Jets’ Maccagnan Running out of “Maybes” in a Hurry

It was a topic that was discussed right here on Tuesday night’s episode of JetNation radio that we felt deserved a bit more attention, so as was mentioned on the air, here’s a look at the current plight of Jets General Manger Mike Maccagnan whose margin for error seems to be shrinking by the day while head coach Todd Bowles looks to be on the hot seat.

Maccagnan had the “luxury” of succeeding failed General Manager John Idzik, who engineered one of the worst drafts in team history when he was armed with a dozen draft picks in his second year on the job and was a colossal flop.  With his twelve choices, Idzik came away with just two players who are still in Green and White in wide receiver Quincy Enunwa and backup guard Dakota Dozier.  Idzik had set the bar incredibly low, meaning any degree of success from Maccagnan would be a marked improvement.  As it turned out, Maccagnan’s first two drafts were far better than the results produced by Idzik.

His first class was a flop itself, netting Leonard Williams and a bunch of guys who are long gone.  Wide receiver Devin Smith couldn’t stay healthy and was let go.  Linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin was often injured as well, and didn’t do much when he was healthy.  Bryce Petty was a project quarterback who never developed and guard Jarvis Harrison was gone after just one season as a pro.  Outside of Williams, the only player still in the league is seventh-round pick Deon Simon who is on the Packers practice squad.  Simon was actually a solid player when he got reps with the Jets, but he was an interior lineman who was made obsolete with the additions of Steve McLendon and Mike Pennel.

Class number two, his 2016 group, yielded far better results, getting starters in linebackers Darron Lee and Jordan Jenkins along with right tackle Brandon Shell and punter Lac Edwards to boot.  Wide receiver Charone Peake was a seventh round choice who is the team’s best special teams gunner at the moment, but hasn’t shown much as a receiver.  Add undrafted free agent receiver Robby Anderson to the mix and the 2016 rookie class is a pretty good one.  Cornerback Juston Burris was also part of that 2016 class and viewed as a player who fell in to the “maybe” category, but he was let go recently before returning to the practice squad as a long shot.

Should Maccagnan fail as a GM when all is said and done, his tenure will always be marred by the second-round selection of Christian Hackenberg in the 2016 draft who never took an NFL snap, and may rank second behind Mike Tannenbaum and Eric Mangini’s selection of Vernon Gholston as the worst pick in team history.  Even still, Maccagnan came away with four starters on 13 picks as opposed to all of Idzik’s misses.

It was an improvement, but four starters in two years isn’t going to cut it for the long-term.  Being able to fall back on rostered players who can “mabye” develop in to a regular contributor might buy a GM some good will from ownership, but the problem with Maccagnan is that those “maybe” players are dropping like flies.

Yes, Maccagnan looks to have grabbed a pair of long-term starters in 2017 when he took safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye in the first and second round respectively, but it’s after those two picks where things get ugly for Maccagnan.  The GM took a pair of receivers in Chad Hansen and ArDarius Stewart who are already out of the league.  This was a move we questioned at the time due to the wealth of young talent at cornerback in the draft, but what’s done is done.  Maccagnan tried to add some receivers, knowing that a QB in round 1 was a certainty in 2018 and his two early/mid round choices went bust.

Aside from Hansen and Stewart from his 2017 class Maccagnan cut ties with project linebacker Dylan Donahue who had more run-ins with the law than he had tackles on the field.

With Hansen, Stewart and Donahue already gone, Maccagnan needs tight end Jordan Leggett, running back Elijah McGuire, safety Jeremy Clark or cornerback Derrick Jones to turn in to roster-worthy players in order to save his 2017 class from hitting on just two of nine picks.

So with his first class being a failure, his second class showing significant improvement and his third possibly producing just two quality players, it’s his most recent class that stands to buy Maccagnan more time, but not a free pass.

