Stock Watch: New York Jets Edition

In a new column, Mike Donnelly examines the stock value of New York Jets players, coaches, and personnel. For his inaugural piece, he takes a look at who he’d buy and sell as the Jets head into June. Be sure to follow Mike on twitter @TheMikeDonnelly. -CG

Recently, I was at a family function and my uncle was asking me for stock advice. Since I work in finance, apparently my entire family thinks I have inside information. I do not. I wish I had some good, solid stuff to tell him if only to make myself sound smarter, but I had nothing. After an awkward few seconds that felt much longer, he thankfully asked the question that always seems to come up at these functions: “So, what do you think about the Jets this year?”

My eyes lit up. Whenever the topic of conversation turns to the Jets (which it always does at these things), I can rattle off any information he wants to hear. Detailed opinion on Rex Ryan and the coaching staff? No problem. Statistical information about any of the players? You got it. Breakdown of the incoming rookies? Child’s play. Why I hate Eric Smith? Well, that one is self-explanatory. After a few minutes, he laughed and said something about how it’s too bad he couldn’t invest in my Jets thoughts instead of finance. That got me thinking. What if we could buy and sell players and teams the way we do stocks? What if I could buy and sell Tim Tebow stock depending on how well I think he’s going to do in the next few games? And that leads me to the first edition of “Stock Watch: New York Jets Edition.”

Undervalued Jets I’d Invest In

RB Joe McKnight – Right now you’d be able to buy some Joe McKnight stock pretty cheaply, and with just 323 rushing yards in two seasons, it’s understandable why. But trading stocks is all about value, and there’s plenty of value in the former USC star since he’s he’s going to be taking over for the departed LaDainian Tomlinson. I expect McKnight to form a very nice tandem with starter Shonn Greene, and this will be his breakout season. As the team’s top dual threat, he can easily get over 1,000 total yards from scrimmage. Joe McKnight stock will be a money maker.

DE Muhammad Wilkerson – Big Mo had his ups and downs last season, but for the most part he had an excellent rookie campaign. He was one of the better run defending 3-4 DE’s in the NFL and also contributed 3 sacks. In year 2, he is going to take a big step forward, especially now that he gets to work with line coach Karl Dunbar. By 2013 this stock will have doubled.

OLB Aaron Maybin – A year ago, this would be a penny stock and I’d be laughed at. But after leading the Jets in sacks last season, Maybin really dedicated himself in the offseason and bulked up to try and get more playing time. With Wilkerson and rookie Quinton Coples opening lanes up front, look for Maybin to approach double digit sacks and perhaps get a long-term contract.

WR Santonio Holmes – SH Inc. is at an all-time low after his terrible 2011 season, both on and off the field. After patching things up with Mark Sanchez, and dedicating himself 100% to the team in the offseason, Holmes is going to be playing with a major chip on his shoulder. A 1,200 yard season and a pro bowl nod are within reach. This will become a blue chip stock yet again.

QB Mark Sanchez – Despite the organization seemingly going out of their way to stunt his growth, I expect Mark Sanchez to thrive in 2012 under Tony Sparano. The incompetent Matt Cavanaugh remains on the staff, but now that Sanchez has been freed from Brian Schottenheimer’s comical offensive scheme, he will take a big step this year, and I’ll gladly invest in him.

OL Vlad Ducasse – Please, stop laughing. Ok.. go ahead. Done yet? Great. Switching to the new, less complicated “power blocking” scheme is going to work wonders for Ducasse. In fact, I expect him to be the starting RT this season once new line coach Dave DeGuglielmo stops his “Wayne Hunter is great” comedy routine. Unfortunately, Vlad starting may have more to do with Hunter than it does Ducasse. Oh well. At least this stock is so cheap you can’t really lose much if he continues to disappoint.

OLB Ricky Sapp – A real penny stock here. Sure he’s a long shot, but the coaching staff definitely sees something in Sapp and they have some hope for him. Working with Rex Ryan and Karl Dunbar will help his development and hopefully he can turn into Aaron Maybin 2.0 for the Jets. A worthwhile investment.

Overvalued Jets Stock I’d dump

QB Tim Tebow – I wish I owned some Tebow stock. The way everyone in the media talks him up, he’d be one of the most valuable commodities in the whole league. That wouldn’t stop me from tripping over myself running to sell though, because after the 2012 season in which he starts 0 games and is merely a role player, it will be worth far less.

TE Dustin Keller – I hope I am wrong about this, but I think we will see less of Dustin Keller this season. He’s a poor blocker, slightly undersized, and doesn’t totally fit into Tony Sparano’s system. I wouldn’t be shocked if this is his last year as a Jet.

RT Wayne Hunter – I know Dave DeGuglielmo has been talking him up, but I don’t buy it. Wayne Hunter sucks, and once he loses his starting job, his stock price will go from the $0.08 or so that it’s worth now, to about half of that.

