New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty throws a pass in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty throws a pass in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports Images)

The Jets lost to the Los Angeles Rams, 9-6, Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Here is a position-by-position analysis of the game that dropped the Jets to 3-7 heading into a bye week.

Quarterbacks

Bent: Bryce Petty made his long-awaited first NFL start. It's been suggested there was concern Petty wouldn't be ready, but Chan Gailey certainly was, as he emptied out the safe, simple and conservative section of his playbook and gradually eased Petty into the game by not putting too much on his plate.

However, the well ran dry in the second half and the Jets were unable to build upon the quick drop passing attack that was effective in mitigating pressure from the Rams' front four earlier on.

Petty executed such passes pretty well all day, as the Jets spread the defense out and gave Petty a bunch of single-read quick throws reminiscent of those he'd have been required to throw all the time at Baylor.

When asked to do more, he made a couple of late reads and a couple more misreads, leading him to forcing throws into traffic or misfiring as he tried to overcompensate.

Petty avoided the major mistake until his final throw was intercepted to ice the win for the Rams. The only problem with that throw was that it was half a beat late, although it wasn't the first time he'd made that mistake -- a common one with inexperienced starters at the NFL level.

Of a greater concern were the plays when he didn't read a defender dropping off into a passing lane or primed to jump a route. This, more than anywhere, is where his abilities are not yet at an NFL-ready level. Until the Jets can develop him in that area, that's going to prevent them from running their offense effectively. For the time being -- assuming he gets another shot -- the Jets will need to pick their spots and otherwise find other, more creative, ways to enable him to be successful.

Yesterday, that involved leaning on the running game, throwing quick passes to backs out of the slot and plenty of safe conversions in the flat and on quick outs. They also converted on their only red zone trip with a beautifully-executed hook-and-ladder play.

What more could they have done -- and could they look to build into the gameplan as they gradually start to loosen the shackles? First off, they could look to go deep more often. Petty had a deep completion from his own end-zone to begin the 99-yard touchdown drive that led to the Jets' only points.

It might have been worth trying to do that more often, because it's not difficult to protect on a three or five-step drop with an immediate downfield throw if you leave extra blockers in. There's also no real need to read the coverage and, even if you throw an interception, at least that happens way down the field so it usually won't hurt you too much in terms of field position. On one other downfield throw, Petty overthrew a wide-open receiver on what could have been a 68-yard touchdown that might have been enough to win the game. Maybe a pump-and-go with the receiver making a double-move would have been effective in the second half as the Rams anticipated more of the same from the Jets.

The Jets also could have done more in terms of getting Petty on the move, just as a different way of mitigating any natural pressure. Having said that, he did a good job of avoiding a sack on one play but his throw on the move was one of his least accurate of the game.

On the whole, Petty handled himself fairly well and did some good things. An inauspicious start saw the team flagged for having 12-men in the huddle before Petty had thrown his first pass, forcing it into a third-and-long on which it came up short. The Jets then began their next drive on their own 1-yard line, so it wasn't exactly easy for him to develop any kind of an early rhythm.

Was Petty any more impressive than past backups like Brooks Bollinger, Kellen Clemens or Greg McElroy that earned a shot at starting for the Jets but never made it as a full-time starter? Not yet, at least. We need to see more -- and I hope we do.

The fact that the Jets still left Christian Hackenberg on the inactive list speaks volumes. Not only does is suggest the Jets have no desire to throw him into the fire yet, but it also gives the impression that Ryan Fitzpatrick must theoretically have been capable of starting if absolutely necessary. Had Petty been knocked out of the game, I doubt the reception that would have greeted Fitzpatrick would have been welcoming.

Running backs

Bent: With Petty at quarterback, that piled the pressure on the Jets' running game to be successful, and it didn't fare too badly with Matt Forte and Bilal Powell combining for 198 yards from scrimmage. That included eight plays of 10 yards or more. In fact, the Jets only had nine such plays all game.

It wasn't like the Jets were gaining consistent yards on the ground though. Despite his solid stats overall (98 yards rushing and another 11 yards on two catches), Forte was stopped for two or fewer yards 11 times, including seven in the first half. That represented half of his total touches. Still, he showed good vision and made some nice cuts to break out to the second level, as well as fighting for extra yardage on a couple of plays.

