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Jets Roll Dice With Jones And Feely

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By Tyson Rauch

The NFL free agency period is quickly approaching and teams throughout the league are starting to make tough personnel decisions. Money talks in the National Football League, and if you are an older player with a high price tag, things start to get interesting. The New York Jets have taken a questionable stance with two players that were major contributors in 2009.

According to several reports Gang Green has asked running back Thomas Jones to take a pay cut in order to remain on the team. Jones is due a $3 million dollar bonus in March and is slated to make $2.8 in salary in 2010. Lets take a look at the pros and cons of having Jones on the roster.

Pros:
1) Thomas Jones is still a reliable running back (1,402 yards 14 td in 2009) and is a team leader on and off of the field.
2) Jones can still be a very effective short yardage back and can serve as the power in a 1-2 punch with Shonn Greene.
3) The Jets have some question marks at the running back position with Shonn Greene having an injury plagued 2009 season and Leon Washington returning from major surgery.
4) Due to restrictions from the Final Eight rule, the Jets will have their hands tied in free agency and have only 5 picks in the upcoming draft. Is there a better option than Thomas Jones available to Gang Green?

Cons:
1) Jones ended the 2009 season banged up and there is a chance that his 1,541 carries over the past 5 seasons have caught up to him. Thomas will be turning 32 in 2010, which based on history is usually when running backs start to break down.
2) Thomas may have lost some of his explosiveness, limiting him to more of a short yardage back. Is this type of back worth $5.8 million in 2010?
3) An argument can be made that behind the Jets offensive line, most average running backs will be somewhat productive. With that being said cheaper options can be found.

My stance: At this point I think the Jets would be wise to work out an extension with Thomas Jones keeping him as a Jet in 2010. With an uncapped year I am not so worried about salaries as I am about having the best team possible on the field. Gang Green cannot afford to use a draft pick on a running back and I can see journeymen running backs becoming hot commodities in the NFL. The Jets are built to make a run in 2010 and I think a Jones/Greene 1-2 punch is the way to go.

Jay Feely is an unrestricted free agent and at this point the Jets are letting the placekicker test free agency. In the meantime Gang Green has signed Nick Folk as a contingency plan, but he is coming off of a dreadful 2009 campaign. Lets take a look at Feely’s situation.

Pros:
1) Jay was a solid performer in 2009 making 30/36 kicks and was perfect on extra points.
2) Feely is a leader on special teams and not scared to make plays when it comes to tackling in coverage.
3) Jay filled in admirably at punter when the Jets were put in a pinch at the position.
4) Feely is probably considered a top 12 kicker in the NFL, what better options are available to Gang Green?

Cons:
1) With the Raiders overpaying their kicker Sebastian Janikowski (4 years, $16 million), Feely could be looking for an inflated offer from Gang Green.
2) Jay missed 2 kicks in the AFC Championship and there could be some concerns about his abilities in the big game.
3) Some have questioned Feely’s abilities on kickoffs and their depth.

My stance: I think the Jets are playing with fire here, as the only way you replace a player is if there is a better option available. In this case there is not a better option available and to nickel and dime a kicker is a questionable move. Now I am not saying break the bank for Feely, but he should receive a legitimate offer.

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