For the first time in decades, the Jets look to have a franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold thanks to Maccagnan.  That alone should buy him another season.  He also looks to have solved the team’s long-time void at tight end with Chris Herndon. But as we mentioned above, more of Maccagnan’s “Maybes” have to show they belong, or it may be time for Mac to move on.

 

 

 

 

Report: Jets to Release Bryce Petty

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News is reporting that the New York Jets have released quarterback Bryce Petty. The former Baylor Bear was after a two-year run in Green and White.

During the 2016 season, Petty threw for 809 yards, 3 touchdowns and 7 interceptions to go along with a 56% completion percentage on 133 attempts in six appearances (4 starts).  Petty would regress in the 2017 season, as the former 4th round pick appeared in 4 games, throwing just 1 touchdown to 3 interceptions, with a 49% completion percentage.

Following the release of Petty, many are left wondering if the Jets will keep Christian Hackenberg for the 2018-2019 season, or if his number will be up soon as well.

*Previous version changed to reflect updated source

Report: Multiple Teams Interested in Trading for Jets’ Petty

Last week we included QB Bryce Petty on our list of players the Jets may be able to move via trade during the NFL draft, and now it appears that there’s a chance it’ll happen.

NFL insider Ian Rapoport is reporting that with Sam Darnold on board, teams are starting to reach out to the Jets in an effort to acquire Petty.

Rapoport reported at the start of the 2017 season that the Jets fielded offers for Petty last off-season but no offer was strong enough for the Jets to pull the trigger.

Fans are discussing this possibility in our NY Jets message board.

Jets Short on Picks, Trade Chips on Draft Day…who Could be Shipped out?

With the NFL draft just over a week away and the New York Jets going in to the event with just six draft choices, there will undoubtedly be those fans hoping to see Gang Green make some moves just before or during the draft to pick up an extra selection or two via trade.

How realistic is that possibility with only one pick before pick 72 that’s already earmarked for a quarterback and a roster with few players who are in demand?  Not very, but there are a couple of ways GM Mike Maccagnan can make something happen.

First and foremost, the most valuable commodity Maccagnan has to work with is the team’s third round draft choice (72nd overall), but how far would the Jets be willing to move down in a draft where they’ll have no choices between no. 3 and no. 72?  Probably not very far, meaning very little compensation is likely if a deal is made.

In terms of players the Jets could look to move, the possibility of adding anything more than some 6th or 7th round picks is unlikely, but here are a few names to watch along with what cap saving it would bring according to overthecap.com.

RB Bilal Powell: The Jets have added free agent running back Isaiah Crowell and made a push to add running back Jerick McKinnon before bringing in Thomas Rawls.  Powell is no spring chicken and with a much younger Elijah McGuire on the roster, it’s not out of the question to assume Powell could be moving on.  In a deep draft class however, few teams would be willing to give up much for an aging running back. (Cap savings if traded: $4 million)

LG James Carpenter: Carpenter played extremely well in the team’s power run scheme in years 1 and 2 with the team, but a switch to more zone hurt Carpenter and the offense a great deal in 2017.  A team looking for a mauling left guard could call the Jets about Carpenter as the team should be looking for an eventual replacement in the draft. (Cap savings if traded: $4.7 million)

WR Jermaine Kearse: By no means are we suggesting the Jets should look to trade Kearse, but if the team is going to take a look at a player who could bring something back in trade, Kearse has to be on the list.  A quality receiver at a fair price ($5 million) in 2018, Kearse may be expendable as the Jets now have Terrelle Pryor, Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa to go along with Chad Hansen and Ardarius Stewart who are set to enter year two.  With a WR class that isn’t generating much buzz, there may be a team willing to part with a late-round pick for Kearse’s services.  (Cap savings if traded $5.5 million)

QB Bryce Petty: Following an unimpressive showing at QB for Gang Green, Petty wouldn’t command more than a conditional 7th round pick at some point.  However, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, there were teams showing interest in Petty this past off-season when he hadn’t done very much as a starter up to that point.  (Cap savings if traded: $705,000)

There’s not much there to trade away, but if Gang Green comes away with a franchise QB, five additional players and combine that with their haul in free agency, things will still be looking up for the team’s long-term future.

