Hello friends! Invader Ace here-please put down the pitchforks! I've got my submission for AGOP, and I hope you enjoy! A few notes before I begin:
1) Since Darren Wall's contract numbers are not released, I gave him an original round tender using overthecap's cap calculator.
2) I'm gunning for moves to make the team competitive, but I am looking for a long-term goal: I want this team to compete for a national championship by the 2016 and 2017 seasons (only D'Brick and Mangold under contract for the 2017 season). You'll see some 3-year and 4-year deals here, with this ideal in mind. My goal is for the 2014 offseason to be the real foundation of a championship-caliber team, mostly through the draft.
And...that's it! Onto the fun stuff!
Moves already made by the Jets this offseason:
Ellis Lankster signed (2 years 1.63 million, 155,000 guaranteed)
Jeff Cumberland signed (3 years 3.7 million, 1 million guaranteed)
Darren Walls signed (see above)
Johnny Patrick picked up off waivers
Nick Folk given the franchise tag (3,556,000)
Mohammad Wilkerson's 5th year option to be picked up
Antonio Cromartie Cut
So, my AGOP submission accounts for all of the above moves.
Pretty obvious here. No real explanation required.
Vidal Hazelton (495,000 cap number)
Isiah Trufant (1,431,000 cap number)
Nick Bellore (1,431,000 cap number)***
*Darren Walls included here to quantify the above cap hit in note 1.
***Literally as I'm typing this the Jets tendered Bellore, but I'm just going to keep him here for my sanity's sake.
I bring Vidal back for a WR with some experience in the Jets organization. Nick is a key special teamer, but can he take the next step and prove himself as a key defensive player as well? Or is someone else going to be David Harris's replacement?
Calvin Pace (1 year, 1.5 million, 500,000 guaranteed, 0 signing bonus)
Austin Howard (3 years, 10.2 million, 4.1 million guaranteed)
Leger Douzable (2 years, 2.07 million, 600,000 guaranteed)
Pace for the simple fact that no one better is out there, and I'm not trying to force a rookie to start unless he out-right wins. If he wins, we know what we have with him. If he loses, he's a good backup as insurance for either of the starters as well.
Austin Howard is pretty obvious, and I consider this fair value for him. He comes with a cap savings of 2.5 million in year 3, and can be cut with a minute (167k) amount of cap savings after year 1.
Douzable is good depth, and gets 2 years to prove he can develop into a full-time starter, whether with the Jets or not.
Total cap number for 2014 before free agency: $92,041,212 ($37,064,225 in cap space)*
*Give or take a little due to bad math
That's a bit of space to work with, eh? Lets get to work chipping that down.
Donte Whitner, FS (4 years, 26 million, 14 million guaranteed)
Turning 29 at the start of this year, Whitner is pegged as one of the top free agent safeties after Byrd and Ward. He's expected to get between 6-8 million, so I'm hoping to snag him for just under 7 per year. I also think throwing the 4th year, carrying him until he turns 33, might be what makes him decide to sign with the Jets. An excellent all-around safety, PFF gave him a positive 11.5 grade (the plus sign doesn't work on my keyboard D:) and discussed both his great run-stopping ability and excellent coverage skills. That type of hybrid flexibility is something Rex will certainly covet and find good use for. Pair him with Antonio Allen and we've got an excellent duo for years to come. As he gets older, I'd expect him to drift to being more of a dedicated FS. The contract allows him to be cut for a minimal hit in the 3rd year of the deal, if his performance warrants it.
Geoff Schwartz, G (5 years, 38 million, 18 million guaranteed)
The BIG free agent signing for the Jets. The annual salary throws him into the top 10 in annual guard salaries (according to 2014 numbers from spotrac). PFF rates him as the best free agent guard in the class. If we're going to overspend somewhere, I rather it be on the offensive line. An excellent pass protector and run blocker, plus the ability to play both guard positions, makes Schwartz a must-sign in my book, and if we must overspend a bit, so be it.
