Dec 9, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora (72) sacks New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. New York Giants defeat the New Orleans Saints 52-27. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
It’s Super Bowl Saturday, Jets fans and Jet Pressers. That means we are one day away from the big game, and pretty soon, we will be talking about the off-season, and roster moves, free agents…etc. Even though the free agent period has not begun as of yet, that hasn’t stopped the free agency TALK, as we have seen over the last few days.
Wouldn’t the guy to the right look good in Green and White? I know I think that he would. There has been a lot of talk about Osi Umenyiora possibly becoming a Jet in 2013, after he told the New York Post that if he doesn’t return to the Giants, the Jets could be a “good fit”. Safety Ed Reed is also a free agent, and has been linked to the Jets among other possible locations if he doesn’t return to the Ravens. This one is logical as well, as Reed was in Baltimore along with Rex Ryan.
As I saw this news come out, I know I was having Green and White dreams. Imagine Ed Reed added to our already second ranked pass defense! What about Osi? Could you imagine the effectiveness of Coples and Wilkerson, with Osi rushing the passer off of the edge? We would have a dominating front seven, not a good front seven. How exciting!
But, we need to keep things realistic, both from the Jets’ point of view, and from these player’s points of view. The statements, the connections to the Jets, or any other team, really don’t mean a whole heck of a lot at this stage of the game. It is what is going to happen at this stage, nothing more, nothing less.
First, let’s talk from the player’s perspective. We will use Osi because he made the most direct statements about Rex. Osi, or for that matter Ed Reed or anyone else, is a free agent, able to take his services to the highest bidder. Why wouldn’t he say he would come to the Jets, if asked? It’s not good business to say otherwise. He wants to get as many offers as possible, from as many teams as possible. Fact is that a player will play anywhere, if the price is right. The more teams that are involved, the higher the offers can get jacked up, and the more money that the player can make. He can use it as leverage against the current team as well, presenting more offers to them in order to jack up their offer too.
It would make no business sense for a player to say that he wouldn’t play for a particular team. And that is all Osi did, folks, was not deny the opportunity to come to the Jets if the price is right. Turn the page and we will look at it from the Jets perspective.
Dec 17, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets players and coaches observe a moment of silence in honor of the shooting victims of Sandy Hook elementary school before the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. From left: quarterback Mark Sanchez (6), coach Rex Ryan and defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman and cornerback Ellis Lankster (26). Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
Now let’s consider the prospect from Rex Ryan, and new defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman’s perspective.
First of all, Osi Umenyiora has made a career out of rushing the passer with his hand in the dirt, playing in a 4-3 scheme. Unless a radical change is made, the Jets aren’t moving to a 4-3 scheme, at least not full time. If Osi were to come over to the Jets, he would likely be expected to rush the passer, at least some of the time, in a 3-4 scheme, possibly even standing up. Osi Umenyiora has been doing this for a long time, it would be hard to expect him to learn a new system at this point in his career.
It is more likely that Osi, if he leaves the Giants, would go to a team that is more deeply routed in a 4-3 scheme. And that is if he leaves, in his statement he also said he would like to retire a Giant.
Finally, don’t forget about our cap situation, which is going to make signing a high profile free agent unlikely. We have talked about it many times before, it’s a lot worse than it looks. Yes, we are going to get under the salary cap after cutting the likes of Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, …etc., but that is not the end of the problem. The trouble is that after all those moves, we will only have 10-11 starters under contract. Thanks to Mike Tannenbaum, who if he is a cap-genius he earned that distinction from the Isaiah Thomas School of Finance, the Jets are in a world of hurt with the cap.
It’s nice to dream about signing big free agents. Who knows? Maybe John Idzik is a cap genius, and can get guys to sign contracts that don’t count much against the cap, we don’t know. But the more likely scenario is that we are going to have to move forward in 2013 with mid-level free agents and young players.
So what did we learn by listening to these players? That they are keeping their options open, and that one of those options is the Jets. Just don’t get too excited guys. As great as having these guys would be, we have to stay realistic. Could it happen? Sure. I just don’t want you to get your hopes up. Nobody does well with getting let down, especially by this team.