NY Jets Restricted Free Agent Predictions

JohnIdzikAs free agency approaches so do decisions which New York Jets general manager John Idzik along with the organization must make regarding restricted free agents (RFA) before the new NFL league year begins on March 11.

A restricted free agent is a player with three accrued or earned seasons of service as laid out in the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with an expiring contract. The player still becomes a free agent on March 11 but his current team can place a tender, an unconditional contract offer, on them before the free agency period begins. Teams must make qualifying offers (tenders) before 4pm on March 11 for Restricted Free Agents or the team losses the ability to restrict the player and he will become an unrestricted free agent available to sign with any team.  A tendered RFA can negotiate and/or sign with another team from March 11 – May 2, the restricted free agent signing period.  After May 2 the player becomes the exclusive property of the original team.

A tender gives teams certain rights over the player if another team offers them a contract. There are three types of tenders which can be made with varying degrees of protection, player salary and potential compensation to the original team if the RFA gets signed somewhere else.  All tenders count immediately on the team’s salary cap:

Right of First Refusal (RFR) and original draft pick compensation: The tender amount is one-year salary $1.431 million and the original team can match any offer signed by a player with another team and the player automatically reverts back to the original team (RFR). If the player originally entered the NFL via the draft the signing team would have to provide draft compensation for the round the player was chosen in if no matching offer was made.

Second Round: This tender is a one-year salary of $2.187 million and the team still has RFR but if they do lose the player the signing team will have to give the original team their second round draft choice.

First Round: This tender is a one-year salary of $3.113 million and the original team has RFR and will get a first round draft choice as compensation if the player gets signed elsewhere.

It is highly unlikely a tendered player leaves the original team and usually sign their one year salary tender, putting the player under contract, after the signing period runs out but they could potentially work out a long-term deal like the Giants Victor Cruz did. Cruz signed his first round tender but he and the team later agreed on a multi-year contract.

Current New York Jets Restricted Free Agents:

Garrett McIntyreGarrett McIntyre – Outside Linebacker – Undrafted:

McIntyre has been a solid special teams player over his Jets career while contributing 19 tackles and two sacks on defense last season. With the Jets a bit thin at the outside linebacker position look for the team to place a tender.

Prediction: Likely the lowest Right of First Refusal tender but an outside chance of a second round tender due to McIntyre being undrafted.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at New York JetsNick Bellore – Inside Linebacker – Undrafted:

Bellore plays a vital role on special teams having led the team in special team tackles over the past three seasons. He has a limited reserve role on defense.

Prediction: Right of First Refusal tender.

Walls JNRsmall150Darrin Walls – Cornerback – Undrafted:

Walls is a special teams contributor and was used often at cornerback early in the season but seemed to fall out of favor later in the year. Possible the emergence of Dee Milliner limited his play as the season went on.

Prediction: Jets do not tender Walls allowing him to hit free agency and look to resign him at a lower salary.

UPDATE: Jets have resigned Walls, March 5.

TrufantIsaiah Trufant – Cornerback – Undrafted:

Trufant (5’8′ 170) has been a low cost player in certain defensive packages along with a special teams role during his time with the Jets but at 31 years old won’t be in high demand on the open market.

Prediction: Trufant is not tendered but the Jets look to bring him back at his minimum ($645,000).

NFL Offseason Calendar

Important NFL Dates:

One date which has already past,

December 30:

This is the first time players drafted (2011) under the new NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) can renegotiate their contract, since they have completed three seasons, and not have their salaries constrained by the rookie wage system or rookie cap. All drafted rookies receive a four year contract so the teams will have to decide to give the player a new contract or have them continue under their old one.

This date also represents the beginning of the first round option exercise period which runs through May 3. Under the CBA teams have an option to add an additional year (fifth) to any player drafted in the first round after they have completed their third season. The Jets have this option with Muhammad Wilkerson whose contract currently ends after the 2014 season. If the Jets exercise their option Wilkerson will be under contract with the team through 2015.