 

 

Jets Still Can’t Rule out Doubling Down at QB

Back in October JetNation.com published this article, highlighting the fact that no matter how Gang Green’s season played out, finding a quarterback was always going to be the number one job for General Manager Mike Maccagnan and company.

Of the top three suggestions we made, Maccagnan has already accomplished two (Trade up if necessary and add a veteran) and there’s still plenty of time for some of the others to play out, with the most important one being doubling down on a quarterback come draft time.  If ever there was a year to take two quarterbacks, this would be the one.

It was over a year ago when GM’s, media types and fans were already talking about USC quarterback Sam Darnold and how he was going to be part of a historically deep quarterback class.  Now, with the draft less than three weeks away, several analysts are projecting up to five quarterbacks being taken in round one, with three or four more slated to go in round 2 and more quality options lingering in rounds 3 and 4..

How do the top QB’s in the class stack up against the top prospects of the past three seasons?  NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah shared his pre-draft rankings of the top 10 QB prospects from 2016-2018 and of the top six, four of them are out of this year’s class.  Jeremiah’s full list was as follows:

  1. Sam Darnold USC
  2. Carson Wentz NDSU
  3. Josh Rosen UCLA
  4. Jared Goff Cal
  5. Baker Mayfield OU
  6. Josh Allen Wyoming
  7. Deshaun Watson Clemson
  8. Mitch Trubisky NC
  9. Deshone Kizer ND
  10. Paxton Lynch Memphis

In addition to earning four of the top six grades over the past three years, Scouts Inc. released their quarterback rankings for this class and for the first time in 15 years, there are four signal callers with grades above 90.

It’s not just the QB’s at the top, though.  There are plenty of names that aren’t generating as much buzz, but who have plenty of NFL traits that could lead to successful pro careers.  This sentiment has been echoed by several insiders, and here’s how Eric Galko of Optimum Scouting put it:

Laulleta seems to have gotten more hype than White and Litton, but when you see them on the field, you can easily envision them having long NFL careers.  As is the case with any draft pick, it’s based on the assumption that they continue to develop and grow, and with many of these quarterbacks, the foundation is there.

Taking a moment to look at the Jets quarterback room, here’s what they’ve got on hand:

Josh McCown: Great leader and ideal mentor for whichever quarterback they take third overall.  However, more likely to be a coach than a player in 2019.

Teddy Bridgewater: One huge question mark following a knee injury that kept him off the field for the better part of two years. If he falters in camp, he’ll be let go to avoid a $5 million cap hit.

Bryce Petty: Hasn’t impressed in limited action, likely on his way out.

Christian Hackenberg: Sources say the team still has some level of faith in his development, but barring unparalleled level of progress, could be gone when camp wraps up.

Joel Stave: Camp body who may not even make it that far.

All told, the Jets have five quarterbacks, four of which are highly unlikely to be around next season, and it’s not out of the question to presume none of them will be retained beyond this year.  With that in mind, it may not be as ridiculous as it sounds for the Jets to take a QB on day two or three just as the Redskins did when they took Robert Griffin III at the top of the first round before grabbing Kirk Cousins later on in that same draft.  When all was said and done, it was Griffin III who fizzled out while Cousins went on to be the far better pro player.

A few options for the Jets in the mid to late rounds?

Mike White, Western Kentucky: The ultra productive QB opened up plenty of eyes at the Senior Bowl when he was one of the better QB’s on the field.  Depending on whose projections you’re looking at, White could go anywhere from round 2 to round 5.  I’d bet on the former.

Luke Falk, Washington State: Falk’s arm strength isn’t what many would like it to be, but he’s viewed as one of the brighter prospects in this draft who has outstanding accuracy.

