New York Jets: Grading the Free Agency Moves and Trades
Feb 18, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan speaks to the media during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Maccagnan and the New York Jets have been busy, have they not? This has been quite the departure from recent years. The Jets have identified the holes in the roster, and are tirelessly working to fill those holes, starting right here in the free agency period.
Right now, the Jets have added a veteran quarterback, a big play receiver, and are rebuilding the defensive secondary. I think we can all safely assume that the New York Jets we see in 2015 will be very different from the Jets that we saw in 2014.
So, how are the Jets doing so far? This morning I wanted to give you my grade on each of the moves that the Jets have made so far. Here they come, so you all can debate.
Nov 27, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiverBrandon Marshall
(15) on the sidelines during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
BRANDON MARSHALL: We start with the trade that got the ball rolling. The Jets acquired Brandon Marshall several days ago in return for a fifth round draft pick. The Jets also acquired a seventh round pick along with Marshall. Marshall brings with him a big play ability not often seen in Green and White.
Marshall was a steal for the New York Jets. Marshall is a five time Pro Bowl selection, and had been automatic for 1,000 yards receiving, and lately posting double-digit touchdowns as well. He was showing no signs of slowing down last season with over 700 yards receiving and eight scores before going down with injury. He has had off the field problems which concern you a little, but this decision was far too easy for the New York Jets.
Dec 21, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks offensive guardJames Carpenter
(77) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Seahawks defeated the Cardinals 35-6. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
JAMES CARPENTER: The Jets added some beef on the offensive line, adding James Carpenter, formerly of the two time NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks. Carpenter is a big guy, coming in at 6’5″, 320 pounds. The Jets need beef in the middle of the line, especially with Ndamukong Suh joining the AFC East with the Miami Dolphins. Suh may be a punk, but he can certainly make things difficult when trying to run the football.
But is Carpenter the right guy? Ultimately I am going to defer to Mike Maccagnan and his extensive background as a scout, but we have to go with what we know to evaluate this move for the Jets. He graded horribly against overall with a -12.0 PFF grade, and a -10.3 grade blocking in the run game. His only positive mark was a 0.6 in pass blocking. Is Matthews an upgrade over the guys at the position now? Not really sure on this one.
Dec 14, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans linebackerAvery Williamson
(54) tackles New York Jets running backBilal Powell
(29) during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
BILAL POWELL: The Jets brought back one of their own as well. Without Chris Johnson, the Jets were in need of a backup running back. Many thought it was going to be C.J. Spiller, who granted doesn’t have a team yet. But, the Jets decided to bring back Bilal Powell. There were rumors of Rex Ryan’s interest up in Buffalo, but the Jets have decided to keep him around.
Bilal Powell is a very good all-around football player. He can run the ball, and he can add an element in the passing game that the Jets just don’t have with Chris Ivory. There is a great case for keeping Bilal Powell around. But the question becomes, should the Jets have upgraded at the position? It’s a fair one, with guys like C.J. Spiller and Justin Forsett available on the market.
The Jets could have made a move to make an upgrade, but I am not going to take anything away from the solid ability of Bilal Powell.
Dec 28, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiverSteve Smith
(89) defended by Cleveland Browns defensive backBuster Skrine
(22) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
BUSTER SKRINE: The Jets have added more than one cornerback so far. Granted, this one isn’t as well-known as the guy we are going to talk about in a few minutes but he is still a cornerback. The Jets brought in a young man named Buster Skrine, previously of the Cleveland Browns. Skrine is a young man who will provide competition and depth at the position.
This guy might be a huge hit or miss type of player. Last season, Skrine posted four interceptions and 18 passes defended. He was also called for 17 penalties. Which player are the Jets going to get? Don’t forget, though the penalty number is high, there was a huge focus on illegal contact fouls last season. All defensive backs received an increased number of penalty calls. You have to look at a guy at the position with that in mind.
To me, Skrine is a guy that seems to find the football. That is what the Jets need, and it definitely makes him, if nothing else, an upgrade on Kyle Wilson. His youth mitigates the grade a little bit.
