New York Jets Lock Down David Harris, Now What?

The New York Jets have signed inside linebacker David Harris to a 4 year, 36 million dollar contract, with 29.5 million in guaranteed money. It is the most ever guaranteed money on a 4 year contract to a linebacker in NFL history. The move will free up about 6 million dollars on the cap this year, as Harris moves off the franchise tag.

Harris was a second round draft pick of the team in 2007 and has led the Jets in tackles the past two seasons. He is the final piece of the “Core Four” locked down to a long term deal, as Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Darrelle Revis all received one last season.

The extra cap space with likely be an impetus for Mike Tannenbaum to make another move. It will be interesting to see who the Jets pursue in free agency or via trade. They could use improved depth at safety, outside linebacker, and wide receiver. I wouldn’t put it past him to look for one more big acquisition in the coming week.

Despite One Loss, New York Jets Put Together Strong Off-Season

Prior to the past week’s free agency frenzy starting, we knew the following, whether you wanted to believe it or not –

  • The Jets prioritized Santonio Holmes well ahead of Braylon Edwards
  • The Jets needed a number two cornerback
  • Brad Smith wasn’t coming back
  • Their remaining group of veteran free agents would be a toss up on who stayed and left

Nnamdi Asomugha was a long shot who stormed out of nowhere to become a reality that quickly captivated Jets fans and their free agency coverage, and why wouldn’t he as the top player on the market? The contenders for his services began to drop off making it look like Asomugha ending up on the Jets was a sure thing.

We obviously know what happened. He shocked everybody by choosing the Philadelphia Eagles. Was it a stinging loss? Yes. Was it a death blow to the Jets free agency plans this off-season? Absolutely not. Asomugha was a luxury. Your off-season isn’t a failure if you can’t land both the best offensive free agent, which the Jets did in Santonio Holmes, and the best defensive free agent. Your team isn’t not a Super Bowl contender because they don’t have the two best corners in football on their team, especially when you still have arguably the best tandem in the league.

In the end, the Jets got Antonio Cromartie back on a reasonable contract and did keep that best tandem of corners in the league together. They did the right thing by bringing back Santonio Holmes over Braylon Edwards and suffered the obvious but necessary consequences of seeing Edwards and Brad Smith leave. Fortunately, there isn’t a gaping hole opposite Holmes as the Jets found a cheaper, short term alternative in Plaxico Burress, who does come with plenty of questions but also with plenty height, experience and talent.

Drew Coleman left but Donald Strickland was signed and if he is healthy can be a more than adequate replacement, never mind the hopeful improvement of 2010 first round pick Kyle Wilson. Eric Smith and Wayne Hunter were brought back to start at safety and right tackle, respectively. Were Brodney Pool and Damien Woody better options? Maybe, but the gap isn’t substantial enough to expect a major drop off at either position. When you throw in the expected return of Shaun Ellis and James Ihedigbo, along with the potential addition of another outside linebacker it is looking like another strong off-season for the Jets led by Mike Tannenbaum.

Is the team better on paper than it was last year? Probably not, but the potential is there for it to be substantially better especially if players like Kyle Wilson, Jamaal Westerman and Joe McKnight bring something to the table this year and the Jets get contributions out of rookies like Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, and Jeremy Kerley. Never mind the continued growth of quarterback Mark Sanchez.

With a few minor moves left to finish up, the Jets are still a Super Bowl contender and will be a handful for any team to deal with on both sides of the ball. If you don’t think they have something good going on in Florham Park, you’ll have to explain why Bart Scott and Calvin Pace restructured their contracts, LaDainian Tomlinson took a pay cut, Mark Sanchez volunteered to restructure his contract, Santonio Holmes took less money to stay here, and Plaxico Burress came here despite likely being able to get a better deal somewhere else.

Yes, I know Jason Taylor did leave for the Dolphins…but hey, we never liked him anyway.

Jets Training Camp 8/1: Unhappy Rumors & Smack Talk

Check back for more updates after this afternoon’s practice

Today started off with the good news about the New York Jets reaching an agreement with Antonio Cromartie, unfortunately it was followed with the bad news about veteran wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery being on the trading block.

I am not sure who the Jets could be thinking of targeting with the extra cap space they would free up by getting rid of Cotchery. At wide receiver, the only intriguing veteran left is Malcolm Floyd but would he be any cheaper than Cotchery? Is there an outside linebacker they are eyeing up like Matt Roth, Tully Banta-Cain, or Manny Lawson? I have a hard time finding it to be a wise decision to move Cotchery, a respected, reliable veteran who the Jets need as of right now.

