At this time of year, rumors seem to dominate football news. The media speculates on a pair of recently released players in whom the Jets allegedly have interest, Samari Rolle and Matt Jones.
Rolle, 32, was released yesterday by the Ravens after four seasons with the team. In 10 games last season (he missed 6 because of a shoulder injury), he recorded 27 tackles, three interceptions and one forced fumble. He also had a pick in the divisional playoff win over the Titans, his previous team, but he was inactive for the AFC Championship Game because of a thigh injury.
Age has robbed Rolle of much of his speed, but he still has good cover skills and would be a nice fit at nickel. Right now Dwight Lowery is the logical internal option. Slot receivers would have a tougher time working on somebody with Rolle's experience opposed to Lowery's youth. He also would serve as an insurance policy for the injury-prone Sheppard. Lowery would likely see some time at safety, where he might be better suited than corner becuase of his ball skills and lack of catchup speed.
High risk, obviously, for the Jets if they dip their toe in these waters. But the reward could be high, too. Jones is only 25, he's 6-6 and in four seasons he's averaged 13.0 yards per reception and hauled in 15 touchdowns.
Jones is coming off an arrest for violation his probation stemming from another cocaine arrest. He is one of the posterboys for those who believe the Combine is overrated. Even though he played quarterback in college, his 6'6" frame and a 4.4 40 yard dash made him a first round pick at receiver. It has been a slow transition to receiver. His routes and cuts are still works in progress, but he is coming off career highs in receptions with 65 and yards with 761. He seems to be developing the way Brad Smith should have. He is explosive in the open field like Smith and probably would take over as Wildcat quarterback. The former quarterback certainly could not throw on gadget plays any worse than Smith does. He would also be the first big red zone target this team has had since Keyshawn Johnson left in 2000.
There is a reason Jones is available and would come cheap. The arrests are troubling, but the second one seems pretty tame, violating probation by drinking some beer. If the quarterback position is a weakness, receivers will be ineffective. This is why it might not make sense to invest a lot in the position. Buying low on a high ceiling player like Jones might be the best way to go. The risk would be mitigated by a likely low salary. Maybe the Jets could turn Jones into something. He would at least fit Brad Smith's role and make Smith exclusively a special teams player, which is where he would fit best. Using a first round pick on him was crazy, but if the price is a minimum deal, it is worth exploring.