Idzik Goes Receiver Shopping
When John Idzik took over the Jets everyone knew he had a lot of work to do to turn this team around. When free agency started Idzik made a few under the radar/affordable signings (Goodson, Barnes, Garay, Colon), but it was the amount of players he let walk (not even really attempting to re-sign) that grab the media’s attention. Then came the Revis trade and the draft and even though most people in the business were praising Idzik for his hefty draft haul (netting himself four likely week one starters Milliner, Richardson, Winters and trading for the Saints Chris Ivory as well as drafting a possible future starting quarterback tends to earn any GM good marks) there were still some gapping holes left on the roster.
Idzik addressed improving the offensive line in the draft and in free agency, added top-end talent and depth to the defensive line and cornerback positions, shored up the running back rotation and still managed to nab the quarterback most believe to be the best in the class. The offensive line, running backs and quarterback all desperately needed to be upgraded and Idzik deserves credit for doing just that, but with the amount of holes this roster had after Idzik purged the team of multiple overpriced players there was no way anyone could have expected him to fill all the holes on the team by now.
Fortunately for Idzik and the Jets, there’s still plenty of time before the season starts and there’s still some free agents available that could have a positive impact on the Jets 2013 season and of course there will be training camp cuts for Idzik to pounce on as well.
The three positions the Jets are likely to focus the most attention on are, tight-end, safety and wide-receiver and according to multiple reports they are currently in the process of shopping for a veteran receiver or two. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that ex-Browns receiver/kick-returner Josh Cribbs visited the Jets yesterday, but apparently Cribbs isn’t the only receiver the Jets have had recent contact with.
According to ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini the Jets have, “held discussions with former Giant Ramses Barden, according to a source. GM John Idzik also hinted recently they could be interested in re-signing Braylon Edwards. There have also been rumors about possible interest in Brandon Llyod,”
With Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill suffering season-ending injuries last year the Jets need to bolster the receiving core in case either have any setbacks and/or Hill doesn’t take the step forward the team is hoping for. Aside from Hill and Holmes, Jeremy Kerley is the only other starting caliber receiver on the roster and unless Clyde Gates and Jordan White managed to improve dramatically over the offseason the Jets are going to need to add depth at receiver even if Holmes and Hill are at full strength and producing.
The best overall receiver of this bunch is easily Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd is an above average outside receiver who is capable to making some spectacular catches, but at 31-years-old he can’t quite create the separation that he used to. Lloyd is far from a number one receiver, but he could certainly help improve this receiving core, hell one could argue he’d immediately be the best overall receiver on the roster.
Edwards, if healthy, would be a great fit for the Jets. Like Lloyd Edward’s best days are clearly behind him, but he loves being a Jet, plays hard and with pride, seemed to blend his way back into last year’s dysfunctional offense with ease and is a terrific downfield blocker as well as a solid red zone target. Obviously Sanchez would approve of re-signing Edwards, but David Garrard and Geno Smith could definitely use his services as well. The Jets may very well end up signing Edwards, but that doesn’t mean they need to sign him now they could just tell Edwards to stay close and they’ll call him closer to the start of the season.
Cribbs is an interesting name, he’s not a true receiver and has had a history of concussions and other injuries, but when healthy he is a play-maker and could come in and try and fill Brad Smith’s old role. If the Jets signed Cribbs it likely wouldn’t prevent them from signing another veteran receiver or two, but it could mean the end for Joe McKnight. McKnight could still have a role on this offense, especially with the injury history of the other backs, but bringing in Cribbs would certainly put McKnight on notice. As for Barden, he’s a big body, but that’s about it. Barden never caught on with the Giants offense and it’s hard to imagine him coming into this offense and suddenly turning into a weapon.
If the Jets really want Lloyd and/or Cribbs they’ll need to focus on them sooner rather than later as they are the two most likely to get scooped up first (although Lloyd hasn’t seemed to attract a lot of attention he’s still probably higher on team’s wish-lists than Barden or Edwards).
Whoever the Jets sign just know it won’t be the last addition Idzik makes to this year’s roster, he will continue to search for good value in the free agent market and will be patiently waiting for training camp cuts to scoop up more quality talent at a reasonable price tag.