DE Mike DeVito – DeVito is one of the most unheralded players on the whole team. He is an elite run stuffer, but unfortunately for him, the team was looking for someone who can also get to the quarterback and drafted Quinton Coples to take his spot. DeVito will still contribute as a great run defender, but his role will be limited, causing his stock price to dip.

OL Coach Dave DeGuglielmo – Once Wayne Hunter falls on his face, DeGuglielmo is going to look pretty silly.

K Nick Folk – Mike Westhoff has seemingly never been happy with Folk and has tried to replace him every season. This could be the year he gets his wish with Josh Brown coming in to compete for Folk’s spot. His stock isn’t worth much now, but by the end of training camp it could be much lower.

RB Bilal Powell – Powell seems like a bigger waste of a 4th round pick all the time. He was barely active last year, and was incredibly unimpressive in his limited action. He doesn’t seem to be a fit for the new offensive scheme and the team drafted Terrance Ganaway, who could potentially take his roster spot. I’d unload this stock for whatever I could get.

 

TOJ New York Jets 12 Pack: The Comeback Year

TOJ looks at 12 New York Jets who need to have bounce back seasons for the team to improve this season

Assuming the New York Jets don’t make any more major moves this off-season, it appears they will be relying on much of their improvement to come from within their current roster and whatever draft picks they add. What players in particular will need to bounce back from a rough 2011 season to take the Jets from 8-8 and out of the playoffs, to back to 11-5 and the AFC Championship Game (and hopefully beyond)? In descending order of importance…

12. Kenrick Ellis – The Jets didn’t get anything from him in his redshirt season. If he can play to his potential in his second year, the Jets will have a huge addition to their defensive line rotation that will help stop the run and push the pocket on the passer.

11. Antonio Cromartie – He didn’t have a bad year in 2011 but also didn’t have a great one. We are still waiting to see a playmaker who can pull in more than 4 interceptions in a season and maybe create a defensive touchdown or two.

10. Bryan Thomas – Thomas missed the bulk of last season with an ACL injury. Even if the Jets spend a first round pick at outside linebacker, they will need Thomas to mentor him and on running downs. He is a valuable veteran who is productive in Rex Ryan’s defense.

9. Mike DeVito – He missed 4 games last season and battled injuries all season. DeVito is a big part of the Jets run defense and the Jets need him healthy and productive for all 16 games next season.

8. Eric Smith – Hopefully after the draft, Smith will be relegated to being a role player on defense. Yet, you can be assured he will see significant time on defense next season and when he is on the field, the Jets need him to limit the big plays and at minimum be a sure tackler. This team really needs help at safety.

7. Bart Scott – Scott’s value has always been stopping the run, being a sure tackler, and providing leadership on the field. He did none of that last season, missing a ton of tackles and creating issues in the locker room over his lack of playing time. Scott claims to be refocused and lighter this year, we’ll see if that translates to him playing like he did in 2009 and 2010.

6. Shonn Greene – He didn’t have an inspiring 1,000 yard season in 2011. Greene must do a better job of breaking tackles and occasionally popping a big play. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry as a rookie and has since fell down to 4.1 in 2010 and 4.2 in 2011. The Jets need that number to get closer to 5 again.

5. Calvin Pace – At the amount of money he is making, 4.5 sacks isn’t cutting it. The Jets should give him some support on passing downs with their first round pick and Aaron Maybin in his second year so Pace shouldn’t see many, if any double teams. Regardless of his production against the run, the Jets need 7-9 sacks from him.

4. Wayne Hunter/Vladimir Ducasse – As of right now, they are battling to be the starting right tackle. We can only hope Tony Sparano and his new system can move Hunter from being awful to mediocre or that Ducasse with a full off-season under his belt at right tackle can show some of the signs of why he was a second round pick.

3. Santonio Holmes – The Jets paid him to be their number one receiver and he didn’t perform like one. Some of that was on Brian Schottenheimer and some of that was on Mark Sanchez, yet a share of blame goes to Holmes who dropped his share of passes and couldn’t consistently beat double teams. If Holmes can produce like he did in 2010 when he returned from suspension, the Jets offense will be in much better shape.

2. D’Brickashaw Ferguson – The Jets Pro-Bowl left tackle didn’t play like one last season. His struggles combined with Wayne Hunter’s incompetence left Mark Sanchez constantly under pressure. Brick must return to his regular level of play, particularly if Hunter remains as the right tackle.

1. Mark Sanchez – On the whole Sanchez didn’t have anywhere near the awful year that is portrayed by the mainstream media. However, he did something he had never done so far in his career…he struggled in the games that were the most important. Most notably, the final three games of the season. Sanchez is without question the most important factor in the Jets success this season. If he struggles, their season is going to turn into a quarterback controversy circus and Tim Tebow will be overextended as a full time quarterback. If he plays well, they have a shot to be a contender and Tebow can thrive as a role player.

