FanPost

A Trust the Process™ Mock Offseason

I tend to love hypothesizing about what interesting offseason possibilities are available this time of year, especially since there has been little to look forward to besides the offseason for the past few years. I will preface this by saying that I don’t think some points about this offseason are particularly likely for a few reasons. The two big reasons, which will become evident shortly, are that Mac and Gase know they don’t have a lot of time to finish this rebuild and make us competitive soon, and that the NFL rarely performs cap hit dump trades.

Speaking of which, the offseason will therefore be based on the last major cap dump to happen, which was the Texans trading Osweiller’s 16 million dollar contract to the Browns while giving up a 2nd rounder in the process. Without further ado, lets get this started:

Cuts

Brian Winters (6.5 mil saved, no dead money)

He is a bad starter being paid like an average starter.

Spencer Long (6.5 mil saved, no dead money)

He is probably a bad center who was hampered by broken fingers and a dumb coaching staff, but he’s overpaid for what he provides right now.

Isaiah Crowell (3 mil saved, 2 mil in dead money)

This may not be the most popular move, nor the most cost efficient on paper, but think about what talented and underused RBs Gase had in Miami and there’s a trend. Gase wants a guy who is less boom or bust, who can consistently move the chains, and Crowell isn’t the guy.

Note that Kelvin Beachum survives despite saving 8 mil in cap space. We need to replace the guy soon, but he was possibly our best O-lineman last year and can still play well while we groom a replacement.

Re-signings

Robby Anderson - 2nd Round Tender

No need to pay him yet since he is an RFA, so we put him on a tag for 3.1 mil.

Darryl Roberts - 1 year, 4 mil

I think his good showing down the line will intrigue some teams and drive up his price. He is young and could wind up being the CB2 we need, but it’s hard to tell for sure. For now, we pay a solid amount to see what he is made of.

Steve McLendon - 1 year, 3.5 mil

The man has been a rock for us the past few years, and while it would have been nice to have retained Snacks, McLendon is still a solid contributor. Age keeps his price down.

Jason Meyers - 3 years, 10 mil

Guy was absolute money for us this year, no sense in letting him walk. Ask Chicago if 3 mil and change is a good price to not have to worry about kicking issues.

Andre Roberts - 1 year, 2.5 mil

He doesn’t have the track record before last year, but he clearly works with what Brant Boyer wants in a returner. Besides, when was the last time we had a real return threat?

Brandon Copeland - 1 year, 2.5 mil

I actually have no idea how much he will cost to resign, but he was probably the best of the rotation last year, and would be valuable to bring back to help shore up a weak EDGE group. I think anything less than 3 is probably worth the price of admission.

Jonathan Harrison - 2 years, 2 mil

Backup G/C is always welcome to have. I could very easily see some team thinking he’s a gem and spend a few mil a year to bring him in though, so this might not end up being realistic.

Dakota Dozier - 1 year, 1 mil

Lower on the depth chart from what I recall, but same reasoning as Harrison.

Doug Middleton - 1 year, 700k

Good on special teams, good back up Safety which is a need concerning Maye’s injury history.

Bilal Powell - 1 year, 700k

It was heartbreaking seeing him get injured, and I would absolutely be amenable to having him back if he is healthy. He is the consistent type of guy that Gase will probably want.

This should leave around 80 mil in cap space, according to my calculations.

Notable Departures

Henry Anderson

Played great, and I love the guy, but he isn’t a fit for a 4-3 when we have Leonard Williams already taking up the 3 tech spot on the line. Remember that the Colts traded him last year when they swapped to a 4-3, and although he had a good year last year, I would bet that some other team is willing to offer more than I am for a rotational piece on this team.

Josh McCown

I love the guy, but I don’t think he is worth 8-10 mil a year. I have other plans at the position anyway. I think that he will try and continue to cash out while he can, but I would offer our vacant QB coach job to him or bring him aboard in an assistant role if he is interested.

Morris Claiborne

Probably our best CB last year, but I can’t imagine he will be happy if we offer him yet another 1 year deal, and given our rebuilding state, I think it’s time we see if we can develop a corner worth a damn.

The Less Likely Stuff

Alright, if you read this far, chances are pretty good that you think everything is realistic and not worth the disclaimer at the start. Let’s change that. Note that both teams will want to trade their contract dumps nice and early so that they can still pick up important pieces in FA and use the cap space they gained, and therefore these trades are generally unavailable during the draft.

Jets acquire QB Blake Bortles and their 2019 2nd rounder from the Jaguars

Bortles is sitting on a 16.5 mil contract and can be cut at the end of 2019 for a cap hit of 4 mil. While that 16.5 is difficult for a contending team to swallow, a rebuilding team like the Jets can afford to overpay a backup in exchange for some serious draft capital. Besides, if Blake Bortles has to take serious reps, chances are good that we aren’t contending anyway.

