Thanks to the Buccaneers’ 4th round pick from the Revis trade and four compensatory picks, we have a whopping 12 picks going into this year’s draft (more than we had in ’07, ’09 & ’10 combined).
The four compensatory picks are the result of losing more unrestricted free agents than we gained last year. We gained Antwan Barnes and Mike Goodson while losing Yeremiah Bell, LaRon Landry, Mike DeVito, Shonn Greene, Dustin Keller and Matt Slauson.
Currently we own the following picks in this year’s upcoming draft:
Round 1 - Pick 18, 18th overall
Round 2 - Pick 17, 49th overall
Round 3 - Pick 16, 80th overall
Round 4 - Pick 4, 104th overall (from the Buccaneers); Pick 15, 115th overall; Pick 37, 137th overall (compensatory)
Round 5 - Pick 14, 154th overall
Round 6 - Pick 19, 195th overall; Pick 33, 209th overall (compensatory); Pick 34, 210th overall (compensatory); Pick 37, 213th overall (compensatory)
Round 7 - Pick 18, 233rd overall
So far I absolutely love what John Idzik and the Jets have done in free agency. I, like just about all Jets fans, would have liked to see us sign a top tier CB in free agency but I respect that the Jets were disciplined and stuck to their philosophy of not overpaying for the position. If Dimitri Patterson can stay healthy (big if), I think many Jets fans will be very pleasantly surprised with the quality of play we have at corner this year.
I also wanted to see us retain Austin Howard but I wouldn’t have paid him half of the inexplicable 5 year / $30 million the Raiders ponied up. Apparently the spirit of Al Davis is alive and well in Oakland. While I place a big premium on continuity of the offensive line, I can not imagine paying any right tackle anything close to the Raiders’ offer. Howard was a nice find for us and I would have liked to keep him a Jet but, for that kind of money, the Jets absolutely made the right move by letting him fly.
I also love that we did not sign DeSean Jackson. No doubt he is a playmaker and we are certainly in need of playmakers but there’s a reason (other than just money) that the Eagles let him walk. We just purged ourselves of one WR with questionable character, we don’t need another one to put on the same number. I was calling for the Jets to cut Santonio Holmes immediately after the Miami loss on New Year’s Day 2012. How is it that our best receiver and an appointed team "captain" was on the sidelines late in the 4th quarter as the team was trying to get in position for a game-winning FG as well as the 4th quarter TD drive that brought the Jets to within 2? A game that, if we had won, would have propelled the Jets into the playoffs. A game that our supposed best offensive player had his first career zero catch game. Despite the huge cap hit that would have ensued, the Jets should have immediately cut him and sent a message to the team. Obviously no one has the ability to predict injuries but with the power of hindsight, we can see that since that game on 1/1/12, Holmes has played in only 15 of 32 games and scored just two TD’s - TWO! (Chaz Schilens also played in 15 games and had 2 TDs over the same time period and he wasn't even on an NFL roster last season!) We should have taken the hit.
So getting back to DeSean - he was instantly one of my least favorite players in the league when I watched him on Monday Night Football in only his second game as a "professional" when he flipped the ball on the 1 yard line in what should have been a 60 yard TD completion. What was even more amazing to me was when I learned he made a similar mistake in High School during an Army All-American game when he fumbled the ball at the 1 yard-line while attempting to do a celebratory flip into the end zone. This kind of selfishness and lack of learning from one’s mistakes are not qualities that are conducive to team sports. Providing these types of players with fat contracts sends the wrong message to teammates that are doing their best to do things the right way. Sure I’d love to have his speed and playmaking ability on the team but not at the expense of his baggage. Plus at only 175 pounds and concussion-prone, who knows how long he’ll stay on the field.
So that’s a little bit about what the Jets didn’t do (that I love), here’s a little bit about what they did do (that I love)… I love that they resigned Colon, Pace and Douzable. Colon was a nice surprise for us last year. Sure he had a lot of penalties but his toughness and leadership were great additions. I have long thought that Pace was underrated - it was nice to see him get double digit sacks last year and earn another contract. Also I think Douzable is a fantastic rotational player. It’s a long season and depth is great thing. Also resigning other back-up players and special teamers like Bellore and McIntyre are great because they know the system and have been getting better each year. While they will likely never be starters, they’re very valuable and play a lot more snaps than most people realize.
Regarding the bigger names we’ve signed, the differences between Tannenbaum and Idzik became glaringly obvious. I have a lot of affection for Tannenbaum (mainly because of his passion and love for the Jets) but I liken his free agency approach to be very similar to that of the nutritional choices that one makes when they opt to go grocery shopping in a gas station minimart on payday after fasting for two days. To make a comparison with Idzik, I’ll use another analogy. This one is of how two individuals may choose to enter a pool from a high-dive. Tannenbaum would jump a bunch of times on the board, wave his hands getting everyone’s attention then grab his knees and cannonball into the pool drenching the first couple rows of spectators. Idzik would wait a while, contemplating his options at the stairs before climbing the high dive. The spectators might get bored and not even notice his climb. Idzik would then deftly jump up and swan dive into the water. The water would barely part enough to envelop him with a splash-less entry that would make any olympic diver jealous.
Universally, going into free agency, everyone said the Jets needed help on offense. We had very little speed and hardly any weapons at the skill positions. So what did Idzik do? He went out and got the highest rated free agent QB in Vick, the highest rated free agent WR in Decker and the highest rated free agent RB in Johnson. He also added a speedster WR in Jacoby Ford. At 26, if Ford can stay healthy (his only complete season was his rookie year), he could prove to be a great addition. Very quietly, Idzik added a lot of speed to the team. A couple weeks ago Jeremey Lundband (@JLundbladESPN), a senior researcher at ESPN tweeted, "Jets now have NFL's fastest RB (Chris Johnson 99), WR (Jacoby Ford 98) & QB (Michael Vick 92) according to Madden speed rating" Idzik did all this without fanfare and without breaking the bank. The Jets are in fantastic cap shape and have a ton of options.
In my next blog post, I'll reveal who I think the Jets should target in the upcoming draft.