Kyle Lauletta, Richmond: Like Falk, Lauletta doesn’t have great arm strength but impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl.  Currently projected as a fifth round pick by NFL.com.

Chase Litton, Marshall: Litton would likely need more time than the quarterbacks mentioned above, but as a big (6′ 5”) strong armed QB who displays good touch at times, Litton will get a shot to develop on somebody’s roster.

With all of the focus on which quarterback the Jets should be taking in the first round of an incredibly deep class, are the Jets thinking about hedging their bets in the middle to late rounds?  If they aren’t, they should be.

 

 

Report: Seferian-Jenkins Turns Down Jets Contract Offer

Calvin Watkins of Newsday is reporting that Gang Green and tight end Austin Seferian-Jeknins are in fact talking about a new contract, but Seferian-Jenkins turned down the Jets initial two-year offer for $8 million but the sides will continue negotiating.  From Watkins:

One of the Jets’ free agents, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, has had contract talks with the team, a source said. The Jets offered him a two-year, $8-million deal and were rejected, but they will continue talks with his representatives. Seferian-Jenkins had career highs in receptions (50) and yards (357) and had three touchdown catches.

Seferian-Jenkins is looking to top the $6 million mark so the parties may meet in the middle at some point as negotiations continue.

While the $6 million mark may have been a fair expectation at one point this season, the fact that the tight end struggled in the second half could change that.  Seferian-Jenkins averaged just 3 receptions per game over the final 8 contests without a touchdown.  How much of that was on fatigue as it was the first time he’d played more than 9 games in  a season, and how much of it was on the switch from Josh McCown to Bryce Petty over the season’s last few games?

We should know in the coming weeks (or months) just how the two sides view the tight end’s value.

Grading the Jets 2015 Draft

Conventional wisdom says that before you can fairly judge a draft class, you must first give those players chosen a minimum of three pro seasons.  Well, for Mike Maccagnan’s first ever draft, the three year mark is now behind us.  How did he do?  Let’s take a look.

DL Leonard Williams- Round 1 (6th overall): 

Easily Maccagnan’s best pick of this draft, and possibly of his tenure, Williams is regarded as one of the top young defensive linemen in the NFL.  He went to the pro bowl in his second season but was slowed in 2017 by a wrist injury.  Even still, Williams was  a disruptive player who has many good years ahead of him.  Casual fans or “same old Jets fans” will say this was an easy pick for Maccagnan which is simply untrue.  When the Jets were on the clock, there was only one area on the entire roster that did not need an upgrade, and that was on the defensive line.  There were plenty of other players on available who many had projected to the Jets to fill one of their many needs, but Maccagnan went with the best player on the board.

Grade: A

WR Devin Smith- Round 2 (37th overall)

Smith has spent the majority of his career on the bench recovering from a plethora of injuries.  It would appear Smith isn’t going to hold up to the rigors of the NFL.  In three seasons, Smith has appeared in just 14 games, hauling in 10 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown.

Grade: Incomplete

OLB Lornenzo Mauldin- Round 3 (82nd overall)

Following a promising rookie year in which he notched 4.5 sacks, Mauldin added weight before year two so that he could hold up better against the run, but his poor play landed him in Todd Bowles’ dog house.  Mauldin dropped the additional weight coming in to this season but like Smith, spent the entire year on IR.

Grade: D

QB Bryce Petty- Round 4 (103rd overall)

Petty was dubbed a two to three year project when he was drafted and that’s probably being generous.  In limited action (7 starts), Petty has thrown 4 touchdowns to 10 interceptions.  Most disturbing about Petty is that he seems to have regressed from last season when he completed 56% of his passes.  This year, that dropped 49%.

Grade: F

OG Jarvis Harrison- Round 5 (152nd overall)

Harrison was a good gamble in the fifth round as an effective guard in college who had some quality reps at left tackle with Texas A&M.  As it turned out, the gamble didn’t pay off and Harrison was let go after one year.  He is currently a free agent.