Clubs also have the ability to begin signing free agents for the 2014 season. These players are given reserve/future contracts since it is technically still the 2013 NFL season. The player is under contract but held in reserve until the beginning of the league year (March 11).

February 3:

The day after the Super Bowl the 2014 NFL waiver system begins. This allows teams to start making transactions, releasing players, which they could not do at the end of the regular season because the 2013 waiver system is basically halted and starts again the day after the Super Bowl.

If released players with three or less accrued, earned NFL seasons, are put on waivers which is the inverse record (worst-to-first) of all the teams who are given an opportunity to obtain the player. If a team wants the player they have 24 hours to claim them and their current contract otherwise the player becomes a free agent. If more than one team claims the player the team with the highest priority (worst record) is awarded the player. Veterans who have four or more accrued seasons are not subject to waivers until after the trade deadline near the end of October. These players become free agents immediately if released.

February 17:

This is the first day a team can designate the franchise or transition tags. Team’s have until March 3 to use a designation which they only have one of. By tagging a player the team makes a tender or offers up a one year guaranteed contract with a salary determined per position based on an NFL formula using in part past salaries at such positions to help determine the tender amount. The tender is included on the team’s salary cap when made.

The most common used tag is the non-exclusive franchise tag which would allow other teams to acquire the player but they would forfeit two number one draft picks to obtain a player with this designation. The tag allows a team to restrict a player who was set to be available on the open market. Usually this allows the player and team an opportunity to agree upon a long term deal but it must be in place by July 15 otherwise the player is stuck with the one year deal.

February 19-25:

The NFL combine takes place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Invited players who have declared for the 2014 NFL draft are put through a series of test and workouts by NFL coaches and scouts to help determine their potential worth on draft day. Having an impressive showing at the combine can increase a players draft value significantly.

March 8-11:

Team’s can begin contract negotiations with the agents of players who are set to become unrestricted free agents. The player is not allowed to have any contact with a team besides his original one since he is still under contract until March 11 but the structure of a deal can be worked out before free agency officially begins.

March 11:

The 2014 NFL league year officially begins at 4pm New York time as 2013 contracts expire players no longer under contract or tendered become free agents also teams are now permitted to make trades.

After 4pm only the teams top 51 salaried or tendered players count on the salary cap. All teams must be under their salary cap limit at this time and cannot exceed it during any point of the 2014 NFL league year.

Teams must have made qualifying offers or tender offers, an unconditional contract offer, before 4pm for all Exclusive Rights Restricted Free Agents (ERFA) and Restricted Free Agents (RFA). If no tender is made before 4pm on March 11 the player becomes an unrestricted free agent.

A player with an expiring contract having less than three accrued seasons is considered a ERFA and as long as his original team makes a tender he cannot go to another team. The player will get a one year non-guaranteed contract at their minimum salary.

RFA have three accrued seasons and can be bid on by other teams from March 11 – May 2. If the original team makes a tender (one-year offer) before the contract runs out the original team gains certain rights over the player.  There are three tenders which can be made to a restricted free agent each provides the teams with varying levels of protection but at a higher salary:

Right of First Refusal (RFR): The tender amount is $1,389,150 and the original team can match any offer sheet signed by a player with another team and the player automatically reverts back to the original team.

Second Round: This tender is $2,124,518 and the team still has RFR but if they do lose the player the signing team will have to give the original team their second round draft choice.

First Round: This tender is $3,023,055 and the original team has RFR and will get a first round draft choice as compensation if the player gets signed elsewhere.

It is worth noting that it’s highly unlikely a tendered restricted free agent does not end up back with his original team.

Some Jets who are Restricted Free Agents:

Cornerbacks – Darrin Walls and Isaiah Trufant

Linebackers – Garrett McIntyre and Nick Bellore

All tenders count on a team’s salary cap even if not signed, meaning there is only an offer not an acceptance so no contract exists, and any tendered player uses a roster spot which increases to 90 at the start of the new league year.  When players are drafted they are immediately tendered and take a roster spot even though their contract may not be finalized for months.

