The New York Jets must chase needs this off-season, not names
Can we just stop it, New York Jets?
No Randy Moss. I don’t want to hear about even a “curiosity” that is being reported already. Did we learn nothing last year about chasing names over needs? Do we forget what happened when we built our entire off-season around getting Nnamdi Asomugha because he was the biggest name on the market even though the team had no need for him? I know Mike Tannenbaum can’t forget the decline in production from his split end because Plaxico Burress was a sexier name than Braylon Edwards. Certainly Rex Ryan remembers the misguided decision to bring in the more “accomplished” Derrick Mason over invaluable glue guy Jerricho Cotchery.
Stop worrying about chasing names to grab headlines and worry chasing players who are going to improve this team in the long run.
Randy Moss is one of my favorite players of all-time. He didn’t play football last year. The year before, three different teams gave up on him. End of discussion. If you want a split end, go spend your money on Robert Meachem, Laurent Robinson or Pierre Garcon.
While we are on this topic…Jets fans, I love your optimism and I love your faith in the Jets to pull off big moves thanks to the past few years. That being said, let’s take a look at reality. Stop throwing around names like Vincent Jackson, Wes Welker, Marques Colston, coupled with the team signing Peyton Manning, Mario Williams, LaRon Landry and of course bringing back John Abraham, Jerricho Cotchery, and Braylon Edwards.
I understand the sentiment for former players and in some cases they could make sense. Edwards, for example actually makes some sense for a return and even that is a long shot. Cotchery isn’t coming back. Abraham isn’t coming back. And be relieved that I don’t think the Jets will be looking at free agents Jon McGraw or Erik Coleman to fill their safety needs.
When you look at the big names. The Jets aren’t splurging on a top line receiver. They have too many other needs this off-season and why are you dropping huge money on a receiver when you already sunk 50 million into one receiver in a run heavy offense? Peyton Manning has about a 1 percent chance of happening. Mario Williams has the best shot of coming here out of all the big names and I would say that is even very unlikely.
You want to win the AFC East? Go get pass rushing linebackers and safeties who have a chance of matching up with the Patriots tight ends. You want Sanchez to find stability in his fourth year? Get him a better offensive line and more threats in the running game.
Attack the needs, not the names.
In a move that most of us expected, wide receiver/quarterback/running back/kick returner Brad Smith has left the New York Jets. It was however somewhat surprising that he decided to join the division rival Buffalo Bills, who seemed to come out of nowhere today to snatch him up on a 4 year, 15 million dollar contract.
According to Smith, the Jets did reach out to him but couldn’t move on signing him until the situation with Nnamdi Asomugha shakes out. The Jets do still have plenty of room under the cap but apparently their top priority right now is filling the cornerback spot opposite Darrelle Revis, whether it is Asomugha, Antonio Cromartie, or a cheaper option like Chris Carr.
It will be interesting to see the contingency plan if Asomugha decides to sign with Houston or San Francisco. Cromartie would probably be the immediate fallback option but he might still not be around or the Jets could consider him too pricey and look to go with Carr and then hope to still have a shot at getting Braylon Edwards back.
Regardless, it seems like the Jets next two major moves will be signing a cornerback and a number two wide receiver, with Asomugha, Cromartie, Carr, Edwards, and Randy Moss all in play.
In other news…
LaDainian Tomlinson did agree to take a pay cut to help in the Jets pursuit of Asomugha.
The Jets aren’t going to make an attempt to resign punter Steve Weatherford. No more shakeweights at camp.
According to Manish Mehta of The Daily News expect a long term deal with David Harris to worked out some time next week.
After a chaotic morning where the New York Jets signed Santonio Holmes to a five year deal and the discussion about Nnamdi Asomugha coming to town reached a fever pitch, things have quieted down…a little bit.
– The discussions about Asomugha have continued on, with ESPN’s John Clayton commenting it will take a few days for him to work a deal out with any team. However, keep in mind Clayton had said earlier in the off-season the Jets would be in salary cap hell and would have no chance to sign any free agents, so take his words with a grain of salt.
– A testament to Mike Tannenbaum’s creativity. Santonio Holmes contract will only count $2.45 million against the 2011 cap…wow.
