Mike T. has been coming under fire a lot recently for the lack of depth. Mike has had his name mentioned on the chopping block every time a receiver drops a ball, or a tackle misses a block, and Sanchez gets smacked around. I personally have heard the chorus from just about every single person on this website about how he has not developed the Jets team, the youth. I have heard how he is a numbers guy, and not a real football guy.
All of this might be true, but I'm still rooting for Mike Tannenbaum. I want to see him succeed, because I value the hits of Revis, Harris, Ferguson, Mangold, Wilkerson, etc. over the misses like Vernon Gholston or Plexico Burress. I see a way he both provides depth on this team, and saves his job from the people that say he doesn't have a football mind.
Enter Aaron Curry. He is the 2009 1st round pick of the Seattle Seahawks. Picked 4th over all in the entire draft after a dominating college career. He was a Dick Butkus award winner in 2008, given to the nations top college linebacker. He finished the 2008 college season with 105 tackles, and on top of the world. He came into the league at a solid 255 running a 4.5 40 time. He was considered hands down the 2009 draft's safest pick, and a stud. That was then, and this is now.
Yesterday Curry was cut by the Oakland Raiders who traded the Seahawks 2 draft picks to get him last year. He had 60+ tackles his rookie year, and 70+ tackles his sophmore year. He was then given the bust label and shipped to Oakland where he couldn't get on a role.
Here's the deal though. Curry was an OLB in college, but he's best suited to be an ILB in the NFL. He is a tackling machine, but has consistently played strongside linebacker. The Jets drafted a 1 year wonder named Vernon Gholston, that had a good combine, beat Jake Long for a sack or two, and basically rode that to a high draft pick. The Jets got a reclamation project in Aaron Maybin, who was too light, and can't play the run or get off a block.
Aaron Curry is strong. He's not a 1 year wonder, he's not too light to be effective. He was a dominating player for multiple years in college. He just had the misfortune of going to 2 teams that were ill suited to him and his strengths and weaknesses. He sheds blocks, he locates ball carriers quickly. He has football knowledge, and knows how to play the game. He is good in those areas. He struggles in pass coverage (I know the tight end/running back coverage questions start and end here), so I'm not saying he's all peaches and brandy. The thing for him though is that he is a 3-4 linebacker that was drafted by a strictly 4-3 team (Seahawks), where he couldn't flourish. He was then traded to another strictly 4-3 team (Raiders), that rarely got out of that base 4-3 man defense. None of those defenses suited what this guy can do.
He's 26 years old. He's 3 years removed from being the BEST linebacker in the country, and he needs a home. Coming off being released by his second team and that "bust" label starting to hover above his head like a halo, I don't expect the line to be extremely long for Curry. But this is where it is advantageous for Mike T. to put in a call to his agent.
The Jets don't have great depth at linebacker. I see backups like Garrett McIntyre, Josh Mauga, Demario Davis, and Nick Belore and I think which one of them could be a starter? I don't see any right now, and if an injury happened immediately, none of them could step up and consistently beat the guy on the other side of the ball and do his job. The Jets recently cut both Jason Hill and Marcus Dowtin. The roster size is down to 50 with 3 huge spots just hanging out there.
Aaron Curry provides multiple things for the Jets. He can play all 4 positions at linebacker, and be the backup immediately, without any pressure on the Jets or on himself. He can learn the system. Also, I believe he is a better inside linebacker, and he might provide another option outside Bart Scott next season, or as early as later this season. I would have to believe that this guy if given the chance will be more than hungry to prove that his best is yet to come. I also believe he, just like Sanchez both are out to prove that the high draft picks on them were not a mistake. The greatest chip on a shoulder to have is an internal one to show the world that you are a good if not great player.
Lastly, I believe he is one of those guys that can look horrible on certain teams, and great on others. If you remember Calvin Pace was considered a bust from the Cardinals, until they switched from a 4-3 DE to a 3-4 standup OLB. Then he exploded in his last season, and became the most sought after OLB, with the Jets winning the free agent bidding war for him. Aaron Curry could be that guy, except at any of the 4 positions in the linebacking corps.
My hope is that Mike T. picks up the phone and hurries up and gets this guy. I don't know how much of his salary would have to be paid for by the Jets, but I would assume after being on his 3rd team since his rookie contract, they wouldn't have to eat that much of his salary, or could possibly restructure if need be. This is not a front line move, just adding a good young football player, for good depth, at a position that would only get better. Just ask Dick Butkus, he personally took his award to Wake Forest to give it to Aaron Curry personally just 3 years ago.