March 23-26:

NFL’s Annual Owners Meeting, Orlando, Florida. Two major topics which will be discussed is the potential increase in the number of playoff teams and the proposed elimination of the extra point.

May 8-10:

The 2014 NFL Draft will take place in New York City, New York. First round picks will be made on May 8, second and third on May 9 and fourth through seventh on May 10.

2013 New York Jets Roster Preview: Defensive Backs

Current Safeties on the Roster:

# Name Pos. Height Weight Age Exp. College
39 Allen, Antonio S 6-1 210 24 2 South Carolina
32 Bush, Josh S 5-11 205 24 2 Wake Forest
37 Jarrett, Jaiquawn S 6-0 196 23 2 Temple
26 Landry, Dawan S 6-1 212 30 8 Georgia Tech
42 Lockett, Bret S 6-1 220 26 4 UCLA
45 Miles, Rontez S 6-2 203 24 R California (PA)

Current Cornerbacks on the Roster:

# Name Pos. Height Weight Age Exp. College
22 Berry, Aaron CB 5-11 180 24 4 Pittsburgh
41 Crocker, Eric CB 6-2 195 25 1 Arkansas-Monticello
31 Cromartie, Antonio CB 6-2 210 29 8 Florida State
43 Edwards, Mike CB 5-10 186 22 R Hawaii
34 Fletcher, Donnie CB 6-1 195 22 2 Boston College
21 Lankster, Ellis CB 5-9 190 26 4 West Virginia
27 Milliner, Dee CB 6-0 201 21 R Alabama
35 Trufant, Isaiah CB 5-8 170 30 3 Eastern Washington
30 Walls, Darrin CB 6-0 190 24 3 Notre Dame
20 Wilson, Kyle CB 5-10 190 25 4 Boise State
38 Adams, Royce DB 6-0 190 25 2 Purdue


Cornerbacks

With Darrelle Revis now in Tampa Bay, the number one cornerback for the Jets is Antonio Cromartie.  As he did when Revis was hurt last year, Cromartie will have the monumental task of covering some of the best wide receivers in the game.  He intercepted 3 passes and deflected another 13.  Quarterbacks often chose not to throw against him last year and the same could be true in 2013.  Next year those receivers include the likes of Stevie Johnson, Mike Wallace, Marques Colston, Steve Smith, Vincent Jackson, Roddy White/Julio Jones, among others.  Coming off a strong season Cromartie has been confident and has now took on the role of “player-coach “ for the younger defensive backs on the team.  Sky is the limit when it comes to Cromartie’s Pro Bowl potential and the Jets hope he’ll step up and perform as he did in 2012.

Dee Milliner, 9th overall pick, comes in as the most outstanding corner in the 2013 draft.  As a member of National Champion Alabama, Milliner had an astounding 41 pass deflections and 6 interceptions.  He helped them become the nation’s top defense for the last 3 years.  Milliner should not be compared to Revis.  Putting a tag on a young player like that can be detrimental to his development.  Fans need to treat Milliner as his own brand.  Milliner has many traits as a cover, lock-down corner that emulate Revis, but he shouldn’t be compared in any extent.  Milliner brings a level of speed and athleticism that the Jets missed last season and he should be an immediate plug in as the Jets number two corner.

Kyle Wilson has struggled so far in his career.  However, he has had mild success as a third corner in the slot.  If Milliner beats out Wilson to become the starting corner, Wilson will assume the nickel corner role.  He has been working with Cromartie all off season in New Jersey to try and improve his hip flexibility and his ability to read routes and react.

Other corners like Isaiah Trufant, Ellis Lankster, Darrin Walls, Aaron Berry, and Royce Adams will have a role on the team in special teams or in special pass coverage packages and will provide mildly experienced depth in case of injury.  Adams is a converted WR turned corner who saw significant reps with #1 defense last year in minicamp prior to getting hurt.  The competition among these players, as well as, Eric Crocker, Mike Edwards, and Donnie Fletcher will make this a fun area to watch come minicamp and training camp.

