It seems like only moments ago the Twitter feed was filled with complaints about the New York Jets lack of activity early in the league year. If you stayed patient, you were rewarded with a recent flurry of news and a likely eventful weekend on the way. Let’s catch up on what happened and more importantly what it means for the 2016 team…
1. RG 3 Intrigue – Earlier in the offseason, we briefly touched on RG 3 as a possibility to the Jets and have discussed it occasionally across Twitter. Considering the Jets current circumstances, taking a chance on Griffin is preferable to wildly overpaying for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Yes, they are doing their due diligence to send a message to Fitzpatrick’s camp that they are serious about their initial offer (which the market has so far bore out to be proper due to the lack of other offers) but make no mistake, the Jets are serious about RG 3 as a contingency plan. In a perfect world they would like to have both quarterbacks with him as a high upside backup to push Fitzpatrick in camp but the Jets are also prepared to move forward without Fitzpatrick if necessary.Griffin is intriguing. He lit the league on fire as a rookie and has since had a very public fall from grace in a very dysfunctional Washington organization. He is only 26 years old with 40 career touchdowns to 23 interceptions, we haven’t seen his trademark mobility in a few years but he also spent a year on the bench in 2015. The thought of Griffin in Chan Gailey’s offense is exciting. Gailey has got career years out of Kordell Steward, Tyler Thigpen and Ryan Fitzpatrick. What could he do with a player who has Griffin’s talent? The Jets could get him outside the pocket in a quick release offense that features Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Matt Forte (!) and Bilal Powell.
Is RG 3 at 5-6 million per year a better option than Ryan Fitzpatrick at 12-13 million per year? Absolutely. Is RG 3 a more exciting developmental prospect than Bryce Petty or Geno Smith? Absolutely.
It isn’t over for Fitzpatrick to come back, particularly as the market remains completely non existent for him. The Super Bowl winning GM chose to trade an asset for Mark Sanchez rather meet Fitzpatrick’s contract demands, so at what point does he come back and take the Jets initial offer?
2. A Moment For The Running Backs – The Jets new three headed monster in the backfield presents them with a wide range of personnel and formation options (I spoke about this further today on The Jets Blog Podcast)). Matt Forte is a quintessential three down back, who can get north and south on early downs, along with line up all over the field in passing situations. Bilal Powell? He can do the same thing. The Jets can play either on any of the three downs and both at the same time because of their ability to split out. More importantly, they will not have to overwork Forte because of Powell’s presence and the decision to sign Khiry Robinson.He will get lost in the shuffle because of the appropriate excitement over Forte and Powell but Robinson is only 26 years old and has a playing style that Jets fans will recognize after watching Chris Ivory the past few years. He is the type of back who should make an impact in the red zone and short yardage situations while being more than capable of handing a series or two each half if needed. The Jets have him on a one year deal but the hope is he can evolve into a more full time player and be brought back for 2017.
3. Act As If – We will get into more of the visits and moves the Jets have made but they are acting like a team who is either about to trade Muhammad Wilkerson or is going to severely restructure D’Brickashaw Ferguson’s contract, if not outright cut him.
4. A Y Tight End – The Jets hosted veteran tight end Jermaine Gresham for a visit today. We were pushing for Gresham last season but there was skepticism about his health. However, he put together a steady season in Arizona and is now back on the market. He would be an ideal option as the team’s in line or Y tight end to complement the Quincy Enunwa/Jace Amaro duo at H-Back. The Jets are likely to have some question marks at tackle and a strong blocking tight end only helps that. Any deal for Gresham would likely be a low cost, one to two year deal.
5. A New Defensive End – In the package of 27 year old Jarvis Jenkins, previously of the Chicago Bears, who is coming off a career high in sacks and tackles. The Jets have apparently agreed to a three year deal with Jenkins. Is he a Muhammad Wilkerson replacement? Let’s not be silly, the Jets view that guy as Leonard Williams. Could Jenkins be a very nice rotational piece, who could start if a certain defensive lineman happened to be suspended? Yes. This isn’t a Stephen Bowen depth signing. This is a player entering the prime of his career, who the Jets are banking can reach his full potential in their system. It is the move of a team who has accepted the fact they may need to move Wilkerson at some point before the NFL Draft.6. The Linebacker Shuffle – Shea McClellin was a name frequently paired with the Jets before free agency opened and he was in Florham Park today. The Jets are currently battling with the Oakland Raiders for Erin Henderson and McClellin is a player who has lined at up at defensive end, outside linebacker and most recently inside linebacker. There are mixed to mostly negative reviews of him coming out of Chicago but there was similar chatter about Marcus Gilchrist last offseason and the Jets manufactured a competent year out of him. I’m not sure a Henderson return precludes the Jets from bringing McClellin in because of the depth, versatility and special teams potential he may provide.
7. The Speed Guys – The Jets are still working on both Marcus Sherels and Rod Streater. Sherels is a competent depth piece at cornerback (and a likely goodbye to Darrin Walls) but more importantly gives the Jets a steady punt returner. Streater is Devin Smith insurance if his recovery takes longer than expected. He can do what the team wanted Chris Owusu to do last season before his injury, line up on the outside and clear out space for Marshall and Decker, while contributing on special teams.
8. Brick Contingency – The Jets also hosted former Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle Kelvin Beachum, who is coming off a torn ACL but has looked more than capable when on the field. He is only 27 years old and has been public about his desire to stay at left tackle, which translates to “hey, Brick consider this renegotiated contract or we are ready to move on.” The reality is that Ferguson has been an average player the past two years, the Jets very well may get better play from Beachum at a much younger age and cheaper cost. The team is also serious about Brent Qvale potentially replacing Breno Giacomini at right tackle. Could the Jets have two new tackles next year?
9. Don’t Forget The Fullback – The Jets are still interested in another former Steeler, Will Johnson who would be a fullback, H-Back hybrid in their offense. The addition of Johnson wouldn’t speak well to Tommy Bohanon’s future here and would continue a renovation of the Jets backfield.
10. Housekeeping – The Jets have retained the rights to Zach Sudfeld and Kenbrell Thompkins, while letting Ryan Quigley officially walk. Look for the Jets to poke around the punter market as the NFL Draft gets closer.
11. On The Defensive Line – We’ve been fielding a good amount of questions about some early rumored interest in Nick Fairley, who would be more of a Wilkerson replacement rather than a Damon Harrison replacement. Fairley’s skill set does not really translate to being a 3-4 nose tackle. In terms of replacing Snacks, the Jets have high hopes for Deon Simon, will be on the lookout for more depth draft weekend and then may explore the free agent market post NFL Draft.
12. The Guessing Game – One week ago I would have said it was 95% that Ryan Fitzpatrick was coming back. Today, I’d put that closer to 65-70%. It has been impressive to watch the Jets front office set their price, be correct about how the market valued Fitzpatrick and not yet budge on the negotiation.
Photo Credit: FreshNews2016