With just a few more hours until free agency madness, the Jets with a massive salary cap warchest will transcend on what could be the most active off-season in recent years.
Of course, rumors have started swirling, popping up all over cyberspace, television and, most notably, JetsInsider.com message boards. Deciphering hearsay from legitimate possibilities is the most difficult part of sorting out all of the rumors, but here is what is boiling on the Jets’ hot stove.
Clearing house has begun
As reported on JetsInsider.com, WR Justin McCareins, CB Andre Dyson and OL Adrien Clarke are on their way out of town courtesy of cut slips.
McCareins, for one, could have been seen coming from miles away, especially after all of the negative press the soft-spoken wideout has received. On Gang Green as the team’s primary deep threat, McCareins had numerous issues with his hands, earning the dubious nickname “McDroppins” and “McDrophands.” It was also no secret McCareins did not enjoy the New York media—he finally opened up on the final locker room of the season, and seemed to know that his days in green were over.
The cut of Dyson is a somewhat interesting one. Two years ago, the veteran cornerback was arguably the team’s top cover man. However, with the drafting of Revis and a season of nagging injuries, Dyson quickly found his way to the bench. He will definitely by signed somewhere else.
And finally, Clarke is not much of a surprise, especially considering the fact that the Jets are knowingly in the market to upgrade the LG position.
Free Agency Frenzy
Okay, the headline may have given it away, and it may be turning into old news, but it appears the Jets’ main movement at the commencement of the free agent signing period could include the exit of NT Dewayne Robertson and LB Jonathan Vilma, and possible acquisitions of high-profile free agents such as OL Alan Faneca and CB Asante Samuel.
--Robertson clearly is not the right fit for Mangini’s 3-4 defense—he is too small to clog the middle as a nose tackle, and should be more valuable in another team’s 4-3 scheme.
--Vilma, meanwhile, has had myriad issues with Mangini’s off-season and practice programs, and probably would not like to return to a defense headed by LB David Harris, who jumped at the opportunity to emerge as the Jets’ top linebacker next year. Vilma may end up in Detroit, as Lions’ coach Rod Marinelli is a big fan of Vilma and the Lions had him in yesterday for a physical.
--Rogers is rumored to be one of the Jets’ top targets, being one of the league’s premiere defensive lineman and it’s possible that the Jets could lure the Lions into a trade with Vilma as bait. A straight up trade would probably benefit the Lions being that Vilma is entering the prime of his career while Rogers is entering his eighth season.
--According to the Star Ledger today the team has also had talks with the Panthers about acquiring massive DT Kris Jenkins (6’4”-350 Lbs). Jenkins, who is also an 8 year vet is regarded as a better player than Rogers and has three Pro-Bowl appearances under his belt. The Panthers are reportedly interested in a deal that could include Robertson and or draft picks.
--Another rumor going around according to profootballtalk.com has the Jets, Lions, and Broncos are mulling a deal that would send Rogers to New York, Robertson to the Broncos, and Broncos CB Dominique Foxworth and a second-round pick to the Lions.
--WR Javon Walker, after a disappointing season with the Broncos due to nagging injuries, has come up in trade talks with the Jets. However, plenty of baggage will follow Walker, namely in the department of the aging wideout’s propensity to stay healthy. There is also a strong possibility the Broncos could cut Walker if no deal can be made for him. The Cowboys are another team that is reportedly interested in Walker.
--It appears that the Jets will let LB Victor Hobson test the FA market. Hobson has been a solid player for the Jets but is not considered a top-tier free agent. He will get offers but there is still a possibility the Jets could resign him if he doesn’t get strong offers from another team. The Pats, who need to get younger on their LB corps could target Hobson who obviously has experience in the 3-4 set.
--Our sources tell us signing S Kerry Rhodes to a long term extension is a priority to the Jets this off-season. However, look for it to come later in the spring or even over the summer since Rhodes is still under contract and there’s no real urgency at this point.
Regarding unrestricted free agents, the Jets have a reported warchest of close to $30MM and their reported crown jewel is multiple Pro-Bowl guard, Alan Faneca. Some reports say that they are ready to sign Faneca as early as Friday morning. There’s no doubt the Pittsburgh offensive lineman would instill substantial help for QBs Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens.
--It's no secret that the team is enamored by FA Asante Samuel but with the talented looking for a multi-year deal worth $10MM-plus per year, the Jets may shy away. Some reports say the team could target Pats backup CB Randall Gay, who is a RFA this season.
Well, Todd McShay has convinced himself that RB Darren McFadden is going to end up in green.
He may very well be right.
Arguably the top prospect in the draft in terms of pure talent, McFadden does not fit with teams above New York due to a combination of prospects that project to be immediate impact players—Glenn Dorsey, Sedrick Ellis, Chris Long, Jake Long to name a few—the possibility of QB Matt Ryan going No. 1 overall to the Dolphins, and the recent realization by NFL general managers that running backs are a dime a dozen.
McFadden would be impossible to pass up on if he falls to No. 6 due to his innate athletic abilities and the fact that Thomas Jones fell short of expectations last year.
If McFadden is gone, the best option for the Jets will be, as advertised, Vernon Gholston. The OLB had the best performance at the combine on the defensive side of the ball other than Howie Long’s son, and drafting a linebacker makes incredible sense for a team that will be losing by Victor Hobson and, presumably, Vilma this off-season.
Be sure to check back to JI often for all the latest free agency news!