Does Maccagnan Deserve Praise for Unpopular Purge?

If you’re a die hard fan of the New York Jets, there’s a good chance you had the chance to take a look at this article from Brian Costello of the New York Post in which he offers praise to Jets GM Mike Maccagnan for his purge of the Jets roster in 2017.

There were plenty of fans who were unhappy with some of the decisions Maccagnan made when he cut ties with fan favorites Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Eric Decker, Nick Mangold and Brandon Marshall.  Also sent packing were right tackle Breno Giacomini, safety Marcus Gilchrist and left tackle Ryan Clady.  Plenty of big names let go, and plenty of cap space saved as a result.

For Maccagnan, some of those decisions had to be more difficult than others, but to offer nothing but praise for the moves seems a bit disingenuous.  After all, of those players let go, how many were brought in by Maccagnan in the first place?  Should a GM be lauded for dumping a player he decided to sign if the deal turned out to be a failure?  Well, let’s look at each one individually.

Darrelle Revis: The re-signing of Revis was one that had Jets fans fired up.  After all, the roster from the previous season as constructed by failed GM John Idzik had the likes of Darren Walls and Antonio Allen starting at cornerback (yes, that really happened).  Revis got huge money, and while Maccagnan was the GM, prevailing wisdom is that Jets owner Woody Johnson was behind the move.  Revis was solid for most of the 2015 season, but faltered down the stretch and was a disaster in 2016.

Signing Revis and being forced to let him go is a wash for Maccagnan as the rookie GM was simply following orders from an owner who was none too pleased after watching his best player win a Super Bowl elsewhere.

Pass or Fail:  Incomplete A splash move under the direction of the team owner is a reflection of a general manager doing what his boss calls for, so while Revis’ re-signing blew up in their collective faces, this one falls on Woody Johnson.

Brandon Marshall: The Jets acquired Marshall for a fifth-round draft choice prior to the start of the 2015 season.  The immediate dividends were exceptional as Marshall had one of the best seasons in team history in 2015.  However, the former Bronco and Bear  was let go after a poor showing both on and off the field in 2016.  Having given up just a fifth round pick and getting Marshall along with a 7th in the deal, the price tag, in reality was a few pennies.  So while the deal would have looked far better today had Marshall given the Jets another season or two of quality play, the reality is that the acquisition was a bad one, albeit one that came with a negligible price tag.

Pass or Fail: Pass Had the Jets surrendered perhaps a third round pick for Marshall, this would have to be deemed a huge failure by the GM.  However, losing a fifth and gaining a 7th almost makes the deal and the subsequent release of Marshall after a fantastic 2015 season feel like a wash. Call it what you like, but the team lost close to nothing in the deal and created cap space in sending Marshall on his way.

David Harris: Both Harris and Decker were let go just before the start of the 2017 season in a pair of moves that came with plenty of scrutiny.  Especially for Harris, who was a mainstay in the middle of the Jets defense for a decade.  Harris was on the final year of a deal that was given to him by Maccagnan just a few years earlier.  As is the case with every NFL great, the day will come when your performance no longer matches up with your salary, and the Jets believed that would be the case with Harris.  Apparently they were right.  Harris would spend one season on the bench in New England before walking away from the game.

Pass or Fail: Pass The proof was in the pudding.  Harris didn’t have much left in the tank and the Jets replaced him with former Jets linebacker Demario Davis who had a career year in 2017.  With Davis having also walked in free agency, Harris’ spot will be filled this season by Avery Williamson.

Eric Decker’s success with Gang Green was short-lived.

Eric Decker: Decker was a rare player for the Jets as somebody who was signed by John Idzik and then went on to play some quality football.  He was eventually released along with Harris after an ineffective 2016, Decker struggled to stay healthy in Tennessee and when he was, didn’t manage to do much anyway.

Pass or Fail: Pass With the emergence of some of their young receivers, the decision to cut the dinged-up Decker proved to be a good one.

Nick Mangold: Another victim of the purge, Mangold was trying to come back from an ankle injury that would likely hobble him for at least part of the 2017 season.  Even still, if the Jets would have gone with a dinged up Nick Mangold, it would have been better than what they got in going with a healthy Wesley Johnson.

