FREE AGENT dept. ~ ~ ~
Potential free-agent targets
The Jets don't have much cap room, so you won't see any household names on this list. They'll be bargain-shopping. Here's a look at players who might be on their wish list, with positional grades (scale of 100) and rankings by Scouts, Inc.
QB Brady Quinn, Chiefs: The Quinn-to-the-Jets speculation started a week ago. He has never come close to living up to expectations, but he has a relationship with new QBs coach David Lee. He'd come cheaply. Grade: 53. Rank 13.
QB Matt Moore, Dolphins: He's trying to cash in on a respectable performance in 2011, which says a lot about the state of the quarterback market. If Moore wants to start again, his best chance is with the Jets. The going rate for QBs of his ilk is about $3 million a year. Are the Jets willing to spend that much? Grade: 66. Rank: 2.
Felix Jones has rushed for 2,728 yards during his five-year, injury-plagued career.G Jake Scott, Eagles: He's starting to get up in years (almost 32), but he knows Marty Mornhinweg's system and could be a stop-gap starter for a year or two if Brandon Moore and/or Matt Slauson leave. Grade: 70. Rank: 4.
RB Felix Jones, Cowboys: Like Quinn, Jones is another first-round underachiever, but he's still young (almost 26) and runs well. David Lee coached him at Arkansas, so there's familiarity. Grade: 75. Rank: 7.
WR Mohamed Massaquoi, Browns: He has only 114 receptions in four years, but he has the body type and skill set for the West Coast system. New TEs coach Steve Hagen knows him well from Cleveland.
TE Anthony Fasano, Dolphins: He won't threaten the safeties, but he would bring a blocking element back to the tight-end position. He's a New Jersey native. Lee knows him from his Miami days. Grade: 72. Rank: 8.
S Jim Leonhard, Broncos: It's a long shot, but we know how Rex Ryan feels about him. Grade: 59. Rank: 33.
S Glover Quin, Texans: He's a solid, physical safety who could replace LaRon Landry, a free agent. Quin is considered one of the top sleepers. Grade: 76. Rank: 7.
OLB Connor Barwin, Texans: This might be a stretch because of the financials, but Ryan absolutely loved him coming out of college a few years ago. He had 11.5 sacks two years ago, but fell way off in 2012. Grade: 79. Rank: 7
Free agency: Who's staying, who's going
Everything you need to know about free agency, analyzing the Jets' unrestricted and restricted free agents, with positional grades (scale of a 100) and rankings by Scouts, Inc. :
MOST LIKELY TO STAY PUT
DE Mike DeVito: He's a blue-collar lineman with scheme versatility, so he should draw considerable interest from other teams. The Jets want to re-sign DeVito, but with Quinton Coples poised for a larger role, it might be a financial squeeze to bring him back as the fourth linemen -- unless they're planning to play more 4-3 fronts. The Chiefs could be interested. Grade: 64. Rank: 15.
PK Nick Folk: The Jets have kept him off the market the last two years with one-year contracts before free agency, but it looks like they're prepared to let him test the waters. They'd better be careful; Folk is an under-rated kicker and could get scooped up. Grade: 66. Rank: 5.
LaRon Landry was elected to the Pro Bowl in his first -- and possibly only -- season as a Jet.MAYBE, MAYBE NOT
TE Dustin Keller: He's expected to hit the open market, as the Jets have shown little interest in re-signing him. They will let the market dictate his value. He'd be an ideal fit in Marty Mornhinweg's West Coast offense. This offense should be collecting playmakers, not sending them away. Grade: 77. Rank: 4.
G Matt Slauson: He won't command big bucks on the open market, so there's always a chance he could return. The Jets made Slauson take a pay cut last season and rotated him with Vladimir Ducasse, but he's better than Ducasse. Maybe new GM John Idzik will recognize that. Slauson may draw interest from the Cowboys and Raiders. Grade: 69. Rank: 6
WR Braylon Edwards: He's a journeyman player at this point in his career. The Jets need size and depth in the receiving corps, but there's no sense of urgency with Edwards, who could be a post-draft option. Grade: 66. Rank: 17.
S Yeremiah Bell: They have no experienced safeties under contract, so there's an obvious need. Bell was a nice hold-the-fort player last season, but he's 35. He could be another post-draft option. Grade: 69. Rank: 16.
GOING, GOING ...
S LaRon Landry: He bet on himself last year, signing only a one-year contract -- and he won. Landry stayed healthy, made his first Pro Bowl and figures to cash in. The Jets would like to re-sign him, but they won't pay $6 million a year. Chances are, it'll be one-and-done. Grade: 78. Rank: 4.
RB Shonn Greene: He's a between-the-tackles thumper, and the Jets need a No. 1 back with breakaway speed and pass-catching skills to excel in Mornhinweg's offense. Greene could draw interest from the Broncos and Falcons. There's little chance of him returning. Grade: 76. Rank: 4.