Powell continues to provide a spark, scoring the Jets' only points on the first half gadget play and later rescuing an inaccurately-thrown lateral to spin away for a nice first down run. Should he have run out of bounds just before halftime, though? Powell opted to cut back inside with a couple of seconds left when perhaps the Jets could have attempted an extremely long field goal or a Hail Mary pass. In a game in which neither team had many chances to score, that was potentially a wasted opportunity.

The recently-signed C.J. Spiller gained four yards on his first carry as a Jet, but disappointingly dropped his only target on a short throw to the flat, killing the Jets' momentum on the drive after Los Angeles took a fourth-quarter lead. They had gained six, 10 and seven yards on the first three plays of the drive to move to midfield, but Spiller's drop was the first of three straight incompletions.

Offensive line

Bent: Some of the struggles with the running game could be attributed to the offensive line, which missed some key guys and seemed destined to be overmatched against the Rams' excellent front. In that regard, they deserve credit for managing to compete as well as they did.

It's worth asking if the Jets miscalculated by not trying to run more in the second half. While part of this was attributable to their inability to sustain drives due to their passing game stalling, the Jets carried the ball just eight times in the second half, after having carried 17 times for over 100 in the first half. The Rams did the opposite, as they kept trying to run even though the Jets held them to just three yards per carry -- with 24 of their 39 yards coming on one play -- before halftime. They ended up with 125 yards.

In terms of pass protection, the Jets didn't face much of a challenge early on because Petty was getting the ball out almost immediately on most of his throws. But later, when required to hold up in protection, the Jets had some issues. Petty was sacked just once and hit three other times officially, but he was under pressure at least 10 times, mostly in the second half.

Breno Giacomini's best contribution was probably when he drew a personal foul by getting involved in a shoving match after a short yardage conversion. While he got burned for the Rams' only sack, he made fewer mistakes than he has in either of his other appearances so far this season.

James Carpenter deserves some serious credit because he successfully dealt with the formidable Aaron Donald one-on-one on a number of occasions. Donald definitely got the better of him a number of times, particularly when bull rushing or penetrating at the point of attack. Donald was frustrated for much of the game, but started to dominate down the stretch with his most impressive move seeing him bull rushing Carpenter into the backfield and then smoothly transitioning into a rip move to get by Wesley Johnson when he came over to help.

Johnson had some issues in the running game, both at the point of attack and in space, but the unit continues to function somewhat efficiently with him in there for Nick Mangold. This is nowhere near the mess that was created when Colin Baxter filled in for Mangold back in 2011.

Now the full-time left tackle, Ben Ijalana was beaten a few times in pass protection and allowed his man to bat down a pass, something which has been a constant issue for him all season. In addition, he had a penalty that negated a first-down completion. He made some good blocks in the running game, but on one of the key moments of the game, he was badly beaten inside on a run that was blown up in the backfield early in the fourth quarter. That play was second-and-3 at the Rams' 39, and the Jets failed to convert the third down and ended up punting. That was as close as they got to field goal range after their first score.

Brian Winters continues to play much more consistently than he ever has in the past, making some nice run blocks and only getting beaten once in pass protection. It's a shame he couldn't have performed like this over his first three seasons when the rest of the line was often doing well and he was the weak link. Shouldn't the Jets start to worry about the fact that Winters, Johnson and Ijalana are all out of contract at the end of the year? Not that they'd break the bank for any of those guys, but losing all three is going to destroy their depth, especially with Ryan Clady, Giacomini and maybe even Mangold as potential cap casualties.

Receivers

Bent: This was probably a frustrating game for the Jets' primary pass catchers. All in all, the Jets got just 22 yards on 12 targets to their top two receivers. Brandon Marshall caught four passes for 15 yards and Quincy Enunwa caught just one of his six targets for seven yards. Both made contributions as blockers, including on Powell's touchdown where Enunwa set the edge perfectly as Marshall made the pitch, but you'd expect more in terms of statistical production.

Robby Anderson is still finding ways to produce though, as he led the Jets with 69 yards on three catches. Most of that came on his 52-yard catch of a Petty bomb thrown from his own end zone. That was a tough catch with a defender draped all over him, which is an encouraging sign because his physicality at the point of the catch has been inconsistent so far.