New York Jets Off-Season: Getting Inside Mike Tannenbaum’s Head

Just what exactly has New York Jets GM Mike Tannenabum been thinking this off-season?

At this point in the New York Jets off-season, it is easy to be a little confused, angry and disappointed. Here is a review of what they have done so far –

  • Signed a highly injury prone strong safety, LaRon Landry
  • Signed a highly injury prone wide receiver, Chaz Schilens
  • Traded for a backup quarterback/wildcat option, Tim Tebow
  • Re-signed Sione Pouha and Bryan Thomas
  • Guaranteed Wayne Hunter’s salary next year
  • Held on to Santonio Holmes by guaranteeing his salary the next two years
  • Signed Drew Stanton…then traded Drew Stanton after trading for Tebow
  • Gave Mark Sanchez an overhyped extension that basically didn’t change much to his original contract but brought a wave of publicity with it

So, what the hell is Mike Tannenbaum thinking? Let’s try to figure it out –

Starting on offense, we told you throughout February the Jets would not be spending big money at the wide receiver position opposite of Santonio Holmes. The hiring of Tony Sparano confirmed a commitment to a run heavy offense and with so much already invested in Holmes, it doesn’t make philosophical sense to splurge financially for another receiver. Their approach is taking a low cost risk on a player like Schilens and then seeing how the draft shakes out before exploring the option of bringing Braylon Edwards back.

Do not look for the Jets to take a receiver early in the draft, unless somebody they fall in love with drops into their lap in round 2 or 3. I would expect them to take a receiver with one of their late round picks and then check out Edwards knee in May. If he passes the team’s physical, he can be brought back on a low cost deal and likely provide all the production they’d need from the number two receiver spot, with Schilens providing insurance.

The Tebow trade was clearly not something in the original off-season plans as demonstrated by the Stanton signing. There was speculation about the Jets signing or trading for another running back to compliment Shonn Greene but bringing in Tebow is going to prevent that from happening. He will be a weapon in the running game more than anything and outside of potentially a mid or late round pick, look for the Jets running back depth chart to stay the same.

Tebow’s trade was fueled by Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano’s desire to run and protect the football coupled with the business aspects of it endorsed by Woody Johnson. Tannenbaum saw Tebow become available, had his head coach, offensive coordinator and owner express interest and made it happen. Mark Sanchez was a peripheral thought in all of this, as I do think the organization still believes he could be the franchise quarterback but saw the Wildcat dimension/business aspects of Tebow too valuable to pass it up. Only time will tell, if it was worth it.

At tackle, Tannenbaum probably looked at Hunter’s contract and figured at a minimum he was a good depth player, which he is and something that the Jets badly lacked last year. The hope in the organization is that with a full off-season to learn the position, Vladimir Ducasse will be a viable option at right tackle. Teams don’t like giving up on second round picks after two years, regardless of how awful they looked throughout those two years. At this point, I fully expect the Jets to open camp with Hunter and Ducasse competing for the job, with Austin Howard maybe grabbing a few reps.

If they struggle, the Jets could hope that Vernon Carey is still on the market. He is a veteran who knows Sparano’s system that could immediately hop in or Tannenbaum could swing a trade in August to supplement the position. It is a risky strategy and not one I agree with, but it appears to be the planned approach at the moment.

Defensively, the Jets wanted to pair LaRon Landry and Reggie Nelson as their shiny, new safety duo. Unfortunately, they struck out with Nelson leaving a gaping hole at free safety. The Jets protected themselves from Landry’s injury with how the contract is structured but the defense will suffer if he misses extended periods of time in 2012. I would expect the Jets to seriously consider finding a way to add a free safety in one of the early rounds of the draft and then bring back Jim Leonhard in May or June as veteran insurance. Missing out on Nelson hurt and the Jets are now going to need to rely on a healthy Landry and likely a draft pick to improve the position’s play.

The team hasn’t been shy about their desire to improve the pass rush. It would be an upset at this point if they don’t find away to take a outside linebacker in the first round. The question is only how aggressive will they pursue one? Would they trade up for Melvin Ingram or Quinton Couples? Could they trade back for Andre Branch? Is Courtney Upshaw on the board for them at number 16? The Jets want a young pass rusher to take Bryan Thomas off the field on passing downs and eventually off the field all together. They likely envision a third down defense that prominently features this first round pick opposite of Aaron Maybin, who should only get better in Rex’s system in year two.

One other thing that should be noted, the locker room chaos last year clearly made a huge impression on the Jets front office. Re-signing Sione Pouha was a smart football move but became such a major priority because he was a respected captain last year. The quick re-signing of Bryan Thomas, a longtime good guy veteran of the organization was also a larger priority than it would have in years past. Bringing back Hunter, who despite his on field struggles, is a respected player in the locker room who stood up to Santonio Holmes slacking last year supports the notion of emphasizing the importance of improving the locker room. Finally, while the Tebow trade was primarily motivated by the Wildcat and business, it would be foolish to think his personality didn’t play a factor in it as well.

