This analysis is based on watching and re-watching TV footage. As such, it is not always possible to accurately determine everything that was going on. However, every effort has been made to ensure that the information below is as complete and correct as possible.

Coming up after the jump, an analysis of yesterday's win over the Chiefs, including a look into what impact Jim Leonhard's injury could have on the Jets' playoff chances, an appreciation of the unsung heroes on the special teams coverage units and insight into how the Jets fooled everybody by having a gameplan that relied heavily on Vladimir Ducasse of all people. Remember, if you want me to look into anything in particular or go into more detail, leave a comment and I'll include it in BGA Extra, which will follow in a few days.

For me, this game was practically over before it began. Technical issues meant that my friends and I weren't able to get coverage of the game, necessitating a cross-town trip from yours truly to fetch another laptop to try and get the game. By the time I returned, the Jets already led 7-0 and - with the Chiefs only having averaged seven points over their previous five games, there was a good chance that was going to be unassailable, as long as the Jets didn't do anything stupid.

They remained conservative, instead feasting on errors by the Chiefs, to extend the lead in the second quarter, until they had built a 28-3 lead that even the most pessimistic Jets fan would have felt pretty secure with. The second half was a mere formality, with the Jets ultimately winning 37-10.

The Chiefs are struggling, but the Jets took care of business and neutralized those things that they do well, en route to an easy win. That's what Jets fans have been hoping for, so it should serve as an ideal preparation for the last three games, all of which promise to be tough, yet winnable.

While some aspects of the team seem to be gelling and perhaps peaking at just the right time, there are still some areas that give cause for concern, so let's look in depth at all of them.

Quarterback

The two main areas I identified in the offseason where Mark Sanchez needed to improve most were in the red zone and his accuracy on short passes. All season long, he's done dramatically better in both areas and yesterday was perhaps the best evidence yet that his hard work in these areas is paying off.

In terms of the red zone, the Jets were already number one in the NFL entering this week's game and will have stretched their lead on the rest of the league by going five for five yesterday. It was interesting to hear the announcers remark who Sanchez gives much of the credit for the red zone success to. If you missed it, have a guess. (Answer at the end of this section).

In terms of short passes, the Jets had terrific success just dumping the ball off to their backs (108 yards on five completions). So much so, in fact, that they never really needed to throw the ball downfield to advance the ball.

The Jets did make a concerted effort to take a few deep shots this week, without successfully completing one. They picked up a pass interference call on one throw down the seam to Dustin Keller and Santonio Holmes wanted a call on what seemed to be a well-thrown ball down the sideline. However, with Sanchez delivering the ball on time to his receivers underneath, in space and with accuracy so they could get upfield impetus, they managed to dink and dunk their way to a productive first half.

Sanchez was actually 0 for 4 in the second half, although two of those were dropped and he did have about five more throws that resulted in first downs via penalty.

It's very difficult to assess Sanchez's performance accurately because, while he didn't make any obvious mistakes, most of his pass completions were pretty simple. However, he does deserve credit for consistently taking what the defense gave him and getting the ball to guys in space who were then able to make things happen.

I'd also give Sanchez credit for his two well-executed touchdown runs. Sanchez has a real nose for the endzone. As someone who grew up watching Ken O'Brien (who had ZERO rushing touchdowns in 129 games as a Jet), that's refreshing to see.

Mark Brunell came in for mop-up duty and completed the same number of passes in the second half as Sanchez did. In fact, he handed the ball off every time.

Oh, and who does Mark Sanchez credit much of the Jets' red zone success to? QB coach Matt Cavanaugh. That surprised me.

Offensive Line

For the third straight week, the offensive line performed tremendously, creating space for the running game and doing a solid job of protecting Mark Sanchez. It had to be a good sign when they ran the "Blast" play on the first snap of the game and Matt Slauson's pulling block was perfectly in synch with John Conner's straight ahead pop in the hole. One broken tackle later and Shonn Greene was out to the second level...and not for the last time.

Perhaps even better was some of the blocking on screen passes. Nick Mangold got out in front of Shonn Greene on the long play that set up the second touchdown, finding a guy in space at about the ten yard line and driving him back into the endzone. Mangold also blocked his man to the ground to enable LaDainian Tomlinson to break out to the second level on another screen pass - Tomlinson did the rest, going in for a 19 yard touchdown.

The Jets did give up three sacks. One came as the Chiefs sent two guys off the left side and Tomlinson blocked one, but the other was left unblocked. That's presumably on Sanchez. Justin Houston beat Wayne Hunter on the inside, but I think that was a communication breakdown, because Hunter took a wide step to the outside as soon as the ball was snapped, as if he was expecting inside help from Brandon Moore, who actually pulled left and helped Dustin Keller, who was about to be beaten on the blindside. The last sack came on a meaningless fourth and four play late in the game and saw Tamba Hali beat D'Brickashaw Ferguson with an outside speed rush. I'd agree with those that said they probably shouldn't have been passing the ball in that situation anyway.

Overall, there were these three sacks and not a great deal of other pressure on Sanchez, with the success of the screen pass no doubt helping to slow down the rush. However, the linemen still deserve credit because they are looking more and more comfortable individually and as a unit when called upon to pass protect for any length of time - and Hali and Houston are no slouches. It was good to see some nastiness from Brandon Moore in pass protection as he came over to double team Armon Gordon and just shoved him to the floor.

In terms of the running game, the interior line were dominant, whereas the tackles made a few too many mistakes, especially Wayne Hunter, whose pass protection has been encouraging over the past few games, but his run blocking hasn't been as good. He was responsible for a couple of plays that were stuffed, although many of these were after the game was already in the bag.