Anderson's other two catches came up just short of the first-down marker, but he could have added a 68-yard touchdown on a play where the defense blew the coverage but Petty overthrew him. Anderson inexplicably seemed to slow down momentarily before breaking into the open field and perhaps would have been able to make the catch had he accelerated at full speed. He was also unable to get any separation on a crucial third down in the fourth quarter.

While it's apparent there are some areas where he needs to sharpen his skills, Anderson's production -- exactly 300 yards from scrimmage in the last eight games -- is encouraging, especially in light of some of the near misses that could have bolstered those numbers.

The other rookies, Jalin Marshall and Charone Peake, didn't produce much this week. Peake caught two short passes and had a third short catch negated by a penalty. Marshall wasn't targeted.

At tight end, Brandon Bostick had some really bad moments as a blocker. On one play, he was thrown into the end zone by his man, who blew up the run as the Jets tried to run their ball out from their own goal line. Bostick also had several other plays where he missed his block. However, he bounced back with a couple of good blocks late in the game, including a good lead block from the fullback position.

There were more encouraging signs from newly-signed Eric Tomlinson in his NFL debut. Tomlinson was in the starting lineup and sealed his man off effectively on the first snap. Later, he drove his man off the line and to the ground in dominating fashion. He was only in on a handful of snaps, but these flashes suggest he could be a serious asset to the running game. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, on the other hand, did not get any reps.

Defensive line

Bent: After a week when there were more revelations about Muhammad Wilkerson and his off-field behavior, you might have expected that he'd be motivated to put in a strong performance to remind everyone how good he is and re-establish himself as a leader. However, for the two and a half quarters, he provided them with absolutely nothing. No pressures, no tackles, no disruption.

Making matters worse, he was driven off the line several times again, just as he was down the stretch last week. This is something that simply never used to happen more than once or twice a game to Wilkerson.

Perhaps Wilkerson deserves a pass because it's been reported that he's still nowhere near 100 percent having come back from leg surgery at the end of last season. Even so, the idea Wilkerson's struggles are because he hasn't conducted himself with the same level of determination and professionalism as he was before he signed his extension is concerning.

Down the stretch, he at last made some contributions with a quarterback hit on a stunt and four run stuffs. Had he played like that all day, it could have been a classic Wilkerson performance. However, when that's his only production all day and he also has a series of negative plays, it's extremely disappointing, especially with the Jets having just invested so much into Wilkerson's future.

On the other hand, Sheldon Richardson was much more productive. His seven tackles included two in the backfield, and he had a quarterback hit and a couple of other pressures. Even this was somewhat disappointing though, as he didn't really make any of the kind of dominant plays we've become accustomed to over the years. He was also driven off the line on one play and missed a chance of a sack by overrunning Case Keenum in the pocket.

Leonard Williams blew up a few runs in the first half, but had a quieter second half and was handled at the point of attack on a few second-half runs. He had one pressure. Every now and again, Williams has a monster game like last week, suggesting he's about to break out fully. He so far hasn't been able to follow up with another big game, and that pattern continued.

Steve McLendon was credited with 1.5 sacks, as he was cleaning up pressure generated by other players. Amazingly, McLendon now has more sacks (a career-high 3.5) than either Richardson (1.5) or Wilkerson (2.5) so far this season. It's also more than Damon Harrison has in his entire career. Against the run, McLendon blew up one play but otherwise had a rough game and was routinely handled at the point of attack.

Surprisingly, Deon Simon was the defensive lineman with the most impressive highlight this week, throwing his blocker aside to blow up a run in the backfield. It's good to see a positive flash from Simon, who had underwhelmed and lost playing time in recent weeks following an encouraging start.

Anthony Johnson saw a couple of reps in his Jets debut and was in on the stop at the goal line where Benny Cunningham fumbled.

Linebackers

Bent: It was relieving to hear Darron Lee was back from injury because Julian Stanford had been totally overmatched alongside David Harris over the past few weeks. However, to my surprise, Stanford remained in the starting lineup and Lee only played sparingly in passing situations. Hopefully this is because they anticipated Lee would not be healthy enough to jump back into a starting role; if they felt he would be even less effective than Stanford has been, that's not a good sign.

In that rotational role, Lee had a couple of impressive moments, generating some pressure as a blitzer and breaking up an end zone throw on a wheel route to force the Rams to settle for a field goal. It will be interesting to see if the second half of his rookie season is as impressive as those of Harris and Jonathan Vilma, each of whom made a similarly slow start.

