Jets Still Have Items Left On Their Offseason Checklist


The Jets may have made the AFC Championship Game this past season, but their regular season record was 9-7.

If they want to take the next step they have a number of holes to fill on the team.

They started off the off-season by trading for Antonio Cromartie, filling their need of a number two corner to play opposite Darrelle Revis.

However, there is still plenty of work to be done.

Primary Needs

Defensive End

Shaun Ellis is no spring chicken and will turn 33 before next season starts and Marques Douglas, also 33, is currently an unrestricted free agent, who is drawing some interest around the league.

Mike DeVito is a nice backup, but would be stretched as a starter.  Even if they do end up bringing Douglas back, the Jets need to get younger along the defensive front.  I expect them to give Jared Odrick a long look in the first round.

Outside Linebacker

Calvin Pace is locked into one of the starting jobs, but the Jets are in need of a pass rushed to play opposite of him.  They thought they had one in Vernon Gholston, who they drafted with the 6th pick in 2008, but he has shown nothing in his two years.

The Patriots are expected to release Adalius Thomas soon and many expect the Jets to sign him.  He and Rex Ryan go back to Baltimore, where Thomas posted his best numbers.

Safety

The trade of Kerry Rhodes left a hole at safety for the Jets.  Eric Smith is a good third safety and spot starter, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable with him starting 16 games.

The Jets could look at free agency to fill the hole with targets being O.J. Atogwe and Brodney Pool among others.  They could also address the need via the draft.  If they drafted a safety, I would prefer they use a middle round pick because spending a first or second round pick on a safety after trading away your starter for a fourth round pick seems counterproductive.
Secondary Needs

Wide Receiver

The Jets are set at their starting wide outs with Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery.   They could use a good slot receiver though.

Adding another receiver will only help the development of Mark Sanchez as the Jets start to open up the playbook more.

There are rumors of the Jets bringing back Laveranues Coles and also many mock drafts have had the Jets taking a receiver, most notably Golden Tate or Jordan Shipley, who I think would be a great fit as a slot receiver.

Cornerback

While the Jets did trade for Antonio Cromartie, you can never have too many good cornerbacks.  The Jets learned this first hand in the AFC Championship Game, when the Colts receivers repeatedly burned their backup corners.

Adding a cornerback to play in dime packages to keep Drew Coleman off the field and possibly challenge Dwight Lowery for nickel duties should be a priority for the Jets.

Running Back

While the release of Thomas Jones paves the way for Shonn Greene to take over as the feature back the Jets still could use another runningback.

Leon Washington is coming off a serious leg injury and Shonn Greene got nicked up a few times during his rookie season.

You need two backs in today’s NFL and if either Greene of Leon go down the Jets are in trouble.

Offensive Line

The Jets have one of the best offensive lines in the league, but a few of the starters are getting up there in age.

Alan Faneca and Damien Woody can’t be counted on to keep up their level of play for much longer and the Jets don’t have adequete replacements on their roster.

They drafted Matt Slauson in the sixth round last year and should look to add another lineman through the draft this year.

Quarterback

Kellen Clemens hasn’t shown much of anything in his four seasons in the league and Eric Ainge and Kevin O’Connell are both developmental projects.

Mark Sanchez could benefit from a veteran backup, who can mentor the young quarterback.

Laveranues Coles: Once, Twice, Three Times a Jets Wide Receiver?

Wide receiver Laveranues Coles became an unrestricted free agent when the Cincinnati Bengals released him last week, and he could sign with the New York Jets. Again!

The New York Daily News Rich Cimini is reporting that the team is open to signing Coles for what would be his third stint with the Jets, although the report says the Jets would likely take their time and only offer him a modest contract. Because Coles was released, his signing with the Jets would not fall under the “final four” rule that requires the Jets, Colts, Saints and Vikings to lose an unrestricted free agent before they can sign one.

Last year the Jets cut Coles after he agreed to give up $6 million guaranteed in exchange for having the final year of his contract voided. After that he signed a four-year, $28 million contract with the Bengals, but he lasted only one season there.

Coles was drafted by the Jets in 2000, signed with the Redskins in 2003 and was traded back to the Jets in 2005 before leaving in 2009.

In 2009 with the Bengals Coles caught 43 passes for 514 yards, his lowest totals since his rookie year. With the Jets he would likely be the No. 3 receiver behind Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards.

Jets Fly Kerry Rhodes To Arizona

New York Jets have apparently had it with safety Kerry Rhodes and his struggles from last year. The New York Jets had stressed that he wouldn’t be traded this off season unless “something changed.” Well that change came in the package of a 4th and 7th rounder from the Arizona Cardinals. The 4th round pick will be part of this year’s draft, and the 7th rounder will come from the 2011 draft.  There is no question that Rhodes is a great football player, but his desire and motivation have been questioned on the field. He however did play well down the stretch for the Jets, and Cardinals fans have to hope that he will come ready to play in 2010.