What I haven't mentioned yet is the role played by the much-maligned Vladimir Ducasse. Ducasse played 24 snaps, which is 32% of the time, both season highs. This is about the point at which the Jets increased Rob Turner's workload last year, using him as an extra tight end in the jumbo package. The Jets did the same thing here with Ducasse, who had most of his snaps as the inside of two tight ends on the edge of the line. However, he did have five snaps on the edge of the line as the only tight end, or as a tackle in an unbalanced line set.

With Ducasse in the game, the Jets had plenty of success and he was basically error-free, other than being called for a holding penalty which looked debateable at best. While he doesn't always manage to sustain his blocks, he did have some success moving guys off their spot and didn't allow anyone to beat him badly. I know Ducasse is in his second year, but based on this game, he is further along than Slauson (who started in HIS second year) was as a rookie.

Caleb Schlauderaff got into the action for three unremarkable, but mistake free, garbage time snaps.

Running Backs

Greene's run on the first play from scrimmage set the tone nicely and he did a good job of grinding out yardage, even later on in the game when the defense was anticipating a run. Although he's played well in three of the last four games, he hadn't broken a single tackle, so it was good to see him break two on the first play. His 187 all-purpose yards was easily a career high, as were his 58 receiving yards. He also had the longest pass reception of his career. This is definitely a guy who seems to be peaking at the right time.

The one criticism I would have is that he lost the ball on consecutive plays in the second quarter. However, he was correctly ruled as down by contact on the first one and had broken the plane on the second one, as he ran over a defensive back on his way into the endzone, so it's not really fair to say he didn't protect the ball.

Greene had a fourth catch negated by a penalty and would have had a huge gain on the play where he was held by Tyson Jackson, giving rise to a first down as well as a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on a teary-eyed Todd Haley. For Haley, I can see why he might have felt that a few decisions went against him, although these were more borderline than actually seeming to be incorrect. However, I can't see how he picked that moment to complain, because that was the most blatant penalty of the day - so much so that I even noticed it in real time - and actually, it was probably a smart play by Jackson. For Greene, he's come a long way since not catching a single pass until the playoffs in his rookie year.

The other two backs - Tomlinson and Bilal Powell - couldn't get anything going on the ground, as they each averaged less than two yards per carry. In fact, Tomlinson was cut down for a loss four times and probably couldn't have done anything about any of them. With the line blocking so well for Greene, it was obvious how frustrated Tomlinson was when he slammed the ball into the ground after being stuffed just a split second after receiving a handoff.

However, Tomlinson had two huge plays in the passing game - catching a 31-yarder as he was wide open on what I'd like to call a "skinny wheel" route and then taking a screen pass to the endzone for his first ever touchdown at the Jumbo Slinky.

Powell still hasn't shown any spark, which is a shame, because it would have been a good time for him to make his fresh legs count. Once McKnight returns, Powell will probably be inactive for the rest of the year, unless the Jets fall out of contention.

Finally, John Conner had some punishing blocks, as usual. He wasn't perfect, but continues to have a positive impact overall.

Receivers

With the short passing game working so well, there's not much to say about the receivers today. Plaxico Burress did not catch a pass and Santonio Holmes had just 12 yards on two catches. Dustin Keller fared slightly better, with a team-high four catches (all, obviously, in the first half). They did combine to create some first downs via penalty though - and all three got involved with downfield blocking, even Holmes who currently ranks dead last in the NFL for receivers' blocking on PFF.

Although they didn't need to pass the ball in the second half - and Holmes did contribute a key first down and one of the touchdowns - it's still a little concerning about the lack of production. They did try to get everyone involved in the second half, knowing that this is something they will have to do in next week's game, but it didn't work out. I'd imagine that will be a focus of this week's practices.

The backup receivers made an impact, with Jeremy Kerley picking up a couple of short gains and making some nice punt returns after Leonhard's injury, although he allowed Brandon Carr to strip the ball away from him for an incompletion on a ball he should have held. Patrick Turner had an important third down catch on the opening drive, but was just in for nine plays, most of which were in garbage time. Josh Baker was in for six plays, making a nice 17 yard grab, the longest of his career.

Matthew Mulligan had a big role this week and was only in for one less snap than Keller (47). He whiffed badly on one block, but was otherwise an important factor in the running game. I noticed that the Jets shared the load between him and Keller this week in terms of who stayed in to pass block, so they are perhaps trying to focus on what he does well.

Defensive Line

I seem to say it every week, but Sione Pouha continues to perform superbly, constantly shedding blocks (including double teams) to blow up plays and rarely ever getting moved off his spot. Pouha actually sat out most of the second half, showing up late to register a safety on yet another play blown up in the backfield on his only snap in the last 24 minutes. He's not just blowing up runs though. Not only did he have a sack, but on another play he got a terrific surge on a bull rush to drive his man back into the quarterback and on another, he dropped into coverage, saw Dwayne Bowe running a shallow crossing route and shoved him completely off course. That's Kris Jenkins type stuff right there, people.

With Mike DeVito out and Pouha resting for much of the second half, we got an extended look at Marcus Dixon, Muhammed Wilkerson and Ropati Pitoitua. Dixon seems to be the one who is benefiting most from DeVito's absence and really seems to have upped his game over the past few weeks. Here he picked up half a sack and did a good job of penetrating and getting in on tackles. Pitoitua hasn't been as productive as he was earlier in the season before he hurt his knee, but is completely reliable whenever called upon and did stuff a couple of runs. Wilkerson, as you'd expect, has his ups and downs, but is usually good for one spectacularly blown up play per game and on Sunday he got some good pressure on Tyler Palko, forcing him to throw it away.