Pass or Fail: Fail: After being let go, Mangold made it clear that he was never approached about coming back at a lower price.  This was a huge miscalculation by the Jets, who should have at least brought Mangold in for a look during training camp and during the pre-season.  They didn’t, and they paid for it.

Ryan Clady: Brought in to replace D’Brickashaw Ferguson after the former first round pick announced his retirement, the oft injured Clady had a difficult time staying on the field and was gone after just one season.

Pass or Fail: Fail Maccagnan fails here because the whole situation stinks of something that could have been resolved sooner to give the Jets a chance at a more capable left tackle.  Waiting as long as they did to present Ferguson with a pay cut that led to his retirement is part of what left the Jets scrambling to find a replacement.  They took a shot and failed with Clady and were reportedly willing to take one more look at him at the position, but Clady declined, opting to retire after years of serious injuries.

Things didn’t go as planned in New York for Marcus Gilchrist.

Marcus Gilchrist: Gilchrist had a nice first season in Green and White before falling apart along with the rest of the secondary in 2016.  He caught on with the Houston Texans where he seemed to be closer to the 2015 version than the 2016 version of himself.  He’s now in Oakland trying to win himself a job.

Pass or Fail: Pass Gilchrist saw his play suffer after a strong first season in New York.  With safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye taken in round 1 and 2 respectively of the NFL draft, there wasn’t going to be room for Gilchrist.

Breno Giacomini: Giacomini struggled with penalties and injuries during his time with the Jets.  When healthy, he struggled with football.

Pass or Fail: Pass Rookie right tackle Brandon Shell outplayed Giacomini in the closing weeks of the 2016 season, so it was time to cut bait with one of John Idzik’s prized free agent signings to make room for a better, younger and cheaper player.

So while Maccagnan does deserve a great deal of credit for cutting many of the right players at the right time for the right reasons, there are some moves he could have handled differently.  All in all, as much of it was done to start a full re-build and the Jets are primed to enter season two of said rebuild with the top quarterback in the NFL draft. you’d give new meaning to the term “Same Old Jets Fan” if you can’t find reasons to be happy with the way things have transpired thus far.

Nick Mangold Announces Retirement

Nick Mangold announced on Twitter that he will sign a one-day contract with the Jets next week, and then retire.

The Jets drafted Mangold with the 29th pick in the first round of the 2006 NFL draft. He made 7 pro bowls with the team and played in 140 career games.

How good was Nick Mangold?

You can read more and see what Jets fans are saying about Nick Mangold’s retirement.

New York Jets Report Card: Week 10

Week 10 Report Card: Jets @ Buccaneers L 15-10

 


 

Quarterback: D

Josh McCown: 23/39 262 yards, 1 TD 1 INT

The stat sheet isn’t terrible, but McCown played a bad game against the Buccaneers. Granted, the offensive line had their worst game of the season, but McCown made too many mistakes. Failing to hit open receivers, holding onto the ball for too long, and inaccurate throws were some of the miscues. McCown also failed to complete at least 60 percent of his passes for the first time this season. On one play McCown went deep, overthrowing Robby Anderson by at least a few yards resulting in an interception by Brent Grimes.

Running back: D

Bilal Powell: 10 rushes for 30 yards, 1 reception for 6 yards

Elijah McGuire: 8 rushes for 22 yards, 4 receptions for 36 yards

The running backs haven’t gotten much help up front this season, and that was the case again this week. The offensive line was manhandled by the Buccaneers’ front seven, other than a 21-yard rush by Bilal Powell, the running backs were constantly met in the backfield. Matt Forte was absent against the Buccaneers due to knee swelling, but it most likely wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

Wide Receiver/Tight End: C-

Robby Anderson: 4 receptions for 85 yards, 1 TD

Austin Seferian-Jenkins: 6 receptions for 67 yards

Jermaine Kearse: 4 receptions for 35 yards

Chad Hansen: 3 receptions for 33 yards

ArDarius Stewart: 1 reception for 0 yards, 1 rush for 4 yards

There were multiple drops again this week. Robby Anderson bobbled a crucial first down pass and dropped it. Austin Seferian-Jenkins didn’t catch a pass until the game was almost over. Anderson has put up decent numbers for a few weeks in a row now, even though most of his yards this week didn’t come until the final minute. Meanwhile, Chad Hansen recorded his first regular season reception with the absence of Jeremy Kerley.