So what else should you expect the rest of the way from the Jets? I would look for an outside linebacker and safety early in the draft, along with an eventual signing of Braylon Edwards and Jim Leonhard. If the Jets make an addition at right tackle, it probably won’t happen until training camp. It isn’t the flashiest off-season but the Jets are clearly banking on Tony Sparano improving Mark Sanchez’s play and Tim Tebow adding an element to the Jets offense that will make it harder to defend. Rex Ryan is always going to be confident in his defense and I am sure he thinks with a new pass rusher, Landry, and a free safety the group will take major strides from last year.

Finally, what about that extra money the Jets still have? Remember they are going to have to pay Darrelle Revis next off-season to avoid another holdout, along with Dustin Keller and Shonn Greene’s contracts both being up. Those considerations have to be a factor in the Jets spending right now.

Doesn’t cheer you up? Well maybe this will…feels like a hundred years ago, right?

New York Jets: Tannenbaum Might Still Have Faith In Ducasse

New TOJ writer Chris Gross explores if Mike Tannenabum is being stubborn at right tackle because of faith in Vladimir Ducasse

EDITOR’s NOTE: TOJ would like to welcome aboard our newest writer, Chris Gross. You can follow Chris on Twitter (@CGross97). He is a recent graduate of Union College and continues our trend of hiring former D-3 athletes who attended schools that lost to my alma mater Muhlenberg in football, when I attended there. Happy to have you on board Chris! – JC

Throughout his run as the New York Jets’ General Manager, Mike Tannenbaum has become widely known as one of the most active GMs in the NFL. So with a glaring need at right tackle, Jet fans everywhere are wondering one thing: What is taking him so long to fill the huge hole occupied by Wayne Hunter last season? Not only have the Jets not signed someone to fill this void, they seemingly haven’t even reached out to any of the big name free agent tackles on the market. It is easy to assume the Jets will be going budget on the offensive side of the ball to spend big on one of the remaining safeties left on the market, presumably Reggie Nelson or LaRon Landry. While that may be the case, there may be another reason for Mike T’s madness (or lack thereof).

With a new offensive line coach and offensive coordinator in place, Tannenbaum and the Jets coaching staff may have more confidence in the tackles currently on their roster then some believe, namely Vladimir Ducasse. While Mike T has previously stated that he fully expects Wayne Hunter to be the starter at RT next year, there are questions regarding the sincerity of that comment with reports that Hunter was shopped before the start of free agency. Remember, this is the same man who publicly stated that he expected Brian Schottenheimer to be the Jets’ offensive coordinator next season.

So, enter Ducasse, the Jets 2010 2nd Round Draft Pick. While Ducasse has done little during his short tenure as a New York Jet to illustrate to the fan base that he is worthy of ever setting foot on the field, much less be a starter, all hope may not be lost for him in the eyes of the Jets front office. Based on the remainder of the Jets starting offensive line, it is safe to say that the Jets feel confident in their ability to develop players up front. Ferguson, Mangold, and Slauson were all drafted by the organization, while Brandon Moore signed as an undrafted free agent in 2002. Although Ducasse has seen very limited game time in his two years with the Jets, it is possible that the organization still believes he can be a significant piece in rebuilding the right side of the offensive line.

Although this theory may seem crazy to some, there are certain things to remember about the Jets and Big Vlad. First, he came from Division 1 FCS University of Massachusetts. Although the NFL has seen countless players succeed from lower level schools, there are very few who had an impact with their respective teams early in their careers. The perfect example of this is Victor Cruz. Unless you are a Giants or Jets fan, odds are you had no idea who Victor Cruz was up until week 3 of this past season. Until his breakout game against the Eagles, even fans of both New York teams only remembered Cruz for his 2010 preseason performance in which he torched the Jets for three touchdowns. Cruz had the early hardships that most young players coming out of small schools face. In 2010, he appeared in only three games, and was virtually irrelevant to the NFL before his breakout 2011 campaign. There is no question that players drafted from smaller schools have a more difficult time transitioning to the NFL than those who come out of larger schools.

Second, the Jets may feel that Ducasse could benefit greatly with new voices in his ear. Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano made his mark in the NFL as an offensive line guru, and along with newly hired offensive line coach Dave Deguglielmo, the organization could be developing the idea that these men can mold Ducasse into the player they envisioned when they took him with the 61st overall pick in 2010. After all, Vlad fits the psychical mold of an NFL tackle at 6’5” 325 pounds. The Jets may feel that Sparano and co. will now be able to help him fit the mental mold as well.