With Kenrick Ellis inactive, Martin Tevaseu wasn't used, although he did play the last three snaps.

Linebackers

While the Chiefs offense really didn't pose much of a threat all day, the linebackers still put the work in. It was business as usual for Calvin Pace, David Harris and Bart Scott. Pace did a good job of maintaining contain all day and came off the edge to blow up a couple of runs in the backfield. He was also credited with half a sack. Harris had a sack, blew up one run in the backfield and led the Jets in tackles. Scott had a sack, blew up one run and attacked the line more than in some recent games. He was actually in for 33 of the first 39 snaps this week, so a much bigger part of the game plan. The Jets often left base personnel in on passing downs for a change this week.

While Pace, Scott and Harris combined for 2.5 sacks, two Jets that have been piling up the sacks recently were unable to get on the board. However, the Chiefs linemen had their hands full with Aaron Maybin all day, as he rushed the passer on 20 of his 27 snaps. Jamaal Westerman, on the other hand, only rushed the passer seven times in 29 snaps, as he was called upon to play a more disciplined role.

With Westerman taking his spot, Garrett McIntyre didn't play on defense until the last series, with Nick Bellore joining him for the last three plays. Josh Mauga saw action on six snaps.

Defensive Backs

While the game was still competitive, the defensive secondary was as impenetrable as ever. In fact, the Chiefs only had four total yards in the first half. In the second, they did have some successes against the Jets' defensive backs, who were tending to play passive and giving the receivers a cushion.

Darrelle Revis had a shut-out going until Dwayne Bowe made a first down catch on him early in the third quarter, getting away with the most blatant push-off you're ever likely to see. After that, Revis did give up a handful of catches, but none for any significant yardage. He also made one great play in run support and one spectacular pass breakup.

Antonio Cromartie didn't give up a catch for most of the game, until Jonathan Baldwin made a spectacular, leaping grab.

The likes of Kyle Wilson and Donald Strickland, while obviously playing most of the time in the slot, also had a lot of snaps where they were basically lined up as an in-the-box safety, but their assignment was to pick up a receiver that had lined up in the backfield in a two back set. Marquice Cole saw 14 snaps, mostly as an in-the-box third safety.

After going into the lead, the Jets were mostly in a soft zone, so it's difficult to apportion too much blame for any of the yardage that was surrendered in the second half. The Chiefs did pick up 26 on a screen pass, which any one of a number of players could have prevented from being such a long gain, and did score a touchdown, although on that play, there were four defensive players in the area and they may even have got into each other's way. The biggest coverage breakdown was on Dwayne Bowe's late 4th quarter dropped pass in the endzone. Darrelle Revis was covering Bowe, but passed him off to someone behind him. This would either have been Kyle Wilson, who was in the slot, but reacted to the inside as his man ran a skinny post, or Eric Smith, who was closer to the middle of the field. It's not really possible to say who was at fault there, but this is the sort of breakdown they must avoid over the next few weeks.

Unfortunately, Jim Leonhard's knee injury - incurred while making an important interception with the score still 7-3 - means he is out for the season and again the Jets will have to make do without him. As I wrote last year, Leonhard isn't such a great player that they lose out significantly when he isn't there, but the fact he calls the coverages means the Jets have to do a lot of work to get on the same page by next week.

Last year, I boldly predicted that they would cope okay without him, but acknowledged that I was wary about them only having two days to prepare for life without him before their next game. Sure enough, Tom Brady picked apart the secondary after Leonhard's injury ten minutes before the end of the Jets' final practice in preparation for that game had thrown their gameplan into chaos. However, Rex Ryan vowed to fix the defense and they performed superbly in a loss to Miami the following week, after which they beat Pittsburgh and of course went on to play well in the postseason.

The major difference this time is that the Jets cannot afford to have a one-game hangover and then fix the defense, because one more loss could eliminate them. However, at least they've got all week to prepare.

During the postseason, it was Eric Smith and Brodney Pool, the two obvious starters now, who got the job done with Dwight Lowery as a third safety off the bench. However, people forget that Smith was injured too at the end of the season, so it was actually Pool and Lowery who were starting, with Cole as the third safety, in a couple of those games where they had started to turn things around.

Given the complexity of the Jets' scheme, I think it's unlikely that the Jets will sign anyone to fill the void. Instead, I anticipate that they will employ Cole or Strickland in the box, or perhaps sometimes in center field. I could see them using Cromartie to roam deep on some passing downs too and Cole and Strickland have the versatility to line up opposite their man with Cromartie eight yards behind and then they have the option to rush the passer and have Cromartie pick up their guy in off-man coverage. When Pool was out earlier in the year, they did run some two safety packages with three or four cornerbacks, so the biggest upheaval will almost certainly just be in terms of how well they can communicate back there.

On Sunday, Pool actually started and then it became apparent that they were going to rotate Pool and Smith like they did in the Buffalo game (but not last week). Obviously, once Leonhard went down, Smith and Pool were in full time (although Tracy Wilson got three snaps for Smith at the end). Neither was badly exposed in coverage and Smith even added a sack, although he did also miss a tackle.