Offensive Line: F

What a way for the offensive line to follow up their best performance of the season. This was an embarrassing showing by the line. Josh McCown was sacked six times, and the Buccaneers’ front seven were living in the Jets’ backfield. There’s one word that can be used to describe the offensive line’s play this year: inconsistent. There hasn’t really been any stalwart on the offensive line since Nick Mangold was let go after last season.

Defensive Line: C

The defense played well enough to win this game, although they broke when it mattered… in the fourth quarter. The Jets can’t seem to get rid of their fourth quarter woes. The defensive line generated some pressure, but missed multiple opportunities to bring down Ryan Fitzpatrick due to bad tackling. On the bright side, Leonard Williams did record his first full sack of the season.

Linebacker: B-

The front seven did well against the run, other than Doug Martin’s 21-yard rush. Demario Davis gave up a game-ending touchdown pass to Charles Sims. Josh Martin did a good job getting in the backfield consistently, he recorded one and a half tackles for a loss and a quarterback hit.

Secondary: C+

Darryl Roberts played a pretty good game, he had eight total tackles, two passes defended, and an interception on a throw behind Fitzpatrick’s intended receiver. The Jets’ secondary has the most penalties out of any unit in the NFL. Buster Skrine and Rashard Robinson lead all cornerbacks with nine and eight penalties respectively. Morris Claiborne isn’t far behind with six. Penalties were a problem again this week with the Jets recording eight against Tampa Bay.

Special Teams: C

It was an average day for special teams, nothing great and nothing terrible. JoJo Natson started at kick and punt returner, and didn’t do anything special. Lachlan Edwards had seven punts that averaged 50 yards with a long of 59. Chandler Catanzaro converted his only field goal attempt of 47 yards.

Coaching: D

Well, on the bright side the Jets didn’t waste a timeout this week. Unfortunately it didn’t really matter since their first touchdown didn’t come until there was 38 seconds left on the clock. The play calling was too conservative for most of the game, and Todd Bowles really needs to do something about the absurd amount of penalties.

Overall Grade: D

Enunwa Comments on Talk of Jets “Tanking” ’17 Season

By Glenn Naughton

 

New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa may have stopped short of saying the club was about to kick off a season that’s been set up to see the team win no more than a game or two, but he did acknowledge that those who feel that way are justified in doing so.

Speaking with the New York Post, Enunwa, when asked about the tank talk said, “It’s hard to argue with that when everybody else sees all the stuff that’s going on.”  The “stuff” Enunwa is referring to of course, is the purging of the Jets roster that has seen veteran stalwarts David Harris and Nick Mangold let go, along with the likes of Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis and Marcus Gilchrist.

Looking forward to an expanded role in 2017, Quincy Enunwa has acknowledged the team’s lack of veteran talent.

All of the cuts have left the Jets with few established leaders on offense or defense as the front office prepares to take an extended look at the team’s young players as they hope to set themselves up to draft of the future with what will likely be a top-three pick in the 2018 draft.

Enunwa would go on to make the point that has seemed to escape some Jets fans who are under the impression that the term “tank” suggests that any lack of effort on the part of the players will be a part of that plan.  Enunwa says that just isn’t so; “I don’t think any player is going to tank.  Our jobs are on the line. Our families depend on us. We’re out there to work and get our paycheck and win games. People are always going to say that kind of stuff, but we’re just going to play.”

It’s a valid point by Enunwa and one that fans should realize when they tune in on Sundays.  This is something being done by a front office looking to free up significant cap room while putting themselves in position to draft a franchise quarterback just under a year from now.

 

 

Timeline to the Tank; How did Maccagnan and Company get Here?

By Glenn Naughton

 

Maybe it’s unfair to refer to the Jets upcoming 2017 season as “tanking” in an effort to secure the top pick, or as close as possible to it, in next year’s draft.  Perhaps, justifiably or not, the team believes Christian Hackenberg can be the long-term answer at quarterback.

