UPDATED 3/16/2012: New York Jets 2012 Predicted Offseason Plan
NFL Free Agency: the most exciting time of the NFL offseason. The Jets offseason, based on new contracts and NFL rules, should be very interesting and as always, highly entertaining.
With the needs currently piling up, Gang Green has a good month of Free Agency to address these needs. While this article will be predicting all of the Jets offseason, free agency will be the main focus.
Addressing the Jets's Needs
Quarterback - Mark Sanchez is here to stay, whether you like it or not. Personally, I think he is a great player if under the right surroundings. The Jets's front office has announced that next year's quarterback depth chart will not look the same. This seems obvious now seeing as there are only two quarterbacks on the Jets's roster: Mark Sanchez and Greg McElroy. At this point, the Jets should be looking for a player who has experience (and therefore can adjust to the new system) and can challenge Sanchez for the starting position if the 4th year quarterback experiences a setback.
Running Back - Similar to Mark Sanchez, the Jets are at crossroads with Shonn Greene. There's no denying that he is a good running back, but he is extremely inconsistent. In his first postseason he was a great player. Now it seems that he has trouble doing his true job. He's not a three-down tough runner that the Jets were looking for. He doesn't seem capable of being the chief backfield option. Therefore the Jets are going to need a stronger RB in the backfield. They may also want a good passing down option (similar to LT) but I think that Joe McKnight could be that player.
Wide Receiver - The Jets desperately need a lankier option who isn't afraid to jump in the red zone to retrieve a jump ball. They also could use a deep option. The Jets are also looking for a good run blocker depending on if Plaxico Burress is re-signed (he won't be)
Offensive Line - Save for the awful performance at RT, the Jets's offensive line was once again one of the stronger units. It is more than apparent that the Jets need a good pass blocking RT but they could use some serious depth. I understand that Robert Turner was injured but when Nick Mangold went down, the Jets were in deep trouble. I hope to never see that again.
Inside Linebacker - There's no denying that Bart Scott is slowing down at rapid speed. He still has that 'on switch' but only uses it when he feels like it. Realistically but not proven, Bart Scott is likely one of the biggest locker room cancers on the entire Jets squad. He needs to go. I don't mind sending him and a 7th round pick for a 6th if we can get him off of our team for more cap and a pick/player. Obviously the Jets are running the 3-4 and need another ILB to complement stud David Harris.
Outside Linebacker - The position that the Jets just cannot "get right." They've tried to recreate Baltimore's scary pass rush, but have failed miserably. The Jets are one of the worst teams at knocking down the quarterback and the team's sack leader was a waiver pick up before the season. The Jets desperately need a pass rushing OLB who is fast off the ball and can shed a blocker quickly. They also need an OLB who can cover TE's as the Jets are consistently torched by teams with stud TE's.
Safety - This is by far the most under-looked weakness of the Jets. It actually depresses me to share how poor the Jets's safety core is. Jim Leonhard is a good QB of the defense and a fine complimentary safety, but he should not be the team's only above average safety. The Jets desperately need a safety who can cover TE's and a deep WR and pick off the deep ball in double coverage.
Sione Pouha – 3 years, 8.5 million – He is the anchor of the Jets's defensive line and letting him go (and using Kenrick Ellis as NT) would be ludicrous. Re-signed with Jets on March 12.
Jim Leonhard – 2 years, 7 million – This would likely be an incentive heavy contract as he is an injury-prone safety who has not played a full season since 2009-2010.
Robert Turner – 2 years, 1.65 million – He is the depth of the offensive line. He obviously knows a lot about the offensive line and deserves a fighting chance with Wayne Hunter for the starting RT spot at training camp.
Nick Folk – 1 year, 850k – While he's not a great kicker, he has improved. He kicks well at the beginning of the season, but cools down as the weather becomes colder (no pun intended). I think if the Jets want a new kicker they could sign one to compete with Folk. Re-Signed with Jets on March 14.
Marquice Cole – 1 year, 725k – Cole is decent in coverage and a decent dime-back. Provides the Jets with strong depth in the defensive backfield.
Jamaal Westerman – None - He signed with the Dolphins. He was an average pass rusher for an undrafted free agent but his play against the run was humiliating and was one of the main reasons as to why the Jets were just average in stopping the run this past year. Signed with Miami Dolphins on March 15.
Aaron Maybin – 1 year, 1.3 million – A former bust with Buffalo, Maybin turned things around as the Jets' sack leader. With a full season under Rex Ryan, Mike Pettine and co. he could develop into a fine pass rusher. I also firmly believe that he is playing the correct position now as a constantly rush OLB. The salary is high, but it is mandatory because the Jets gave him a 1st round tender.
Brodney Pool – None – He was not a good injury fill-in and overall has not done much to impress me or the Jets. I could see him being a late Free Agency re-signing by the Jets because he has had two years with them and is good veteran depth. Signed with Dallas Cowboys on March 15.
Donald Strickland – None – I like Strickland because he does not get the credit he deserves. While he has given up his fair share of passes, he has also displayed some good man coverage ability, albeit inconsistent.