There is no guarantee Plaxico Burress is ready to be a full time number two receiver and behind him the Jets have Patrick Turner and rookie fifth round pick Jeremy Kerley. How could they feel safe with that kind of depth chart? Cotchery had a down year in 2010 but was dealing with a herniated disc in  his back, which is now repaired and if you saw what he did against New England in the playoffs last year, you know he can still play.

Unless they are getting great value or have a free agent lined up we haven’t heard about that could be an immediate, high-impact player, it would be a huge risk to part ways with Cotchery.

Rex Ryan was back at the podium today…

  • He encouraged the rest of the NFL to find a way to beat New England as the Jets have been “the only team who can beat them.”…Two of the Patriots three losses were against the Jets in 2010.
  • Eric Smith was named the starting safety opposite Jim Leonhard.
  • The roster this year is “the best he ever had.”
  • Ryan is challenging Wayne Hunter to be “the best right tackle in football.”
  • He stood up for Braylon Edwards against recent reports that said some in the organization thought he was a diva by saying he was a great teammate and a hard worker.
  • Judging from his and Mike Tannenbaum’s words, the Jets are going to make another handful of moves.

By the way, you can go back to hating Jason Taylor again. He re-signed with the Miami Dolphins today.

Letting Go Of The Rope: Free Agents and Loose Morals

The latest episode of “Cincinatti Thrift” just ended, and Jonathan Joseph, 2006 first round pick of the Bengals, is a Texan. I am no longer shocked at how poorly run the Bengals are, I just grin and laugh with every failed attempt to keep talent, like when I watch Millionaire Matchmaker.

The Eagles seem to be heading towards the great divide of distraction and celebrity with the signing of Vince Young as a backup QB to Michael Vick, and the best second best corner in football. I repeat, the second best corner in football. Andy Reid seems to be running the hotel of broken egos and other people’s dreams.

While the period of free agency has yet to end, the past few days have signaled a shift in divisions like the NFC East and the AFC South. Before getting into the insanity of Pete Carroll and Chan Gailey, let’s take a quick peek at the Jets recent moves.

The real achievement was the resigning of Santonio Holmes, who will soon become a Pro Bowl receiver in one to two years time. Having Holmes takes pressure off their number two receiver, which will most likely be Plaxico Burress. What does this do for Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller? Single coverage.

Just this morning I was in the company of a good friend of mine who happens to be a Giants fan, when I received word that Plaxico Burress joined the Jets, and in his quotes, happened to cryptically bash Tom Coughlin while gushing about Rex Ryan. To break the news about his favorite ex-convict joining Rex & the boys made me want to scream with joy. The Jets now have one of the top ten passing tandems in the league. Two years out of the league, one preseason, they’ll both be ready to go.

On a whim, I decided to watch the 2002 through 2005 seasons in review, where I saw Mike Westhoff continually looking like a genius, regardless of who returned kickoffs and punts. Brad Smith is the ideal Mike Westhoff student. Fast, long, and versatile.

Recently, in a state of complete intoxication, Chan Gailey dreamed of Brad Smith as a starting quarterback. I think it’s going to be interesting after Brad Smith throws 3 interceptions in one game. Too far away from his role as a QB in college to start if he had to. People will get wise to the option very quick. See Auburn vs Oregon last year.

Will we miss Drew Coleman? Yes, but not as much now that we got Cromartie back. Let’s see what Donald Strickland can do on the field as my nickel corner and let Kyle Wilson go for blitzes and bump and run.

Cromartie may be under the assumption that he is good enough to be a number one corner. He isn’t. But damn if he isn’t the best number two in the league. Better than Asante Samuel in terms of complete skills. Samuel can play zone exceptionally well, but little else. Cromartie does everything well. Except tackle.

Who else should come back? Shaun Ellis and Trevor Pryce. The Jets need people to rotate in with their two new draft picks. If the Jets decide to get even more exotic in their blitz schemes, it will require between 2 and 4 down lineman on any given play. Look to Kyle Wilson to be used more in conjunction with Marquice Cole on blitz packages, and the linebacking core to attempt to get one more veteran before free agency is done.

Things may change. We have seen grand gestures and grand failures, the excitement of which has been enough to cause people to stop thinking clearly.