Safety

After losing LaRon Landry (Indianapolis Colts) and Yeremiah Bell (Arizona Cardinals), arguably the two most consistent and solid defensive players on the 2012 roster, the Jets have turned in another direction.  They signed veteran free agent Dawan Landry, older brother of LaRon, who played as a safety for Rex Ryan in Baltimore between 2006-2010.  In Rex Ryan’s defensive system Dawan accounted for 9 interceptions and 270 tackles.  Landry isn’t quite the big hitter as his younger brother, but he can still bring a big hit.  He is a bit more fluid in pass coverage than his younger brother.  Fans shouldn’t look for him to match his brother’s production in total tackles because the Jets defense will be younger and faster and hopefully won’t have to rely on safeties to lead them in tackling.  He was a low risk high reward signing by new GM John Idzik who can play a major role as a leader in the secondary.

With knowledge of the system, Landry is going to have to help the young safeties be the “quarterback of the defense” by making coverage calls and checks pre snap.  Some of the young safeties that could be starting week one are 2nd year players Antonio Allen or Josh Bush.  Allen saw some time as a blitzing safety last year and will now have a bigger role as an every down safety.  Bush has been called a “ball hawk” by many of the offensive players including Jeremy Kerley.  Rex has said in the past that Bush has many qualities that Ed Reed had under Rex in Baltimore.  That is a huge compliment.  While Bush may not quite be Ed Reed, look for he and Allen to have significantly better 2nd years and play a major role in the defense.

Other guys in the mix could be Jaiquawn Jarrett, Bret Lockett, and hard hitting UDFA Rontez Miles (link is his highlight video).  Miles had a very good rookie minicamp.  He comes from California University (PA), where he had 10 interceptions and was one of the hardest hitting safeties in the country.  Miles could be an interesting guy to watch in minicamp and training camp as an “in-the-box” safety used to blitz.  His physical play is right up Rex’s alley for players he loves to find playing time.  Out of the three “on-the-bubble” safeties on the roster, Miles may have the best chance to make the team, if he learns the system and continues to perform as the hard hitter and playmaker he has been throughout college.

Jets Waive Maybin, Place Trufant On IR, Sign RB Bell

The Jets have made a few roster moves today:

 

Defensive back Isaiah Trufant has been placed on the injured reserve (IR) list, ending his season.  In his second year, Trufant played mostly on the special teams last season, but saw more action at cornerback this year with the loss of Darrelle Revis.

Trufant injured his knee during this past week’s game against the Seattle Seahawks and his brother (Marcus).  He also has a brother (Desmond) who plays for the University of Washington and is considered a pro prospect.

The Jets have waived outside linebacker Aaron Maybin.  While Maybin was able to get six sacks in 13 games last season he had none this year nor in the last four games of 2011.

The team has also signed running back Kahlil Bell formerly of the Chicago Bears.  Jets are thin at running back because of injuries to Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight.

Jets Sign RB Bell, Cut OLB Maybin, & Place Trufant On IR

The Jets have made a couple of moves today in signing ex-Bear Kahlil Bell, cutting dead weight OLB Aaron Maybin, and placing DB Isaiah Trufant on IR.

Bell comes over from the Bears where in 2012 he played 2 games where he got 32 yards on 12 carries along with 1 catch for 11 yards. Bell was not that impressive for the Bears in his 4 years with the team getting 589 yards on 131 carries for no touchdowns. He has 1 career touchdown receiving by scoring on a 25 yard pass play in 2011. Bell beat out ex-Dolphin & Texan Steve Slaton for the position.

Maybin who lead the team in 2011 with 6 sacks has regressed in 2012 and ended up being cut for it. In 2012, Maybin has 1 tackle which he got in the loss against the 49ers. It looked like Maybin had some potential after the 2011 season, but it seems he couldn’t back-up the trash talking he did earlier in the season. Such a disappointment.