Kerry Rhodes is expected to move into the starting spot opposite all-pro Adrian Wilson with the Cardinals.

Kerry Rhodes is expected to move into the starting spot opposite all-pro Adrian Wilson with the Cardinals.

The New York Jets had no choice but to get rid of Rhodes after last season’s atrocious output. Expected to be a leader on the Jet’s potent defense, he didn’t draw a turnover in the first 11 games and looked anemic through the first half of the season. He now has a chance to turn that all around and try to help Arizona to another NFC West division title.  If the Cardinals get the Rhodes of old, there is no question that this guy will make a big impact on the Cardinals NFL odds for next season, and might end up making even more plays than Rolle.

Either way the Cardinals only gave up a fourth round pick for Rhodes, so if it doesn’t work out its not the end of the world. While Rhodes is a nice addition, I don’t think that the Cardinals will have enough to make it back to the postseason in 2010, especially without retired quarterback Kurt Warner.

New York Jets Trade For Cornerback Antonio Cromartie

New York Jets Sign Cornerback Antonio Cromartie Thumbnail image for Cromartie.jpgA lot was made of how the Jets would struggle to upgrade their roster in 2010, with the Final Four Rules seriously restricting their normally-bustling activity on the free-agent market.

Well, in Rex Ryan fashion, New York raised a certain and yelled, “Screw the rules” an hour before the start of free agency.

Jets have acquired on-the-block Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie for a conditional 2011 draft pick — a second- or third-rounder, depending on playing time. And so now Cromartie is paired with Darrelle Revis to form a potentially fearsome pair of corners to patrol the New Meadowlands.

The downside for the Jets is considerable here. Cromartie had grown a reputation inside the Charger organization, from what I’ve heard, as an underachiever who’d declined as a playmaker (though he didn’t yield many big players) and had a problem with authority late in his time in San Diego. He also didn’t play a physical game, which was pretty obvious in the playoffs. Then, there are his legal issues.

The upshot is a corner as physically gifted as any in the game. He fits Rex Ryan’s desire for man-cover corners. He’ll get thrown at, to be sure, with Revis on the other side, and he’s got an 11-interception season in the books. And his presence, combined with Revis, will allow the defensive coaches all kinds of creative leeway in their rush packages.

Hard to argue the Jets didn’t just get better — if Ryan pushes the right buttons, they could be a lot better for this. But there’s significant risk here, too. Should be interesting.

Thomas Jones Released by NY Jets

New York Jet running back Thomas Jones was released by the organization Monday, multiple outlets report.

As the free agency period gets ready to begin on Friday, Mike Tannenbaum, general manager for the Jets, said that he informed Jones of the team’s decision and the reasons for it.

“Thomas joined us three years ago and has been a productive, passionate leader both on and off the field who has served as a positive influence for our younger players,” Tannenbaum remarked on NJ.com. “We were fortunate to acquire Thomas and wish him the best.”

This upcoming season, Thomas was to make $2.8 million, and additionally, was owed a roaster bonus of $3 million.  After failed attempts to come to terms on a new deal in which the organization wanted to pay less money, Thomas’ tenure with the Jets has come to a close.  Other teams like Cleveland or Minnesota would be willing to pay Jones his salary.

Jones tried to negotiate a new deal last off-season as well, as the running back made only $900,000 in base salary for the 2009-10 season.  He rushed for a career-high 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Jets.  New York led the entire league in rush-yards per game.  He was a cornerstone piece which spearheaded the Jets all the way to the AFC Championship game.  A cornerstone piece that will be very hard to replace.

The news of Jones release does not sit well with his teammates.  Two separate occasions, he was elected as the “team’s most inspirational player” ESPN.com reports.

“When I got here, Thomas immediately became one of my guys,” Jet head coach Ryan remarked of Jones. “He had one of his best years last season, might have been his best. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a player and a person. This is one of the tough decisions we had to make for our organization.”

With the break-up of the two parties, the Jets will rely on Shonn Greene, who was a rookie last year out of Iowa.  Greene saw significant playing time towards the end of the season and on into the playoffs.  But will he be able to pick up where Thomas Jones left off?

While at 32, Jones has continued to produce since being acquired from the Chicago Bears.  Two seasons ago, Jones led the AFC in rushing, and this past season he finished third.  At his age, many feel that at his position of running back players begin to break down.  This is a stereotype that Jones wants no part of.

“Whoever came up with that rule obviously didn’t play running back in this league, didn’t prepare like I prepare, didn’t watch film like I watch film, didn’t take care of their body like I take care of my body,” Jones remarked during last season. “Physically, I feel like a rookie” he told ESPN.com.

Jones is renowned for his workout routine and work ethic, keeping himself in the best shape that he can.  Until his fifth season in the league, Jones never had more than 140 carries.  To put that in perspective, he had over 330 this season.