If Rams WR Torry Holt becomes available it would seem he would fill a needed gap for the Jets. (JetsInsider.com Photo)
As the Jets watched the Bills sign Terrell Owens and fill a hole at wideout, it seems the Gang Green has a similar problem now that Laveranues Coles is gone. Rumors have been swirling that probable soon ex-Ram Torry Holt may be the man but what are really the chances?
Coles inked a four-year, $28 million contract with the Bengals and now the Jets' wide receiving corps seems to be missing a true top wideout. Aside from Jerricho Cotchery (71 catches, 858 yards, five TD), only Chansi Stuckey (32 catches, 359 yards, three TD) made any sort of impact in the offense's passing attack last season. The talented but much-maligned Terrell Owens became available after the Cowboys became the latest team to grow tired of his sideline antics, but the Jets showed no interest. The next Pro Bowl receiver to hit the market could be Torry Holt, but the team may pass on his services as well. According to Rich Cimini of the Daily News, the Jets have "zero interest" in the Rams wideout however, several other sources say different.
Holt is expected to be released by March 17, when the Rams owe him a $1.25 million bonus, but the Jets appear content with their options at the moment. The Jets were believed to be an attractive option for Holt because Jets wide receivers coach Henry Ellard served under the same role with the Rams.
While the Rams dealt with instability at the quarterback position in 2008, Holt remained productive. He recorded 64 catches for 796 yards and three touchdowns.
Another wild card is Cardinals star WR Anquan Boldin who was reported yesterday to being shopped by Arizona despite denials from GM Rod Graves. The asking price for Boldin would obviously be high and he's seeking $9-10MM per season. However, he instantly becomes your #1 WR for years to come and is extremely talented. Keep a close eye on this as it develops. Only question if the Jets somehow managed this heist is, who will be throwing to him?
Jets Ink Former Patriot
After special teams-ace David Bowens left to join his old coach in Cleveland, the Jets were in need of a tune-up on kickoff and punt coverage. To fill that void the Jets signed former Patriot Larry Izzo, a three-time Pro Bowler (2000, 2002, 2004). Izzo recorded 14 special teams tackles last year, marking the eighth time in his career that he has led his team in the respective category.
In a statement released by the team, Izzo said, "I am very excited about the opportunity to play for the Jets and Mr. Johnson. I'm grateful for the chance to be reunited with Coach Westhoff, who played a key role early in my career, and look forward to playing for Coach Ryan as he brings his passionate, physical style of football to New York. Having spent my entire career in the AFC East, I'm very familiar with the Jets' incredibly loyal, knowledgeable and passionate fans and this is an amazing chance to work hard and make them proud."
According to Stover, Jets wanted him.
Linebacker Bart Scott and safety Jim Leonhard were the first to leave the Ravens' nest for New York and kicker Matt Stover nearly joined them. Stover approached Ravens officials March 2 about a free-agent offer he had received from the Jets, but he was reportedly told that the Ravens were "going in a different direction." The Jets then re-signed kicker Jay Feely to a one-year, $1.45 million contract, therefore ending any speculation of the 18-year kicker joining the Jets.
Feely's deal is fully guaranteed, which essentially ensures that he will be the team's kicker next season, barring injury. He made 24 of 28 field goal attempts with the Jets last season. The team though will sign some type of free agent kicker to compete in camp.
Former Jets Join Mangini
Browns head coach Eric Mangini began the offseason by picking apart the Jets' coaching staff, as four of his first five hires had served on his staff with the Jets. Mangini hired defensive line coach Bryan Cox, defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson, defensive quality control coach Andy Dickerson and assistant strength and conditioning coach Rick Lyle. With his staff now intact, Mangini is now looking to add several of his former players as well. Last week the Browns inked defensive end CJ Mosley (13 tackles, 1.5 sacks) and cornerback Hank Poteat (40 tackles, two interceptions). He then followed up those two signings by bringing aboard Bowens to a four-year, $7.2 million contract. The 11-year veteran enjoyed one of his best seasons last year, as he remained productive (40 tackles, four sacks) while starting inside linebacker David Harris was sidelined five games with a groin injury. Our sources confirmed that the Jets were in the bidding for Bowens until the end (who they wanted to re-sign at a better cap number) but the Browns came up with more guaranteed money.
A possible replacement for Mosely is defensive tackle Howard Green, who the Jets signed yesterday. Green, a 6-2, 320 pound, 30-year-old journeyman, played last season for the Seahawks as a backup and was with Rex Ryan in Baltimore in 2002. He will go on the depth chart behind Kris Jenkins and Sione Pouha. This will be a big year for Pouha to step up not that Mosely is gone.
Abram Elam, a restricted free agent, could be the next Jet to join Mangini in Cleveland after the Browns signed the safety to a one-year, $1.5 million offer sheet. The Jets have until March 17 to match the offer, but their interest in Elam may be limited. The signing of Leonhard (three-year, $5.9 million) pushed Elam to a reserve role and the team could look toward the NFL Draft or free agency to bring in a low-cost replacement. Last week Elam received the lowest possible tender from the Jets ($1.01), which means that the Jets will not receive any draft-pick compensation if he leaves.
Mangini also remains interested in free agent linebacker Eric Barton, who visited with the Browns last Monday but left without a contract. Barton led the Jets with 119 tackles last season. He would be a great LB for depth back on the Jets but it's unclear if the team would be willing to pay him what he wants or even if Barton would want to play behind Bart Scott and David Harris.
Douglas Visits, Leaves Without Contract
Free-agent defensive end Marques Douglas visited with the Jets Tuesday and could be the next former Raven to make his home in New Jersey. He left the team facility without a contract, but he could simply just be buying more time in free agency. Douglas would fill the Jets' need for depth on the defensive line and he could also serve as a standup linebacker in Rex Ryan's blitzing scheme. In nine seasons, he has recorded 19 sacks.
Draft Talk Begins to Heat Up
As the heat of the free agency period begins to simmer, the draft talk will begin to boil. The Jets hold the 17th pick in the first round and will look toward several areas to improve their roster. Jets brass appears content in allowing Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff to battle for the starting quarterback job, but it would not be a surprise if they looked toward the position with their first pick. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the Jets have arranged a private workout with Southern California quarterback Mark Sanchez, which will take place during his April 1 pro day. Sanchez is regarded as the second-best quarterback in the draft (behind Georgia's Matthew Stafford) but he could be gone by the time they select. Kansas State signal-caller Josh Freeman possesses possibly the strongest throwing arm in the draft, but concerns over his accuracy may cause him to drop.
The Jets will also hold a private workout for Connecticut running back Donald Brown. In his appearance on Sirius, Brown also revealed that he will work out with the Bengals and Eagles. With Thomas Jones nearing the end of his contract, the Jets could look toward Brown as insurance for the future. Brown is generally regarded as the fourth-best running back prospect, behind Georgia's Knowshon Moreno, Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells and Pittsburgh's LeSean McCoy.
The Jets have a total of six picks in April's draft, in rounds one, two, three, four, six and seven.
Spencer Signs with Lions
Former Jets linebacker Cody Spencer signed a deal with the Lions, reuniting with head coach Jim Schwartz. Schwartz was Spencer's defensive coordinator with the Titans in 2005. In three seasons with the Jets, Spencer was used mainly on special teams, as he recorded 41 tackles in 26 games.