New York Jets Moving To Next Tier Of Free Agents

After losing out on Reggie Nelson, the New York Jets have shifted their focus to a new crop of players

It is fair to be disappointed about Reggie Nelson clearly using the New York Jets to jack up the price on the Cincinnati Bengals, who he chose to re-sign with. Nelson is a rangy, athletic player who would have been an immediate upgrade at free safety. However, Nelson is a good…not great player and thus not worth despairing over for too long. It is certainly too early to feel like the Miami Dolphins, who couldn’t recruit a player they wanted if they offered him a share of ownership and named the stadium after him.

The Jets continue to have a viable chance at LaRon Landry, who visited the team’s facility over the weekend. Landry has the potential to be a quality strong safety who spends most of time inside the box. It is important that the Jets don’t overpay for him however, as he has major durability concerns. Landry is cut in a similar mode to Eric Smith but is more physically talented and would allow Smith to move back to the situational player role he thrived in.

The team is also expressing interest in OJ Atogwe, who has the ability to fill the hole at free safety. Atogwe is coming off a disappointing season in Washington, but who doesn’t have disappointing seasons in Washington? He was a very productive player in St. Louis from 2006-2010 and would be a nice upgrade for the Jets over Jim Leonhard whose health status remains unclear at this point.

It is also being reported the Jets are considering former Green Bay Packers safety/corner Jarrett Bush. While he is a versatile player with some upside, it is doubtful the team views him as a full time option at safety. He would more likely be a replacement for Donald Strickland and Marquice Cole in the Jets nickel/sub packages and on special teams.

On offense, the Jets are bringing in wide receiver Donnie Avery for a visit. Avery is a burner who has had health issues (sound familiar?) similar to Chaz Schilens, Avery is a low cost/potentially high reward player.

Inside linebacker Jameel McClain remains on the market so it will be interesting to see if the Jets work on bringing him in for a visit in the coming days. We know the team is interested and he gives them the ability to cut ties with Bart Scott.

Don’t Panic Jets Fans, NFL Draft Is Deep At Safety

After losing out on Reggie Nelson, Chris breaks down the safeties the New York Jets could pursue in the NFL Draft

With the Jets getting spurned by Reggie Nelson after hosting the free agent safety for a weekend long visit, it seems as though LaRon Landry is the only viable option left. But if Landry happens to politely decline an offer from the Jets as well, Mike Tannenbaum and Co. will most likely need to address this need via the draft. Many “experts” view this year’s crop of safeties to be shallow in comparison to other positions. However, when taking a closer look, this may not be the case at all. There are three safe picks that the Jets could make in one of the early rounds this year that may save their safety situation for the upcoming season.

The first, and probably most popular, of the bunch is Alabama’s Mark Barron. By now, Jets fans know who Barron is simply because his name has been linked to the team in countless mock drafts. Having played his entire career under the tutelage of defensive backs guru Nick Saban, Barron was a cornerstone to the nation’s top defense this past season, making him the safest pick at his position this year. Barron certainly has the skills and big game experience that will make him an immediate impact player on whatever team selects him.

However, the Jets are starving for a dominant pass rusher, something Rex Ryan has never had since coming to New York. The first round is poised to be filled with game changers at outside linebacker, so Tannenbaum and Ryan may opt to pass on Barron for the likes of Courtney Upshaw, Melvin Ingram, or Nick Perry.

So if not Barron, then who else? The two most quality under the radar safeties this year are Antonio Allen of South Carolina and Notre Dame’s Harrison Smith. Allen is more of an in the box type strong safety, having played the Rover position for the Gamecocks last year, but his ability to make big plays in big games should be noted. Last season, Allen’s two best games came at Georgia, where he had six tackles and a 25-yard interception returned for a touchdown, and home against Auburn in which he totaled 13 tackles, including 9 solos, and an interception. His combine numbers aren’t flashy, having run only a 4.67 40-yard dash, so Allen may be a day two option for the Jets.

Smith, on the other hand, has blown away scouts with his athletic ability. At 6’2” 213 pounds, combined with a 4.57 40 yard dash, 19 reps on the bench, and a 34 inch vertical leap, he has all the tools to be a force in both the pass and run games. A 4-year starter and Captain last season at Notre Dame, Smith has also proven to have the durability, experience, and leadership skills that should make him an asset if drafted into the right system. There is a good chance the Jets will give him a look if they choose to pass on Barron. However, at the rate his stock is expected to rise closer to draft day, Tannenbaum may have to resort back to his “Trader Mike” days and work a deal to get into the back end of the first round to grab him.