Finally, Tannenbaum and the Jets do not like to give up on players that were selected with early round draft picks. In 2008, the Jets selected Vernon Gholston with the 6th overall pick in the NFL draft. Although he did not record a sack during his entire NFL career, the Jets held onto Gholston for three years hoping he would eventually develop into the pass rusher they thought they were getting. Certainly there was much more of a financial commitment to Gholston then there is with Ducasse, but the point is that Mike T likes to give his guys time to develop.

Although the Jets lack of activity along the offensive front is frustrating, they could simply be putting a lot of faith in Ducasse. And while it does not seem smart for the organization to put confidence in such an unproven player, especially considering they just gave their franchise quarterback a multi-year extension, it might just be their train of thought. If they do in fact feel this way, expect a continued lack of interest toward free agent offensive lineman by the Jets in the coming weeks.

New York Jets Need To Act At Right Tackle

The New York Jets are kidding themselves if they think they don’t have to act at right tackle

UPDATE: The Washington Redskins have signed safety Brandon Meriweather. So, the New York Jets have been saved from themselves there. Look for them to make an aggressive push for Reggie Nelson.

In case you haven’t heard the Buffalo Bills have signed Mario Williams to a monster contract today. Williams is one of the league’s top pass rushers. I don’t believe in making reactionary moves to what other team’s in your division do in most situations and the Jets should have been acting to add a right tackle before the Bills even considered signing Williams, now they must act.

This is a pretty simple case. You have a quarterback who you just reinvested in for two more years. A guy who has shown potential, who you know you can with but a guy who struggles when he constantly has pressure in his face. Last year he was beat around because you had arguably the worst starting offensive tackle, Wayne Hunter. Your team struggled and you went 8-8. This happened because you undervalued your offensive line. When your offensive line was elite, you made the AFC Championship Game twice. When you start the 32nd best right tackle in football for 16 games, you go 8-8, miss the playoffs and have your quarterback’s confidence shaken.

Don’t give us leaks that you expect Vladimir Ducasse to compete with Hunter to start at tackle. Ducasse is one of the few players in the NFL not good enough to start over Hunter. Unless you have seen something I haven’t in the previous two years, there is no reason to think Ducasse is anywhere near being ready to start in the NFL and there is valid reason to question if he ever will.

I understand and appreciate a cautious approach in free agency. Plenty of teams are overpaying players as I am typing this. Yet, the Jets have a troubling history of overestimating their talents on the offensive line, whether it is starting Anthony Clement for two straight years, replacing Pete Kendall with Adrien Clarke or now replacing Damien Woody with Wayne Hunter. There are a handful of options still available on the free agent market and likely on the trade market. You don’t have to break the bank to replace Hunter but you need to do something. If you don’t, you wasted money extending Sanchez, guaranteeing Santonio Holmes contract, and paying any receiver this off-season. No point to invest in quarterbacks and receivers if you aren’t going to give them time to connect.

If the Jets have faith in Tony Sparano to improve their offensive line, that makes sense. It is why they hired him. He should help D’Brickashaw Ferguson have a bounce back year, continue to push Nick Mangold to be great and maybe make Matt Slauson go from being decent to slightly above decent. When it comes to Hunter or Ducasse…if ya ain’t got, ya ain’t got it and no coach in the world can change that.

In case you were thinking of still standing up for Hunter, remember four separate players (Von Miller, Andre Carter, Jason Babin, Jarret Johnson) all won AFC Defensive Player of the Week against the Jets last year for beating the crap out of Mark Sanchez.

New York Jets: Who Could Be On The Trading Block?

What New York Jets could be on the trading block in the coming weeks?

We have documented Mike Tannenbaum’s propensity for getting involved in trade market here at TOJ last week, so with that in mind which current players on the Jets roster could be on the trading block?

Please Take Him

Wayne Hunter, Right Tackle – We have already discussed the futility of trading Hunter but apparently a NFC team actually engaged the Jets in discussion for him. I can’t see them finding a willing trade partner, even for a conditional seventh round draft pick. Most likely Hunter will be brought back as a highly paid backup.

Bart Scott, Inside Linebacker – Similar to Hunter, there isn’t going to be much of a market for Scott. Maybe…maybe if a team suffered an injury at linebacker, they’d give up a late round conditional pick for him. However, are the Jets going to hold on to him that long? I can’t see him lasting with the team much longer when he clearly wants more playing time and the Jets aren’t going to give it to him.

Reasonable Market

Calvin Pace, Outside Linebacker – Pace has a contract that exceeds his actual production but that doesn’t mean he isn’t an effective player, particularly as a run stopper in a 3-4 defense. The Jets would love to dump his hefty contract but whomever they trade him to, would likely want to renegotiate with him first. He is a player they could get some decent value for and might be somebody they need to part with in their quest to fill their long list of needs. They could carry on at outside linebacker by signing Jarret Johnson, bringing back Bryan Thomas on a veteran’s minimum deal and then picking a player like Melvin Ingram in round one.