Nov 30, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterbackRyan Fitzpatrick
(14) on the sidelines during the game against the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
RYAN FITZPATRICK: The man with the Nick Mangold-esque beard is a member of the New York Jets. The Jets acquired the 32-year-old Harvard graduate from the Texans for a conditional late round draft pick. Fitz became expendable when the Texans signed Brian Hoyer to a free agent contract.
Fitz may not be a great quarterback, but he is the best option that the New York Jets had. He is smart with the football, and more efficient than you might realize. He isn’t the future, but Fitz will provide adequate competition for the Jets at quarterback, and will serve as a mentor for Geno Smith.
GRADE: A- (Yes, I just gave this as high a grade as the Marshall signing. Jets made a great move here in my opinion.)
Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets inside linebacker David Harris (52) sacks Miami Dolphins quarterbackRyan Tannehill
(17) in the second half at Sun Life Stadium. The Jets defeated Miami 37-24. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
DAVID HARRIS: The Jets also brought back a leader on the defensive side of the football in David Harris. Harris has been a stout member of the Jets linebacking corp since his arrival in 2007. There were again rumors of Rex Ryan interest in Buffalo, but the Jets brought the inside linebacker home with a three year, $21.5 million contract.
Harris has gotten a bit slower, as he has a rough time against the pass. His tackling ability has not dropped off, with 123 tackles last season, taking him over the 1,000 tackle mark. Three years for a 31 year old linebacker that is not a pass rusher is a bit high. But, the Jets needed to keep a veteran in that group to move into the new era.
Aug 1, 2013; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets guard Willie Colon (66) during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
WILLIE COLON: Today, the Jets have brought back veteran guard Willie Colon. His contract, per reports, is for one year at the veteran minimum. Colon will be looked at to bring a veteran influence to the Jets, and provide competition to the younger players at the offensive guard position.
To me, this is the worst of the moves the Jets have made so far. I mean, I understand the finances. There certainly wasn’t a huge market for the guy. But, he led the position in penalties last year. He didn’t provide much at all in terms of effectiveness. Willie Colon is a player on the decline, and a roster spot that could have been better used elsewhere.
iFeb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick celebrates with cornerbackDarrelle Revis
(24) after beating the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
DARRELLE REVIS: Now we talk about this dude. Darrelle Revis. Revis returns to where it all started, with the New York Jets. I have been debating about this grade all day long, because you know how I feel about the guy, but there is no question that he upgrades the Jets on the field.
In the end, I am still not a fan of this move. The drama that Darrelle Revis brings to the Jets is not worth what he brings on the field. As he is not the same player he once was, he is not worth all of the nonsense. If the Jets win the Super Bowl in the next two years, I will be completely wrong, but I just don’t see it. He is an upgrade over the talent on the field, so here is my grade.
Nov 3, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) celebrates with defensive tackleLeger Douzable
after an interception against the New Orleans Saints in the first half during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
ANTONIO CROMARTIE: The Jets signed the other big ticket item they wanted. Antonio Cromartie is coming home. Cromartie was signed Thursday to a four year deal worth a minimum of $32 million. He brings his knowledge of the Todd Bowles defense as well as experience playing in New York, back to town to play with former teammate Darrelle Revis. The Jets young cornerbacks will benefit greatly from this signing as well.
Four years is a lot for a cornerback of his age. But you know how I feel about this one. Great move for the Jets. The secondary needed to be revamped, and bringing in Antonio Cromartie brings that process to the forefront.
December 20, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers strong safety Marcus Gilchrist (38) before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi
MARCUS GILCHRIST: The Jets latest signing is a safety. Late Thursday night, the Jets agreed to a four-year contract with former Chargers safety Marcus Gilchrist. Gilchrist is coming in to help Calvin Pryor play at his natural position. Dawan Landry is likely to walk in free agency, and Gilchrist is set to replace him.
I love the idea of bringing in a safety. I just don’t know if Gilchrist is the right guy. Talented tackler, but I don’t think he is around the ball enough to be a true free safety. The Jets need a true free safety. This guy is durable, and a good tackler, but I am not sure if he can make enough plays on the football. Taking all of that into account…
Let the debate begin.
Next: Darrelle Revis: The Morning After