Stanford made fewer mistakes than last week, but still had a couple of bad missed tackles and was blocked out at the second level on a few late runs. There were also two running plays where he inexplicably ran away from the ball carrier in a situation where he might have been able to make a stop. It's difficult to work out what he was doing on this play, for example, as he engaged a blocker to his right rather than continuing to flow downhill to fill the obvious running lane to his left.



Harris had an active performance, leading the team with 11 tackles and adding a pass defensed and three pressures. He stuffed a couple of runs at the line and blew up a screen pass for a loss, but was blocked out of a handful of running plays. Harris and Lee were also each credited with a half-sack.

Lorenzo Mauldin had another disruptive game, although he was banged up and didn't play much compared to recent weeks. He was credited with 0.5 sacks and his pressure led to another sack. He was also in on a couple of run stuffs and almost intercepted another pass.

Jordan Jenkins was blocked off on a couple of running plays and also missed a tackle. He had two tackles, but didn't generate any pressure. It's been an underwhelming rookie season so far from Jenkins.

Mike Catapano did not make any significant contributions off the bench. Through nine weeks, he has just two tackles on the year.

Defensive backs

Bent: Darrelle Revis really struggled early on. The Rams converted three third downs by targeting him; otherwise, their offense was basically non-existent. Later on, he was burned for a deep catch. Revis settled down in the second half, with good coverage on two incompletions and an important tackle short of the marker, but was also penalized on an illegal hands to the face call.

It's extremely disconcerting to see Revis as the weakest link on the defense, especially when Wilkerson is also struggling to make an impact. While both played better later on, that's scant consolation when the Jets have Revis, Wilkerson and Fitzpatrick over $50 million between them this season. If it takes Revis until after halftime to warm up these days, perhaps he is no longer fit to be a starter at the NFL level, let alone such a highly-paid one.

Buster Skrine gave up a couple of first downs, but held up well for the most part, making a good third-down tackle, blowing up a screen pass and disrupting a throw on a blitz from the slot. Skrine was on the right end of a couple of officiating decisions, as he drew a flag for offensive pass interference and then had a flag for defensive pass interference on a pass breakup in the end zone picked up.

Remember a few weeks ago when Skrine was penalized four times? He's only been flagged once in the three games since. In a season and a half with the Jets, that's the only time he's had more than one penalty in a game. As suspected at the time, it seems that had more to do with Jerome Boger and his crew than Skrine himself. He's otherwise been their most consistent defensive back.

Darryl Roberts was the only other cornerback to see action as three cornerback options -- or four if you include Antonio Allen -- played solely on special teams. Roberts blew up a screen, broke up a pass on the outside and made a play in run support in a decent performance. He gave up one first down in coverage.

Marcus Gilchrist and Calvin Pryor have been playing much more consistently at safety over the past few weeks. Gilchrist was credited with a tackle for loss on a play he made in the flat and also had a touchdown-saving tackle at the goal line in the first quarter when the Rams ended up settling for a field goal. Pryor forced a fumble on a stop at the goal line and made another good play in run support, but did give up two first downs in coverage.

Rontez Miles made a couple of contributions in brief action off the bench, making a stop in the flat and a third-down tackle to force a punt.

Special teams

Bent: In a tight game, Nick Folk failed to score for the first time since the Jets were shut out 31-0 by the Chargers in 2014. Entering this year, Folk had never missed an extra point, but this was his second miss of the season. It didn't matter in the end, but it could have been crucial. Folk kicked off just twice, with one touchback.

Punter Lac Edwards is still struggling to hit his stride at the NFL level. It seems like most of his kicks either travel too far or he gets under the ball and lays it up too short. Three of his first four punts were returned more than 10 yards. Then, as he adjusted, his last four punts were all 35 yards or fewer with only one landing within the 20.

In a 9-6 game, when there's a difference of over 12 yards between the net averages of two punters who kicked 15 times between them, this has a major impact. Rams punter Johnny Hekker's performance called to mind Brandon Fields' similar performance when the Dolphins beat the 2010 Jets 10-6 in a similar game. That underlines how far away the Jets are from having a good punter, despite using a draft pick on Edwards.

Jalin Marshall continued to struggle, as he muffed yet another punt before being temporarily replaced by Nick Marshall. Spiller was also uninspiring in the return game and Brent Qvale had a bad missed block in space.

