Archive for July, 2011

Jets B-List Free Agency Moves

Friday, July 29th, 2011

FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Lost amidst the re-signing of Santonio Holmes and the speculation surrounding a certain All-Pro cornerback who’s name is just far to confusing to type has been the Jets bringing back key guys on both the offensive and special teams aspects.

Earlier this week general manager Mike Tannenbaum gave offensive tackle Wayne Hunter a four-year contract extension. Hunter, who took over for Damien Woody at right tackle after he went down with an Achilles’ injury that ended his season and possibly forced Woody into retirement. There’s still a possibility of Woody returning to the Jets, as Woody told  Jenny Vrentas, of the Newark Star Ledger, that it’s “either Gang Green or nobody” at this point.

Nick Folk, who celebrated with the Jets after his 32-yard GW FG against the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs last year. The Jets rewarded Folk by signing him to a one-year deal. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

As for Hunter, who played very well as a utility lineman and as a tackle-eligible tight end in certain formations. He’s a Rex Ryan guy, who will do whatever is asked of him for the greater good of the team. After the injury to Woody, he was able to come in and never miss a beat with the starting unit.

Additionally, the Jets officially signed fellow utility lineman, Robert Turner, to a one-year tender. Turner, who was a restricted free agent before the lockout was given a low tender with no draft choice compensation. Turner played in all 19 games for the Jets last season plugging holes all over the offensive line, as well as filling in at the tackle eligible tight end.

With Hunter and Turner filling gaps and second-year starter Matt Slauson gaining more and more confidence, the Jets could be back to — not only having a great run-blocking line, but — a well-rounded line that protects the passer and rusher. Let’s not forget about the Jets second-round pick in last year’s draft, Vladimir Ducasse, either.Center Nick Mangold certainly isn’t.

“If Vladimir is able to step up, he’ll be ready to go,” Mangold said. “In talking to him a little bit today, he seems ready. We seem to be in a good position [here].”

As for special teams, like it or not, kicker Nick Folk will be kicking the extra points and field goals again in 2011. He certainly did revive his career last year after being cut from the Dallas Cowboys. Last season he was 30-for-39 (77%) in field goal percentage. He was near-perfect from 40 yards and in but was 2-for-5 from 50+ yards out. He kicked the game-winning field goal in the Wildcard Weekend matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, on the road.

OTHER JETS MOVERS AND SHAKERS: The Jets have cut ties with veteran quarterback Mark Brunell, who was instrumental in the education and maturation of Mark Sanchez last season. They have also cut third-string QB Kevin O’Connell after watching former starter Kellen Clemens sign with the Washington Redskins.


Jets re-sign Holmes to a 5-year deal

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Santonio Holmes is remaining a Jet. After all the speculation swirling that Holmes would be chasing the highest-paying suitor for his services, he has agreed to a 5-year deal with the Jets worth at an estimated $50 million dollars with $24 million in guarantees. Given the structure of this free agent period, Holmes will not be able to officially sign the deal until Friday.

If that $50 million number is correct, it will leave the Jets strapped to sign anyone else of significance. Of course there have been mega-rumors surrounding cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and the Jets have voiced their desire to re-sign FA wideout Braylon Edwards. But if the Jets were to get both Asomugha and Edwards, it would not only take a pay cut to the players  but may also force players like Mark Sanchez, Darrelle Revis, and perhaps even more. Sanchez has already stated that he is willing to re-structure his deal in order to help the team go out and sign more players.

Get used to this picture. Santonio Holmes signed a 5-year, $50 million contract with $24 million in guarantees. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

Speaking of Edwards, he reached out to his former teammate via Twitter to congratulate Holmes on his new contract, stating: “Congrats to Santonio. A great player and great friend.”

In 12 games with the Jets last season, Holmes pulled in 52 catches for 746 yards and 6 touchdowns. He missed the first four games of the season serving a suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. But upon his return, nearly single-handedly won five of the following six games for the Jets. He was regarded as the top offensive free agent on the market, second overall to cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

Originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers 25th overall in the 2006 NFL Draft, he was traded to the Jets last season for a 5th-round pick, only a year removed from his Super Bowl heroics.