Josh Morgan, WR (2 years, 8 million, 3 million guaranteed)
I originally was thinking of Jerome Simpson, and then Andre Roberts (thanks to Smack's article)and then BOTH Morgan and Roberts. However, we already have a project physical WR on the team- no need to waste a camp invite on a second that will warrant a decently-sized contract. And Roberts, though similar to Kerley, also becomes a bit more redundant after my draft. Morgan's ability to fight for a contested ball will be very welcome on the team, since most pass-catchers in recent memory have lacked that ability. He will also be penciled in as the #2 option, alongside...whoever earns it I guess. It'll be an open competition, so we'll see what happens! He's also got returning ability, so there's that too. Weeee!
Colt McCoy, QB (2 years, 5 million, 1 million guaranteed)
You could honestly plug any of the lower-tier FA QB's here. I'd prefer Drew Stanton, but after the Tebow fiasco, I don't think he comes back. He's young enough where he could theoretically provide a challenge to Geno, Still, he probably understands his starting career is over. A decent backup, and a second year just to make sure he signs. Some stability at the QB position isn't a bad thing, right?
So, after free agency, the 2014 cap number is around 117.474 million, with roughly 16 million in space.
I will admit that I'm very unsure of these free agent numbers. I just used what knowledge I have to make a deal that is fair, in my mind. I also REALLY wanted to sign a FA TE, but I just feel like they're going to be too pricey for the Jets. I've got us picking up some camp fodder towards the end of the off season as space
We get 2 bona-fide studs with Schwartz and Whitner, two players worth investing. A solid WR in Morgan who fills a need, and someone who could potentially push Geno in the right direction with McCoy.
Nadda. I'm losing my mind as it is, and I'm running out of steam typing this all up. In all seriousness, I was a fan of the Ivory trade last year, but the only way I think we have any sort of exchange of picks is if we pick up any RFAs (which I don't have us doing). It will also be more difficult to trade down in this draft, due to the depth (but easy to trade up!). However, with this draft really trying to be a cornerstone of future greatness to come, I want to have as many picks as possible. No one is a sure-fire hit, and unless something drastic happens (Allen Robinson, who you all know I love, falling out of the top 45, for example) I would rather stay put and try to draft BPA.
I went a little into my draft philosophy above. I'm focusing on BPA, but with a positional emphasis. Meaning, positions of need gain a bit more importance over positions of strength/quality. As you can see below, there is a bit of an offensive bias because of this.
Round 1: Brandon Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Honestly, I love the pick here. Desean Jackson's measurables without the character concerns? Excellent. A sharp, crisp, route-runner who can burn you or break your ankles on a whim. He plays real rough on the field, which again was lacking on the team. He's great for a West Coast system, designed to get the ball in space and find the holes in a system. A guy with the ability to start day 1 if need be, but I'm not in a rush to force a rookie into a starting role.
Round 2: Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
A "developmental" prospect who still needs to work on his receiving skills. Luckily, with the number of WRs on the team who can play both inside and out, as well as Cumberland "ready to take the next step", there isn't as much pressure for Niklas to immediately develop into that sexy TE inside threat that people love so much. He's a blocker first, and that's exactly what the Jets need right now.
Round 3 (1): Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
This is a bit of a stretch, I know. I'm not positive he'll drop this far, but his less-than-ideal measurables may have him slip a bit on team's draft boards. If he manages to drop into the bottom 5 picks of the 2nd round, if I'm the Jets, I'm seriously considering trading up. A great pass rusher with coverage ability. He's been penned as a "jack of all trades". With OLB as a need for the team, I'd love to see Kyle picked here. It might take him some time to overtake Pace as the starting role, but if I'm Idzik, I'm perfectly fine with that.
Round 3 (2): Yawin Smallwood, ILB, UCONN
The round of linebackers! At first, I I was gonna go with OT BIlly Turner, and then I realized David Harris is in the last year of his contract. With coverage for ILB being a bigger and bigger part of their roles, plus our current duo's inability to really cover...anyone, I decided to see what ILB prospects were third rounders. From what I could tell, the class is relatively thin. Still, Yawin stood out because of his coverage ability. His size might have him fit better at OLB, but his ability to cover both running backs and wide receivers as well as rush the passer gives him some nice potential for Rex's system. I like the fit, and I know Rex would find a good role for him sooner rather than later. He draws comparisons to Patriot's Jerrod Mayo...and I'm totally okay with that.
