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.