Jets Free Agency Tracker: Updated Signings, Rumors & Grades
The free agency frenzy is upon us.
It has already come back to haunt them, having lost one of their key players and having released another to create cap space.
Thus far, the Jets haven't made any signings, but the rumors are coming in fast and furious about potential visits. It could be tough to keep up with it all—it certainly is for me.
So consider this your one-stop shop for all the Jets rumors, reports, additions and subtractions. We'll also be keeping score with grades for each move.
Latest Rumors and Reports
March 18: Accordingt o Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, the Jets are interested in acquiring former Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. Think of him as an older, smaller, faster version of Stephen Hill.
March 15: According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the Jets are interested in the services of safety Dawan Landry.
March 15: Mehta reports the Jets are close to a deal with running back Mike Goodson.
March 13: The Indianapolis Colts' official Twitter account tweeted out a picture of safety LaRon Landry at their facility, visiting with the team. Owner Jim Irsay, who has been especially candid on Twitter over these past few days, said "Landry is literally in building now...but there are many other lines in the water."
March 13: According to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean, the Titans are visiting with running back Shonn Greene and are planning to get his contract done while he is visiting with them.
March 12: Rich Cimini of ESPN reports the Jets will visit with Raiders running back Mike Goodson.
March 12: Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Mike DeVito has scheduled a visit with the Chiefs.
March 12: Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Jets and Santonio Holmes have come to terms on a restructured contract which will allow the Jets more cap space. Holmes was set to count for $12.5 million against the salary cap in 2013, making him the most expensive wide receiver in the league. His $11.25 million in dead money made it impossible to cut him.
March 12: Costello reports the Jets are said to be interested in wide receiver Brandon Gibson. The former Rams wideout is an under-the-radar free-agent for sure, but is not without value. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News also reports that the Jets and Gibson have set up a meeting.
March 9: Rich Cimini of ESPN reports the Jets are trying to re-sign defensive tackle Mike DeVito before the free agency period begins. Cimini also reports that while DeVito is the most likely to stick around of all the Jets free agents, there are "a handful of teams" that are showing interest.
March 8: Conor Orr of the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger reports that the Jets have submitted an offer to restricted free agent tight end Jeff Cumberland. The sources believe it to be a low-level tender that would allow the Jets to match any other offers but would not reward the Jets any compensation should he sign elsewhere.
Free Agency Additions/Re-Signings
LB Antwan Barnes: terms unknown
K Nick Folk: one-year deal, terms unknown
DT Antonio Garay: one-year deal, terms unknown
G Willie Colon: one-year, $1.2 million contract
RB Mike Goodson: three-year, $6.9 million contract
QB David Garrard: terms unknown
OT Austin Howard: $2.02 million RFA tender (second round compensation)
LB Josh Mauga: one-year deal, terms unknown
TE Jeff Cumberland: $1.323 million RFA tender (no compensation)
Free Agency Subtractions
TE Dustin Keller: one-year, $4.25 million contract with the Dolphins
FS LaRon Landry: four year, $24 million contract with the Colts
DE Mike DeVito: three year, $12.6 million contract with the Chiefs
DT Sione Po'uha: clears $3.8 million off the cap
Jets Sign QB David Garrard
Terms: not yet known
In five injury-riddled seasons as the Jaguars starter, the East Orange, N.J. native threw 81 touchdowns against 50 interceptions and had a passer rating of 87. He took the 2011 season off in order to recover from surgery on a herniated disk, and spent the 2012 season on the shelf with a knee injury.
I viewed Garrard as the front-runner for the starting job with the Dolphins last year for his efficiency and his experience in a West Coast offense. Those factors could make him viable competition for Sanchez.
That being said, the signing provides no sort of closure to the Jets quarterback situation—after all, there were rumors that the Jets were expected to enter camp with as many as five quarterbacks on the roster. Even still, the Jets may not be pleased if Garrard suffers another season-ending injury.
Garrard is trying to pull off the rare two-year-hiatus comeback, which makes him comparable to Plaxico Burress, only with injuries instead of jail time.
Jets Release DT Sione Po'uha
The cap-strapped Jets need to find ways to save money, and Po'uha was set to count $6.2 million against the cap. For a nose tackle with back problems who never in his career played more than 60 percent of the snaps in a season, it wasn't all that tough to see this move coming.
The Jets get $3.8 million of that money back on their cap, and have plenty of young alternatives on the inside of the defensive line with names like Kenrick Ellis and Damon Harrison on the roster.
Muhammad Wilkerson is at his best as a defensive end, but could double as a nose tackle as well. The same could be said for Mike DeVito, who is set to become a free agent, but is said to be a priority for the team. Some of the money that was freed up by releasing Po'uha could be used to re-sign DeVito.
DT Mike DeVito Signs with Chiefs
The one player the Jets wanted to keep most, left.
DeVito started 12 games for the Jets at left defensive end, so the Jets could Muhammad Wilkerson to that side and increase Quinton Coples' role in the defense after playing just 47.4 percent of the team's snaps last year.
They probably don't feel entirely comfortable with their prospects on the defensive line right now, but it's not the end of the world. That being said, this move can hardly be seen as a success; the Jets were trying everything they could to bring DeVito back, but simply couldn't make it work from a financial standpoint.
RB Shonn Greene Signs with Titans
Terms: three year, $10 million contract with the Titans
I could only sit, slackjawed, staring at my screen as Adam Schefter's tweet crossed my timeline.