Trufant goes on IR after suffering a knee injury against the Seahawks which is a shame as he had an increased role on the team in 2012 getting 16 tackles and 2 pass defends in 9 games compared to his 8 tackles in 13 games in 2011. Trufant will be replaced by a combo of Ellis Lankster and Aaron Bell.

 

Darrelle Revis Ruled Out Against Steelers

Jets “All-Pro” cornerback Darrelle Revis will be out for the matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers due to a “mild” concussion suffered in his last game against the Buffalo Bills.  While there had been optimism that Revis would be cleared to play under the NFL’s head injury protocol it is now being reported the concussion will prevent him from attending Sunday’s game:

Darrelle Revis (concussion) has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Steelers.

Revis was cleared to run around with teammates during some 11-on-11 drills at Friday’s practice, but he hasn’t gotten the go-ahead to face contact and will not make the trip to the Steel City.

 Source: Roto-World 

The Jets will need defensive backs Kyle Wilson, Ellis Lankster and Isaiah Trufant to step up against the Steelers talented wide receiving core.  Rookie DB Josh Bush may see some extra playing time since he was both a cornerback and safety during his college career. 

Look for the Jets defense to provide more “over the top” safety-help to the cornerbacks without Revis and his “lockdown” ability. 

 

NY Jets Training Camp Report 08/14

The Jets held training camp practice this morning in Cortland.  Here’s a recap of what happened:

Ex-Jets and Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington was invited to practice by General Manager Mike Tannenbaum.  Pennington had worked with Mark Sanchez in the offseason helping him learn coordinator Tony Sparano’s offense since Pennington played under Sparano with the Dolphins.

QB Mark Sanchez had an effective 7-on-7 session with rookie WR Jordan White contributing with a nice catch against Revis.

Stats for Sanchez and Tebow from today’s practice:

Slight cause for concern as WR Stephen Hill needed attention from the trainers, the Jets can’t lose any more receivers to injury.

Linebacker Ricky Sapp continues to work with the rehabilitation group.  He needs to get healthy and on the field to ensure a roster spot.  The “walking wounded” wider receivers Holmes, Schilens and Kerley are also with the rehab group. There is hope that Kerley can be back soon as he participates in portions of practice.  Defensive linemen Sione Po’uha continues to miss practice with a cut forehead and back issues.

While the wide receivers have had injury problems cornerback Antonio Cromartie has been practicing at receiver and caught a touchdown.

Cornerback Isaiah Trufant is fighting to be the Jets #5 corner, helps his cause with an interception, while safety Antonio Allen continues to have a nice camp sacking QB Greg McElroy.

Kicker competition a draw as both Brown and Folk were perfect:

Today (August 14th) is a current and former Jets Birthday:

  • QB – Tim Tebow
  • WR – Wayne Chrebet (Former)

Happy Birthday from JetNation!

2012 Training Camp Preview: Defense

By Dennis Agapito and Ron Pickett – (Link Offense) (Link Special Teams)

Last year the Jets carried between 24-27 players on defense and they had 6-7 members on the defensive line. Defensive ends rookie Quinton Coples (North Carolina), Mike DeVito, Muhammad Wilkerson along with tackles Marcus Dixon, Kenrick Ellis, and Sione Pouha have all but secured a roster spot.

The Jets will look to improve on their 111 yards allowed per game (13th) rushing and 35 total sacks (17th) from last season. The team feels the addition of first round draft pick Quinton Coples (7.5 sacks, 15 tackles-for-lose 2011) along with increased production from second year DT Ellis (7 tackles) and DE Wilkerson (49 tackles, 3 sacks) will help stopping the run and getting to the quarterback.

Depending upon the number of d-linemen the team chooses to carry there might be one more spot available. DT Martin Tevaseu has been with the Jets since 2010 but saw his first action in 2011 recording three tackles in five games. With the Jets and new defensive line coach Karl Dunbar looking to use more four man fronts Tevaseu might have added value and could be the final d-linemen on the roster.

