I posted this as a comment under the Rex principles post, but thought that this thought process deserved its own fan post. Not because I think I am really smart, but because I think that if you take a step back and look at how this offseason has progressed, the comments out of the Jets Front Office (and Rex), and the deliberate approach that we are taking to players, this seems to be the backbone of the overall Idzik/Rex plan for the Jets.
Personally, I think that there is a very good chance that we sign DeSean Jackson. And if we don't, I have to think there are many more reasons besides "Idzik is cheap" or "Idzik doesn't know what he is doing". There could very well be many more things that come out of this DeSean Jackson saga and we probably won't know everything for weeks still. Marty was his OC in Philly. Everyone talking about how KC is a favorite because of Andy Reid misses a valuable point - in a typical NFL franchise, the position coaches and coordinators have a much closer relationship with the players than the head coach. So if there is 1 guy who knows DeSean and what he is capable of doing and what baggage or skeletons to be wary of - it will be Marty. If Marty has no issues with his attendance at meetings, attitude, etc than I think you see the Jets aggressively sign him. If Marty recounts horror stories of dealing with him, than I think the Jets steer clear. And you can't begrudge the Jets for not signing him if Marty is not on board with it.
That said, I realized midway thru the first week of free agency that our plan is to go with Dennard or Gilbert at 18. Depending on how the board is playing out, you may see the Jets try and trade back into the high 20s to pick up an additional pick (that can then be used in trade later) but I assume this is the plan. And I know many of you will bemoan going with a corner in the first for the second straight year; however, hear me out.
If you look at the Free Agent market, the most expensive position to sign outside of QB is Corner. It is tough to put ~10% of your cap into 1 guy on your roster who is not a QB.
If your game plan is to build thru the draft, that means that you have to manage your salary cap in such a way that you are able to resign your homegrown players when it is their time to hit free agency. Do you really want to break the bank for a FA and then see guys like WIlk, Coples, Richardson, etc walking because we can’t afford to resign them?
When building thru the draft, many of the teams that are successful that do it, target solidifying 1 side of the ball or 1 area of the team (DL, front 7, Secondary, WR/QB, OL, etc) so that guys can grow up together in the system and really jell together.
I think that is largely what the Jets are doing here……..
They have completely revamped their DL in the past 3 seasons and everyone now on the line has grown up together and learned the system. Irrespective of whether Coples was intended to be a DL or OLB (and I do remember hearing that Rex worked him out with an eye towards OLB before the draft) and the drafting of Demario Davis, the Jets are on their way to also revamping their LB core with guys in the same age group and having them grow together. While many of you undervalue Kyle Wilson, he has become one of the best slot/nickel corners in the league – and in today’s NFL, a nickel corner plays about as many snaps as your outside corner. And Antonio Allen seems to be a mainstay in our secondary at 1 Safety position, and I think his development (along with Milliner’s) is a large reason the Jets wanted to bring Ed Reed into the building.
Last year we added Milliner, who struggled with missing OTAs and much of camp and then had injuries during the season. Rex was very high on him all season however, and was outwardly confident that he would become a dominant corner. Based on this model, it makes a lot of sense to allow Cro to walk and to sit out of the bidding on any of the FA corners. In a WR heavy draft, there are a lot of teams that will jump on WRs early in the draft (along with QB and OL) making a high probability that 1 of the top 2 corners are available for us at 18. This would then create a scenario where the entire front line, 2/3 of the LB core, the starting outside corners and 1 safety are all within 4 years of each other.
The Rex/Idzik plan to rebuild this roster is thru the draft and by introducing competition and creating a roster of guys that grow up together. And by locking up your starting corners to rookie contracts, it allows you to have the money to resign your DL, Davis/Coples and Wilson while spending money to bolster the offense in free agency. It might not be the fan favorite way of building the roster, but it makes the most sense from a cap management and chemistry perspective.
My guess is that next year you will start to see a real focus on rebuilding the OL as they look to revamp that unit in the next 2-3 years.
My draft prediction is corner at 18 and then using our second on the BPA who happens to be either a Safety, OLB, OT or WR.
I think Dobermite proposed in his latest mock draft trading our 2nd and 3rd to trade back into the mid 20s and grab Brandin Cooks. I love this proposal and would love to see us get aggressive with trying to land 2 1st rounders in this draft; particularly because there is no way that 12 rookies are making this team. We have the ammo to get something done, and should aggressively pursue that plan. However, I still see our top priority to be corner at 18 and then if we can trade back into the first to pursue a WR like Cooks or a Safety.
What do you guys think? Do you agree that this seems to be the longer term plan of attack that the Jets are using?