Matthew Mulligan – None – He was constantly flagged for bad penalties and was never a great blocking tight end in the first place. He also could not catch the ball besides one deep ball in Week 17.
Bryan Thomas – 1 year, 1 million - He was re-signed by the Jets on March 13, 2012 to a one year deal for a low salary. I guess the Jets want him to be good depth in the linebacking core, and is more important now with the departure of Jamaal Westerman. Re-signed with Jets on March 13.
Kevin O’Connell – None – I was never really sure why the Jets kept him. He never even got to go in the game. My only guess is that he knew the system and was once on the Patriots. However, both the Jets and Patriots have new offensive coordinators so O'Connell is useless in that sense.
Mark Brunnell – None – I strongly detested the addition of Brunnell. He was never going to challenge Sanchez for the job, he is left handed, and above all, he was learning the system just as Sanchez was. He was completely useless and should not be on the team after March 13.
Plaxico Burress – None – He did his job, just not all that well. He knows he is not staying, and he seems to be fine with this. Seems to me he just wanted his money and an opportunity for a bigger contact.
LaDainian Tomlinson – None – He doesn't have anything good to say publicly about the Jets locker room so why should he stay? He wants to play but he wouldn't serve as good depth and does not want to join a new team. He's going to wait in the free agency pool and then by April he will be retired.
New York Jets Cap Situation
According to NYJetsCap.com:
Estimated NFL Salary Cap Limit: $120,600,000
Current Jets Total: $114,674,413
Potential 2011 Carryover: $8,391,247
Current Estimated Cap Space: $13,446,834
This gives the Jets 13.45 million dollars to play with. However, on March 12th it was announced that the Redskins and Cowboys would be deducted money from their available cap and in turn, the other 30 NFL teams would receive a bonus 1.6 million. That gives the Jets $15 million to use.
Based on the expired contract that the Jets renewed in my previous slide, they would lose about 10.73 million dollars. That leaves them with roughly 4.27 million to spend on free agents.
Possible Trade Alert
New York Jets send: Bart Scott and 7th round pick (207).
Philadelphia Eagles send: 6th round pick (183).
Analysis: The Jets give up a decent player who would likely start in Philadelphia if Luke Kuechly is scooped before pick 15 and the Eagles cannot find a good MLB in free agency.
It saves the Jets 5.95 million dollars to use.
They're new cap is 10.22 million dollars.
Free Agency Signings
LaRon Landry: 4 years, 21 million - He is getting almost 6 million a year. He is definitely a great safety but he is also highly injury-prone. In Rex's defense he could be successful and he could also use the change of scenery. Visiting the Jets on March 17+18.
Vernon Carey: 2 years, 4.25 million - He could be a good RT replacement for the Jets. He knows the ground and pound system (he's from Miami and Sparano's system) and although he played guard last year he is generally a good tackle.
Chad Henne: 2 years, 4.5 million - He obviously knows the system, and whether he is or isn't a good quarterback, Tony Sparano sees something in him he should come for cheap. Signed with Jacksonville Jaguars on March 15.
Brady Quinn: 1 year, 2.5 million - Quinn would be an interesting addition to the team. He never really had the chance to prove himself on a good team. Even on the Browns he came out with some good decent stats. He would be a good game manager and his arm is much stronger than Sanchez's. Visiting the Jets on March 16.
Braylon Edwards: 1 year, 1 million - Jets fans and staff know his potential in a stable offense and adding him would immensely help the Jets receiver core.
Chaz Schilens: 3 years, 10 million - He has a rare speed, size combination that makes him a very interesting option for the Jets who sorely need a larger target to throw to. What I like about Schilens is that the Jets could acquire Schilens and Edwards for less money than they would a player like Robert Meachem. Visiting the Jets on an undisclosed date.
The Jets come into the NFL draft looking for an outside linebacker, inside linebacker and wide receiver.
Round 1 (Pick 16) - New York Jets select Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
Round 2 (Pick 47) - New York Jets select Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
Round 3 (Pick 78) - New York Jets select Tommy Streeter, WR, Miami University
Round 4 (Pick 108) - New York Jets select Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple
Round 5 (Pick 146) - New York Jets select Matt Reynolds, OT, BYU
Round 6 (Pick 177) - New York Jets select Bryan Anger, P, California
Round 6 (Pick 183) - New York Jets select Derek Moye, WR, Penn State
Conclusion: Looking at the 2012 New York Jets
If all of these moves came true, the Jets would be doing the following:
Lose: Brodney Pool, Derrick Strickland, Mark Brunnell, Kevin O'Connell, Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas
Add: LaRon Landry, Braylon Edwards, Vernon Carey, Brady Quinn, Chaz Schilens, Courtney Upshaw, Dont'a Hightower, Tommy Streeter, Bernard Pierce, Matt Reynolds, Bryan Anger, Derek Moye
With all of these additions, the Jets will be a playoff contender and a stronger, less embarrassing New York team.
(This is my first Bleacher Report article so please do not give me a hard time)