Grade: F

DL Deon Simon- Round 7 (223rd overall)

Perhaps the most surprising player in the group for a couple of reasons.  As a small school product and 7th round pick, Simon stuck with the team despite a loaded D-line and played surprisingly well last season. Simon seemed ready to become a regular rotational player and spot starter in 2017.  After a solid pre-season, he was relegated to the practice squad and did not appear in a single game.

Grade: C-

Overall Grade: D+

The only thing stopping Maccagnan’s inaugural draft class from an F is the gutsy call to take Williams with the sixth pick overall.

A rough first draft that will clearly be surpassed by each of his past two efforts, but let’s face it….that’s not saying a whole lot.

Petty to Start; Bowles on Hack, “We’ll See”

It has been a rough few weeks for the Jets since Josh McCown broke his hand.  Bryce Petty has taken over at QB and his play is leaving a lot to be desired. He showed a few glimpses last season and actually seems to be regressing. This year his completion percentage is under 50% and he has only thrown 1 touchdown pass. With 312 passing yards through three games (two starts) it would be safe to assume his time as a starting QB is running out.

Bryce Petty Stats
Bryce Petty Stats

The scariest thought of all might be, is he actually better than Christian Hackenberg? Petty is ahead of Hackenberg on the depth chart, so that tells you what the coaches think. So what does that mean for Hack who has never played in an NFL game? We might soon find out because he is taking some first-team reps this week in practice.

Todd Bowles confirmed to the media that Bryce Petty will start against the Patriots on Sunday. When asked if Christian Hackenberg would play, his answer was, “We’ll see”. Bowles wouldn’t really comment on splitting the game between the two QBs, or what would make him do that. Other than to say they would decide, “Probably sometime during the game. We’ll see how the game is going.”

A few interesting quotes from Todd Bowles on Hackenberg:

On if there’s a risk-reward he has to consider with playing Hackenberg…
It’s not a risk-reward. It’s the last game of the season. Bryce had a chance to play two games, we’re trying to see what we have in him. Christian’s time will come. (To) put him out there the last game and expect him to be superman, we’d be fooling ourselves.

On Hackenberg not playing yet at this point of his career…
We see him every day in practice and we saw him in the preseason. We’re comfortable.

On what deciding to play Hackenberg during the game depends upon…
That would mean I’ll decide during the game if I want to play him or not.

On what’s a fair number of games to assess a young quarterback…
For a guy to start that young and start in an offense, you have to see a good five or six games to see if he starts making progress one way or the other, but you want to see things every week to grow and learn from and see those type of things. So that’s what we’re looking for.

On how much he learned from Hackenberg’s reps in the preseason…
You can pull a lot out of preseason. He had a new offense, too. He learned, he played a lot in the preseason. Mentally, he got better at a lot of things and we’ll go from there. The regular season’s not preseason. You don’t get a chance to play those guys like you want to and you don’t just pull them in and out, put them in and out and expect them to play when the defenses are more complex than they are in the preseason.

On if Mike Maccagnan has talked to him at all about playing Hackenberg…
What me and Mike talk about is private.

It does seem likely that Hackenberg will see his first NFL action on Sunday. What we do know is there is nothing that can happen on Sunday that will change the Jets # 1 offseason mission. That is finding a new starting QB for 2018.

Let us know what you think about Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg.

Jets vs Chargers Week 16 Report Card

As one might imagine, in a 14-7 loss, there were some stars to hand out on defense, to go along with some failing grades on the offensive side of the ball.

Quarterback: F

Bryce Petty was off target far too often once again.  Petty would go 15-28 for 119 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.  Best thing you can say about Petty?  He scrambled for 33 total yards and his lone INT was on a hail mary.  That’s about it.

