The Jets made a big splash in both the free-agency market and trade block this offseason. By dealing and acquiring players, they made themselves a Super Bowl contender for the next year.
They signed LaDainian Tomlinson, Nick Folk, Brodney Pool, and Lance Laury, traded for Antonio Cromartie and Santonio Holmes, and shed the underperforming Kerry Rhodes, aging Thomas Jones, and plain bad Lito Sheppard. All this before the draft.
So how good was the Jets' pre-draft offseason? I will grade each individual move, then give an overall grade. The picks are in chronological order.
Move No. 1: Signed Nick Folk
The Jets' first move, to say the least, was strange. Jay Feely was coming off one of his best years. Folk was coming off his worst. However, if you look at the numbers, Folk is the better in the long run.
I wrote another article about this recently. Basically, if Folk kicks like he did in 2008-09, good move. '09-10? Bad move.
Move No. 2: Antonio Cromartie for conditional 2011 pick, Lito Sheppard cut
The first big trade of the year. Talent-wise, this is a great move. Cromartie is a top-tier cornerback who should excel in the Jets' man-to-man coverage schemes. He is a former All-Pro and under 25. So he is a steal with just a third- or second-round pick.
However, Cromartie's personality is questionable. He has fathered seven kids with six different women. Also, if anyone saw the Jets-Chargers game, you saw Cromartie give up on the tackle that let Shonn Greene score a touchdown. That raises dedication questions.
Still, if he doesn't work out next year, all you lost is a third-rounder. If he is good, you suddenly have the best cornerback pair in the league for only a second-rounder.
Getting rid of Lito Sheppard? Great. He was on the injury report too often and couldn't perform when off it.
Move No. 3: Traded Kerry Rhodes for a fourth-round pick, signed Brodney Pool
A year or two ago, this would be a terrible move. However, this is 2010, and Rhodes doesn't give a damn. He was underperforming and needed to be dealt.
Brodney Pool, on the other hand, is talented, but he has a dubious injury history with four concussions. He was an RFA with no tender, so there was not much given up, and a one-year contract means not too much risk. Overall, a good move.
Move No. 4: Cut Thomas Jones, signed LT
I don't like this move. Jones is still usable as a runner, while LT is burned out. Jones is a leader, LT is a lone wolf. LT is a weapon out of the back field, but I prefer TJ.
Move No. 5: Signed Lance Laury
This is the best move you never heard of. Lance Laury not only adds ILB depth, he is a special team specialist (no pun intended). Great move.
Move No. 6: Santonio Holmes for a fifth-round pick
I don't care what they say about Holmes' character. This is not a steal; this is a highway robbery.
He is the previous year's Super Bowl MVP. He was Ben Roethlisberger's No. 1 receiver. He is a great player. Although he has character issues, for a fifth-round pick he's a steal. He gives Mark Sanchez a great target who can actually catch a ball.
OVERALL GRADE: A-
I think that the Jets were the biggest players this offseason so far. They filled all needs except the need for an improved pass rush. This will be addressed in the draft.
Look out for my offseason grades after the draft! Post thy comments below.