The league year officially opens tomorrow at 4PM but the action and rumors have already started in the NFL. Check out yesterday’s New York Jets free agency primer and stay with us right here throughout the day for updates, analysis and reaction…
10:50PM – Wrapping up a quiet day one in Jets land with a few final observations: The Ivory news isn’t unexpected, as the Jets had made it clear for awhile they weren’t going to get into a bidding war in the open market for him. He gave them three years of production at an affordable rate but considering his ongoing injury woes, it wasn’t time to pay him well over 6 million per year. The Jets currently continue to focus on finding a way to bring Bilal Powell back but they will have competition, namely from New England, Dallas and Baltimore.It sounds like offensive line and cornerback could be focus areas when the Jets do go shopping in the coming days and it wouldn’t be surprising at all if their first notable signing came at one of those two positions. – Joe Caporoso
10:19PM – Adam Schefter is reporting that Chris Ivory will sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars once free agency officially opens tomorrow afternoon. Ian Rapoport writes that Ivory’s deal is for at least six million annual, matching the earlier report from Kimberley Martin that Ivory was seeking 6.5 million annually. It’s an obvious premium for Ivory but it comes from a team that has more money than they know what to do with that has to spend, so we’ll see how that affects the position market otherwise. The agents of Doug Martin and Lamar Miller are probably licking their chops. – David Aitken
9:04 PM – Tony Pauline of Draft Insider just reported that two sources have confirmed to him that the Jets are one of six teams in the final mix for Seattle Seahawks guard JR Sweezy. He is a 26 year old former 7th round pick that has developed into a competent guard in the Seahawks system. He was a defensive lineman in college, which makes his transition to a guard reminiscent of former Jet great Brandon Moore. He is incredibly athletic and has developed into a consistent starter. He is a better run blocker than pass blocker, but that’s not to say that he is incompetent in the passing game. He’s just a nasty run blocker, and that part of his game is better than his pass protection. He started 13 games for the Seahawks during their Super Bowl winning season next to current Jets James Carpenter and Breno Giacomini. There is familiarity there, for sure. He also started 16 games for the first time in his career in 2014 when the Seahawks returned to the Super Bowl. He just finished up his rookie deal, which paid him $539,212 annually. He’s due for an increase and the Jets are limited in what they can offer him, but adding him to James Carpenter and potentially a first round pick like Jack Conklin or Taylor Decker would give the Jets 3 OL under the age of 30. .– Dalbin Osorio
4:55PM – Day one has brought plenty of movement already for a number of the top free agents, but one position with no significant moves locked up yet is at running back. In regards to the Jets keeping their stable of backs together, the already unlikely scenario of Chris Ivory returning got even more unlikely with Kimberley Martin’s report that Ivory is seeking at least 6.5 million annually. That is a franchise back kind of salary that Ivory is almost certain not to see, but it’s an indication of where his mindset is. Unfortunately for Ivory, this is as deep as the running back market has been in some time and he’ll likely have his value determined by what the likes of Lamar Miller and Doug Martin sign for. The Texans and Cowboys are both heavily linked with Miller, Martin has a handful of teams interested in him, and Matt Forte is drawing interest from Green Bay. Once the major deals are completed, expect the Jets to know where they stand and become more active in putting together a running back stable with the next tier of available talent. – David Aitken3:10PM – Two names from the defending Super Bowl champs to potentially watch: running back CJ Anderson who received a low round tender as a RFA and recently released guard Louis Vasquez, both would be logical fits for the Jets at positions of need.
Defensive end Malik Jackson signed a $90 million dollar contract ($42 million guaranteed) with the Jacksonville Jaguars, which takes away one potential Muhammad Wilkerson suitor and means that he will still want right around $100 million from the Jets. One thing to remember if you are still clinging on to hope that the Jets will come to a long term agreement with Wilkerson. Jacqueline Davidson negotiates and structures contracts for the Jets. She did it under John Idzik and she does it under Mike Maccagnan. After 2013 and 2014, she had tons of cap space to work with and no deal was struck. The two sides fundamentally disagree on his value and that is not going to change anytime soon.
I don’t mean to compile news you will not be excited about but it remains very unlikely Damon Harrison will return with the size of the market that will be bidding for him. A few other names that are now off the market Tamba Hali (Kansas City), Ben Watson (Ravens) and Joe Barksdale (Chargers).
Meanwhile, Jets Twitter waits for news. Stay patient out there… – Joe Caporoso
10:50AM – Early rumors today that the Jets are interested in veteran cornerbacks, namely Pacman Jones and Prince Amukamara. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody considering the Jets base defense has three cornerbacks on the field and they regularly use 4 or 5 of them at once. Marcus Williams is an intriguing option across from Darrelle Revis but the Jets aren’t going to hand him the job without veteran competition and they need more depth overall. Jones has obviously had his issues off and on the field in the past but the Jets organization is confident in their infrastructure to keep him under control. He also has a good relationship with Brandon Marshall. Finally, he solves the Jets long standing punt return issue. Amukamara is younger and has more upside but has been both inconsistent and banged up throughout his career.
Either way, it would be surprising if the Jets didn’t a corner within the next week or so. One other interesting note is that the Jets were apparently involved in bidding for highly sought after guard Kalechi Osemele before he signed with Oakland for over 10 million per year. At least the Jets recognize they need to upgrade their offensive line. – Joe Caporoso
9:10AM – Monday was a quiet day for the Jets and a day filled with many agents telling many writers that many teams want their players, leading to the standard unnecessary amounts of panic among fans. At this point of the week, I generally defer to being skeptical of most of the chatter. The noise surrounding the Jets yesterday is how far apart they are in contract negotiations with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. This feels like his agent Jimmy Sexton doing his job and pushing to have Fitz test the market, followed by the Jets calling his bluff and telling him to go right ahead. It remains very difficult to see a team putting a substantially bigger offer in front of him than what the Jets would offer. Could it be Los Angeles? Maybe Denver if things go south with Brock Osweiler? Beyond that, who else is there with Houston having traded him away a year ago and Cleveland likely taking a quarterback with the second pick? It still feels like a safe bet that Fitzpatrick is ultimately back.
As for the Jets other free agents, it sounds like Damon Harrison, Bilal Powell, Chris Ivory and Erin Henderson will all hit the open market. Numerous teams have rumored interest in Ivory, while the Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders have been linked to Harrison and Henderson, respectively. Harrison and Ivory seem more likely to be goners than Powell and Henderson at this point but the Jets risk getting in a bidding war with each passing day.
Externally, we included a list of potential targets in yesterday’s primer and offensive guard JR Sweezy and defensive lineman Nick Fairley were both linked with the Jets yesterday. There were 10+ teams rumored with Sweezy so I wouldn’t assume anything is imminent. The Jets may just be another team on a list being pushed out by his management. However, the Jets have signed a lineman from Seattle each of the previous two offseasons and Sweezy is the type of player who could provide depth and push Brian Winters out of a job. Fairley would be more of a Mo Wilkerson replacement than a Damon Harrison replacement. With a handful of trades completed yesterday, could the Jets be closer than is generally assumed on moving him?
Beyond that, today would be a logical day for the Jets to take care of housekeeping issues like releasing Jeff Cumberland and Jeremy Kerley, along with maybe Breno Giacomini. While we wait for news? Here is a Eric Decker GIF… – Joe Caporoso
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com