Running Backs: B+

Bilal Powell’s 57-yard TD run was the only thing that stopped the Jets from being shut out at home.  Matt Forte’s lost fumble is the only reason we’re not giving the group an A.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: Incomplete

When the quarterback is off target as often as Petty was, there’s not much of a chance for receivers or tight ends to make plays.  Robby Anderson appeared to have a big TD catch early on when he hauled in an under-thrown Petty bomb, put he drew a flag for pushing off.  There were also several plays in which Petty and his receivers did not appear to be on the same page.

Offensive LIne: B+

The Jets played the bulk of the game with 60% of their line being back-ups.  Jonotthan Harrison got his first start at center and Dakota Dozier stepped in for the injured Brian Winters at right guard.  Brandon Shell suffered what may have been a concussion just before the half and was replaced by Brent Qvale.  Even still, the Jets rushed for over 200 yards and Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, one of the best pass-rush duos in the NFL, were kept quiet for most of the day.

Defensive Line: B+

Similar to the O-line, the D-line was without Leonard Williams for much of the game due to a back injury and Todd Bowles’ decision to bench Muhammad Wilkerson again.  Even still, the Jets defense controlled the line of scrimmage for much of the day with the exception of a couple of big runs from Melvin Gordon that helped him to 81 yards on 19 carries.  For the most part, he was kept in check.

Linebackers: B

Josh Martin was in Philip Rivers’ face for much of the day as he picked up multiple QB hits and pressures but didn’t come away with a sack.  Jordan Jenkins was second on the team with six tackles and also batted a pass at the line of scrimmage.  The play of the ‘backers was a big reason why the Chargers were held to just 14 points.

Secondary: C-

Yes, the defense held the Chargers to just 14 points, but too many chunk plays from Rivers to his tight ends (8 rec, 107 yds, 1 TD) were a big reason for the loss.  As the season winds down, Juston Burris appears to be back in the regular CB rotation as he saw tons of reps for the second week in a row and turned in a solid effort.

Speical Teams: C-

Lac Edwards boomed several good punts on the day and there were no field goal attempts, but JoJo Natson’s mind-numbing decisions in the return game bring the grad down.

Coaching: C

On offense, we saw too many empty backfields in short-yardage situations from John Morton when perhaps allowing Petty to work some play-action would have been a better call.  Todd Bowles’ decision to start the game with an onside kick that the Jets recovered did not lead to points, but it was nice to see some aggressiveness.  The Jets were also very active on defense, giving Rivers multiple looks and keeping him on his toes all day.

 

 

JetNation Tuesday Tidbits; Like it or not, Hackenberg Debut Could be Coming

Just a few notes, quotes, links and thoughts related to the current state of the New York Jets:

  • With Josh McCown done for the year, Todd Bowles is forced to go to Bryce Petty over Christian Hackenberg. An easy decision, really.  However, given the poor play of the Jets’ interior offensive line and Petty’s injury history, would anyone be surprised if Petty doesn’t make it out of this game in one piece and the Jets are forced to go to Hackenberg?
  • Keep an eye on the Rams vs. Seahawks game this week.  A Rams win would go a long way in knocking Seattle out of playoff competition, moving the Jets up several spots in the draft with the second-round pick they acquired in the Sheldon Richardson deal.
  • Speaking of draft position, there are plenty of games that can  move the Jets up and down within the top-10 over the next three weeks.  Take a look here.
  • However long Petty is able to stay healthy, it could mean even more production out of Robby Anderson.  The two built a good rapport last pre-season and carried that on when Petty was inserted down the stretch as Anderson saw a significant jump in his targets with Petty pulling the trigger.
  • Where have you gone Austin Seferian-Jenkins?  Following a hot start that saw him haul in 48 catches in his first 8 games, the tight end has just 5 catches in his last three contests and hasn’t scored a touchdown since week 7.
  • This quote from Jamal Adams didn’t raise as many eyebrows as one might have expected, but it’s hardly a ringing endorsement of how the Jets practices are being run.
  • If this statement from Josh McCown didn’t make you feel for the guy, we’re pretty sure you don’t have a soul.