Pool has always concerned me because he seems more susceptible to blown assignments than anyone else (remembering that I can't always be certain whose fault a given play is). However, he played smart, disciplined football at the end of last year, so perhaps if he's playing full time, his focus will be greater. I note that I've highlighted the discrepancy between how well Smith plays when he's getting the majority of the snaps compared with when he's in a backup role, so perhaps something similar can be said for Pool and how much more likely he is to blow an assignment if he's coming in cold off the bench.

Isaiah Trufant went into the game on defense with three plays to go, but then there was a timeout and he came out of the game again for some reason.

Special Teams

There's not much to be said about the kicking game, as Nick Folk didn't attempt a field goal. TJ Conley punted well, with a 45.0 average and three downed inside the 20, one of which set up Pouha's safety. One of his kicks was almost blocked, but he got away a great punt. However, he did have a short one from the endzone, which led to a field goal. Note: Other than Sebastien Janikowski's 61-yarder in week three, the Jets' opponents are perfect on field goals this year.

Instead, I want to focus on the coverage units, which were excellent this week. While Javier Arenas fared slightly better, Dexter McCluster was held to four yards on one punt return and 85 yards on five kickoffs, as the Jets did a great job of getting downfield.

In particular, I wanted to highlight the work of Nick Bellore, who had two tackles and has quietly moved up to 2nd place in the NFL in special teams tackles. However, it wasn't either of his tackles that stood out. Instead there was one kickoff where he just annihilated Jerheme Urban, the lead blocker, and knocked him flying. Tracy Wilson cleaned up behind him with the tackle on about the 15-yard line.

It wasn't just Bellore, though. Cole, Trufant and Tracy Wilson all did a great job of getting downfield all day, with Cole downing a punt at the five and Trufant combining with Mauga to down a punt at the one. McIntyre also contributed a forced fumble.

Most of all, it's good not to have to talk about another muffed punt, although Leonhard's injury gives further cause for concern. However, Kerley looked good and will hopefully be much more comfortable with a full time role than putting him out there at random times.

Conclusions

Same conclusion: One game at a time. These three wins in a row won't mean anything if they don't win on Sunday.

The Leonhard injury presents a huge challenge and they will probably need to open up the playbook a bit more to win this one, but the play of Greene, the offensive line, the defense, the coverage units and Sanchez avoiding any serious mistakes give them a solid foundation with which they are capable of beating anyone. Hopefully, they will carry over some momentum from this game in all of those areas.

Remember, if there's anything else you'd like me to comment upon or go into more detail about, let me have your suggestions in the comments and I'll respond in BGA Extra later in the week.
Tags: BGA, Bent Double

Josh McCown led the Browns down the field on their initial drive. The drive stalled after McCown's fumble in the end zone, and the quarterback suffered a concussion on the play and did not return. (AP)
Josh McCown led the Browns down the field on their initial drive. The drive stalled after McCown's fumble in the end zone, and the quarterback suffered a concussion on the play and did not return. (AP)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Mike Maccagnan wouldn't say if Josh McCown will be the Jets' starting quarterback this season - that, he insisted, is a decision for coach Todd Bowles. But he did say that McCown can still be a good quarterback, even as he closes in on 38 years old.

"I know he's had some injuries this past season, but the season before he played and actually did some good things for Cleveland," Maccagnan said on a conference call with reporters on Friday. "I still think he has good football left in him. We do think he has the ability to play and perform if needed."

The Jets signed McCown to a one-year, $6 million contract last week, with another possible (but unlikely) $7 million in incentives. Maccagnan said that the 15-year vet - a journeyman now on his eighth NFL team - was under consideration from the start of free agency, even as the Jets sorted through all their other options.

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Should the Jets trade down? 00:03:02
The Daily News Live crew discusses whether or not the Jets should trade down so they can acquire more draft picks.

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets were so intent on acquiring more draft picks that just three weeks ago Mike Maccagnan insisted the Jets were "open for business every round."

Now it sounds like he means every round except the first.

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QB Mitch Trubisky highlights 00:01:06
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays of former UNC quarterback and NFL Draft prospect Mitch Trubisky.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

One year after using a second-round pick on quarterback Christian Hackenberg, Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said he "potentially" could draft a quarterback again. And no, he insisted, that wouldn't mean he's admitting a mistake on Hackenberg.

It would just be another step in the long process of finding "the right quarterback for this team."

"I don't think taking a player at one position is a referendum on another player," Maccagnan said on a conference call with reporters on Friday afternoon. "I think the goal is to put together best roster you can. Of course quarterback is a very, very important position in this process. But I wouldn't necessarily view it as a referendum."

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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DeShone Kizer highlights 00:01:19
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays from former Notre Dame quarterback and NFL Draft prospect DeShone Kizer.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Only time will tell if the Jets are serious about taking a quarterback in the first-round of the draft, but in the meantime they certainly are doing their homework.

The latest proof of that is the NFL Network report that they've already held a private workout with DeShone Kizer, the Notre Dame quarterback considered to be one of the top three quarterback prospects in the draft. That explains why Jets GM Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles skipped Notre Dame's Pro Day on Thursday and were both at Ohio State's Pro Day instead.

The Jets also have a private workout scheduled with North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who revealed that "secret" to reporters at his own Pro Day earlier this week. And while it's not known if the Jets plan to do the same with Clemson's DeShaun Watson, it seems likely that they will...

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 (Brian Spurlock)
(Brian Spurlock)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The NFL's free-agent signing period is open, so bookmark this page and keep checking back for frequent updates on what the Jets are doing with their own free agents and with free agents from other teams, and for updates on their available salary cap space and contract numbers.