Rumors soaring around Jets “No-Fly Zone”

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

FLORHAM PARK, NJ –Forget Revis Island. There is a distinct possibility that Jets fans may refer to their defensive backfield of the future as the “No-Fly Zone” (thanks ToyotabySteven). The top free agent in 2011, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, may take a LeBron-like pay cut to play for the Jets this season. Imagine a tandem of Asomugha and Revis shutting down and utterly frustrating the likes of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. It may very well be more than just a vivid imagination.

Reports have been swirling around the Jets’ Atlantic Health Training Facility that G.M. Mike Tannenbaum has begun discussions about bringing in the 3-time Pro Bowl cornerback to compliment Revis on the flank side of the defense. According to league sources, the Jets have spoken with Antonio Cromartie about re-signing with the team, but are also highly intrigued about the possibility of pairing Asomugha with Revis.

Darrelle Revis has his own island. But the idea of Revis and Nnamdi Asomugha has already sparked the catchphrase "No-Fly Zone". (JetsInsider.com Photo).

If it’s money that Asomugha is looking for, New York may not be the perfect fit. The Jets have a shade under $7 million in salary cap space, far less than other rumored suitors (i.e. Tampa Bay, Houston and Dallas). Asomugha is reportedly looking for $14-$15 million. But if he was willing to take a pay cut to around Revis’s salary ($11.5 million), then a creative Tannenbaum may be able to back load his contract as well as add in a bunch of incentive-laced guarantees.

Despite being close to the salary cap limit, signing Asomugha would likely leave them strapped for cash at other positions of need (WR and DE/OLB for example). This despite quarterback Mark Sanchez voicing his willingness to re-structure his contract.

Asomugha is a fan of Rex Ryan and is also friends with Revis. When the two met up for the Pro Bowl two years ago they discussed the possibility of one day playing together, which sparked headlines nationwide. ESPN’s Chris Mortesen also has reported that the New York media outlet intrigues Asomugha, who would like to pursue acting after football.

Mark Sanchez proves his leadership role

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

FLORHAM PARK, NJ — How does one define a leader on a football team? Is it by his performance on the field? The touchdowns. The down-the-field vision. The evasion of would-be sackers. Or is it by how he conducts himself off-the-field? Being a selfless teammate. Working hard in the weight room. Putting in that extra time on off-days. Staying out of the tabloids.

The Jets third-year quarterback may not have achieved his full potential on the field (yet), but at 24-years-old Mark Sanchez not only has accepted his role as a leader but embodied the term to the fullest.

“Whatever it takes to win,” Sanchez told reporters at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Facility at Florham Park, NJ on Tuesday. “If it’s throwing the ball left-handed and that’s what’ll make us win, fine I’ll throw it left-handed. It doesn’t matter, we need to win.”

In his third year, Mark Sanchez is looking to rise up on the field as he has fully embraced his leadership role. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

That perfect answer was in response to the question of whether he is willing to re-structure his contract to allow the Jets front office more salary cap flexibility in order to re-sign free agent receivers Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards among others. Sanchez signed a 5-year $50 million contract in 2009 with $28 million in guarantees. He is due to make $14.5 million in 2011, $8.5 in 2012 and $4 million in 2013. But are those reports really true?

“Absolutely, and my agent’s already talked to me about it. Whatever we need to do to win, it’s on. I think our whole team feels that way. If it’s [Darrelle] Revis, me, whoever — it doesn’t matter. So, we’ll do whatever we can,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez may not have left USC early (although he did receive his diploma in Spring 2009: thanks Chris), but he certainly understands the importance of Edwards and Holmes to his own and his team’s success.

“It was such a luxury to have both of them last year. It’s almost unrealistic to have that kind of receiving corps again. But whichever guys we get back, it’s going to be them playing really well and me getting even better, upping my completion percentage, being more accurate, throwing less interceptions — more touchdowns, things like that,” he said.

Bettering himself and the team was his hope when Sanchez hosted the second stint of “Jets West” camp outside of his Mission Viejo, CA home. He conducted his first off-sight receiving camp last season, but this year might have been even more successful. During a lockout-induced off-season in which players were scared of injuring themselves and not being insured by teams or hurting potential contracts it would be understandable if players didn’t show. Yet Edwards, Holmes, Brad Smith and the rest of the skill position players showed up to show support for their team and newly respected leader, Sanchez.

“Jets West” as well as their “Camp Lockout” workouts in Farleigh Dickinson University, which was open to both offensive and defensive players, have been pivotal to this team in a time where there has been little to no team activities amongst NFL teams.