Todd Bowles has led the Jets to a 15-17 record in 2 seasons.

No matter the plan or expectations s at 1 Jets Drive in Florham Park, you couldn’t blame the average Jets fan for looking at the team’s roster, with all of the negative press surrounding the team, and asking, “how did they get here”.  Well, let’s take a look and see how things have transpired from the day Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles took over for the failed John Idzik and former head coach Rex Ryan.

Dec 29th, 2014- Woody Johnson does away with the duo of Ryan and Idzik following a four-year long playoff drought for Ryan, and one of the worst drafts in team history from Idzik.  In two seasons, Idzik would draft 19 players.  Just two seasons later, 14 are already gone, with many out of the league.  Only Quincy Enunwa, Sheldon Richardson, Brian Winters, Dakota Dozier and Dexter McDougle remain…for now.  (We took a look at just how bad Idzik was earlier this offseason right here).

January 13th/14th 2015- Johnson replaces the Ryan/Idzik tandem with Bowles and Maccagnan respectively.  Bowles is later named the league’s top coordinator for the 2014 season, while Maccagnan brings years of experience in personnel.

January 19th, 2015- Bowels hires Chan Gailey as his offensive coordinator.  Gailey is the ideal choice, having gotten the most out of every young quarterback he’s ever worked with.  It makes sense to expect the hire to give Geno Smith, then the team’s starting quarterback, his best chance to succeed.

March 6th- The Jets send a 5th round draft choice to the Chicago Bears in exchange for wide receiver Brandon Marshall and a 7th round choice.  Smith is now expected have Marshall and Eric Decker as his top two targets.  With a stellar pair of receivers, Maccagnan is clearly building around Smith to determine if Idzik got it right or not when he drafted him to be the team’s quarterback of the future.

March 10th- Wide receiver Percy Harvin is let go by the team.  One of John Idzik’s solutions to the Jets offensive woes, Harvin struggles to stay healthy and isn’t seen as being worth the hefty price tag.

March 11th- Maccagnan sends a late-round conditional draft pick to the Houston Texans for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Fitzpatrick’s knowledge of Gailey’s offense and experience offers the Jets stability at the position should Smith fail to show improvement over his previous two seasons when he was voted the NFL’s worst starting quarterback.

March 2015- With a cornerback depth chart that consisted of Kyle Wilson, Marcus Williams, Darrin Walls, Philip Adams and the oft injured Dee Milliner and Dexter McDougle, Maccagnan gets to work rebuilding the secondary. He inks cornerbacks Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Buster Skrine.  Team owner Woody Johnson is hit with tampering charges for comments he made in regards to the team’s interest in Revis before the start of free agency. That development leads many to believe the mega-contract given to Revis was ordered by the owner.

Maccagnan also adds guard James Carpenter, a former first round pick who struggled at offensive tackle with the Seattle Seahawks.

Darrelle Revis’ return to New York looked like a good move early on, but it wound up being a flop.

April 30th- Despite a plethora of talent along the defensive line, Maccagnan grabs Leonard Williams as the team’s first round draft choice, a decision that surprised many at the time, but has proven to be the right move as Williams is an ascending elite talent.

April 31st/May 1st- After the Williams pick, Maccagnan chooses Ohio State WR Devin Smith, OLB Lorenzo Mauldin, OL Jarvis Harrison, QB Bryce Petty and defensive lineman Deon Simon.  Smith is likely done as a pro due to injuries and Harrison is long gone.  Beyond that, Mauldin and Simon have shown the potential to be anything from solid back up to starter material and Petty flashed briefly in spots last year but is likely some time away (if ever) from looking like an NFL starter.

Devin Smith’s NFL career may very well be over before it ever really got started.

May 8th- Jets sign undrafted free agent linebacker Julian Howsare who is converted to fullback.  Howsare spends the season on the practice squad before making the team and 2016 before being cut.  He has since been re-signed to audition again at fullback.

August 11th, 2015- Geno Smith suffers a broken jaw as the result of being punched in the face by teammate IK Enemkpali over what was said to be a failure to repay a $600 debt.  Fitzpatrick, who spent much of the offseason program rehabbing a broken leg, gets the starting job before taking a single pre-season snap.