G Brandon Moore: Their longest-tenured player on offense probably will move on, and that's too bad because Moore has been one of the Jets' most consistent and durable players. He'll be 33 before the season, so age is an issue. He could draw interest from the Bills, Cowboys and Raiders. Grade: 81. Rank: 1.
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
LB Bryan Thomas: Their longest-tenured player is a true warrior, but injuries and age (34 in June) are concerns. It's time to say goodbye. Grade: 64. Rank: 13.
WR Chaz Schilens: Well, he was always good for a sarcastic quote. Grade: 58. Rank: 35.
FB Lex Hilliard: He was a midseason fill-in who played like a midseason fill-in. Adios. Grade: 56. Rank: 37.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
RT Austin Howard: The Jets really like his upside. They're deciding whether to make him a first-round tender ($2.86 million) or a second-round tender ($2.02 million). Grade: 68. Rank: 17.
TE Jeff Cumberland: If he receives the second-round tender, it means Keller is a goner. The Jets could take the cheap route and assign the low tender ($1.32 million), which would give the team the right of first refusal but no draft-pick compensation. Grade: 61. Rank: 22.
LB Josh Mauga: He missed most of last season with a torn biceps. He won't be tendered a contract. Grade: 20. Rank: 86.
LS Tanner Purdum: A very good long snapper, but there's little chance of him getting even the low tender ($1.3 million). Grade: 59. Rank: 8.
Another potential QB bites the dust
Scratch Matt Moore from the Jets' list of potential quarterback targets.
The Dolphins' backup re-signed Friday morning, according to NFL.com, opting to remain Ryan Tannehill's understudy instead of venturing out into the free-agent market in search of a starting job.
Honestly, I'm not sure the Jets would've been a strong suitor even though Moore was considered by many the best quarterback in a weak free-agent crop. The contract numbers haven't been reported yet, but quarterbacks of his ilk (see Chad Henne, Kyle Orton from last year) are getting at least $3 million a year. With $8.25 million already committed to Mark Sanchez in 2013, it may have been a tight squeeze for the cap-strapped Jets.
So where does this leave them? Unless they pull off a trade (Matt Flynn?) or scoop up a veteran that could be released (Kevin Kolb?), the Jets will shop for lower-end free agents such as Brady Quinn and David Garrard. Oh, boy.
UPDATE: Moore reportedly signed a two-year, $8 million contract.
Eight in the Box : Top offseason targets
Welcome to Eight in the Box, an NFL Nation feature that will appear each Friday during the offseason. This week's topic: Who should be the primary target (including trades) for each team when free agency begins ?
New York Jets : Considering their salary-cap situation, it is possible the Jets will be without cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie next season, which opens up yet another hole on a roster that needs a lot of work. On offense, the Jets needs to improve at the skill positions, and bringing back stalwart guard Brandon Moore also would be wise for this run-first team. Quarterback is a massive need, but there isn't an obvious name to meet that need right now. However, Rex Ryan's brother, Rob, coached outside linebacker Victor Butler in Dallas. Although Butler was a backup to DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer in Dallas' 3-4 scheme, he was very productive when called upon. Butler is young, the arrow is pointing up and the Jets' pass rush desperately needs a boost from the outside linebacker position. With the Jets' cap constraints, Butler would be the perfect option to fill that need at a reasonable price.
Free agency begins at midnight -- kinda
Welcome to uncharted waters.
To reduce the amount of blatant tampering that usually occurs before the start of the free-agent signing period, the NFL created a three-day negotiating window. It starts in a few hours. Here are the rules :
1. Beginning at 12 midnight Saturday and ending at 3:59 p.m. Tuesday, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents upon the expiration of their 2012 Player Contracts at 4 p.m. March 12. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4 p.m. March 12.
2. During this negotiation period, a prospective unrestricted free agent cannot visit a club (other than the player’s current club) at its permanent facility or at any other location, and no direct contact is permitted between the player and any employee or representative of a club (other than the player’s current club). If a player is self-represented, clubs are prohibited from discussions with the player during the negotiating period.
3. Clubs (other than the player’s current club) may not discuss or make any travel arrangements with prospective unrestricted free agent players, their certified agents, or anyone else associated with the player until the expiration of those players’ 2012 Player Contracts.
4. The three-day negotiating period applies only to potential unrestricted free agents; it does not apply to players who are potential exclusive-rights players or restricted free agents, or to players who have been designated as franchise players or transition players.
Free agency week ( and other stuff )
There will be no shortage of Jets news this week. Storylines to watch :
1. Free agency: They're trying to re-sign DT Mike DeVito before Tuesday afternoon's opening bell. The Jets appear willing to let their other key free agents hit the market -- S LaRon Landry, TE Dustin Keller, RG Brandon Moore and RB Shonn Greene. It wouldn't be a shock if they lose them all over the next couple of weeks. The Jets will shop for low-cost alternatives, but you get the feeling new GM John Idzik won't rush into anything.
