This is the next-to-last in the series of draft and offseason analyses of the moves that Mike Tannenbaum has made or didn't make. I will again look at this draft and offseason, try to show how it impacted upon the team's performance on the field during the 2011 season and resulted in some of problems in the locker room.
At the end of that post, I will post a couple of different rosters that the Jets could have going into this offseason rather than the roster they currently have had Tanny not made so many trades, and poor moves in FA. I will also include a poll to see which of the three rosters you would prefer.
Follow after the jump for my thoughts.
2011 Off Season
FA: The Jets re-signed David Harris, Nick Folk, Marquice Cole, Antonio Cromartie, Marcus Dixon, Santonio Holmes, Wayne Hunter, Brodney Pool, Eric Smith and Robert Turner. They allowed Kellen Clemens, Drew Coleman, Braylon Edwards, Shaun Ellis, James Ihedigbo, Lance Laury, Trevor Pryce, Tony Richardson, Brad Smith and Steve Weatherford to leave. Edwards, Ihedigbo and Weatherford were the big losses.
The Jets signed Nick Novak, Donald Strickland, Plaxico Burress, DaJuan Morgan, Trevor Canfield, Pete Clifford, Derrick Mason, Wilson Raynor, Keith Zinger, David Herron, Eddie Jones, Cordarol Scales, Aaron Maybin, Tracy Wilson, Nevin McCaskill, and Isaiah Trufant. They claimed Andrew Sendejo, Mardy Gilyard, and Colin Baxter off waivers. They signed Eron Riley off the Broncos PS. They signed Shawn Nelson. They signed Austin Howard off of the Raven's PS. They signed Gerald Alexander. They also signe Ellis Lankster and Ricky Sapp. The bolded players are still on the roster. It's ridiculous that a team coming off of two successive AFC Championship Games had to bring in that many players, but did because Tanny chose to turn over a full one quarter of the roster. That would be ridiculous in any year, but was mind boggling in a year where there were no OTAs, mini-camps and a shortened TC.
The bigger story with FA in 2011, was not who the Jets signed, but who they didn't. They decided to keep Santonio Holmes and let Braylon Edwards go. We all know how that turned out. There's no way Braylon would have caused the problems that Holmes did and he would have blocked and stretched the field.
They allowed their two best blitzing DBs to leave in Coleman and Ihedigbo to leave. Ihedigbo was also an excellent STs player.
Then there was the RT spot and OL depth in general. Tanny was counting on Wayne Hunter, a career backup, to step in and take over for Damien Woody. They knew by at least preseason that they had no depth as Vlad Ducasse didn't show any signs of being ready to see any significant action. Robert Turner went down in the first preseason game. There was a HUGE list of OL available in FA and the Jets had a good amount of free cap space. Among them were: Flozell Adams, Shawn Andrews, Khalif Barnes, Alex Barron, Willie Colon, Oniel Cousins, Jared Gaither (later signed by KC), Leonard Davis, Bryan McKinnie, Sean Locklear, Jamon Meredith, Clint Oldenburg, Jon Stinchcomb, Tony Ugoh and others. You can't tell me that someone out fo that bunch wouldn't have been better than Hunter. At OG and C, there were a long list of FAs as well including Brian Waters (later signed by the Patriots) and Andre Gurode (later signed by the Ravens). What did Tanny do instead? Sign a UDFA and trade a 6th round pick, a half-assed attempt to provde depth and it wound up costing them the playoffs. IMO, that alone is a fireable offense. It was inexcusable. When added to all the other moves and non-moves he has made,, he is mediocre and doesn't know how to build a roster.
Even with allowing so many of their own players to leave via FA, they had lots of cap space with which to address holes depth and upgrading the K and P positions as well as adding a backup QB. Instead, Tanny wasted almost the entire FA period trying to sign Nnamdi Asomugha, and then had to scramble to re-sign Cromartie and some other FAs.
They wanted a kicker to challenge Nick Folk. Tanny's idea of a challenger was Nick Novak when veterans David Akers, Kris Brown, Phil Dawson, John Kasay, Olindo Mare, Joe Nedney and Jeff Reed were available. Similarly at P they brought in TJ Conley to challenge Steve Weatherford when Josh Bidwell, Durant Brooks, Jeremy Kapinos, Brad Maynard, Adam Podlesh, Dave Zastudil, Sav Rocca and Matt Turk were FAs.
At QB they traded Kevin O'Connell when Bruce Gradkowski and Shaun Hill were available as FAs.
We all know that they could have probably signed Jonathan Joseph for less than Cromartie and had a better CB who was a better fit in their D.
At the safety positions, Oshiomogho Atogwe, Jordan Babineaux, Atari Bigby, Dawan Landry, Bernard Pollard, Madieu Williams and Usama Young among others. Are you telling me that none could cover better than E. Smith or B. Pool?
Trades: The Jets traded an undisclosed pick to the Packers for Caleb Schlauderaf. A totally unnecessary move if the Jets had signed one of the many FA OGs. Dwight Lowery (in one of the worst moves) was traded to Jacksonville for an unconditional pick. Derrick Mason was traded to Houston for an unconditional pick, which they'll never see. The Jets traded their 7th round pick to the Detroit Lions for Kevin OConnell. Tanny continues to squander draft picks for worthless players, for tradeups and for trades for players that wouldn't be necessary if he hadn't wasted so many draft picks and done such a poor job on some of his choices.