JETS SALARY CAP SPACE

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Brian Bassett is joined by SNY Analyst and former New York Jet Willie Colon for an all-new podcast, as they cover all the angles of the Jets rebuild - including Josh McCown, the future at running back, the state of the defense, and whether or not Todd Bowles will be around to see it all through.

Click below to listen!

 

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Marshon Lattimore highlights 00:00:35
SNY.tv takes a look at the highlights of Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

One day after sending a large contingent to North Carolina to watch quarterback Mitch Trubisky at his Pro Day, the Jets rolled out their big guns for the Pro Day at Ohio State.

General Manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles were both in attendance at the Buckeyes Pro Day, according to reports out of Columbus, Ohio, along with representatives of every other NFL team -- including Giants scouting director Marc Ross. Maccagnan and Bowles were surely taking a close look at cornerback Marshon Lattimore and safety Malik Hooker -- two strong candidates for the Jets to take with the sixth overall pick in the draft.

And for what it's worth, they chose a trip to Columbus over a trip to South Bend, Ind., where Notre Dame was holding its Pro Day on Thursday. The star of the Fighting Irish showcase was another quarterback -- DeShone Kizer -- who could go in the first round (though likely not as high as 6)...

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 (Kyle Terada)
(Kyle Terada)

WR Quinton Patton has signed with the Jets, the team annnounced Thursday.

He had visited with the team this past weekend.

Last season, Patton recorded 37 catches for 408 yards with the 49ers.

Tags: Charone Peake, Quincy Enunwa
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Jamal Adams highlights 00:01:05
SNY.tv takes a look at the highlights of LSU safety Jamal Adams.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Now that the big-money part of NFL free agency is over, teams have begun increasingly focusing on the NFL draft, and their first-round targets are becoming a little clearer. So here's SNY's weekly look at the top players on board for the Jets as they prepare to make the sixth overall pick of the NFL draft on April 27:

1.) S Jamal Adams, LSU - From the beginning, I've been focused on a cornerback for the Jets in this spot and Marshon Lattimore sure is a possibility (see below). But after free agency, it's clear that safety is the Jets' biggest unfulfilled need. No, they didn't do big things at corner either, but they have young players they liked and they added some potential in Morris Claiborne. At safety, though, they don't have much after striking out on Tony Jefferson in free agency. Calvin Pryor is in the last year of his contract and Marcus Gilchrist could be a salary cap casualty after the season. The 6-foot, 214-pound Adams is the best at his position in the draft and could be the leader of the Jets' secondary for years. (Last report: 2)...

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Oakland Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera (81) against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Oakland Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera (81) against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

TE Mychal Rivera has agreed to terms with the Jaguars, reports Jeff Darlington of ESPN.

Rivera visted the Jets on Monday, according to Peter Schrager of Fox Sports.

Rivera caught 18 passes for 192 yards and one touchdown in 13 games with Oakland last season. 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson took to Instagram to refute a recent report that he is out of shape. 

In a video posted to his Instagram story, Wilkerson is seen running on a treadmill while sarcastically responding about his conditioning. 

"They say I'm fat and out of shape," he said. "Ha-ha. Keep sleeping on me. I'm telling you."

Wilkerson was referencing an article by the Daily News' Manish Mehta from last week. In the piece, Mehta quotes unnamed scouts who said the 27-year-old looked out of shape when he attended the Temple Pro Day in Philadelphia.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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Alabama Crimson Tide tight end O.J. Howard (88) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Clemson Tigers during the third quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. (Kirby Lee)
Alabama Crimson Tide tight end O.J. Howard (88) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Clemson Tigers during the third quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. (Kirby Lee)

Mel Kiper's third Mock Draft for ESPN has the Jets selecting Alabama tight end O.J. Howard with the sixth overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

Kiper notes that if the Jets are going to go with Josh McCownBryce Petty, and Christian Hackenberg at quarterback, they are going to need someone to catch passes, and at 6-foot-6, 251 pounds, Howard is Kiper's top-ranked pass-catcher. While his numbers were not staggering at Alabama, Howard "has all of the athletic attributes of a top-tier player, though, and he was one of the most impressive prospects at the combine."

Howard caught 45 passes for 595 yards and three touchdowns last season. In his four years at Alabama, the 22-year old accumulated 114 receptions for 1,726 yards and seven touchdowns.

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DNL on new Jets quarterback 00:02:51
The Daily News Live panel breaks down the Jets new man under center, journeyman quarterback and ex-Brown, Josh McCown.

The Daily News Live panel breaks down the Jets new man under center, journeyman quarterback and ex-Brown, Josh McCown. 

 


Weighing the Jets QB options 00:01:15
Ralph Vacchiano on the Jets' quarterback quandary after signing Josh McCown.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

One day after signing veteran quarterback Josh McCown, the Jets' search for their quarterback of the future continued in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The Jets had a group of scouts and coaches -- reportedly including new quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates -- in attendance there on Tuesday for the University of North Carolina's Pro Day, where the star attraction was Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky. And they're interested enough in the 22-year-old that Trubisky told reporters the Jets have set up a private workout with him, too.

The Jets currently are slated to pick sixth in the upcoming NFL draft and Trubisky and Clemson's Deshaun Watson are the only quarterbacks most NFL scouts and talent evaluators consider to be potential Top 10 picks. Some don't think any of the quarterbacks are Top 10 worthy, which means they could be available if the Jets decide to trade down.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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GEICO SportsNite: Josh McCown 00:01:28
Taylor Rooks talks with SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano on the Jets signing veteran quarterback Josh McCown.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Josh McCown is not the New York Jets' quarterback of the future, but neither were any of the other quarterbacks available on the free-agent market. There was no ideal answer to the Jets' biggest question.