Mike DeVito, Defensive End – The Jets could save 3 million this year by parting ways with DeVito, a valuable run stopper in the 3-4 defense. Yes, he is a good player and a strong fit in Rex Ryan’s defense but he had issues staying healthy last year as a full time player and the Jets have decent depth behind him with Marcus Dixon, Ropati Pitoitua, and the potential of Kenrick Ellis sliding over for reps as he continues to grow. DeVito would be highly coveted by any team who runs a 3-4 and needs help at defensive end.

High Value

Dustin Keller, Tight End – A player who has been good, not great for the Jets and might never get the chance to be great in Tony Sparano’s offensive system. Keller’s skill set, which includes plenty of receiving but not alot of blocking could thrive in the right offense. Would the Jets part with Mark Sanchez’s best friend and a player he has good chemistry with on the field? Probably not but if the right offer comes along that helps them improve safety, offensive tackle, linebacker…they just might.

Antonio Cromartie, Cornerback – In order to improve other parts of their defense, the Jets could look to pick away at one of their strengths at cornerback. Kyle Wilson took positive steps last year and if the right offer came along for Cromartie, wouldn’t you have to consider moving him and giving your previous first round draft pick a chance to start?

What Would You Trade For Wayne Hunter?

What in the world does Mike Tannenbaum think he is getting for Wayne Hunter?

Is there anything more simultaneously entertaining and sad than hearing about the New York Jets shopping Wayne Hunter for a trade? I didn’t think it could get any worse than trying to get a team to trade for Bart Scott, an aging linebacker who can’t be on the field on passing downs, can’t tackle and is owed 4 million dollars…well it can when you are trying to trade a right tackle who simply can’t block for 2.5 million guaranteed.

Can you hear Tannenbaum’s pitch on the phone?

“Listen, I know this guy almost got our quarterback killed last year and was repeatedly beat like a drum every single week but there is potential there. What? Yes…I know Andre Carter, Jason Babin, Jarret Johnson, and Von Miller all won Defensive Player of the Week because of Wayne, you see he is a giver! C’mon now, he yelled at Santonio Holmes in the huddle for us at least. How about a 5th rounder? A 6th rounder? A conditional 7th?. Fine. Bye”

I think the Jets could probably get Justin McCariens in return for Hunter, if he un-retired and joined the Titans again. They might be able to get Ray Lucas from SNY to backup Mark Sanchez. They could always trade him to us here at TOJ, we could use an enforcer, I’ll send back a signed picture of me catching a 6 yard out route in college for our Division III team.

TOJ 12 Pack Of Thoughts On New York Jets – Headline Players Edition

TOJ with a 12 pack of thoughts on the Jets most talked about players so far this off-season

March 13th is getting closer by the second, along with the days prior to it which be filled with endless free agency rumors. The dry spot in the NFL schedule is just about done with the combine underway and Rex Ryan giving a quote filled press conference yesterday. Let’s celebrate with a 12 pack of thoughts on the names most frequently being discussed when it comes to the New York Jets off-season these days —

1. Mark Sanchez – Where is he? Well we know he was at a Knicks game last weekend with D’Brickashaw Ferguson. He took the time to tweet Santonio Holmes a Valentine’s Day Card and that he is probably spending some nights with Kate Upton…lucky guy. Regardless, it is time for Sanchez to end his media silence and speak up for himself. I want to hear Sanchez, say “this is my team, the front office can bring in whoever they want to compete with me but I will be starting quarterback and will get this locker room fixed. Me and Santonio have been successful in the past and we will be again. As for my work ethic, I challenge whoever said this about me to show their face because I pride myself on being the first one in the building and the last one out everyday. I expect to see all my skill position players at Jets West in the coming months!”

You can take that verbatim if you want, Mark. Just cite me (@TurnOnTheJets).

2. Peyton Manning – Rex Ryan left the door open yesterday by saying the Jets were open to exploring all opportunities at every position. Listen, the Jets are going to kick the tires on Manning like 26 other teams in the league are, that doesn’t mean he is coming here. I am not sure if he is healthy. I don’t think he wants to play for the Jets and I don’t think it is smart move for this organization. Yet, until he is in a Cardinals or Redskins uniform, we won’t stop hearing about Manning and the Jets.

3. Santonio Holmes – He has sent out a sporadic tweet here and there about being excited for next season, of course followed with the #ToneTime hashtag. Santonio is who he is and that certainly isn’t a captain but at that same certainly the kind of receiver you can win with. He is on the team for the next two years so let’s hope he bounces back and starts playing like the number one receiver we paid him to be.