Jets trade their 2019 5th rounder to the Redskins for the Redskins 2019 1st and 3rd rounders, and Alex Smith

This is the less realistic one by a comfortable margin, but may be more likely than you or I assume. Dan Snyder is not a patient man, and the Redskins were so, so damn close to winning the NFCE over the Cowboys. Alex Smith may never play another down of football, and yet will cost the Redskins over 50 mil in cap space the next two years in fully guaranteed money (2019 fully guaranteed at signing, 2020 for injury). As far as I can tell, the earliest out for the team is in 2021 where he can be cut at no additional cost due to an out, but that’s a long way aways. In fact, a 1st and a 3rd might be an underpay considering how much 50 million actually is. The obvious hole in this plan is that the Redskins do not have an immediate solution to their QB issues due to losing their 1st rounder, but with Teddy Bridgewater and Nick Foles coming up to the market, they almost certainly walk away with a solid starter.

Both of these together should bring the cap space down to around 40 mil.

Free Agency

Given that this team is clearly expecting to want to build for another year or two before really breaking the bank to compete. As such, my motto is to spend where I need to right now to not inhibit our young players’ growth and roll over as much as I can in light of 40 mil in cap space suddenly vanishing overnight. We should still have about 50 mil to spend at this point, so we can pick up a few pieces to shore up some positions of need.

EDGE Demarcus Lawrence - 5 years, 90 mil

Yeah it’s a lot, but he is a top 5/10 EDGE, and instantly makes everything on our defense a lot better. Jamal Adams asked for some dogs, after all.

Alternatively, there are 3 other options that I know at least one of which will hit FA. In order of preference: Trey Flowers, Frank Clark, Brandon Graham. Graham would be a particularly interesting option since he is almost certainly leaving Philly and with his age, he might only cost about 10 mil on a shorter deal. I know that we have the capability to address this, it is simply a question of who actually hits the market.

OG Quinton Spain - 4 years, 28 mil

There’s a good possibility that he doesn’t hit the market, but the goal is to get a solid starter at guard considering we just gutted the entire interior line. Spain is an average to above average starter depending on the day, but we pay him a bit more than what we were paying Winters to protect the trunky coastal kid.

RB Tevin Coleman - 4 years, 20 mil (via Spotrac.com)

He is a solid RB who can wear a team down and provides us with a good power back ability that Powell, McGuire and Cannon don’t have. He also has decent speed alongside good pass catching and blocking ability. I do love Bell and his massive playmaking ability, but I am writing this offseason with the intent on competing 2-3 years down the line instead. For reference, Bell will likely cost at least 16 mil a year, which is a bit too much for how much cap space I have already spent so far.

OG/C Matt Slauson - 1 year, 1.2 mil

The wayward son returns home. Slauson showed in Chicago that he can play serviceably well as a Center if asked, and his injury last year with the Colts ensured he lost his spot to Glowinski (who the Colts re-signed recently), lowering his asking price. While I would love to have Mitch Morse or Matt Paradis for 11 mil, I have a feeling neither will be find their way to New York soon. I still think Slauson has a year or two of credible, starting caliber play in him. I am also cheating, since I already know who I expect to be available in the draft, like every other mock offseason out there.

This leaves around 12 mil in cap space, roughly

The Draft

It is difficult to accurately predict who is available where, especially this early in the process. No one who makes a mock draft ever predicts drafting a luxury position BPA here, although it happens all the time in the real thing. Teams make decisions based on radically different draft boards, so all I can do is guess who might be around at our picks. Without further ado:

Jets trade 1.3 and their 4th rounder to the Jaguars for 1.7, their 2019 3rd rounder, and their 2020 1st rounder

When the Jets and Jaguars shook hands over Blake Bortles, they quietly laid the groundwork to give the Jaguars the inside track to a Haskins trade up, much like how the Colts-Jets trade was started long in advance. The Jets acquire the full suite of day 1 and 2 picks from the Jaguars and gain a projected late first in 2020, while the Jaguars walk away with their Franchise QB in a draft where there may only be one or two QBs worth picking, and up to 5 teams interested. In terms of trade value, this is actually pretty damn close to even (assuming the Jaguars are indeed poised to make a playoff run), despite the fact that it looks like an overpay from the Jaguars.

1.7 (via JAG) EDGE Clelin Ferrell

I have the Giants taking OT Jonah Williams right before this due to missing out on Haskins, but Ferrell is an excellent prospect in his own right. Ferrell slots in easily to a Gregg Williams defense, as his impressive pass rushing ability and gap penetration alongside good run defense make him an instant starter with probowl upside. He may even go higher depending on his combine, as he has excellent tape. I would have ranked him right alongside Bradely Chubb from last year, for reference.