But McCown is the perfect player to get them closer to the answers they need.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Eli Manning, Ryan Fitzpatrick
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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The No. 1 priority for the Jets heading into this offseason was unquestionably to find a quarterback. Nothing else came close. Without a quarterback, nothing else really mattered. The Jets were desperate.

Or so we all thought.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports Images)
(Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports Images)

Writer/director Spike Lee said it's "fishy" that free agent QB Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned, mentioning the Jets among the teams that could use Kaepernick.

"The New York J-E-T-S Need A Quarterback," Lee wrote on Instagram. "Who Is The J-E-T-S Quarterback? Is My Man Joe Willie Namath Coming Back? Crazy Times We Live In."

Lee, who recently had brunch with Kaepernick, added that Kaepernick being unsigned "stinks to the high heavens."

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Chase Daniel (10) runs past New York Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Chase Daniel (10) runs past New York Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

Free agent quarterback Chase Daniel will visit with the Jets on Monday, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed.

Last Monday, Daniel asked the Eagles for his release after they traded for veteran QB Nick Foles.

The 30-year-old backup quarterback visited with the Saints over the weekend, but left New Orleans without a deal.

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GEICO SportsNite: McCown 00:00:53
After reports that QB Josh McCown left his visit with the Jets without a contract, Ray Lucas discusses if signing the veteran is a fit.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

The Jets' latest search for their quarterback of the future could be nearing a temporary conclusion. And if it is, they'll have yet another short-term answer to the franchise's biggest problem.

Josh McCown, a 37-year-old journeyman free agent, continued his visit with the Jets for a second day on Saturday, according to an NFL source. The two sides are serious enough about each other that they've discussed contract parameters, the source said. Indications were that his visit was going very well.

That seems to position McCown as the leader of the dwindling pack of Jets' quarterback options. The Jets are also interested in former Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, according to a source, and though he was expected to be brought in for a visit that has not happened yet. A team source confirmed the Jets have no interest in ex-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and beyond that the market is extremely thin.

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CB Morris Claiborne has signed with the Jets, the team announced. 

It will be a one-year deal worth $5 million, according to multiple reports.

The 27-year-old Claiborne had 26 tackles and one interception in seven games last season for the Cowboys.

Tags: Buster Skrine, Juston Burris, Marcus Williams
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On the latest edition of Timeout with Taylor Rooks, former Jets QB Geno Smith sits down with Taylor to discuss his time with the Jets and his decision to join the Giants.

"I will always kind of have that regret because I wanted to do so many things for that franchise.....I'm not a quitter, I don't like to lose and I don't like to give up on things. Sometimes in business you have to go your separate ways."

Click below to listen...

 

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown (13) scrambles away from Baltimore Ravens defensive end Chris Canty (99) during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Ken Blaze)
Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown (13) scrambles away from Baltimore Ravens defensive end Chris Canty (99) during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Ken Blaze)

Free agent QB Josh McCown will visit the Jets on Friday and Saturday, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed. 

McCown, 37, recently visited with the Cowboys.

He completed 90 passes for 165 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions in five games last season for the Browns...

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Geno Smith
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Smart or Disappointing 00:02:19
Marc Malusis and Dan Graca discuss if the jets had a smart or disappointing off season

Marc Malusis and Dan Graca discuss if the jets had a smart or disappointing offseason.

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Jets making right moves in FA? 00:03:37
The Daily News Live panel debates whether or not the Jets have been right in their approach to free agency so far this offseason.

The Daily News Live panel debates whether or not the Jets have been right in their approach to free agency so far this offseason.


 (Mark Hoffman)
(Mark Hoffman)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets claimed defensive tackle Mike Pennel off waivers in February, only to let him go a month later. Now they are bringing him back again.

The 25-year-old Pennel has signed a one-year deal with the Jets, his agent, Andy Simms, confirmed on Twitter. The former Green Bay Packer will be in the mix this summer to make the team on the Jets' crowded defensive line.

Pennel was once seen as a promising player. The 6-4, 332-pounder even started five games with the Packers in 2015. But his career took a bad turn last season when he was suspended twice -- for the first four games and then the last four games -- for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy...

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Let me get you started with the questions, because I know the big one that's on everybody's mind:

Q: What are the Jets going to do at quarterback?

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 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Quincy Enunwa's breakout year was another example of how the former sixth-round pick has exceeded expectations. And in the NFL, young players get compensated for doing that.

To no one's surprise, the 24-year old receiver led the Jets in performance-based compensation from the NFL for the second straight season, pocketing another $327,637 for his 58-catch, 857-yard season. The annual bonus distribution is a way for the NFL and NFL Players Association to make sure that lower-salaried players are compensated for excellent performances, without counting against a team's salary cap.

In 2015, Enunwa pocketed nearly $300,000 in performance-based pay, giving him about $625,000 in bonuses for the last two seasons. His salaries for those two seasons were slightly more than $850,000 combined, so his bonuses equated to about 74 percent of his base pay...

Tags: Ben Ijalana, Rontez Miles, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (88) carries the ball ahead of San Francisco 49ers strong safety Antoine Bethea (41) during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium. The New York Jets defeated the San Francisco 49ers 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (88) carries the ball ahead of San Francisco 49ers strong safety Antoine Bethea (41) during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium. The New York Jets defeated the San Francisco 49ers 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Jets TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been suspended by the NFL for two games for violating the league's substance abuse policy, the team announced. 