4. Sione Pouha – The big fella is the only major free agent the Jets have to worry about bringing back. They aren’t going to franchise tag him but are apparently working feverishly to get him under contract before free agency starts. Hopefully, they lock him down to a 2-3 year deal so he can keep anchoring the run defense until Kenrick Ellis is ready.

5. Shonn Greene – Is a lead back? Is he not a lead back? Will the Jets get him support via free agency or the draft? Personally, I am leaning towards thinking he isn’t a true lead back. Yet, the Jets don’t have the means to add a big name at running back. Look for them to add a journeyman veteran like Tim Hightower or Tashard Choice, a mid-round draft pick and then hopefully expand Joe McKnight’s role in the offense.

6. Courtney Upshaw/Melvin Ingram/Trent Richardson/Mark Barron – Popular names being thrown around with the Jets for the upcoming draft. Upshaw is the most ready to contribute 3-4 outside linebacker in the draft, which means if he gets near number 16, Mike T needs to make a move to get him. Ingram has potential but I worry about his migration to the 3-4 system. There is some chatter about Richardson falling a bit now due to his recent surgery. I still don’t think the Jets have a shot at him and that is probably a good thing, I am not sold on the value of first round running backs. Mark Barron would be an ideal addition if the Jets found way to maneuver their picks to get him in the 25-35 range.

7. Bart Scott/Calvin Pace – Also known as “those two slow Jets linebackers who never get to the quarterback.” There are rumors about both of them being cut. I would guess the Jets eat the guaranteed money and cut Scott but hold on to Pace, who is valuable against the run and can be a good secondary pass rushing option. As for the filling the hole at inside linebacker, I wouldn’t be surprised if they handed his role off to Josh Mauga for the time being and spend a middle round pick on one.

8. Jeremy Kerley – A player we are all excited to see in a bigger role next season. A role that could be bigger than expected if the Jets don’t invest in the free agent wide receiver market. TOJ is hoping they take a long look at a player like Robert Meachem or Laurent Robinson but not overly confident that will happen. The Jets could add a cheaper player with deep speed (maybe Harry Douglas of Atlanta?) and then add a draft pick at WR with some size.

9. Every Ex-Jet Imaginable – There is an ongoing infatuation among Jets fans about bringing ex-players back, most notably Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, John Abraham, and Dwight Lowery. Honestly, I do think Braylon makes a good amount of practical sense…I just doubt it happens.

10. Dustin Keller – It is going to be interesting to see how he fits in Tony Sparano’s offense and if the Jets bring in a blocking tight end to pair with him. Expect to see Anthony Fasano in green and white, if he hits the open market.

11. Wayne Hunter – Who are the Jets going to bring it to challenge him for the right tackle position? Vernon Carey seems like a logical move, as does bringing in a draft pick. It is a scary thought to imagine Hunter starting again next year, even if Sparano can protect his deficiencies better.

12. Eric ‘Freaking Smith – How are the Jets going to improve their safety position? They need a complete overhaul, which in my mind is signing a free agent (Reggie Nelson, Tyvon Branch, Michael Griffin are out there), investing a high pick on one and then bringing Jim Leonhard back on a veteran’s minimum deal as insurance. If Eric Smith comes back it has to be in a reserve/situational/special teams role.

New York Jets: Wait…What The Hell Just Happened With Wayne Hunter?

The New York Jets just let Wayne Hunter’s 2.45 million dollar contract become guaranteed. What the hell is going on here?

Lost in the commotion of Santonio Holmes being guaranteed his contract for the next two years and the Linsanity in New York City, is the fact that the Jets didn’t release right tackle Wayne Hunter yesterday. As a matter of fact, they guaranteed his 2.45 million base salary for the 2012 season.

Yes, the same Wayne Hunter who was the human turnstile this season, nearly got Mark Sanchez killed on multiple occasions, and was ranked the fifth worst offensive tackle in football by Pro Football Focus. One of my main memories of this past season was watching the Jets/Eagles game with my good friend who was an All-American college football lineman and is currently an offensive line coach for a prep school in Philadelphia. After watching Jason Babin embarrass the Jets entire line, he commented he had never seen a NFL lineman both look so confused and have worse technique than what he saw from Hunter that day.

So…

If your initial reaction is that Mike Tannenbaum is 0-1 to start this off-season, that is okay because he very well may be. Yet, let’s try to figure out the real motivation for keeping Hunter since I have to assume somebody in the Jets building watched some game tape this year.

Depth was a major problem for the Jets offensive line last year. Hunter was a very good depth player the few years leading up to him being a starter. He can handle being a backup tackle and playing in short yardage packages. With Robert Turner coming back, the Jets have the potential to have two quality backups on their offensive line. Nevermind if Caleb Schlauderaff and Austin Howard develop in any way or if that Ducasse guy ever becomes good enough to be a #7 or #8 lineman on a NFL roster…hey it isn’t like we spent a 2nd round pick on him, right?

