New York Jets and the First Two Days Of Free Agency


Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Darrelle Revis” src=”” width=”200″ height=”150″ />However, Jets fans have a bad taste in their mouth because of our old friend Darrelle Revis. Revis was released before 4PM by the Buccaneers which enabled Tampa Bay to send their 4th round pick to the Jets instead of their 3rd rounder. Revis wasn’t done toying with Jets fans as his team leaked reports that he was interested in coming back to the Jets and that the Jets were interested and reached out to negotiate. None of it was true and he signed shortly after with the New England Patriots. No player gets the fans more fired up than Revis and no team gets Jets fans fired up more than the Patriots so the two combining forces nearly crashed the internet. There is a lot of emotion involved and that leads people to not think rationally. Rationally, as much as it was fun to think he might come back, the ship had sailed for Revis here with the Jets and there was just too much water under the bridge. The Jets need to take care of their own holes and do it long-term. Today they locked up a right tackle and possibly a wide receiver. There will be more help to come. With Revis taking a one year deal this contract squabbling will happen all over again next year. It just isn’t a headache the Jets need.

I’d tell everyone to stay patient and wait for the plan to unfold, but it really doesn’t matter whether you do or not because John Idzik is going to do just that. He deserves more than 33 hours to unveil his plan. The mantra has always been to build through the drafts because that’s how good, sustainable teams are built while adding players to your core in free agents to fill holes. Consistently good teams don’t overspend and lose their cap flexibility especially while they are building. This team isn’t one or two pieces away from winning a championship, they are a team trying to build a roster that will be consistently good. So you can either relax and watch the plan unfold while saving your panic for after the draft or you can yell and scream at a guy who doesn’t care what you think and won’t change his plan for anyone. Your choice.