Draft: Muhammad Wilkerson (1st), Kenrick Ellis (3rd), Bilal Powell (4th), Jeremy Kerley (5th), Greg McElroy (7th), Scotty McKnight (7th)
UDFAs: Josh Baker, Nick Bellore, Michael Campbell, Collin Franklin, Stafford Gatling, Dan DePalma, Courtney Smith, Tom Ottaiano, Chris Stewart, Julian Posey, Byron Landor, Davon Morgan, Zane Taylor, Taylor Boggs, Jeff Wills, Matthias Berning, Chris Bryan, Jeremy McGee, and Jake Duron.
Practice Squad: I believe the final PS looked like this: Michael Campbell WR, Dedrick Epps TE, Dexter Jackson WR, Matt Kroul OL, Dennis Landolt OT, Mark LeGree DB, Julian Posey CB and Eron Riley WR.
What they left on the table:
While I really liked both the picks of Muhammad Wilkerson and Kendric Ellis, they happened because Tanny had ignored the DL for far too long. In taking both they missed out on several excellent OLB prospects. When coupled with the fact that they didn't have a 2nd round pick because of the trade for Cromartie the year before, they missed out on several excellent WR prospects and a great S prospect as well. I was excited that they took Kerley, as he was a player i liked a lot before the draft, but there were a number of other better WR prospects that they could have had in earlier rounds, including Denarius Moore whom they could have had instead of Powell in the 4th. They also traded up to get Kerley, which cost them a chance at a good blocking TE prospect and a couple more S prospects.
Players they bypassed/missed in taking Wilkerson: Cam Heyward (DE), Derek Sherrod (OT), Jabal Sheard (OLB), Akeem Ayers (OLB), Brooks Reed (OLB), Kyle Rudolph (TE), Titus Young (WR), Rahim Moore (FS), Jaiquan Jarrett (FS), Greg Little (WR)
Players they missed in trading for Cromartie: Marcus Gilbert (OL), Randall Cobb (WR), Justin Houston (OLB), Kelvin Sheppard (OLB), DeMarco Murray (RB), Martez Wilson (OLB/ILB), Dontay Moch (OLB), Austin Pettis (WR), Leonard Hankerson (WR), Jerrel Jernigan (WR), Jah Reid (OT)
Players they bypassed/missed taking Ellis: Alex Green (RB), Cameron Jordan (TE), Luke Stocker (TE), Quinton Carter (S), Greg Salas (WR), Edmond Gates (WR),
Players they bypassed/missed taking Powell: Davon House (DB), Robert Sands (FS), Kealoha Pilares (WR), Marcus Cannon (OL), Gabe Miller (OLB), Denarius Moore (WR)
Players they bypassed/missed taking Kerley: Lee Smith (TE), Jermale Hines (S), Mark Legree (FS), Pernell McPhee (DE/OLB)
Players they bypassed/missed by trading up for Kerley: Tyler Sash (SS), Steve Schilling (OL) Ricky Elmore (OLB)
Players they bypassed/missed by taking Scotty McKnight: Lee Ziemba (OT), Eric Hagg (S), Chris Neild (NT) and all the UDFAs mentioned above that they missed out on.
UDFAs they missed out on: DeAndre McDaniel (S), Deunta Williams (S), Mana Silva (S), Armon Binns (WR), Mark Herzlich (OLB), Joe Lefeged (S), Jeron Johnson (S), Brian Lainhart (S), Steven Friday (OLB), and Ricardo Lockette (WR).
Summary: I think this was Tanny's worst off season. The team was coming off two straight AFC Championship Game appearances. There weren't many needs, but there were some that definitely need to be addressed. There was practically no off season due to the lockout. It was no time for major changes to the roster in spite of having a lot of FAs on the roster. Yet, he chose not to re-sign a number of key players. He failed in all situations. He failed to secure veteran depth for the OL and insurance at RT in case Hunter struggled, overvalued the safeties on the Jets roster and ignored what had been a serious problem in 2010 with their inability to cover TEs over the middle. When Turner went down with a season-ending injury, there were still quality FAs available to replace him. When Hunter struggled badly in preseason, again there was still a quality FA OT available and Tanny did nothing. He had the opportunity to sign a FA S, draft one, or sign a number of UDFA safety prospects that were perhaps better than the ones he did sign and didn't. Maybin flashed in preseason, then they cut him risking some other team picking him up.
In the draft he was already short his 2nd & 7th round picks, then traded up in the 5th losing his 6th round pick, but gaining a 7th. He failed yet again to address the pass rush, which was a big need. He came away with some very good prospects in Wilkerson, Ellis and Kerley, and some head scratching picks in Powell, McElroy (to some extent) and particularly Scotty McKnight. Wilkerson started, but struggled somewhat until later in the season. Ellis was practically invisible as was Powell. Kerley contributed immediately on STs, and as the season progressed contributed more and more on offense. McElroy showed promise but wound up on IR and McKnight had a hard time staying on the PS and then was injured. The net effect is that yet again there were minimal contributions from rookies, when lots of other teams get signficant contributions from their rookies. Is this Tanny's fault for choosing less effective players, or is it the CS's fault for not doing a better job teaching, preparing and developing these young players?