With Nelson seemingly using the Jets as leverage to obtain more money from Cincinnati, there is certainly cause for concern among Jets Nation. However, there is no reason to panic. As TOJ noted, Nelson is a good, not great, safety. Although he surely would have been an upgrade to New York’s current safety situation, he does not possess the upside of any of these three young players. Rest assured all is not yet lost for Gang Green.

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: What Moves Are On The Horizon?

After two days of free agency, TOJ looks at what the New York Jets likely have up their sleeve

It continues to be a quiet start for the New York Jets in free agency and with the action surrounding them, a few things have become clear. Overall, this is going to be a more restrained approach than in recent years but that doesn’t mean a big splash won’t be on the way in the coming month.

At wide receiver, it is clear the Jets never had any interest in spending big time money opposite Santonio Holmes. It makes sense when you look at the coordinator they hired and how much guaranteed money they are giving Holmes this year and next year. We suspected this would be case as the Jets are now bargain hunting to fill out their wide receiver depth chart. I anticipate them signing Chaz Schilens. He is comfortable with Sanjay Lal as his receiver coach and the Jets will give him a legitimate chance to start. Personally, I don’t think this is enough support at wide receiver for Mark Sanchez and the team should still consider checking out Braylon Edwards in May to make sure his knee is healthy. Jerricho Cotchery won’t come here unless the team is going to give him a legitimate chance to be the starter, which I’m not sure they will.

If the Jets are going to spend big money in free agency, it will be at the safety position. Look for them to make a strong push to get either Reggie Nelson or LaRon Landry in the coming few days. After hopefully signing one of them, I would expect them to bring back Jim Leonhard on a veteran’s minimum within a few months and then still add a safety in one of the early rounds of the draft.

We haven’t heard of the Jets looking to spend anywhere else in free agency outside of backup quarterback, where they will probably sign Drew Stanton. A move that will rightfully be questioned by many. David Garrard or Josh Johnson would provide a more legitimate threat to Sanchez in the number two spot than Stanton.

So what about tackle, linebacker, and running back? For whatever reason the Jets appear to be passing on many of the quality free agent right tackles. I don’t know if that is because they have a gentleman’s agreement with Vernon Carey to join the team in a few weeks or because they are really hard headed enough to think Wayne Hunter or Vladimir Ducasse could start next year. At linebacker, unless they make a push toward Jameel McClain, they appear to be standing pat and we haven’t heard anything about a Ronnie Brown signing being imminent yet at running back.

What you do need to remember is that the draft is a little over a month away and the Jets are going to have 10-12 picks. Don’t be surprised to see a very active few days from Mike Tannenbaum in terms of sliding up and down the board, along with looking to fill holes by trading picks for veteran players. This could very well be a situation where fans are in an uproar until draft weekend comes, and then it becomes much clearer what the Jets were looking to do this off-season. They have enough picks and assets to patch up linebacker, tackle, and running back in that weekend.

Don’t forget Mike Tannenbaum’s history when it comes to trades.

New York Jets Resign Bryan Thomas, Other Updates

The New York Jets have resigned OLB Bryan Thomas and other free agency updates

The New York Jets have resigned outside linebacker Bryan Thomas to a one year deal. This is a smart, low risk move by the team and will help their solidify their depth at the linebacker position. Thomas is coming off a season ending torn Achilles and is expected to be ready when training camp starts. He is a good fit in Rex Ryan’s defense and is solid against the run.

The signing of Thomas could be the first in a series of moves that facilitates a trade of outside linebacker Calvin Pace. If the Jets can also bring in free agent Jarret Johnson and spend their first round pick on a player like Melvin Ingram, Andre Branch, or Courtney Upshaw the Jets could be looking to move Pace and his hefty contract.

In other news, the Jets are planning a visit with former Detroit Lions quarterback Drew Stanton. We speculated here earlier that the Jets could have interest in Stanton as a low cost backup to Mark Sanchez. The Jets have also expressed their interest in free agent safeties Brandon Merriweather, LaRon Landry and Reggie Nelson according to The Daily News. At wide receiver, outside of reaching out to Laurent Robinson the Jets are also interested in former Oakland receiver Chaz Schilens, who was coached by their new wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal.

What is frustrating to hear is that the Miami Dolphins have a visit scheduled with Eric Winston tonight and the Jets haven’t had any movement towards expressing interest in him or any other tackles on the market, yet.

Other news around the league – Josh Morgan signing with the Washington Redskins, joining Pierre Garcon. CB Brandon Carr visiting with the Cowboys. TE Martellus Bennett visiting with the Giants and Chad Henne planning to visit Seattle after meeting with Jacksonville.