2. The Darrelle Revis situation: It was a relatively slow Sunday in the NFL, but there was an awful lot Revis propaganda in the blogosphere. Gee, wonder why. In reality, nothing has changed. The Jets are proceeding slowly, waiting until Revis gets healthy before they seriously consider trading him -- or, in a less likely scenario, signing him to an extension. (By the way, they did have a conversation with the Broncos.) They haven't negotiated with Revis' agents, but that's hardly news.It may not be fast enough for some people, but the Jets are ready to let this play out until the April 25 draft -- and maybe longer. Bill Parcells joined the Revis debate Sunday. Speaking on ESPN's Free Agency special, Parcells said, "Fifteen million (a year) for a corner? Not me." Speaking of money, Revis is due a $1 million roster bonus on Saturday.
3. Santonio Holmes: The Jets want Holmes to reduce his team-high $11 million base salary, and the two sides have been in talks for a couple of weeks. The prediction here is they will find a landing spot (pardon the Mike Tannenbaum-ism). Holmes is guaranteed $7.5 million whether he's on the team or not. He knows his 2013 earnings max out at $7.5 million if he's released, so there's some financial motivation to stick around, assuming the Jets have less than a $3.5 million cut in mind.
4. Money matters: Aside from Revis, two other players have big roster bonuses coming their way -- C Nick Mangold ($3 million) and CB Antonio Cromartie ($2.3 million). The Jets could try to create more cap room by asking one or both to restructure, taking the bonus as a signing bonus and pro-rating the amount over the length of the contract for cap purposes. On another subject, they have to tender their restricted free agents. The key name is RT Austin Howard, who likely will receive a second-round tender ($2 million).
5. Tim Tebow: Is this the week ?
The Jets aren’t expected to make a big splash when free agency officially starts on Tuesday, but new general manager John Idzik hopes to make some smart economic signings to fill areas of need for a team that missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season.The Daily News has learned that the Jets are targeting Cowboys outside linebacker Victor Butler to fill one of those need areas. Gang Green released outside linebacker Calvin Pace a few weeks ago and unrestricted free agent Bryan Thomas isn’t expected to re-sign with the team.
The Jets could go in a number of directions with the No. 9 overall pick in next month’s draft, including an edge passer. Butler’s skill set falls in line with what the Jets need with the loss of Pace and Thomas.The 6-2, 245-pound Butler, the Cowboys’ fourth-round pick in 2009, has played in a reserve role in Dallas. He had 21 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles playing for Rex Ryan’s brother, Rob, last season.
Butler, who has 11 career sacks in four seasons, will turn 26 this summer. The NFL’s three-day negotiating window that concludes Tuesday afternoon prohibits teams from scheduling visits for prospective free agents. However, the Jets' interest in Butler makes a free agent visit possible this week, according to sources.
Butler would be a solid pick-up at a reasonable price, say 2 years 5 mill total?
This will allow him to hit FA before he is 28 allowing him to make some money if he becomes a starter. Expect the steelers and Browns to be the biggest comp.
WR Brandon Gibson AFC East Bound?
NFL: AroundTheLeague @NFL_ATL Only a fallback option for Dolphins, Brandon Gibson is expected to have the rest of the AFC East on his trail http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000149222/article/brandon-gibson-reportedly-on-miami-dolphins-radar?campaign=Twitter_atl …
Are the Miami Dolphins cornering the market on free-agent wide receivers? Brian Hartline already has cashed in with a contract that will rank around 20th at his position in average payout per season. General manager Jeff Ireland still is expected to land Mike Wallace as his great white whale, perhaps requiring the most lucrative contract in free agency.
Ireland isn't prepared to stop there. The Dolphins have engaged in "serious" talks with representatives for Brandon Gibson, the Miami Herald reported Sunday.
It's not yet clear if Ireland envisions Gibson as a complementary piece or as a fall-back option in case he's beaten to the punch on Wallace. With Davone Bess entrenched as the slot receiver, we suspect it's the latter.
In a shallow free-agent market, there is increasing belief that Gibson could earn a bloated contract comparable to the five-year, $31 million deal Hartline signed a few days ago.
League sources told the Post-Dispatch that Gibson will not return to St. Louis in 2013 because the Rams only wanted him back "in a role and for money commensurate to a No. 3 or No. 4 wideout."
Finding soft spots on the sideline and over the middle while winning against lesser defensive backs, Gibson is coming off a fine season with career highs in receiving yards (691) and touchdowns (five) on 51 catches. Only Vincent Jackson and Lance Moore had a greater percentage of receptions that went for first downs.
Ireland's acumen on offensive skill-position players has left a lot to be desired in Miami. Gibson is a fine No. 3 receiver on a contender and a passable No. 2 on a team going nowhere. What he's not, however, is a threat to beat defenses deep in the vein of Wallace. It's hard to see where Gibson would fit in the Dolphins' plans.
Update: Citing a person with knowledge of the Dolphins' discussions with wide receivers, USA Today confirms that Gibson is indeed seen as a "fallback option" in case the team swings and misses on Wallace. Gibson is also expected to draw interest from the New England Patriots, New York Jets, and Buffalo Bills, completing the AFC East sweep.
..ok , here ya go...the top 50 ~ ~
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