Late last September, Seferian-Jenkins was arrested for a DUI charge and was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Three days later, the Jets claimed him off waivers. 

In seven games with the Jets, he recorded 10 catches for 110 yards. 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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Aug 19, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) looks on from the sidelines against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field.  (Brad Mills (USA Today))
Aug 19, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) looks on from the sidelines against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field. (Brad Mills (USA Today))

A Pittsburgh judge has dismissed all charges against former Jets CB Darrelle Revis.

According to reports, Revis' childhood friend appeared before the judge with his attorney and said he pulled the accusers off Revis and punched them.

Pittsburgh police charged Revis with four felonies, including two counts of aggravated assault, one count of robbery, one count of conspiracy/aggravated assault and one count misdemeanor count of making terroristic threats for the incident that took place in the early morning hours of Feb. 12.

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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 (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets are looking for a versatile third running back and kick returner and had made an offer to Travaris Cadet, but he has chosen to remain with the Saints, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Cadet was also weighing an offer from the Bills.

A 6-foot-1, 210-pounder, Cadet -- who visited with the Jets this past weekend -- has spent most of his five NFL seasons with the Saints. He had 40 catches and four receiving touchdowns for New Orleans last year, where new Jets offensive coordinator John Morton was the receiving coach...

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Dont'a Hightower returns to Pats 00:02:26
The Daily News Live team talks about Dont'a Hightower's decision to re-sign with the defending-champion Patriots rather than the Jets.

Free agent LB Dont'a Hightower has returned to the Patriots, signing a four-year, $43.5 million deal that includes a $19 million signing bonus.

The 27-year-old All-Pro visited the Jets on Monday and the Steelers on Tuesday. 

There were reports that New York was among the highest bidders for Hightower's services, reportedly offering him more than $12 million per year.

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 (Daniel Powers (USA Today))
(Daniel Powers (USA Today))

Update: 

The Jets have offered free agent LB Dont'a Hightower more than $12 million per year, according to Bleacher Report's Jason Cole.

Jason La Confora reported yesterday that the Jets had offered the most money for Hightower. La Confora said that the 27-year-old was not inclined to take New York's offer.

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 (Steven Senne/AP)
(Steven Senne/AP)

In today's Jets mailbag, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano weighs in on the quarterback situation, the possibility of tanking, and the Jets' potential pitch to Dont'a Hightower...


Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Is it worth the #Jets going after a Brock Osweiler or Chase Daniel if other teams are on the hook for their salaries? -- @MiniHulk5

If you mean that's because their prices will be lower, I wouldn't worry about that. Yes, Osweiler and Daniel are already making money this season from their old teams, so perhaps they'd be willing to take less from their new one. But really, how high is their value going to be anyway? Right now I only count four teams without a starting quarterback - the Jets, Browns, Texans, and 49ers. The Texans are probably going to get Tony Romo and the other two are drafting 1-2 in April...

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Minnesota Vikings fullback Zach Line (48) catches a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the preseason NFL football game at TCF Bank Stadium. (Bruce Kluckhohn)
Minnesota Vikings fullback Zach Line (48) catches a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the preseason NFL football game at TCF Bank Stadium. (Bruce Kluckhohn)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Looking to bolster their rushing attack - which might be especially important if they end up with an inexperienced quarterback - the Jets are bringing in fullback Zach Line for a free-agent visit.

The 26-year-old Line, who played the last four seasons for the Vikings, is expected to arrive in Florham Park, N.J., on Wednesday. He had been the Vikings' primary fullback the last two seasons. In 2016, the Vikings had the NFL's worst rushing attack, though that was largely due to the absence of running back Adrian Peterson. In 2015, they ranked fourth in the league as Peterson rushed for 1,485 yards.

The Jets did not have a true fullback on their roster last season, though they still ranked 12th in the NFL in rushing behind Matt Forte and Bilal Powell.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Matt Forte, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 11, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Howard Jones (95) in action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Philadelphia Eagles won 17-9.  (Bill Streicher (USA Today))
Aug 11, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Howard Jones (95) in action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Philadelphia Eagles won 17-9. (Bill Streicher (USA Today))

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Howard Jones, a defensive end who can play linebacker in a 3-4 defense and who spent the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will make a free-agent visit to the Jets on Friday, an NFL source confirmed.

The visit, reported by ESPN, will be a chance for the Jets to check on his rehabilitation from a torn ACL that limited him to just eight games last season. In 2015, before he got hurt, he showed a lot of promise with five sacks in 12 games, including five starts. He had two sacks that season in his NFL debut.

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Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) on the field during the game against the St. Louis Rams at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman)
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) on the field during the game against the St. Louis Rams at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

The free-agent market has thinned out a bit, but the Jets still have plenty of holes to fill. Yes, they still need a quarterback. But they have many other needs, too.

The good news is they still have a decent amount of salary-cap space and there is still help available. Here's a look at some of the non-quarterbacks still on the market who could be a fit:

CB Morris Claiborne (Cowboys) - The former sixth-overall pick (2012), he was long considered a bust before he began to finally play up to expectations last season - right up until he injured his groin. He's still only 27 and as the Jets begin a youth movement in the secondary it might be worth giving him a chance to prove his start last season wasn't a fluke. They'd need to move fast, though, since word is he could soon end up with the Ravens.

Tags: Darrelle Revis, Darron Lee, David Harris, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Patriots still tormenting Jets 00:02:49
The Daily News Live crew discusses how the Patriots are dominating the Jets in every aspect this offseason.