In kick coverage, Allen was credited with two tackles, including one where he saved a potentially longer return over by the sideline. He's been valuable on the second wave this year. The only time the first wave got to the return man was when Nick Marshall got downfield well to blow up a punt return.

Tags: Antonio Allen, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Ben Ijalana, BGA, Bilal Powell, Brandon Marshall, Brent Qvale, Brian Winters, Bryce Petty, Buster Skrine, Calvin Pryor, Charone Peake, Christian Hackenberg, Darrelle Revis, Darron Lee, David Harris, Deon Simon, Jalin Marshall, James Carpenter, Jordan Jenkins, Leonard Williams, Loc Edwards, Lorenzo Mauldin, Marcus Gilchrist, Matt Forte, Mike Catapano, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nick Folk, Nick Mangold, Quincy Enunwa, Rontez Miles, Ryan Clady, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sheldon Richardson, Steve McLendon, Wesley Johnson

Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Wesley Johnson (76) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Wesley Johnson (76) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: When the Jets start their sales pitch to Kirk Cousins, he's going to want to know about more than just the size of their check. He's going to want to know, among other things, how they plan to protect him.

That's a project they can get started on right now.

The Jets should begin by re-signing center Wesley Johnson before the free-agent market opens on March 14, and solidify what was a young and better-than-you-think offensive line last season. Together with right guard Brian Winters and right tackle Brandon Shell, it would give the Jets a strong young corps on the line to build around. And with two solid veterans on the left side -- tackle Kelvin Beachum and guard James Carpenter -- it's a line that could actually be pretty good.

Tags: Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

In ESPN Insider Mel Kiper's eyes, "Broadway Baker" will find his way to the Jets in his latest mock draft. 

Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, has seen his draft stock significantly rise all season. After leading his Sooners team to the College Footbal Playoff with gutsy drives and precision passing all season long, Kiper thinks he is the starter -- and leader -- the Jets need under center. 

READ KIPER'S ANALYSIS BELOW

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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GEICO SportsNite: Cousins 00:02:18
The Jets hope to be in the mix to land highly touted free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins in order to provide stability at the QB position.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The entire Jets offseason will be played out in the shadow of Kirk Cousins -- the biggest name on the free-agent market, and the franchise quarterback they so desperately need. And that's even true right now, as the NFL's 15-day "franchise tag" window opens on Tuesday.

The Jets aren't likely to use the tag, but the Washington Redskins are reportedly considering using it on Cousins.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Demario Davis, Morris Claiborne, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sep 4, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Quenton Nelson (56) during the game against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports  (Kevin Jairaj)
Sep 4, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Quenton Nelson (56) during the game against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports (Kevin Jairaj)

The offensive line was a huge disappointment for the Jets in 2017, especially on the interior. In 2016, Wesley Johnson started eight games for the injured Nick Mangold, and the line didn't seem to suffer too badly. However, he struggled throughout the 2017 season after moving into the full-time starter role.

Guards Brian Winters and James Carpenter also failed to play as well as they had in 2016, although that may partly have been caused by Johnson struggling on their inside shoulder.   Injuries were also an issue here, with Winters in particular playing most of the season hurt, and eventually requiring surgery on an abdominal issue.

Dakota Dozier's performances in relief of Winters over the past few years have some people wondering if it was really wise to give Winters a big money extension, when Dozier doesn't appear to be much of a downgrade. However, he's out of contract now, so the Jets may need to replenish their depth.

Tags: Brian Winters, Dakota Dozier, James Carpenter, Nick Mangold
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Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon (99) sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium.  (Brad Penner (USA Today))
Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon (99) sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner (USA Today))

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets exercised their options on two defensive starters on Tuesday, ensuring that defensive tackle Steve McLendon and linebacker Josh Martin will both be back for the 2018 season.

The Jets were facing a deadline of Tuesday on both players, but the decision likely wasn't difficult, especially with the team likely to have nearly $100 million in salary cap space to spend this offseason. McLendon is due a salary of $3.125 million this year and has a salary cap number of $4.25 million. Martin is due a salary of $1.8 million, with a cap number of $2.1 million.

The moves come one day after the Jets declined their 2018 option on tackle Ben Ijalana, making him an unrestricted free agent...