Veteran DE Jay Richardson (117 TCKL, 7 sacks, in four seasons) is also making a push for a roster spot. Originally drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 2007 he played with them until the beginning of 2010 where he was place on injured reserve but was able to become a free agent after agreeing to an injury settlement.

He then signed with the Seattle Seahawks seeing limited action for the rest of the 2010 season and was out of football in 2011. Richardson signed with the Jets on April 16, 2012 as a free agent, hoping to revitalize his career, but he’ll have to impress to make the final cut.

The linebacking core has many established players: David Harris, Calvin Pace, rookie Demario Davis (Arkansas State), Josh Mauga and Aaron Maybin seem to be locks for a roster spot. ILB Bart Scott is coming off a down season (66 TCKL, 4.5 sacks) and will be 32 in August while OLB Bryan Thomas (33) is recovering from an Achilles tear during last season and recent shoulder surgery. Both probably remain with the team but need to leave open the possibility that one might be cut.

The Jets have been raving about outside linebacker Ricky Sapp for some time now. Drafted in 2010 by the Philadelphia Eagles Sapp was considered a top prospect but injuries cause him to drop to round five (#134). He missed the 2010 season with a knee injury and was released the following year after leaving the Eagles for undisclosed reasons.

The Jets signed Sapp to their practice squad on October 31, 2011, released him November 21st and re-signed him November 28th. He was promoted to the Jets roster for their final 2011 game but was left inactive. It is difficult to gauge if Sapp is over his injuries and ready to contribute, but the Jets seem to think so. Depending upon if Scott and Thomas stay Sapp maybe the odd man out if he can not contribute on special teams as last season the Jets usually carried eight LBs on the roster.

LBs Nick Bellore and Garrett McIntyre mostly contributed on special teams and had 31/18 special teams tackles respectively but only 12 tackles total on defense. Here is where tough decisions have to be made because the Jets will need to replace one or both of these players roles if cut.

The team will likely carry four safeties this season veterans Yeremiah Bell, LaRon Landry and Eric Smith along with rookie Josh Bush (Wake Forest, 59 TCKL, 6 INT 2011) who will see action in passing situations. Unless the Jets decide to carry five safeties, they only had four at most last year, there will be some players left out.

Tracy Wilson saw limited action in the final five games last season when promoted from the practice squad, after DB Emanuel Cook was released. Wilson contributed mostly on special teams only recording four tackles on defense.

Round seven selection Antonio Allen (South Carolina, 88 TCKL, 3 INT 2011) will have a difficult time beating out the veterans as his strength is a run stopping “in the box” safety. With Bell/Landry on one year contracts and Smith’s future after this season unclear Allen could find himself a prime practice squad candidate to prepare for a roster spot. If Landry, who’s extremely injury prone and still rehabbing an Achilles injury, gets seriously hurt they can sign Allen off the practice squad to fill in.

If either Wilson or Allen makes the roster it will be due to their ability to play special teams but carrying five safeties, one who strictly plays specials, limits other positions.

The top three cornerbacks are already set: Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson are the starting and nickel corners but after those three is gets very murky. This is an area of concern for Jets fan. Lack of depth at the cornerback position can be catastrophic. What if Kyle Wilson gets hurt as the 3rd corner? Who will fill that role?

Last season the Jets never had less the seven CBs on the roster. Dime-back Donald Strickland and reserve/special teams CB Marquice Cole are both no longer with the team. Ellis Lankster is considered the replacement for Strickland going into camp.

Originally a seventh round (#220) pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2009 but released in 2010 opting to play in the Canadian Football League. He signed a reserve/future contract with the Jets on January 5, 2011 but was cut on September 3, 2011. He re-signed October 11, 2011 seeing action in seven games on special teams mostly. Lankster has 11 tackles and 1 pass defense in his NFL career.

CB Isaiah Trufant contributed on special teams (12 tackles) and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys but has zero pass defenses or interceptions in his two year NFL career.