More seriously, I think Tannenbaum realizes free agency isn’t going to be filled with quality right tackles and he probably isn’t spending a round one or round two pick on one. He needs to pay a backup quarterback, wide receiver, linebacker and safety this year. Unless the Jets swing a trade, there aren’t getting a big money, top-tier tackle this off-season. Most likely, they will sign a middle tier player and spend a mid-round pick on one and have the two compete with Hunter, who will provide insurance. They are also likely hoping that Tony Sparano can have some type of positive impact on him. Hunter has been decent in spurts, he has just had no consistency and can’t handle elite pass rushers one on one. Sparano might…might be able to coach around his deficiencies by doing a better job giving him help.

You can’t have it all this off-season Jets fans. You aren’t getting a big time WR, a backup quarterback that pushes Sanchez, a premium right tackle, another running back, a ball-hawking safety and a pass rushing outside linebacker all in one off-season. Be prepared to be disappointed in some areas. Right tackle just might end up being one of them.

Scenes From A Horror Movie – Where Do Jets Go From Here?

Last night was about as bad it as ever got for the New York Jets in the Rex Ryan era. They were physically assaulted by the Baltimore Ravens defense to the point that Mark Sanchez could press charges against Wayne Hunter, Vladimir Ducasse, Colin Baxter, Matt Slauson, Brandon Moore, and even D’Brickashaw Ferguson. It all starts up front and the Jets offensive line is awful. Colin Baxter and Wayne Hunter are not starting caliber offensive lineman. Vladimir Ducasse is not a NFL caliber player. You are in trouble when Matt Slauson is your third best offensive lineman. When you start with the blame for last night, start with the line and then move to Mark Sanchez.

We wrote here all week how Sanchez was in need of a big time performance for the Jets to get a victory. He responded with arguably the worst game of his career. I am aware how brutal his protection was but Sanchez allowed himself to get rattled and even when he had time he was horrifically inaccurate. He is supposed to be a leader. He can’t play scared and dejected to the point he was last night. Bottom line, he needs to grow up and be better than he was the previous two years to compensate for the lack of running game the Jets have.

The world has given up on Shonn Greene and trust me I hear you. He hasn’t looked good as a feature back. He has also had nowhere to run. That being said, it is time to give Joe McKnight a bigger role on the offense. The Jets need an infusion of speed at the running back position. They very clearly struggle running up the middle, so why not attack the edges with a speedier McKnight?

While we are in blame game mode, let’s give a helping to the Jets coaching staff for the knee jerk reaction of putting Vladimir Ducasse in. Let’s also give a helping to Mike Tannenbaum and the front office for drafting Ducasse and not assembling enough depth on this offensive line. The Jets need a veteran, immediately.

You have heard it all today and all the anger is right. The Jets puff their chest out and are going to be kicked while they are down. The fans and media will overreact but honestly they have a right to be disgusted with what they saw last night.

Everything being said, this is the team we have for the rest of the year. So, let’s focus on what the necessary adjustments need to be and what positives the Jets can work from moving forward. Last time I checked they, if they win next week they are 3-2, New England is 3-2 and the Jets have the tie-breaker with 11 games to play. Hell, even if they lose next week there is still 11 games to play. Contrary to popular belief, this team will not pack up their bags and not bother to show up in New England. Where do we go from here?

1. The defense responded last night and put together a terrific performance. If you can play defense, you can compete…as long as your offense doesn’t directly allow 21 points. Aaron Maybin brought a little life to the Jets pass rush and I know it was only 1 strip sack and 1 quarterback pressure, but I loved the energy he was playing with. Muhammad Wilkerson also played his best game of the season last night and will only get better as the season goes on.

2. The special teams can still make plays. Joe McKnight returned a kick 107 yards for a touchdown, forced a fumble on kickoff and forced an interception when he played cornerback by the way. He can be a big factor moving forward.

3. On offense, the Jets need to force themselves to run the football to protect Mark Sanchez and to keep games competitive. It will take creativity because the front five isn’t getting a great push. It is going to take a combination of Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, John Conner, Joe McKnight, and maybe even some Jeremy Kerley in the Wildcat. Misdirections. Outside handoffs. The Jets must find a way to get some type of balance. They could also replace running plays by making better use of screens to all the previously mentioned players and the receivers.

4. When the Jets do take to the air, they need to max protect when looking down the field. The passing game needs to be simplified…again. It is time to dump the base formation being a three receiver look. The Jets need two tight ends on the field, if they are releasing Keller into the formation so Matthew Mulligan can stay in to block. If they are going one tight end, get John Conner on the field to stay in and pass protect.

5. Finally, show a little pride. The Jets can put their head down, walk into New England take it on the chin from an angry Patriots team who had their season ended by the Jets smacking them around and showboating all over field or they can stand up, do what they did to New England last January and show the league, their fans, and everybody else…they aren’t dead yet.