1.15 (via WAS) OL Cody Ford

Excellent OL, and may end up being OT 1 after the combine, but is dependent on measurements. At the very worst, he is OG 1 and projects to be a plus starter on day one if he never is able to shift to the outside. For now, he falls right into our lap and spends his first year at guard, since our tackles return from last year. Ford eventually is tapped to take over for Beachum in the near future, and guarantees that we start putting draft capital back into the offense. This pick could also be Greg Little or Yodney Cajuste, depending on how the draft process shakes out.

2.6 (via JAX) OL Dalton Risner

Jets double up on OL, taking Risner who also has upside at multiple positions including C. Jets hope that they found their next Brick/Mangold pairing with the two, and with plenty of spots open on the O-line, theres ample opportunity for both to grab starting spots, or sit behind solid veterans. Excellent OL coach Frank Pollack will have plenty of clay to play around with.

Jets trade the Jaguar’s and Saint’s 3rd rounders to the Buccaneer’s in exchange for 2.7

In watching the mock drafts this year, I think there are a lot of offensive talents that are borderline 1st rounders that could fall this far, and the Jets feel like having another 2nd rounder is more valuable than the pair of 3rd rounders given the fact that they have 4 total right now. Bruce Arians may not be coming in with a new GM, but I would bet that he has a few ideas on how to remodel the roster, and the additional picks help him get there sooner.

2.7 (via JAX) Whichever one of the following falls:

WR N’keal Harry

TE Noah Fant

TE TJ Hockinson

TE Irv Smith

RB Josh Jacobs

Any of their combines may place them well into the first, but these are the types of talents I want to take a shot on come draft time. N’keal Harry has an outstanding catch radius, but his ability to get separation leaves a bit to be desired right now. He has room to grow, and with a bit of polish, he could be a true #1 for years to come. Noah Fant and Hockinson were teammates at Iowa but have complementary strengths. Fant is a giant with a large catch radius, solid route running and a good ability to highpoint catches with still good TE blocking. Hock is a transcendent blocker and surprisingly shifty and productive YAC receiver, but might be slightly less athletic than his teammate come combine time. With the Iowa boys hogging the TE spotlight, Irv Smith may be the most underrated of the three, sporting a great combination of traits that remind me of Jason Witten: plus contributor in all facets, although not a master of any of them. Jacobs is my RB 1, but if he should fall out of the first, he would be an excellent player and an immediate upgrade.

3.4 WR Andy Isabella

Andy is small, fast and polished. Considering Gase made his offense out of small, fast and polished WRs last year, I think Andy could be a steal. Andy is a real slot threat that would allow Q and Robby to spend most of their time on the outside and giving us a guy who can run an effective Jet sweep to give Sam an easier time in the Gase offense.

3.13 CB Lonnie Johnson Jr

Lonnie played a lot in a cover 3 system at Kentucky, but shows a lot of traits that suggest that he can become a very good man corner as well. At 6’3, his length is an excellent tool, even though he may have average athleticism. Excellent nose for the ball fits right in with Gregg William’s philosophy. He likely won’t start, but with a little bit of development, I could see him becoming a worthy CB 2 in time.

Im not going to pretend that I know enough of the draft to keep projecting more picks, but I would target another OL and maybe another CB or WR.

Wrap Up

Congrats if you actually read everything up until now. While the Jets had the cap space to make moves in free agency, my plan opts to do the ol’ NBA Trust the Process™ and build a contender that can compete in a few years when the talent begins to mature. With Cody Ford and Dalton Risner, 2 of the OL spots should be solidified with some veteran insurance make sure we protect Sam this year as well. We went out and fixed the EDGE situation with a large amount of the remaining cap space, and investing in Clelin Ferrell to give the Jets a pair of bookends that we haven’t had in years. Offensively, we decided to see what we have in our current bunch of WRs, adding in Andy Isabella and one of a few falling offensive talents that could become instant playmakers with an inside track to starting. In the interim, I should have saved around 6 mil in cap space according to my rough calculations, which gives us just enough to retool the roster before the season starts. The extra 1st rounder next year can be used to shore up another position with a premier prospect, allowing us to continue remodeling in effective fashion. In 2 years, all the QB money we are paying to Smith and Bortles comes off the books, opening us up to pay plenty of our own, assuming we have people worth paying, or can make a splash in FA if we are confident in our championship contention. There are absolutely still holes in this roster, such as an uncertain OL (no telling how well the rookies play), but I think this would be an excellent way to provide a long term talent infusion to a weak roster. Thanks for reading, and I am always interested in feedback, so let me know how I did!

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