As the offseason begins, Gang Green Nation will take a look at potential ways to improve the club. Today we will explore signing Jason Taylor.
Profile: Drafted out of Akron by Miami in 1997, Taylor posted one of the greatest statistical careers in Dolphins history, putting up 117 sacks in 11 seasons. He hit double digits in sacks 8 times and only twice has finished with less than 8.5. The sack artist has been to 6 Pro Bowls, has been selected to 4 All Pro Teams, and was the 2006 AP Defensive Player of the Year. He struggled in 2008 after a trade to Washington in which he only registered 3.5 sacks and started 8 games. This led to his release.
Taylor has a long history with the Jets. He placed himself at the front of the Dolphins-Jets rivalry with numerous demeaning comments regarding Jets fans. An NFL Films documentary of New York's monumental comeback in a 2000 Monday Night Football game depicts Taylor running his mouth talking smack pretty much for the entire game only to end up devastated after a crushing loss.
Why It Makes Sense: Right now the biggest weakness on the defense is the weakside outside linebacker spot. Bryan Thomas is solid against the run, but he disappeared in the pass rush during the second half of the season. It is unclear whether Vernon Gholston will ever show anything. Rex Ryan's defense is predicated on pressuring the quarterback. While Bart Scott, Shaun Ellis, and Calvin Pace are all above average pass rushers, the Jets have nobody around whom an opposing offense must gameplan. Until 2008, offensive blocking schemes had to account for Taylor's presence on every play. At 34, he is not too old to bounce back from a bad season just as his former teammate Joey Porter did with Miami in 2008 after a lousy 2007. Considering his age and 2008 performance, Taylor could come at a discounted rate.
Odds of Happening: Taylor is the last thing a new coach looking to set a tone for a franchise needs. The spotlight always needs to be on him. Reggie Miller was one of the most hated opposing athletes in the history of New York because of his trashtalking. There was an underlying respect, though, because Miller backed up his talk with some incredibly clutch performances. Taylor is the exact opposite. For all of his talk about the Jets, his career winning percentage against New York sits well under .500. He was the face of teams that always underachieved in Miami, and he disappeared in big games. Even though he was one of the few bright spots in Miami's miserable 2007, Bill Parcells sent Taylor packing. His team did not miss him at all and improved its win total by 10 games. Rex Ryan has enough faith in his ability to produce a good defense that he will not take a flier on a guy who has won nothing and still has never found a camera he did not like. Taylor is a guy whose stats overrate his true value.
Jets and Dolphins fans disagree on a lot, but the Jets signing Taylor would make both fanbases sick.