Tags: Steve McLendon, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Kelvin Kuo)
(Kelvin Kuo)

It is no secret the Jets wants top free-agent QB Kirk Cousins on their roster next season, and it came out Monday that they are "willing to pay whatever it takes." But what if Cousins decides to sing elsewhere? What is the Jets' next move from there?

According to SI's Peter King, the Jets should be high on bringing back Josh McCown, and drafting Heisman Trophy Award winner Baker Mayfield ahead of next season. Though the jets are expected to have a pretty healthy cap situation, McCown could come back for cheap, and Mayfield will obviously be on a rookie contract. 

King doesn't deny that Cousins could certainly be a Jet, but this situation could also work with McCown mentoring Mayfield as he did Johnny Manziel back in 2014. 

Tags: Josh McCown
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New York Jets tackle Ben Ijalana blocks during the second half of the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets tackle Ben Ijalana blocks during the second half of the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports Images)

The Jets made offensive tackle Ben Ijalana a free agent on Monday after they failed to exercise his player option.

New York did not exercise Ijalana's $500,000 option bonus that would have activated his $4.5 million base salary for the 2018 season. By doing so, the Jets will save a total of $4.6 million.

Tags: Ben Ijalana
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Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

The Jets know they need a quarterback, and in particular, free-agent QB Kirk Cousins. That is why the team is "willing to pay whatever it takes" to employ him next season, per ESPN's Rich Cimini

New York has failed to find their franchise quarterback for years now, as fill-ins, so to speak, continue to come to town with Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg failing to show they are the guy the Jets need. Josh McCowwas the latest of those rentals, and he had a career year before an injury unfortunately ended his season. 

This offseason, though, GM Mike Maccagnan has no excuse in Cimini's eyes. He currently has over $70 million in cap space, and could have more than that by the time they can grab Cousins. The Redskins can still franchise tag him, so they could use him in a trade, but that is unlikely. 

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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In 2017, the Jets' running game struggles probably had more to do with the offensive line being overmatched than the performance of the backs.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Matt Forte
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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron throws against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. (David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports)
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron throws against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. (David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets reportedly turned down a Cincinnati Bengals trade proposal that would have sent quarterback AJ McCarron to New York last season, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini.

Cincinnati, according to Cimini, called the Jets organization at the start of free agency and offered McCarron in a trade, however the Jets turned it down to focus on free agency. It is unclear what Cincinnati requested in the deal.

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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets started over last offseason and actually built themselves a nice core of talent. They have many young, inexpensive players they can build around this spring.

They certainly have the tools to build around them - perhaps as much as $100 million in cap room, the sixth overall pick in the draft, and some extra picks too. And that's good, because even though the Jets exceeded expectations last season, they were still 5-11, and have plenty of holes to fill.

Now, as they get ready to begin Phase 2 of their rebuilding project, here's a look at their biggest needs.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brian Winters, James Carpenter, Juston Burris, Leonard Williams, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Trevor Ruszkowski)
(Trevor Ruszkowski)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: Cornerback is one position where the Jets obviously need to upgrade.

They opted not to pick up a corner from last year's deep draft class until they took two project players - Jeremy Clark and Derrick Jones - in the sixth round. The coaching staff claimed to like the upside of these players along with Juston Burris and Darryl Roberts as well as Rashard Robinson, who was added via trade at the deadline.

However, none of these players stepped up as hoped.

Tags: Derrick Jones, Jeremy Clark, Juston Burris, Morris Claiborne
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

"Broadway Baker" has a nice ring to top prospect QB Baker Mayfield

The 2017 Heisman Trophy Award winner sat down with The Post's Steve Serby to talk about the prospect of playing in the Big Apple, and if he has what it takes to succeed in a market that isn't friendly to anyone. 

Simply put: Mayfield loves the spotlight...

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New York Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets have officially announced the hiring of Jeremy Bates as offensive coordinator/QB Coach, and announced the hirings of Rick Dennison as offensive line coac/run game coordinator and Steve Jackson as assistant defensive backs coach.

"Jeremy is a talented coach who has a sound understanding of what it takes to build a successful offense," head coach Todd Bowles said in a press release. "Having spent last season with us, he offers continuity and has a good sense of what we need to do to improve. I look forward to him working together with our offensive coaches."

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: When Todd Bowles decided to fire offensive coordinator John Morton, he always had quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates in mind as a replacement...