One report surfaced claiming Maccagnan contacted the Washington Redskins in an effort to acquire quarterback Kirk Cousins in the wake of the Smith saga, but the uncertain future of Robert Griffin III leads the Redskins do rebuff Maccagnan’s offer.

The purging of the roster, addition of talent through trades and the draft were in an effort to get a look at Geno Smith to determine once and for all if he was a franchise quarterback.  Had Smith bombed, the Jets would have likely torn it all down and started from scratch.

As we all know, the opposite occurred as Fitzpatrick, to the surprise of many onlookers, had a career year.  He would throw a franchise record 31 touchdowns en route to a 10-6 record, a mark that earned Maccagnan executive of the year honors.  Then, in a surprise move, Todd Bowles named Fitzpatrick his starting quarterback before he had the chance to enter free agency despite Smith still being on the roster.

With the Maccagnan/Bowles era set to enter year two, the focus became contending versus re-building, essentially delaying the inevitable.

Feb 22nd- In a highly anticipated move, the Jets part ways with Cromartie, who was signed to a deal with no guaranteed money beyond year one of his deal.

March 9th- Completely invisible in Chan Gailey’s offense, wide receiver Jeremy Kerley and tight end Jeff Cumberland are both cut loose.

March 10th- With running back Chris Ivory gone via free agency, Maccagnan signs veteran running back Matt Forte along with Khiry Robinson, formerly of the New Orleans Saints.

March 10th- The Jets reportedly make a last-ditch effort to re-sign defensive lineman Damon Harrison by increasing their offer, but they’re outbid by the co-tenant Giants.

March 21st- Maccagnan signs defensive lineman Steve McClendon who is viewed by some as a replacement for Damon Harrison.  McClendon clears that up by saying he signed with the understanding that he will not be a true nose tackle, but used in a variety of roles in Bowles’ defense.

April 10th- Following the sudden retirement of left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson and only Ben Ijalana to turn to, the Jets send a 5th round draft choice to the Denver Broncos for LT Ryan Clady.

April 28th- Looking to get faster up front, the Jets select Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee in the first round of the 2016 draft.

April 29th/30th- Maccagnan follows up the Lee pick by taking Penn State Quarterback Christian Hackenberg, Georgia linebacker Jordan Jenkins, NC State cornerback Juston Burris, South Carolina offensive tackle Brandon Shell, Sam Houston punter Lac Edwards and Clemson wide receiver Charone Peake.

Jets beat writers Rich Cimini (ESPN) and Brian Costello (NY Post) have both predicted second-year receiver Charone Peake will be the Jets no. 3 receiver in 2017.

May 5th- The Jets add undrafted free agents; WR Robby Anderson, FS Doug Middleton, WR Jalin Marshall and defensive lineman Lawrence Thomas.

July 15th- The Jets re-sign defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson to a five-year deal that pays him close to $16 million per season.

July 27th- On the eve of training camp, the Maccagnan gets Bowles’ preferred starter in Ryan Fitzpatrick.  It’s a one year deal worth $12 million that’s spread over two seasons.

September 3rd- Former first and second round draft choices, Dee Milliner and Jace Amaro are among the team’s announced cuts.

September 4th- Cornerback Darryl Roberts is claimed off waivers.

September 11th- The Jets open the season with a 23-22 loss at home to the Cincinnati Bengals and the game is a sign of things to come.  Todd Bowles’ secondary falls apart and allows multiple long drives to the Bengals whose top receiver, AJ Green, lights up Revis and the rest of the secondary for 180 yards on 12 catches.  Nick Folk misses an extra point, Brandon Marshall drops a critical pass in the fourth quarter and Ryan Fitzpatrick throws a game-ending interception.

Brandon Marshall was one of many players whose performance dropped off dramatically in 2016.

A torched secondary dropped passes and interceptions become a theme for what would be a disastrous 5-11 campaign.  There was no capitalizing on a strong 2015.  No catching of lighting in any bottles.  Maccagnan, Bowles, the Jets and their fans all knew that it was time to start the rebuild that should have started one year earlier.  A rebuild that was delayed by a locker room knockout, and a standout performance by Fitzpatrick.