But whether if it’s been taking steps in improving his game or his maturation as a leader, Sanchez has made sure to not skip anything on his path to becoming an NFL elite quarterback.

“Something I did this past year was stay close to the facility, especially during the playoffs,” Sanchez said. “Especially on a Tuesday night, you’re off on Tuesday and we come in and having a meeting at night and then stay right here either at [Nick] Mangold’s house or [Mark] Brunell’s house. It really helped me focus for that week. We inevitably had our best games in the playoffs. That was one of those things that we found in my routine last year and it could be something that easy.”

But being a leader is not just setting the pace for your team, but realizing that — even as a leader — there is still room for improvement. There still may be a lot of room left, but Sanchez doesn’t shy away from it. In fact, he embraces it.”There are specific plays where I just missed a couple of guys that were wide open and that can’t happen. It’s my third year coming up, that’s where I need to get better,” Sanchez said.

Embracing his imperfections and realizing the areas where improvement is necessary. Even if he is a mere 24-years-old, Mark Sanchez is truly a leader of this team.

Official JetsInsider.com Jets FA Wish-List

Monday, July 25th, 2011


FLORHAM PARK, NJ – It’s a near-half-Christmas miracle! Are you ready for some football?! Images of Fireman Ed rallying the rambunctious Jets’ faithful for their iconic “J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! JETS!” chant dance in my head. DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goodell came to hang their football socks from the chimney with care. On Braylon. On Rex. On Mark and Sione.

Certainly the gift of football is one that keeps on giving. We’ve all heard the collective $200 million possible loss with each pre-season game that would be missed. Pre-season. Imagine the net losses for the regular season? But never mind that. Football is back and the lockout is lifted. If you came to this blog to get an update on all the emerging details about what’s to come, you’re in the wrong place. To be quite honest, I think the Adam Schefter’s, Albert Breer’s, and John Clayton’s of the world do a far better job than I ever would. BUT if you came here to see what free agent players the Jets will be targeting in the next 48 hours, keep on reading.

Fans and Jets teammates alike fell head-over-heels with the play of Santonio Holmes last season. But will the Jets be willing to pay for his play this year? (JetsInsider.com Photo).

Player agents, team executives and general managers are scrambling to get their plans set in stone before the zero-hour strikes at 12-midnight tonight. From that point, all free agency hell breaks loose. At 6 p.m. EST Monday, teams well be given a free-agent list. Then teams will be aloud to move from 40-man rosters to a 90-man roster (roughly 1600 contracts will be signed in the next coming days). On Tuesday, trade discussions open, eligibility of signing rookies and undrafted players as well as the beginning of negotiations with free agent players. Thursday teams can start cutting players. And by Friday expect the free agency period to be fully underway.

The Jets and GM Mike Tannenbaum have the look of a kid on Christmas as they look ahead to the coming week and what the team might look like by the time camp opens. We all know they have a lot of key free agent players that should be re-signed (i.e. WR Santonio Holmes & Braylon Edwards, CB Antonio Cromartie, DE Shaun Ellis, S Brodney Pool, PK Nick Folk and P Steve Weatherford). And those are just some of the bigger name. The Jets have a lot of wholes to fill with 30 free agents from last year’s roster.

So without further ado, here is the Official JetsInsider.com’s Jets FA Wish-List:

  • Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets – A down-right play maker. Upon his return from a 4-game suspension to start the season, Holmes single-handedly won 5 of the following six games for the Jets. And with three of their top four receivers becoming FA, it’s pivotal in the maturation of Mark Sanchez to have a returned form of continuity. Alternate option: Randy Moss, WR, Titans.
  • Braylon Edwards, WR, Jets -  See above. Like Holmes, Edwards brings a level of comfort to Sanchez and emerged late in the season as truly a team leader. Alternate option: Plaxico Burress, WR, Prison.
  • Cullen Jenkins, DE, Packers – Sure it didn’t work out with his older brother, Kris, but Cullen brings a Super Bowl pedigree to a team that has been one-half away from the Super Bowl for the last two years. Losing aging veteran Shaun Ellis, the Jets are in desperate need for outside edge rushers. With seven years experience he’d be a good teacher for incumbent rookie Mo Wilkerson.  Alternate option: Ray Edwards, DE, Vikings.
  • Matt Light, OT, Patriots – What better way to stick it to the arch-nemesis Patriots than bystealing away Tom Brady’s blindside protector? Not only would he help solidify a line that struggled in pass protection at times, but would bring a wealth of knowledge to the Jets staff on “that team up north”. Alternate option: Wayne Hunter, OT, Jets
  • Not signing Antonio Cromartie, CB, Jets: At times last season he looked brilliant. But for the majority, he was too aggressive. He most definitely has big-play ability, but that goes both ways. Last season he was one of the highest penalized players in the league, but also provided some big-play on both the return and defensive fronts. On a defense where players are lining up to play under Rex Ryan, why should Jets fans put up with his inconsistencies and possibilities of off-the-field drama? Players like Fabian Washington, Carlos Rogers and Philip Buchanon are smarter, savvier and cheaper than Cromartie. Just forget about Nnamdi Asomugha. Too expensive.