– Manish Mehta of The Daily News has reported the Jets will ask LaDainian Tomlinson to rework his contract to free up more cap space (likely to pursue Asomugha).
– The Jets have resigned kicker Nick Folk to a 1 year deal. CBS Sports is also reporting that punter Steve Weatherford is unlikely to return.
– In a press conference today, Rex Ryan said Mark Sanchez will be the team captain this year and will literally wear a “C” on his jersey.
– Darrelle Revis was very diplomatic about Asomugha joining the team while still paying respect to Antonio Cromartie. Revis did call Asomugha “the best corner in football” even though I find it hard to believe Revis doesn’t he think he holds that title.
– This isn’t surprising but it sounds like Braylon Edwards days with the Jets are numbered. He is clearly frustrated by the lack of attention/effort the Jets have made thus far to keep him, which is understandable but they simply have higher priorities right now. Edwards will get a good contract somewhere and that team will get a tough receiver who improved vastly the past year.
– The speculation on Randy Moss coming to the Jets as a cheap alternative to Braylon Edwards has picked up. However, the latest word from Bob Glauber of Newsday is that his chances of joining the team remain “very small.” How the Jets handle the wide receiver position, will likely depend how the cornerback position shakes out for them.
– Kellen Clemens was signed by the Washington Redskins to a one year deal. We will miss his happy feet in the pocket and interceptions.
– Ben Hartsock signed a two year deal with the Carolina Panthers. We will miss his false starts and holding penalties.
I won’t publish a “NFL is Back” post until it becomes official (probably around noon today) with a finalized timeline for the rest of the week. Yet, from everything we are hearing, things are about to start getting nuts…maybe even today.
A few final thoughts –
1. Wide Receiver – Santonio Holmes remains the Jets top priority but if the Washington Redskins drive the price up to a ridiculous number, Mike Tannenbaum shouldn’t hesitate to move his focus to bringing back Braylon Edwards. The Jets have too many other areas to address to waste resources and time in a bidding war with Daniel Snyder’s endless pockets. If the Jets are going to sign a free agent, I think it ends up being Randy Moss.
2. Secondary – It is worth taking a run at Nnamdi Asomugha, even if it remains a long shot. Antonio Cromartie returning is also starting to seem like a long shot, which means the Jets could have to focus on getting Brodney Pool and Drew Coleman back, along with finding a veteran free agent corner.
3. Offensive Tackle – It sounds like they plan to work something out with Damien Woody but if not Wayne Hunter remains a viable fallback option. The key is making sure at least one of the two is brought back. It would be insane to just hand the job to Vladimir Ducasse without having a veteran to compete with him.
4. Defensive End – Unfortunately, I could see Shaun Ellis being too pricey considering the Jets other concerns. However, Trevor Pryce is a good fallback plan.
5. Other Considerations – Even though I would like to see them add another linebacker, we haven’t heard anything tangible about the Jets having interest in picking up a Matt Roth, Manny Lawson, or Antwan Barnes. Hopefully, they can find some support for the position, especially if Bryan Thomas is forced to be a cap casualty.
Today’s edition of the TOJ Top Five, will look at the five dumbest New York Jets stories that became a bigger deal than they should have because of the lockout…
5. Schotty’s Excuses – We aren’t interested in your side of the story, just find a way to get the ball into the end-zone on four tries from the 2 yard line…yes, I am still bitter about this. How about four straight handoffs to Shonn Greene who was a bowling ball in this game?
4. The Receiver Procession Line – I am all for free agency speculation and I gladly took part in it, but the considering it was pushed back three months (and counting) the amount of names linked to the Jets at wide receiver and the amount of coverage they received was a bit much. Randy Moss, Plaxico Burress, Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco, Steve Smith…I’d think we’d all sign up for just having Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards back, let’s hope Mike Tannenbaum can work magic.
3. Scotty McKnight’s High School Essay – When the back cover of the New York Post is about a rookie 7th round pick writing an inappropriate essay as a high school student, you know it is a slow day in the sports world.
2. Rex’s Guarantees – If you haven’t noticed by now, Rex Ryan thinks the Jets are going to win the Super Bowl every single year. It isn’t a story anymore when he is interviewed and he comments that he thinks his team is going to win it all. I am pretty sure he has made the exact same comment in every interview he took this off-season.