The Daily News Live crew discusses how the Patriots are dominating the Jets in every aspect this offseason.


Corey Griffin and Brian Bassett are back with a new podcast, and for the Jets, it's been a few weeks of out with the old, and in with the…well, not much. The guys say goodbye to Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall, and Nick Folk, and look ahead to what comes next as the Jets look to re-build around QB TBD.

Click below to listen!

 

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 (Bill Streicher)
(Bill Streicher)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets don't seem to be in any hurry to figure out their starting quarterback for 2017 and they are "considering all options," according to a source. At the moment there are many. None of them are great.

But Jay Cutler does appear to be up near the top of their list.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Geno Smith
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Dont'a Hightower (Daniel Powers/USA TODAY Sports)
Dont'a Hightower (Daniel Powers/USA TODAY Sports)

Latest Updates (Mar. 13)

4:25 p.m.: The Jets concluded their visit with free agent LB Dont'a Hightower on Monday afternoon.

11:10 a.m.: After visiting the Jets, Hightower is scheduled to visit the Steelers, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

 

Tags: Darron Lee, David Harris, Ralph Vacchiano
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GEICO SportsNite: Cutler to NY? 00:02:51
Ralph Vacchiano breaks down the latest on the New York Jets and Giants in free agency.

The Jets have called to express interest in free agent QB Jay Cutler, who was released by the Bears last week, reports SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

Cutler, 33, completed 81 of 137 passes for 1,059 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions in five games last season for the Bears while dealing with two separate injuries.

He threw for 3,659 yards in 2015 to go along with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Geno Smith
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

The Jets sat on the sidelines during the first few days of the NFL's free-agent frenzy, choosing to avoid some of the crazy contracts being thrown around. But they have done some spending, re-signing a few of their own players and bringing in a new left tackle and a new kicker.

So what's next? Well, the biggest question of all still hangs over the Jets since they don't yet know who their starting quarterback will be in 2017. Pretty much every other question pales in comparison to that one, and they don't appear much closer to answering it right now.

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 (Matt Kartozian)
(Matt Kartozian)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV: 

The Jets still haven't ruled out bringing Geno Smith back to compete for their starting quarterback job next season. But the Giants may be taking a shot at him first.

Smith, the former Jets second-round pick, is making a free agent visit across town to the Giants on Saturday afternoon, an NFL source confirmed. The Giants are in the market for a backup to Eli Manning, with both Josh Johnson and Ryan Nassib currently unrestricted free agents.

A big part of the visit, according to one source, is so the Giants can get a sense for where the 26-year-old Smith is in his recovery from the torn ACL he suffered last October in his lone start last season with the Jets. In a recent interview with NFL Network, Smith said he was on track to be ready for the start of training camp in July, but likely wouldn't be ready for football activities before that.

Tags: Geno Smith, Ralph Vacchiano
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Kelvin Beachum started 15 games last season for Jacksonville (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)
Kelvin Beachum started 15 games last season for Jacksonville (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY: The Jets are still searching for a quarterback, but now they have someone who can protect his blindside.

Taking their first dip in this year's free-agent pool, the Jets signed former Jaguars left tackle Kelvin Beachum on Friday night. He figures to immediately become the starter on the left side, taking the place of the Ryan Clady/Ben Ijalana combo the Jets used last season.

The Jets also filled two other key vacancies on Friday night when they signed former Arizona Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro, who replaces the recently released Nick Folk, and they re-signed long-snapper Tanner Purdum.

Beachum (6 foot 3, 308 pounds) was the big get for the Jets. A former seventh-round pick of the Steelers, he was on his way to becoming one of the best left tackles in the NFL before he tore his ACL during the 2015 season. He proved his recovery, though, by starting 15 games at left tackle for the Jaguars last year.

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Jets outlook for 2017 00:03:24
The Daily News Live panel wonders if the Jets have already given up on the 2017 season given the current makeup of the team.

Maccagnan's seat warming up? 00:02:42
Jon Hein and Dan Graca discuss if Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan should be on the hot seat as the Jets enter free agency.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV

The first few hours of the NFL's free-agent frenzy didn't clear up the Jets' quarterback question, but the landscape changed a bit and may have increased their options. Jay Cutler, as expected, is now available. And Brock Osweiler, unexpectedly, is available too.

So what are the Jets doing and who are they looking at, and do they have any idea who their quarterback will be in 2017?

Here's a look at their current options, just a few hours after the market opened with the Jets standing relatively still:

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Jets lack of free agent activity 00:03:06
Jon Hein and Dan Graca debate just how depressing the first day of free agency has been for the New York Jets and their fan base.

Free agent RB Benny Cunningham  met with the Jets on Friday, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano reports.

The 26-year-old appeared in 11 games last season with the Rams, rushing 21 times for 101 yards.

Cunningham signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2013 and has spent his entire career with the St. Louis/Los Angeles franchise.

Since debuting in 2013, he's carried the ball 171 times for 748 yards and four touchdowns in 57 career games with the Rams.

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Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) fumbles the ball after being sacked by New York Jets linebacker Corey Lemonier (44) and New York Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) fumbles the ball after being sacked by New York Jets linebacker Corey Lemonier (44) and New York Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Jets have re-signed LB Corey Lemonier, the team announced Thursday night.

The 25-year-old was claimed off waivers from the Lions on Dec. 26 and appeared in New York's Week 17 game against the Bills.

Lemonier has appeared in 51 career games since he was selected by the 49ers in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft.

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