DB Royce Adams, played both receiver and DB at Purdue (2006-09) but will stick with DB in training camp. Adams also has some experience as a kick returner in college and played last year with the AFL’s Pittsburgh Power. CB Julian Posey (Ohio University) went undrafted in 2011 and spent most of the season with the Jets practice squad last year.

Rookies Donnie Fletcher (Boston College, 35 TCKL, 2 INT 2011), Ryan Steed (Furman, 24 pass defenses, 16 interceptions during his collegiate career) and D’Anton Lynn, son of Jets running backs coach Anthony Lynn, (Penn State, 49 TCKL, 1 INT 2011) will be competing for a spot.

The Jets have lots of questions about the depth at the CB position with all the spread offenses they see a fourth cover CB is important as well as backups in case of injury.  Also Cole and Strickland played special teams any replacement will have to fill that void. It seems that Trufant/Lankster will make the team just because they can play the specials but the Jets might want to look at camp cut downs to try and sure up the position as there is vast inexperience after Kyle Wilson.

The Jets seem to like Adams as he was used in various roles at mini-camp and could have a special teams impact. Rookies Fletcher, Lynn, Steed along with second year Posey will need an impressive camp to make the team as some will be released or have to settle for time on the practice squad since there are seven players but only four spots.

What to look for at camp:

  1. Battle for the last defensive line spots as the Jets carried 6-7 defensive linemen last year. When reading about practice, look for the guys who are deflecting passes and constantly in the offensive backfield making plays. Look for who’s stopping the run and beating blocks, as well for the interior linemen.
  2. Who is getting important reps in the linebacking core? Bart Scott has said that he is in the best shape of his life. He better be with Demario Davis breathing down his neck for the starting position. Look for promising signs like Bryan Thomas having a sack or makes a tackle for no gain against the run. That will show you he’s back healthy from injury.
  3. What linebackers are doing drills with the special teams? Just like most other positions,that could be their way of making the team.
  4. We all know Revis, Cromartie and Wilson will be the top three corners. Look for names like Steed, Lynn, Adams, Trufant, Lankster, Fletcher and Posey instead. Are the writers saying that these guys are creating pass deflections, making interceptions, blanketing receivers downfield or are they doing tackling and backpedal drills on another field. The 4th cornerback spot will help when teams like the Patriots go with four wide receivers against the Jets this season, so it is a pivotal battle to watch.
  5. Second string safeties, it should be interesting to see or hear about guys like Antonio Allen and Eric Smith as far as covering tight ends and being “in the box” players.
  6. Observe the intensity that Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine are showing towards the defense. Read the blogs and articles looking for information on their involvement during drills and scrimmages. With a high intensity offensive coordinator, the Jets defensive coaches have to be able to match or surpass it. Remember the Jets are still a defensive minded team.

NY Jets Sign DB Isaiah Trufant to Roster; DL Matt Kroul to Practice Squad

The New York Jets have signed DB Isaiah Trufant to the active roster and DL Matt Kroul to the practice squad. The announcements were made by General Manager Mike Tannenbaum.

Trufant (DB/5-8/170/Eastern Washington/Tacoma, Washington) was signed to the Jets practice squad on December 8, 2010.  He played the 2010 season with the UFL’s Las Vegas Locomotives, where he was named 2010 UFL Defensive Player of the Year after he led the team with four interceptions. In 2009, Trufant recorded 13 tackles and four passes defensed with the Locos during the regular season and added two tackles in their 2009 UFL Championship Game victory over Florida.  He also played in the Arena Football League with the Spokane Shock in 2006, the Kansas City Brigade in 2007 and the Arizona Rattlers from 2007-09.

Kroul (DL/6-3/300/Iowa/Mount Vernon, IA) played six games with the Jets this season, recording two tackles, before being waived on December 28, 2010.  He originally joined the Jets as an undrafted free agent on May 1, 2009, and spent last season on the practice squad.  A 2008 semifinalist for the Draddy Trophy Award while at Iowa, Kroul set a school record by starting 50 consecutive games. He recorded 238 tackles, seven sacks and one interception during his college career.