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 (Jeremy Brevard)
(Jeremy Brevard)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets have been a team whose defense has been built around their interior linemen for a long time, but Muhammad Wilkerson's anticipated departure could be an opportunity to reinvent themselves by finding a difference-maker who can create constant pressure off the edge.

The Jets haven't really had an elite edge rusher since John Abraham, who was traded before the 2006 draft. They've tried drafting one high (Vernon Gholston), converting an interior lineman into one (Quinton Coples), and bringing in an established veteran (Jason Taylor). But none of these have been successful. None of their low-cost free agents, reclamation projects, or later draft picks have stepped up either.

Tags: Dylan Donahue, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin
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Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets are in position to be the kings of free agency, with potentially more salary cap room to spend than any team except for the Cleveland Browns. They are already projected to have about $75 million in salary cap space, and that's if they don't make another move.

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New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne breaks up a touchdown attempt to Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne breaks up a touchdown attempt to Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When the free agency frenzy finally begins, the Jets figure to be at the center of the storm. And all eyes will be on how hard they go after the quarterback they so desperately need.

But they have a ton of salary cap space to spend in other areas, including maybe on the 24 players they have on their roster who are approaching free agency. Here's a look at all their free agents-to-be, and their prospects of returning or finding potential riches somewhere else around the league:

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brent Qvale, Chandler Catanzaro, Dakota Dozier, Demario Davis, Josh McCown, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Rontez Miles, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Mark J. Rebilas)
(Mark J. Rebilas)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

There are always plenty of receiver prospects who make an immediate impact as a rookie, even in the later rounds. However, the Jets haven't had much success in recent years despite selecting seven wideouts in the last four drafts.

While four of those seven are under contract for 2018 and a fifth -- restricted free agent Quincy Enunwa -- also figures to be back, the Jets got just 15 catches of production from that group in 2017.

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Daily News Live: Jimmy Garoppolo 00:03:54
The Daily News Live crew discusses the impact Jimmy Garoppolo's new contract will have on the deal Kirk Cousins will want.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jimmy Garoppolo just became the NFL's highest paid player, even though he's only started seven NFL games and thrown 12 touchdown passes in four seasons. He reportedly agreed to a monster, five-year, $137.5 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers -- a record average of $27.5 million per season. That record will be very short-lived.

It's a simple fact of the NFL that the price of franchise quarterbacks only goes up, and in less than five weeks another one will be on the open market. And when Kirk Cousins officially becomes free on March 14 you can bet his deal will eclipse what Garoppolo just got...

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 (Glenn Andrews)
(Glenn Andrews)

In NFL.com's latest mock draft, Chad Reuter forecasted the first three rounds for all teams. With the Jets first selection at no. 6 overall, Reuter has them taking Wyoming QB Josh Allen.

The Jets take Allen over Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, who fell to the Cardinals at no. 15. USC QB Sam Darnold went no. 1 to the Browns and UCLA QB Josh Rosen went no. 2 to the Giants.

Allen threw for 3,202 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his sophomore season. However, his production dropped this season to 1,812 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also suffered a shoulder injury, and was forced to miss the final two regular-season games this year...

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 (Chuck Cook)
(Chuck Cook)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Most of the draft discussions surrounding quarterback prospects have been focused on the consensus top five prospects: UCLA's Josh Rosen, USC's Sam Darnold, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, Wyoming's Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson from Louisville.

However, depending how the offseason goes, the Jets might end up in a situation where they're not in the market for one of the top prospects.

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Nov 26, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) (Jay Biggerstaff)
Nov 26, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) (Jay Biggerstaff)

The Chiefs have released former Jet Darrelle Revis, the team announced. 

Revis, 32, would have been owed a $10 million contract guarantee if he was still on the roster on March 18. He was signed by Chiefs in November, playing five games, including two starts. 

After the Chiefs' season ended, Revis admitted he wasn't at his best.

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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New York Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers responds to questions from media during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers responds to questions from media during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: Kacy Rodgers never got a chance to play in the NFL before he turned to coaching. But now he might be able to give his son the shot that he never had.

The Jets will be signing Kacy Rodgers II, the son of their current defensive coordinator, according to his agent, David Canter. Rodgers II will join the Jets for their offseason program, at least, after two years with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.

