New York Jets: So Now What?


Dec 22, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back

Maurice Jones-Drew

(32) runs the ball past Tennessee Titans safety

Bernard Pollard

(31) during the game at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed it here is a brief recap of the offseason to this point. Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie and eventually Mark Sanchez were released. Austin Howard left to sign with Oakland, who then moved to guard for some unknown reason. The Jets brought back Jeff Cumberland, Nick Folk, Calvin Pace, Willie Colon, Darrin Walls, Ellis Lankster, and Leger Douzable all on team-friendly deals. They claimed CB Johnny Patrick off waivers from San Diego and signed Eric Decker, Michael Vick and right tackle Breno Giacomini. The team thought they had a deal with CB Vontae Davis but were spurned at the last-minute as the Colts upped their offer substantially. Then cornerbacks Verner, Talib, Rodgers-Cromartie, Browner, Thurmond, Munnerlyn and Cromartie all signed elsewhere leaving a hole at cornerback. They are now playing a public game of chicken with the Eagles as they try to acquire DeSean Jackson to further solidify the receiving core.

So what happens now? Free agency has slowed down to a crawl and the draft isn’t happening for seven weeks. There are a few things to watch for in the time between now and the draft, however.

1) Maurice Jones-Drew – The Jets have been poking around the running back market looking to add another rusher to share the load with Ivory, be able to take over in case of injury and preferably have pass catching and blocking skills. The odds are that Mike Goodson is done with the Jets and even if he someone cops a plea and avoids the mandatory jail sentence, he will be suspended by the league for at least four games. They have “serious interest” in Maurice Jones-Drew, according to the least popular beat writer in the world Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News but only “at the right price”. Jones-Drew, 28, is currently seeking $3.5 million/year and no one has met his asking price. With Moreno about to sign in Miami the market for running backs should come into focus and the dominos should start falling, including Jones-Drew.

2) Tire kicking – The annual process where teams bring in players who suffered season-ending injuries from last season and see how they are progressing and whether it makes sense to sign them. This year’s group is headlined by tight end Jermichael Finley, who suffered a possible career-ending neck injury and has also had concussions. Finley visited the Seahawks for a couple of days but ended up failing the physical. Idzik and the Jets had interest in Finley last year before he returned to the Packers. Sidney Rice, formerly of the Seahawks, is another name being bantered about. Rice is coming off of an ACL tear and has been pretty injury-prone his entire career. He could be someone to take a flier on if the Jackson trade doesn’t pan out to pair with a rookie, Decker, and Kerley. This last one would probably be after the draft but Dustin Keller left and took a one year deal with Miami when no one wanted to pay him then tore up his knee in training camp. Maybe with Mornhinweg, Keller will reach his full potential.

3) The trade market – On the cornerback front it has been rumored that Johnathan Joseph of the Texans is on the trading block. He has two years remaining on his contract that pay him around $23 million. The Texans are about $9 million under the cap and have to be planning ahead for when JJ Watt’s mammoth extension is going to be coming. Joseph would be an improvement based on how Cromartie played last year, but is 30 and would only be a 1 or 2 year bridge to let a draft pick develop. The other trade rumor involving the Jets is for wide receiver Desean Jackson. Reports have been surfacing over the past month that Chip Kelly doesn’t like Jackson and that his attitude is wearing thin with the Eagles. The Eagles have done very little to squash the rumors that Jackson was available in a trade or even a candidate to be released. At the Owner’s Meetings this week, Woody Johnson mentioned Jackson by name when talking about acquiring players. A Syracuse newspaper, DYST Now, has reported that the Jets have offered a 4th and 5th round pick in exchange for Jackson but have so far been rebuffed. That would make sense because the Jets have, after compensatory picks, 3-4th round picks and 4-6th round picks so they could be aggressive in this way. Since there is no deadline approaching that will bring talks to a quick conclusion, expect this trade to possibly occur the week before the draft or even be consummated during it. There may be other trade options for the Jets, they just might not be publicly known just yet.

4) Draft talk, draft talk and more draft talk – Most analysts are saying this is one of the deepest drafts in the last 10 years and one of the best wide receiver drafts of all-time so there is plenty to dissect. There will be breakdowns of prospects, truth and smokescreens about Jet interest in players and many, many, many mock drafts. Since the draft has been moved back a couple of weeks this year to accommodate a Radio City show, that has since been cancelled, there will be more paralysis by analysis than ever.

Hopefully the Jets will be active during this period and acquire talent using their cap flexibility, both in free agency and the draft market, to fill some holes before the draft. After the draft we will have a good sense of where the Jets are headed this season and beyond so these are important times, just sit back and enjoy the ride.