That brings us to the current off-season, one that is about to come to a close, and where it leaves the Jets roster today.

Some of the biggest names (and salaries) have been purged in an effort to start a full-on rebuild.

One of many cap casualties this offseason, Eric Decker is no longer in Green and White.

Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Marcus Gilchrist, Calvin Pryor, Nick Folk, Breno Giacomini…all gone.  The moves have the Jets sitting on $24 million in cap room as of today, and a projected surplus of up to $80 million next off-season.

To fill some of the voids on a short-term basis, Maccagnan has imported veteran quarterback Josh McCown to take on the role of veteran starter/mentor.  Kelvin Beachum, a highly regarded free agent just two seasons ago will likely be protecting the quarterback’s blind side after one down season in Jacksonville.

Maccagnan used the NFL draft to help shore up the team’s secondary.  Jets fans, after hearing at length how Todd Bowles’ defense relies heavily on interchangeable safeties, will ideally have just that in 2017.

When LSU safety Jamal Adams fell to the Jets with the sixth overall pick, Maccagnan tabbed him with the team’s first pick, then doubled down in round two by taking another safety in Marcus Maye.

He would follow that up by drafting several pass catchers for whoever will be under center in the coming years for the Jets, grabbing Alabama wide receiver Ardarius Stewart, Cal wide receiver Chad Hansen, Clemson tight end Jordan Leggett and a pass catching running back in Elijah McGuire out of Louisiana-Lafayette.

The remainder of the Jets draft choices this season were all on defense. West Georgia DE/OLB Dylan Donahue and cornerbacks Jeremy Clark (Michigan) and Derrick Jones (Ole Miss).

Now, with training camp just a couple of weeks away, Maccagnan’s first draft class prepares to enter their critical third season, and it’s year one of a delayed tear-down and re-build.

There are only four players on the roster who are at least 30 years of age in McCown (37), Forte (31), McClendon (31) and long snapper Tanner Purdum (30).  Projecting at least 12 of Maccagnan’s 22 draft picks along with a few undrafted free agents to start or see a sizeable chunk of playing time isn’t at all unrealistic.  It’s also a number that would likely be higher if not for the off-field issues encountered by Mauldin and Jalin Marshall this off-season.

So for those of you asking how or why Maccagnan should be given a chance to right the Jets ship after what is perceived as little improvement over two seasons, remember that year one’s evaluation was out the window on August 11th of that year, and an attempt to progress after a 10-win season fell on its face when it seemed the entire roster got slow, tired and lazy in a hurry.

Gone are the aging, unhappy, ineffective veterans, and a youth movement is under way.  A youth movement that in just one draft, with the selections of Leonard Williams, Lorenzo Mauldin and Deon Simon, has already out-performed almost all 19 of the players drafted by the buffoon who sat in Maccagnan’s chair before him, and a year two draft class that could quite easily produce five starters this season.

Should Maccagnan’s three draft classes manage to live up to their full potential this season, expect Woody…err..Chris Johnson, to allow Maccagnan’s timeline to grow by at least one more year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nick Mangold Baltimore Bound?

By Glenn Naughton

 

While there has been very little chatter in regards to the future of former New York Jets center Nick Mangold, who was cut loose by the team in recent weeks, at least one report has surfaced, suggesting Mangold could be heading a couple of hours south on I-95 for his next NFL gig.

A report from ESPN claims Mangold recently visited with the Ravens just days after Baltimore GM Ozzie Newsome told reporters that the team was still looking to make some moves in free agency.

According to Jamison Hensley of ESPN, the move would be a good fit for both sides:

It would make sense for the Ravens to sign Mangold, the best center available in free agency. John Sullivan, who was considered the second-best center available, signed with the Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday.

Baltimore traded away three-year starting center Jeremy Zuttah to the San Francisco 49ers this offseason, and most of the centers in this draft are developmental ones. The Ravens’ in-house options — John Urschel and Ryan Jensen — are considered fall-back ones.

No matter where Mangold lands in 2017, it’s fair to say some Jets fans will be keeping half an eye on the long-time Jet and future Hall of Famer.