Don’t see eye to eye with our wish list? Let us know who YOU think the Jets should target in free agency. Twitter.com/JetsInsider.com & Facebook.com/JetsInsider

NFL Owners/Players Laboring to end Lockout

Monday, July 18th, 2011

FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Can it really be? Am I dreaming? We’ve all been hearing it, I’m just not sure if I want to say it out loud. We all blame the guy in the room who obnoxiously points out when a pitcher has a no-hitter brewing in the sixth inning. This article is starting to make me feel like that guy.

And yet I continue to type.

Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum will most likely be in Atlanta for the hopeful ratifacation of the CBA. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

With my fingers-crossed and my double-jinxies already voiced. That’s how I’ve been watching ESPN, NFL Network and surfing NFL rumor sites. And that’s how I’ll conduct the rest of this article. It’s been difficult to religiously follow the Adam Schefter’s and Chris Mortesen’s of the world throughout the duration of the 125-day lockout as there are constant conflicting reports on a process that has – for the majority of the lockout – been a 2-step forward 1-step back process. However, these recent reports that the lockout is coming to an end have been on-point across the board.

I know, we’ve been duped before. We’ve heard this story. And to be quite honest, I couldn’t be upset if you didn’t believe these recent reports. Fool me once – shame on you. Fool me twice – shame on me. Call me an optimist, here, but I’m buying it. Here’s a statement from the player’s union and the owners on June 15 regarding their recent advances:

The discussions this week have been constructive and progress has been made on a wide range of issues. Our legal and financial teams will continue to work through the weekend. We will continue to respect the confidentiality orders of Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan and will therefore refrain from commenting on specific issues or aspects of the negotiations. We will provide additional information as developments in this process continue. – via NFLLockout.com

Still don’t buy it? Carolina Panthers TE Jeremey Shockey has been making news all over sports gossip sites, like Flopping Out, that he’s been telling people that the deal is done. Additionally he told BustedCoverage.com that his Panthers will report to training camp for a three-day session from July 22nd-25th.

Now, given where this information is coming from, I still understand if you don’t buy it. But here’s what’s left to be done and, IF a deal is to be struck by the June 21st reported ratification,  the post-lockout timeline:

  • July 13th – Ravens CB Dominique Foxworth informs owners of Player Union’s secret insurance account that would pay players $200,000 each if season was canceled.
  • July 14th – Owners/Players reach agreement regarding rookie salaries; agreed on 4-year base deals with team option for a fifth with predetermined salary bast of past performance.
  • July 15th – Owners abandon their fight on the Right of First Refusal for FA players; basically means that teams wouldn’t be able to retain potential FA simply by matching an outside team’s initial offer.
  • July 20th-21th – Players vote on new CBA, and recertify as a union.
  • July 21st – Owners meet in Atlanta to ratify new CBA; team executives will be invited for crash-course on CBA.
  • July 22nd -June 24th – 72-hour period where teams will be aloud to re-sign their own impending FA.
  • July 25th - Start of free agency and training camps.

Possible obstacles in way of the above-mentioned timeline:

  • Re-establishing the union: That is the first step in settling the lawsuits of individual players.
  • Settling the lawsuits against individual players: Tom Brady v. NFL, Logan Mankins/Vincent Jackson disputes.
  • Settling the lawsuit over TV revenue sharing against Doty TV: The case where players accused the owners of setting up a “lockout insurance”.

George Atallah, who is the Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs for the NFL Players Association, stated very poignantly that, despite the recent positive events, there’s still a lot of work to be done. “Nobody cheers for you on the 25th-mile of a marathon.