Rodgers II is a 6-2, 208-pound defensive back out of the University of Miami. In 2014 he was a tryout player at the Kansas City Chiefs rookie minicamp, but didn't stick. He then signed with the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos and spent a year on their practice squad before joining the Roughriders...

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Former Jets C Nick Mangold was thinking about starting his political career, and running in his local GOP primary, according to Politico's Matt Friedman.

However, Mangold said Thursday that he will not be running.

Mangold would've been running to replace the retiring Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, who represents the 11th District of New Jersey. Essex County Republican Chairman Al Barlas has spoken with Mangold, and he appears to be serious about running for the position.

Tags: Nick Mangold
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Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) rushes the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Jacksonville won 45-42. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) rushes the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Jacksonville won 45-42. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

After saying he wouldn't join the Jets for $60 million, Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell, a pending free agent, told TMZ exactly what it would take to secure his services.

"A hundred Ms," Bell said, referring to $100 million. "Hey, listen to me: I play running back, but they've got to respect me like I am, man." 

Bell, 25, responded to a fan's tweet last week asking what amount of money it would take for him to join the Jets.

 

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Another year has come and gone without the Jets winning the Super Bowl. Even the Philadelphia Eagles now have ended their forever Super Bowl drought. If you're counting, that's 49 straight Super Bowls that have been played without the Jets.

Can the 50th time be their charm?

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Leonard Williams, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Two years ago, the Jets drafted Darron Lee with their first pick, hoping to shore up one of their inside linebacker positions for the foreseeable future. Over the course of his first two seasons, he's been up and down, but he has retained an every-down role.

Last year, he struggled initially, then played the best football of his career in the middle of the season, only to regress down the stretch. However, there are no indications that the Jets intend to move on from Lee.

Tags: Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams
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Jan 27, 2018; Mobile, AL, USA; North Squad quarterback Josh Allen of Wyoming (17) throw a pass during the second quarter of the 2018 Senior Bowl against the South Squad at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports (Glenn Andrews)
Jan 27, 2018; Mobile, AL, USA; North Squad quarterback Josh Allen of Wyoming (17) throw a pass during the second quarter of the 2018 Senior Bowl against the South Squad at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports (Glenn Andrews)

In his latest mock draft, Todd McShay changed his pick for the Jets, and has them taking Wyoming QB Josh Allen with the sixth overall pick. 

McShay originally had New York taking LSU DE Arden Key. However, he had a change of heart as the Jets desperately need to find their franchise quarterback. But he warns not to forget about free agency, where GM Mike Maccagnan will have about $100 million to go after high-profile QB Kirk Cousins.

"Yes, it's a running theme -- this is another landing spot for Cousins," McShay writes. "If the Jets don't sign him in free agency, Allen makes a lot of sense if Mayfield is off the board. There is a significant drop-off in talent after the first four QBs in this draft, so the Jets need to make sure they grab one here. Allen had an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, showing off his arm and his mobility. There are still concerns about his accuracy and ability to make multidimensional throws consistently, but all the tools are there. And he has the prototypical QB build (6-foot-4 7/8, 237 pounds)."

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 (Matthew Emmons)
(Matthew Emmons)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Philadelphia Eagles would be absolutely crazy to get rid of Nick Foles now after he slayed the mighty Patriots, and was rightfully named the Super Bowl MVP. Yes, they have Carson Wentz, a legitimate MVP candidate, before he got hurt. And yes, Foles will likely be Wentz's backup again next season.

But didn't Foles just prove to everyone how valuable a backup quarterback on a contender really is?

Tags: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

In last year's draft, the Jets used their first two picks on safeties, and Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye started every game alongside one another in the secondary. Those starting roles seem settled for the next few years, but the Jets like to operate out of packages with three and even four safeties, so Todd Bowles may be keen to add some depth.

Last year, Rontez Miles and Terrance Brooks each saw regular playing time, often playing together as the Jets used a four-safety dime package in passing situations. Also, Doug Middleton, who missed the season due to injury, was expected to contribute. All three are now out of contract though, so the Jets may look to fortify their depth in the draft.

While it seems unlikely the Jets would select another safety with their top pick, Alabama's Minkah Fitzpatrick is a possible consideration due to his versatility. Could Fitzpatrick be like Jalen Ramsey -- a hybrid cornerback/safety who has developed into one of the league's better cornerbacks?

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Rontez Miles
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