Exciting couple of days it’s been, eh Jet fans? Instead of starting my business & Gov paper or doing my Math Econ homework I decided to write this instead. To recap: Harvin is out the door, but in comes Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis, Bilal Powell, Buster Skrine, Ryan Fitzpatrick, James Carpenter, and probably Antonio Cromartie and Marcus Gilchrist as well.
Those transactions just about solve the current issues at wide receiver, cornerback, and safety. Any combination of Gilchrist/Antonio Allen/Calvin Pryor at safety isn’t exactly sexy, but one of the best corner groups in the league should help shore that up. Expect a lot of nickel heavy looks that feature Gilchrist in the Cover 1 and Pryor playing up in the box. Though it’s not 2009, Revis is still awesome and essentially eliminates 1 receiver from the field, Cromartie can hold his own, and Skrine will be solid covering the slot. Also: the team invested high draft picks in Dexter McDougle and Dee Milliner over the past couple years, so they will have time to sit and learn on the bench.
A strong secondary is a big deal nowadays, as it lets the team become creative with the front seven. The Jets are solid up on the D-line even if they don’t have Wilkerson locked up long term. Mo and Sheldon are essentially interchangeable all along the D-line (can play the 3-tech, 5-tech, and wide-9), so I bet we’ll be seeing some sort of hybrid between a base 4-3 and 3-4. I doubt anyone will give up a second round pick for Damon Harrison so expect to have him, Coples, and Kendrick Ellis/TJ Barnes mixed in there as well.
Two problems arise on the defense and that comes from pass-rusher and linebacker. The Jets recently re-signed David Harris who is a solid tackling/run-stopping linebacker, but a liability in coverage. That largely holds true for Demario Davis as well. On the other hand, I saw an interesting tidbit earlier, and that was that only two LBs played more than 50% of the defensive snaps on Bowles’ defense last season (Foote is very reminiscent of our own Harris). While I’m not saying linebacker will be a position of strength next season (it won’t), we should be able to get by with what we have. I also doubt we attempt to fill said position with anything more than a mid-late draft pick or low cost free agent.
That still leaves a pass rushing problem. The team currently has the corpses of Calvin Pace and Jason Babin as well as youngsters IK Enkempali and Trevor Reilly. Very unsexy indeed. I expect the Jets to address this spot during the draft with some speedy OLB such as Vic Beasley or the like. However, they can probably get away without touching the position as well.
Now unto the offense. The wide receivers should be solid with Marshall, Decker, and Kerley headlining the group. Ivory and Powell are both at back for another season, however this is a good draft for RBs and I can see us taking one as well. If that doesn’t happen, expect the Jets to sign one who can catch out of the backfield. The tight end position should be sufficient for now. I expect Amaro to take a big step forward in his second year in Chan Gailey’s spread offense. Cumberland will unfortunately most likely be around for another year, but eso lo que es. Sudfeld/Pantale will help block and/or receive should one of the first two get injured.
Offensive line is a major issue. Mangold is the only good player on the line, and Brick should be able to hold his own at LT for another season. Nonetheless, the rest of the group is all question marks. Breno isn’t very good for a tackle, but he’s the best option we have. The guards consist of Dozier, Aboushi, Winters, and now Carpenter. Not pretty when considering how good the other D-Lines in the AFC East are. One of those guys will definitely start, and I hope we draft a tackle to play guard for this season, and then move him out into Brick’s spot next year.
And the fabled quarterback position. Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Positives: 1) Geno finished the season with a 158.3 passer rating against the Dolphins. 2) Fitzpatrick is nicknamed Fitzmagic. Negatives: a lot. Neither of these guys are very good quarterbacks, but Geno has a higher upside and should perform better in Gailey’s spread offense. Fitzmagic had Gailey as his coach for a few years in Buffalo and it’s actually kind of surprising that he was a halfway decent QB there. It’s pretty obvious neither of these guys are the long-term solution here, but they’re both on pretty cheap deals and can do a solid job in the meantime. I am also vehemently against drafting Mariota. I’m not too thrilled with what I’ve seen in his mechanics and he reminds a little of Mark Sanchez without the arm strength. He’s a long-term project and that just doesn’t fulfill the need here in New York. In my personal opinion the team should stick with the current QBs and try to draft one in the 2016 draft.
So to recap the positions of need:
- Offensive line
- Pass rusher
- Running back
What I (personally) believe we will draft (in no specific order):
- Offensive line
- Pass rusher
- Running back
- Wide receiver
- Quarterback (late)
I also do expect the Jets to move back from the 6th pick in the first round in an effort to gain a couple more picks (only have a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 2 7ths). However, there’s absolutely no guarantee that happens.
I assume that if the Jets do lock up Cromartie and Gilchrist, then they will be done in free agency. I also expect them to work out an extension for Wilkerson before the season begins (ask my friend Joe for contract specifics) even if the extension kicks in next year. As of right now the Jets salary cap remains $155,587,794. Without counting the additions of Carpenter, Cromartie, and Gilchrist, their current salary sits at $137,226,320. That leaves them with around $18,361,474 in cap space. Now I personally believe the Jets have some information they’re withholding or they’re planning to do a move that frees up more cap space. Though what I have above is the information I could garner from public information. The new additions have cap hits as follows:
- Revis: $16,000,000 (worth it IMO)
- Marshall: $7,700,000
- Harris (re-signed): $7,500,000
- Skrine: $4,250,000
- Fitzpatrick: $3,250,000
- Powell (re-signed): $2,000,000
- Carpenter: Supposedly around $5,000,000
- Cromartie: Probably in the ballpark of $4,500,000
- Gilchrist: I estimate around $2,500,000
With the last three additions and the current salary figures, the Jets should have just over $6 million in cap space. I figure that number will end up being higher than the current projections, but teams would ideally like to have at least $7-$10 million in space before heading into the draft, so we will wait and see.
I have to give credit where credit is due and none of this is possible if John Idzik doesn’t save all that salary space instead of blowing it on someone like DRC (haha). I’m not going to sit here and rattle off playoff predictions, but I don’t think it’s too implausible to expect a Texans-like turnaround for the Jets next year. This guy seems to think so as well:
I’m pretty happy with the way this offseason has gone so far. Many experts claim winning free agency does not equate to regular season wins. I don’t think we’re the winners of free agency, I believe that we played the situation just right. I think we signed perhaps the best player at his position in Revis to a big contract, but the others have all been low-cost or low-risk contracts. The team had a lot of holes to fill heading into the offseason and the roster has already dramatically improved before we even hit the draft. Obviously nothing is set in stone yet, but I expect us to be in a comfortable cap situation heading into next season as well. So what do you think Jets fans? Let me know in the poll below.