Free agency officially began yesterday at 4 p.m. and all it took was about 20-30 minutes of inactivity by the Jets to send some fans running for a ledge to jump off of. Other teams wasted no time pouncing on available free agents and offering players an ungodly amount of money, meanwhile the Jets big news was agreeing to a contract extension with their kicker and losing their starting right tackle to the Raiders.
So why, with all this cap space available, have the Jets been so quiet?
It’s the same story every year, the first day of free agency is for the teams willing to wildly overspend and John Idzik is not that guy. Idzik is calculated and will determine a player’s value and won’t cross that line. This is good news Jets fans, the teams that are most active on the first day of free agency constantly find themselves in the same situation year after year, the smart teams don’t spend money just because they have it.
We all just assumed the Jets would lock up Howard, but Idzik wasn’t going to get in a bidding war over him. The Raiders offered more money and Idzik said ‘enjoy that money in Oakland will just go find a new right tackle.’
Yesterday news broke that the Jets were interested in Saints right tackle, Zack Strief, and today it’s been reported the Jets will host Seahawks right tackle, Breno Giacomini, both would be upgrades over Howard. Nothing monumental, but upgrades nonetheless.
If the Jets sign either of these two players no one will be missing Howard. The only slight worry is both these players have some injury concerns, but when healthy they are better players, older players but better.
The other big news of the day is the Jets will be hosting wide receiver Eric Decker. Golden Tate a better receiver and fit, in my opinion (I won’t get into the whys as I just spent the past two hours arguing this fact on Twitter, look at my timeline @cnimbley if you want to know), but with it seeming like Tate won’t be leaving Detroit that makes Decker the second best receiver left and although I think Decker is fairly limited (he can be taken out by being physically dominated at the line) he would immediately be the best receiver on the Jets.
Add Decker and a Jason Avant type to go along with a couple of receivers in the draft and the Jets will have seriously upgraded their receiving core.
Decker won’t come cheap, the Jets will have to slightly overpay for him because of the market, but they need to add at least one receiver of Decker’s caliber in free agency and if they have to pay him in the $6-7 million per range that’s fine.
It’s obviously disappointing for fans to watch Jarius Byrd, Vontae Davis, Aqib Talib and the guards Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz sign with other team, but it was smart for the Jets to sit out the bidding wars. There are still plenty of good players available to be had at a much better value and just because Idzik was quiet through day one doesn’t mean he won’t make his noise in the next couple of days.
What type of noise and just how loud it will be is anyone’s guess, as you might have been able to tell no one in the media has any clue what Idzik is thinking. No one has cracked Idzik’s circle and don’t let others fool you into thinking they have. It’s been quiet so far, but it won’t stay that way and only then will we truly know what Idzik’s game plan is.
But there’s two topics that have dominated the discussion lately so let’s delve into that for now while we wait on other news/signings.
First there’s the issue of Michael Vick, Josh McCown and Mark Sanchez. McCown is visiting Tampa Bay, with plans to visit Houston then the Jets but it sounds like most people don’t expect him to make it to New York. Vick reportedly told many of his Eagles teammates he expected to sign with the Jets, but now it sounds like Vick expected to be given more of a shot to be the starter than the Jets intended. Vick wants to start, as he should, if someone offers him a starting job he’ll likely take it. If he has to settle for a backup job he could go somewhere he thinks he’s more likely to claim the starting job, but he could decide to reunite with Marty Mornhinweg.
What all this means for Sanchez is simple, if the Jets can’t sign McCown, Vick or maybe Matt Schaub, then Sanchez will be back albeit at a heavily reduced rate. If the Jets do sign one of these guys they won’t waste any time releasing Sanchez and letting him find a new home, but they won’t do that unless they feel they have a better backup option signed and delivered.
Now for the big one, the topic that has had Jets Twitter ready to explode for the past couple of days and that of course involves, who else, but Darrelle Revis. The Bucs have been actively shopping Revis for weeks, but have had no such luck as Revis hasn’t been willing to renegotiate his contract (sound familiar? also key component for why he likely won’t end up back on the Jets). So the Bucs will likely release Revis opening him up to sign with any other team.
Releasing Revis means the Jets will have to settle for the Bucs fourth round draft pick this year instead of a third but remember the Jets already got Sheldon Richardson out of the deal. While it’d be almost magical if the Jets traded Revis for Richardson and a fourth so he could rehab for a year and end up back on the Jets it’s still not likely to happen no matter how much Revis’s agents say he’d “love” to return to the Jets.
Revis’s agents, in case you forgot, are among the best in the world at using the media to their advantage and you can be certain they are the ones floating out the idea that he’d “love” to return. And I’m sure he would, if the money is right and the Jets coaching staff would obviously love to get him back, but for Woody Johnson and Idzik the money also has to be right, just on the opposite end of the spectrum.
The Jets didn’t trade Revis last year because they didn’t think he was an amazing cornerback, they traded him because they didn’t want to pay him what he wanted and they didn’t want to go through the contract dance every other year, none of that has changed.
Revis still wants the most money possible and he isn’t suddenly going to settle for a more team-friendly deal. Maybe he finds out no one is willing to pay him what he wants and he’d prefer to take slightly less to come back here instead of go somewhere like Oakland (maybe the Bucs scared him from certain organizations), but he certainly wouldn’t take less to come back here rather than go to a team like the Patriots. (who I still have a hard time seeing paying Revis, but if a competitive team offers him the most money that’s where he is going.)
If the market for Revis falls to around $10 million per, maybe Idzik jumps in, but if he gets more than that (and chances are he will, Sam Shields and Vontae Davis got that, Revis is certainly worth more than them) elsewhere then he’s gone. This stuff about him loving to return is just a ploy from his agents to manipulate the market. I don’t doubt he would love to play for Rex Ryan again, he’s a smart man he knows how much Ryan helped him shine, but if you think he’s taking less money to come back then you haven’t been playing enough attention to how Revis operates.
Also clearly we have seen Idzik doesn’t want to cross the line at where he determines a player’s value, some other team certainly will. In the end Revis will likely end up on his third team in three years and the Jets will likely call Antonio Cromartie up and bring him back as their consolation prize yet again.
So it’s quiet for now, but don’t think Idzik doesn’t have a plan. We may not know what that plan is, but he has a plan and he will stick to it. It just may take awhile before he see the plan unfold, but for those criticizing Idzik already I’d recommend waiting to see how this all plays out.
Real ninjas move in silence anyway.