1. Sanchez vs. McKnight vs. Klitschko – There were rumors floating around all off-season that Mark Sanchez was dating Vladimir Klitschko’s girlfriend, Hayden Panetierre…yet in the end, it turned out that it was Scotty McKnight who was dating her. First off, for a rookie 7th round pick…that is pretty good work. Second, if Klitschko is coming after anybody, I’d rather it be McKnight than Sanchez…sorry, Scotty.
I am trying to be an optimist with this whole lockout thing, so if free agency does actually start some time in the next month here is TOJ sitting in the big chair as Mike Tannenbaum and making personnel decisions for the Jets this off-season:
1. Sign Santonio Holmes to a long term deal – Yes, this will likely mean the end of Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith’s stay in New York but in the long run making sure Holmes remains a Jet is the right decision. He is a uniquely gifted and clutch playmaker who can change a game at any second.
2. Sign Antonio Cromartie to a long term deal – You need a consistent, athletic corner opposite Darrelle Revis. Antonio Cromartie handled the job well last season. He is already familiar with the defense and it is too risky to hand the starting job over to Kyle Wilson or a free agent. If the Jets want a bigger role for Wilson in year two, they should let Drew Coleman walk.
3. Bring back Damien Woody – Don’t risk the right tackle spot to Vladimir Ducasse after he didn’t have a proper off-season. Let him spend a full year learning behind Woody at the position and have him take over next year. Wayne Hunter will likely walk in free agency if this happens but the Jets should at least make sure they bring back the versatile Robert Turner for depth.
4. Bring back Shaun Ellis – He is a longest tenured player on the team, a leader on the defense and would be a perfect mentor to Muhammad Wilkerson. The Jets should be able to work a short term deal to allow him to retire in green and white.
5. Bring back Brodney Pool – Pool began to develop into the playmaker most of us thought he would be at the end of last season. With a year of this system under his belt, he should flourish in his second year. Eric Smith likely won’t be back if this happens, but if the Jets can bring back James Ihedigbo and if a young player like Emmanuel Cook steps up, their depth should be fine.
6. Veteran Stopgap Receiver – We all have heard all kinds of name thrown around but if Braylon Edwards leaves, I expect the Jets to sign either Randy Moss or Plaxico Burress. Personally, I would sign Burress to a short, incentive-laden deal. He is a more physical player that should be able to do many of the things Edwards did for the Jets offense last season.
7. Linebacker Depth – The Jets need to add another linebacker to their depth chart, whether it requires bringing Jason Taylor back or signing somebody on the cheap like Matt Roth.
Since free agency could be here sooner rather than later, let’s use today’s TOJ Top Five to look at the decisions the Jets will have to make in the coming month or two.
5. Offensive Line
The team released right tackle Damien Woody earlier in the year but may still bring him back since second year lineman Vladimir Ducasse didn’t have a formal off-season to work with the coaches. Wayne Hunter is a free agent and could be signed as a cheaper option to compete with Ducasse if the Jets decide not to bring Woody back. Versatile backup Robert Turner is also a free agent.
4. The Pass Rush
The Jets didn’t add an outside linebacker in the NFL Draft and remain thin overall at the linebacker position. A few people have speculated they could pursue Matt Roth, who spent last season in Cleveland. They could also decide to bring Jason Taylor back, although that seems like a long shot. On the defensive line, a decision has to be made on Shaun Ellis, who is the longest tenured member of the team and could provide an excellent mentor to rookie Muhammad Wilkerson for a year or two. Veteran Trevor Pryce could also be brought back to help take some of the burden off Wilkerson in his rookie year, if the Jets decide to let Ellis walk.
3. Safety Choices…
Brodney Pool and Eric Smith are both free agents, and the Jets will likely have to pick one to bring back as the starter opposite Jim Leonhard. Pool has more potential but could cost more money, Smith struggles in coverage but is a heady player who is good in run support. Backup safety and special teams ace James Ihedigbo is also a free agent.