Even With big cuts, Talk of Jets “Tank” is Premature

By Glenn Naughton

 

While the slew of recent roster moves made by New York Jets General Mike Maccagnan has fans and many in league circles talking about the team preparing to “tank” in 2017, the fact remains that the Jets now have a surplus of salary cap room (with possibly more coming), and it wouldn’t take all that much to elevate the team from doormat, to being at least competitive next season.

Parting ways with cornerstones Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Marshall have grabbed headlines as the team has created just over $33 million in salary cap space, and there are still plenty of moves that could possibly be made, some more likely than others, that could easily put the team in the $50+ million range.

Topping that list would be dealing troubled defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson which would yield a savings of $8 million, and the likely release of safety Marcus Gilchrist.  Due to make $7.3 million this season, Gilchrist’s release would create another $4.6 million, meaning those two moves on their own would have the Jets sitting pretty at $46 million in cap room.

Rich Cimini of ESPN New York recently reported that aside from Richardson and Gilchrist possibly on the way out, Buster Skrine, Eric Decker and Calvin Pryor could also be shown the door, though it would appear Decker’s wife took a shot at putting any Decker rumors to bed via twitter last night.

Even with all of the team’s moves, talk of the Jets going “all out to tank” is a bit premature.  There is an approach the Jets can take that will allow them to be competitive in 2017, and until we see what direction they go in, we won’t know if this is the team looking forward to next season’s draft in hopes of a top-3 pick, or if they’ll build a roster that can make a push for the playoffs.

Impossible, you say?  Not if you believe the school of thought that if you win in the trenches, you can be successful in the NFL.

With a black cloud currently hovering over the psyche of a fan base that just sat through a 5-11 season, it’s hard for some Jets fans to see the few positives the team has to build around, but the fact of the matter is that with one or two mid-level signings, the team could be more than formidable up front on both offense and defense.

Re-signing right guard Brian Winters gives the Jets an excellent tandem on the inside with left guard James Carpenter.  Right tackle Brandon Shell is far from a sure thing, but he far exceeded expectations with his late-season audition last year when he didn’t allow a single quarterback pressure through his first three starts.  If Shell continues to grow, that means the Jets are set at 3 of the 5 spots up front.

It’s hard to imagine the Jets won’t take a center at some point in the draft and there are a few good ones to be had in LSU’s Ethan Pocic, Ohio State’s Pat Elflein and Baylor’s Kyle Fuller.  If not, they could take a shot at retaining Nick Mangold’s replacement from last season in Wesley Johnson, who was solid in his place.  That would, of course, leave left tackle as the team’s only vacancy, where the pickings are slim, but there are  a few veteran options that could offer stability.

The Jets are rumored to have interest in free agent Russell Okung who will probably command a bit more than he’s worth in a weak market, but there are a couple of other options for the Jets.

The ageless Andrew Whitworth of the Cincinnati Bengals who continues to play at a high level at age 35, may be willing to come on board for a short-term deal that allows the Jets to develop a draft choice in the meantime.  Also on the market is veteran tackle Matt Kalil who hasn’t lived up to his drat status as the 4th overall choice in 2012, he would be an upgrade over anyone currently on the Jets roster and easily capable of starting somewhere in 2017.

Kelvin Beachum is another option and a player who the Jets showed interest in last off-season, but he was so bad in Jacksonville that the Jags let him go after just one year.

Essentially, the Jets are a left tackle and a draft pick at center away from being just fine up front and potentially dominant up the middle. This would mean that the always lingering question of who will play quarterback for the Jets is as big as ever, and really the single position that will tell us if the Jets have any interest in fielding a quality product this season.

Speculation has continued to mount that the Jets are going to make a push for Tampa Bay Bucs free agent quarterback Mike Glennon, or Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor should the Bills decide to part ways with their starting signal caller.  Adding either Glennon or Taylor would put the Jets in the best QB position they’ve been in for decades.  Were the team to go with a veteran like Brian Hoyer to compete with Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg, it would be an undeniable (though they would still deny it) waving of the white flag for the upcoming season.

Center Wesley Johnson filled in admirably for the injured Nick Mangold last season.

