The first two days of free agency have come and gone (actually 35 hours as of the time I am writing this) with the Jets having signed kicker Nick Folk, defensive lineman Leger Douzable, and right tackle Breno Giacomini as well as the number 1 wide receiver on the market Eric Decker. Right tackle Austin Howard left and signed with the Raiders for $30 million. In between, there has been rumors, close calls, players going elsewhere, visits and other innuendo through Twitter and other media sources. These 33 hours have seemed to be a week because of the 24/7 news cycle and Jets fans were ready (and are ready) to riot with every move that doesn’t happen or that they don’t agree with. It was impossible not to get caught up in the ebbs and flows while forgetting the fact that the team is building for the long-term not a few quick fixes.
On Day 1, the Jets were rumored to have a deal with a cornerback to replace Antonio Cromartie for when the free agency period opened. Some thought it was Alterraun Verner and others Vontae Davis. It turns out that it was Davis but instead of signing with the Jets, he resigned with the Colts, who upped their offer. The Jets next lost out of Verner, whom they weren’t as interested as reported, who signed with Tampa Bay. Then Aqib Talib shocked everyone by not resigning with New England, instead inking a deal with Denver. Another surprise was Austin Howard getting to free agency then signing with the Oakland Raiders for five years and $35 million with $15 million guaranteed, putting him in the top five highest paid right tackles, which he is not. Also, most of the safeties that Jets fans coveted went off the board quickly with Donte Whitner signing 1st in Cleveland, then TJ Ward signed in Denver while Jairus Byrd got over $50 million and $28 million in guarantees from the Saints. Another Jets target right guard Jon Asamoah spurned the Jets to sign with the Panthers for $4.5 million per year. Most of the contracts signed were inflated compared to even last year’s free agency period because of the extra cap space. Despite a lot of anxiety and disappointment by Jets fans, myself included, John Idzik stayed the course and refused to overpay.
Day two has seen the Jets plans start to come into focus. They brought in Giacomini from the World Champion Seahawks, where he started 40 games and has a SuperBowl ring. He is a 28-year-old former practice squad member who worked his way up. He might not have the “upside” of Howard and is two years older, but he is rated higher than Howard on most lists, including Pro Football Focus’, and was good enough to start on the Super Bowl champions. The Jets also have brought in Eric Decker, who is the highest rated wide receiver in this year’s deep wide receiver class. There are also reports that the Jets are very interested in James Jones to go along with Decker and will have a visit from Jones tomorrow. There are rumors of heavy interest in Maurice Jones-Drew “at the right price” and Brandon LaFell as a fallback for Jones. On the cornerback front, the Jets have set up a visit with Captain Munnerlyn and have interest in Brandon Browner. With Decker and Giacomini today was a good day for the Jets.