2. Who to put opposite of The Island?
The Jets need to decide whether or not they are going to bring Antonio Cromartie back to play corner opposite of Darrelle Revis. If Cromartie does walk, the Jets are going to need to find another veteran to compete with Kyle Wilson and provide better depth throughout the cornerback position. Jonathan Joseph, Richard Marshall, Carlos Rogers, Ike Taylor and Chris Carr are all on the market…and no I don’t think the Jets will even pursue Nnamdi Asomugha. Nickelback Drew Coleman is also a free agent and and coming off a career year in 2010.
1. Braylon or Santonio?
Which of the free agent receivers is going to get the long term deal? There is always the possibility that Mike Tannenbaum could put in an early bid for executive of the year by getting them both back but in all likelihood, one will be leaving town…probably Edwards. How it plays out with Edwards and Holmes will determine which (if any) free agent receivers the Jets will pursue in free agency or via trade, whether it is Plaxico Burress, Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco, Steve Smith, or any of the other names they have been associated with.
Track all of the latest New York Jets free agency updates on TOJ’s stream at SB Nation NY
A few comments on how the New York Jets will approach free agency…
1. Nnamdi Asomugha isn’t going to happen…so get the dreams of the two best corners in the NFL being on a single team out of your head. The Jets aren’t going to break the bank for him with so many free agents of their own, including a cheaper option than Asomugha at corner in Antonio Cromartie.
2. Regardless of Asomugha not happening, the Jets still need to address their cornerback position either by bringing back Cromartie or by signing somebody else like Ike Taylor or Jonathan Joseph. They didn’t draft a pass rusher and it is doubtful they will find a high impact player in free agency, hence they need as much coverage as they can get. Other corners they could look at include Carlos Rogers, Richard Marshall, Chris Carr, and Fabian Washington.
3. If I had to guess today, I would still say it is more likely that Santonio Holmes comes back before Braylon Edwards. However, I am more confident today than I was when the season ended about both of them coming back. Edwards has already gone on record saying he would offer some type of a hometown discount and if Holmes does the same, you never know what could happen. I don’t see any way Brad Smith ends up coming back. Another team will give him more money than the Jets will be willing to offer along with a bigger role on offense.
4. If the Jets lose Braylon Edwards, I am not against giving Randy Moss or Plaxico Burress a shot (no pun intended). Chad Ochocinco or Steve Smith is going to command too much money, yet the Jets should be able to get Moss or Burress on a cheap, short-term deal. The recent talk makes Moss sound like more of a possibility and I might be crazy but I think he could be productive for the Jets on the outside, especially with the attention Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller, and Jerricho Cotchery need to receive in the slot.
5. In the less likely case that Edwards returns and Santonio Holmes leaves. I think the team should focus on signing Green Bay’s James Jones. Edwards is going to cost less money than Holmes so if he leaves, the Jets would have more money to invest in a longer contract to a younger player with more upside, like Jones.
6. Outside of Croamrtie in the secondary, I think the Jets will focus on getting Brodney Pool back to start at safety and then work towards getting either Eric Smith or James Ihedigbo back as a reserve. Drew Coleman is very up in the air. It depends on how they decide to handle Cromartie.
The buzz about Randy Moss going to the Jets picked up this morning thanks to a Daily News report claiming the team has a genuine interest in pursuing the free agent receiver in the likely case that the team can’t resign both Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes.
The real question, is whether the Jets are serious about potentially signing Moss or they are attempting to gain some leverage in their negotiations with Edwards and Holmes.
Rex Ryan has always been a big fan of Moss and we know he can still stretch a defense, as he beat the Jets secondary deep twice for touchdowns last year. He certainly is past his prime and isn’t as complete of a receiver as Edwards or Holmes but he could be a viable short term option on a cheap contract.
While I do think this story being leaked does have to do with posturing for upcoming negotiations with Edwards or Holmes, I do think the Jets would be seriously pursue Moss if they can’t sign both of their free agent receivers this off-season. I also think Moss would be very interested in the Jets recruitment. Why wouldn’t he want the chance to show New England he isn’t finished yet twice next year and also play for a team that is a legitimate contender for a Super Bowl?
We already know the Jets aren’t scared by players with baggage, on or off the field and that they won’t shy away from pursuing the big name. It makes sense to have plenty of doubts about the intelligence of bringing Moss into the Jets offense, considering the type of season he had last year. Regardless for the price the Jets might be able to get him at, the reward could be worth the risk.