the Redskins defense was tired at the end of the game he delivered the knockout blow.

McKnight has a great chance to grow in this offense. It’s an interesting parallel for him in his career with Tony Sparano coming in because he was supposed to be the next Reggie Bush at USC and now Sparano comes to the Jets after Bush was his feature back in Miami. He’s not going to see anywhere near the carries Bush did last season, but 5-10 carries a game and more of an emphasis on him in the screen game would be a nice step this season. On a team that is desperate for speed and big plays, McKnight has to get more touches on offense this season.

TOJ – Would you bring Jim Leonhard back on a veteran minimum deal to provide insurance at safety?

NYJ101 – Seems like the smart move. The injuries were really freak occurrences and the coverage issues with him and Eric Smith are a product of the pair more than any one player. While it’s easy to say the team needs an upgrade at safety, it’s a completely different thing to find an available one at a price that works. I think the best way the Jets can address their safety issues is with an improved pass rush. Leonhard is smart, tough and should be cheap.

TOJ – Would you eat the guaranteed money to Bart Scott and cut him anyway?

NYJ101 – This is a tough one. The problem becomes eating that salary and then finding a replacement that is legitimately better and doesn’t sabotage addressing the other needs the team has. I don’t think the team believes in Josh Mauga as an every-down linebacker. You have to keep Scott and hope that he has a bit of a bounce back season. He showed some flashes of the old Bart late in the season. He’s not going to be the player he was a few years ago, but getting one more season out of him is the way to go.

TOJ – Who do you think will be the team’s breakout player this year?
NYJ101 – Marcus Dixon. Dixon’s story is one worth reading about and the obstacles in his path to the NFL have turned him into a potential late-bloomer. He was an SEC recruit but ended up at Hampton(a lot like Kenrick Ellis), then went undrafted. At 6-4, 295, he can play the end spot in the 3-4 and showed an ability to play on the other side of the line of scrimmage – something the Jets defensive line doesn’t do very often. When he got consistent playing time over three games from weeks 13-15 he put up a combined nine tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. The Jets defense needs those negative plays as badly as their offense needs explosive plays. Dixon can provide that.
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