The Jets don't have much at running back, but they couldn't afford to give $3.3 million per year to Greene. He entered the 2011 season with the promise of being their bell cow for the ground-and-pound offense, and he's run backwards (both figuratively and literally, on the field and in the stat sheet) ever since.
The idea of him as a "back-to-back 1,000-yard running back" is misleading. After averaging 4.4 yards per carry in 2010, he dipped to 3.9 in 2011 and 3.7 in 2012.
The Jets should be fine with Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight—certainly not much worse off than they were with Greene—although they could certainly target another running back in the draft, and have been rumored to be bringing in running back Michael Bush for a visit.
SS Yeremiah Bell Signs with the Cardinals
Terms: one-year deal, terms unknown
Bell is 35 years old, but has played over 99 percent of the snaps in each of the past two seasons, and only came off the field at all in two games in 2012.
Bell's versatility and dependability could be missed, but the hope is that the Jets will get as much or more out of second-year safety Antonio Allen, who played just 72 defensive snaps total in 2012.
FS LaRon Landry Signs with the Colts
LaRon Landry was able to cash in on his Pro Bowl selection, however dubious it was. He doesn't excel at anything, but he's good at everything.
Landry played his first full 16-game season since 2008 last year. He could very well stay healthy and continue to play at a high level, but with so many other holes to fill, the Jets felt the money could be better spent elsewhere.
Barring an addition, the Jets will now turn to Josh Bush as their free safety for 2013.
The Jets have some work to do at safety, but they could be looking to get younger by moving on from their two starters, both of whom were brought in on one-year deals in 2012.
Jets Sign RB Mike Goodson
Notch one in the meaningless offseason win column for John Idzik.
Not only did he upgrade the running back position over last year's starter Shonn Greene, but he did it for less money per year than what Green got to join the Titans.
Goodson has been primarily a backup in his four years in the league, and spent the 2011 season on the shelf with a hamstring injury.
There is some concern about fumbles, but even after fumbling six times in two years, the Panthers were still excited to use him as a young complementary back. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry in 2010, and a whopping 6.3 YPC in 2012 with the Raiders, where he was a complement to Darren McFadden. Now, he'll probably get an opportunity to be a lead back.
It's not necessarily difficult to find good help at running back, but Goodson instantly becomes the Jets best option and at a very low price.
TE Dustin Keller Signs with the Dolphins
This marks the last of the Jets free-agency departures, and it could be one that stings a bit more than the others.
Receiving tight ends are a valuable component of Marty Mornhinweg's West Coast offense.
Not only that, Keller was a favorite target for Mark Sanchez with a team-leading 193 receptions on 333 targets for 2,341 yards over the past four years. Even though Sanchez may not be the starting quarterback for much longer, he may well be the starting quarterback in 2013. No matter who it is, they're going to have to find a way to replace his consistent production in the passing game.
The Jets have the cap space to make this signing, but it would have left them tight to fill other spots.
Jets Sign OT Willie Colon
Terms: one-year, $1.2 million
The Jets fill another big need on the cheap, picking up a guard to replace either free agent guard Brandon Moore or Matt Slauson, both of whom are on their way out as free agents.
The question with Colon will be his health. He has missed 35 games over the past three seasons. An achilles injury in 2010 kept him out the whole season; a torn triceps ended his 2011 season in Week 1; he missed five more games in 2012 with knee swelling.
So, safe to say, he's a gamble.
But he's a talented player, having ranked No. 1 in ProFootballFocus.com's pass-blocking efficiency from 2008 through 2010. With a contract this cheap, though, it's hard not to be impressed with Idzik as he plugs multiple holes on the roster with cheap fixes.
Jets Sign DT Antonio Garay
Terms: one-year deal, terms unknown
With two one-year contracts in the books on the same day, the Jets have addressed a hole that was created with the release of Sione Po'uha, or the departure of Mike DeVito. That depends on where the Jets project Garay to line up.
The Chargers used him as a nose tackle in 2010, but he's spent a majority of his career playing defensive tackle in a 4-3, meaning he lines up in a one- or three-technique. He is a much different player than the Jets have had on the line in the past.
He could be used in a similar capacity to DeVito, but he's a much better pass-rusher, having ranked in the top two in pass-rushing productivity among defensive tackles (according to ProFootballFocus.com) in 2010 and 2011.
That being said, there are some durability issues, as with most free agents.
As a transitional backup on a get-healthy one-year deal, this is a good signing to alleviate the loss of a blue-collar veteran with another blue-collar veteran.
Jets Re-Sign K Nick Folk
Terms: one-year deal, terms unknown
Folk has been up-and-down for the Jets as a kicker, and has never cleared 79 percent accuracy as a kicker in his career. This was a case of a team simply locking up its best option at a position.
The one-year deal could be one last chance for Folk to prove he's worthy of the starting job, or it could be foreshadowing a camp competition.
Jets Sign LB Antwan Barnes
After losing both Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas, the Jets needed to find an answer at outside linebacker, preferably by finding someone who can rush the passer a bit better than those two veterans did.
Antwan Barnes has made his living hunting quarterbacks for the Chargers, and in 2011, he was the second-most productive pass-rusher on a per-snap basis, with 29 pressures, five hits and 11 contributed sacks total according to ProFootballFocus.
That being said, his journeyman status is somewhat of a red flag. The Jets will mark the fourth team he'll suit up for in his seven-year career. This also continues the Jets' offseason trend of adding players coming off injury-riddled 2012 campaigns, as Barnes was placed on injured reserve in 2012 with a hamstring injury.
Can he find consistency, stay healthy, and stay put in New York? Time will tell. For now, this is a high-upside signing to fill a position of need.
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