Round 4: Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
"Lake" was part of a conference-leading rushing attack at Baylor. There's 1 word that describes Mr. Seastrunk- explosive. He had a goal in mind to run a sub-4.3 40 at the Combine. Though he officially "only" ran a 4.51, his 11"2' braod jump might have made up for it. In case you didn't know, that was the longest at the combine. At 5'10" and 210, he's not going to be a workhorse, but with the uncertainty of Mike Goodson, I'm in the hunt for an explosive player who can make things happen, an element we really missed after Goodson went down last year. Here's the downsides though, he gets criticisms for not having good vision and relying too much on E/W running. Also, he didn't record a single reception his senior year (according to ESPN). I'm having trouble finding much data on his abilities as a pass-catcher, though I did dig up this Football Outsiders Article on Lache. They diagnoised that he could be a weapon in the passing game, but is a poor pass blocker. However, there's always the potential that he could be the home run threat we've been begging for since Leon Washington. He's projected as a fringe 3-4th round pick, and I think his vision problems and pass-blocking issues have him dropping to the Jets.
Round 5 (1): John Urshcel, OG, Penn State
You knew I couldn't go the whole article without drafting a PSU guy, didn't you? Urshel is smart. Like really, really smart. Aside from his Combine-analysis work for ESPN, he was also named the recipiant of the William V. Cambell trophy, considered the academic Heisman. The All Big-10 guard started 24 straight games at right guard, so durability is not an issue. I could have sworn he did some time at center as well, but I'm not finding anything to back that up. He's proven that he has the ability to be a player in the NFL, and with the offensive line being such a cerebral position, he can really develop into something special. He's being mocked between the 5th and 7th rounds. I'd snag him quick in the 5th and never look back.
Round 5 (2): Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama
AJ McCarron's go-to receiver is projected a 6th round pick. Eh? I dunno, but he's a victim of an incredibly deep WR class I suppose. At 6'2" he's got nice size and possess good all-around ability as a WR. He can hurt you in the slot or go out wide. He fights for the extra yardage and is known to have good body control, adjusting to poorly thrown balls, and he's not afraid to go over the middle. He's an excellent value pick here.
Like I said, some bias towards the offensive side of the ball. I was really looking for value and weapons for the team. I'm not claiming to be a draft expert what-so-ever. If it went to the 6 or 7th rounds, I would certainly fill it out with defensive prospects, plus a QB, but them's the rules.
And, an updated depth chart (not necessarily 53 man, but similar to how I think it would look), accounting for some players who will be filled in via those late-round picks.
QB: Geno*, McCoy, Late round pick
RB: Ivory*, Powell, Goodson, Seastrunk
WR: Kerley*, Morgan*, Cooks, Norwood, Hill, Hazelton
TE: Cumberland*, Niklas, Sudfeld
OL: D'Brick*, Schwartz*, Mangold*, Winters*, Howard*, Urschel, Freeman, Aboushi, Ijalana
DL: Wilkerson*, Richardson*, Harrison*, Ellis, Douzable,
LB: Pace*, Harris*, Couples*, Davis*, Barnes, Van Noy, Smallwood, Bellore
S: Whitner*, Landry, Allen*, Jarrett, Bush
CB: Milliner*, Walls*, Wilson, Lankster, Trufant, late round pick
Specials: Folk, Purdum, 7th round pick (Anthony Fera? Expecting Quigly to lose position battle during camp)
*s indicate starters.
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd that's it! I pretty much spent all day Sunday, plus a decent amount of time Monday, typing this bad-boy out, so I hope you enjoy! I'm certainly not comfortable with Cumberland, MIlliner, and Walls starting...but you can't fix everything at once right? If there's one problem with this chart, it's the uncertainty at those positions, plus leaving Rex with the temptation to start Landry over Allen. Other than that, and an offensively-focused draft, I would be pretty satisfied if this were to happen (though I'm sure plenty of you would disagree).
I'd appreciate any recs if you think I did a good job. Don't like something I did? Let's duke it out in the comments (but please go easy on me!). I apologize for any inaccuracies or erros on my behalf. Call it human error.
Thanks for reading!