Looking across to the defensive line, if Richardson is dealt, there will of course be a pair of Pro Bowlers in Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson leading the way.  Formerly seen as the best of the group, Wilkerson is now an unknown.  The Temple product, who is coming off of his worst season as a pro as he failed to produce on the field, and damaged his squeaky clean image off of it when it was learned that he’s made a habit of skipping or showing up late to practices, is a question mark after his tumultuous season.

In fairness to Wilkerson in terms of his on field production, it’s not out of the question so suggest he may have rushed himself back after breaking his leg in week 17 of the 2015 season, perhaps impacting his get off on the line.  As a matter of fact, Wilkerson appeared so lethargic for much of the 2016 season that the Jets had better hope the injury played a role, because if that’s the type of effort they’ll be getting from Wilkerson moving forward,  the team is in big trouble.

With a pair of solid interior linemen in Steve McLendon and former 7th round pick Deon Simon, who showed steady improvement last season, the Jets unquestionably have the talent to be very good along the defensive line, which again, is not something you generally get out of a team that’s looking to tank.

There’s a very real chance that Gang Green will go in to 2017 with an improved offensive and defensive lines with a chance to vastly improve the quarterback play.

This isn’t to say that tanking isn’t in the works, but it’s far to early to say for sure that it is.

 

 

Revis & Mangold Released; NY Jets Podcast

On this week’s episode of JetNation Radio the guys are both be back after a one week hiatus and they have a lot to cover! Darrelle Revis has been cut, Nick Mangold has been cut, are the Jets done with the purge?

We also talk about the criminal charges against Revis and Nick Folk being released.

Next up is free agency, we look at how it is shaping up as some players are hitting the market. We won’t stop there as there are many other topics to discuss on what’s sure to be a jammed packed episode of JetNation Radio.

Be sure to call us live every week on Tuesday at 8pm, (646) 716-4697.

Follow us on Twitter: Joe- @joerb31 and Glenn- @Acefan23.

Jets Release Nick Mangold

Coming off of a 5 and 11 season, there wasn’t much doubt which direction the Jets were headed. The moves so far this off season confirm what everyone suspected; the Jets are in full rebuilding mode. Earlier this week veterans Nick Folk and Breno Giacomini were released. The Jets continued the purge today by announcing that 11 year veteran center Nick Mangold has been released.

The former first-round pick was extremely durable during his 11 seasons. He battled an ankle injury in 2016, which limited him to 8 games. In the 10 seasons before that he played in (and started) 156 games. That means he only missed 4 games in his first ten seasons, an incredible run for someone playing such a physical position. According to NJ.com this move saves the Jets over 9 million against the salary cap.

“Decisions of this magnitude are always difficult, but even more so with someone like Nick who has meant so much to this organization,” said GM Mike Maccagnan. “We appreciate not just his on-field contributions, but the imprint that his mentality and approach to the game leaves on this team.”

Off the field Nick Mangold was one of the hardest working Jets the team has had in recent years. If there was a charity event, it always seemed like he was there with a smile on his face, and he was always laughing and engaging with Jets fans. Here is Nick Mangold’s statement from Twitter.

 

With so many other positions to fill this looks like a vote of confidence for Wesley Johnson. Johnson, who is heaed into his 4th NFL season, started all 8 games that Mangold missed last year and played well. Early reports are that Mangold is not retiring and will look to continue his career with another team.

Visit our forums to read more about Nick Mangold being released from the Jets.

Jets Place Mangold on IR; Possibly Done as Team Looks for Replacement?

By Glenn Naughton

 

Another piece of bad news out of Jets land today as the team announced long-time center Nick Mangold, who has been battling an ankle injury since week 7, has been placed on season-ending IR after re-aggravating the injury on Monday night.

With just one year left on his current contract at the bloated price tag of $9 million, it would appear Mangold is in line for a pay cut, or a new employer in 2017.

While it’s impossible to know exactly who Jets scouts are eyeing in the college ranks, we have confirmed that the team was credentialed for games involving Baylor, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech and LSU, all of whom have centers who are considered to be among each teams top-rated draft-eligible players.  Make of that what you will.

In a perfect world, if Gang Green were eyeing a young center, Mangold could be brought back at a lower price to mentor the rookie, but in the cutthroat business of the NFL, a team as cap-stripped as the Jets may just cut bait choose to move on.