Nov 27, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan (15) throws a pass against New York Jets corner back Buster Skrine (41) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 27, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan (15) throws a pass against New York Jets corner back Buster Skrine (41) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

In this week's BGA, Bent analyzes Week 12 performances by Todd Bowles, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Forté and Bilal Powell, Ben Ijalana and the offensive line, Brandon Marshall and Quincy Enunwa, the team's struggles on defense, and the special teams, among others...



Quarterbacks

Bent: If nothing else, yesterday's game underlines how the Jets could actually have been competitive each week if only they had a semi-decent quarterback. Like it or not, that's what Ryan Fitzpatrick was in yesterday's game.

Does that mean I'm prepared to consider retaining Fitzpatrick as the starting quarterback into next season? Of course not. After all, the rest of this season shows that Fitzpatrick is not consistent enough to be a semi-decent quarterback on a regular basis.

In fact, semi-decent is probably Fitzpatrick's ceiling right now and the Jets only managed to get that from him by simplifying things for him with a conservative gameplan. His receivers bailed him out with some great catches on plays to extend drives that otherwise would have come to a premature end and he still couldn't avoid that back-breaking mistake to cost them the chance at a win, even if he did manage to delay that until his late fumble.

So, where does this leave the Jets? Everyone has concluded that Fitzpatrick won't be back next year and certainly won't command anywhere near the $12 million he is being paid this year, regardless of where he plays. However, as long as he remains in the line-up, he can perhaps restore some of his value and keep the Jets competitive over the last five games.

Do we want that though? Why give Fitzpatrick a chance to resurrect his career elsewhere by winning a few meaningless games with the Jets? Or would six games of semi-decent play be a large enough sample size to actually get the Jets considering bringing him back?

Running a conservative gameplan in an effort to disguise your quarterback's penchant for a costly turnover is probably not a viable long term plan. However, maybe it can enable you to restore your quarterback's confidence and establish some rhythm to give yourself a platform to gradually start taking more chances. Again, it's not like the Jets have much to gain from that, though.

I was actually okay with the decision to start Fitzpatrick, because Bill Belichick likely would have set some traps for the inexperienced Bryce Petty and if he struggled badly at home in a loss to the Patriots, any optimism for him to show what he's made of over the last five games would be severely dented.

Having said that, Jets quarterbacks have tended to have good success against Belichick's defenses over the past several years. This perhaps renders Fitzpatrick's performance somewhat less impressive. Fitzpatrick has had a quarterback rating of at least 97.7 in all three games against New England since becoming a Jet, Mark Sanchez had a quarterback rating of over 90 in six of nine games and even Geno Smith had two games out of four with a rating of over 80. All three have a career rating below 80.

Petty should get another chance soon and may even be in the line-up when the Jets face New England later in the season so that might be an interesting test for him. Don't be surprised if the Jets stick with Fitzpatrick for a game or two more while they ready him for that though.

Running Backs

Bent: After combining for almost 200 yards in the previous game, Matt Forté and Bilal Powell found the going much tougher yesterday. They combined for just 90 yards on 25 touches as neither managed a run of eight yards or longer.

Forté did not start, but still saw the bulk of the workload. He ended up with 27 yards on 13 carries and I'd mostly attribute that to a lack of running room. However, there did appear to be a couple of short yardage plays where he looked to have plenty of room to get to the marker but tried to make a cut to get a bigger gain and ended up getting stuffed.

His best contribution saw him gain 15 on a dump-off pass early in the fourth quarter. That helped set up the go-ahead touchdown.

Powell had more success in the running game, averaging 4.5 yards per carry, but was not productive in the passing game with just one short catch and a dropped pass. He had a couple of short yardage conversions and also three plays where he battled for tough yardage, coming up just short of the marker on two of them to set up first down conversions on the next play. His wildcat carry near the goal line was the first time a non-quarterback has taken a snap for the Jets all season.

CJ Spiller saw action on 10 snaps. Interesting, Powell was also in the game on each of those plays with Spiller only in the backfield on three of them. He almost made a big play on a deep throw, as he beat his man but then dropped the slightly underthrown pass. There should probably have been a pass interference call on the play, but you don't usually get that call against New England for some reason.

Offensive Line

Bent: Once again, the offensive line really struggled in the running game. There were essentially zero running plays where the running back got cleanly out to the second level and several individual mistakes led to runs being stuffed at or behind the line.

They fared better in terms of limiting pressure, although most of that was attributable to Fitzpatrick getting the ball out quickly or New England dropping extra bodies into coverage to try and force him into a mistake. The dam burst completely on the final play though, as Ben Ijalana got burned for a game-clinching strip sack with the Jets trying to drive for the winning score.

Wesley Johnson has given a solid account of himself in relief of Nick Mangold, who seems close to returning. However, there's no question he's been a downgrade and this was easily his roughest game so far. Johnson missed several run blocks, was stood up at the point of attack regularly and was badly beaten on a play where Fitzpatrick was called for intentional grounding. He also committed a holding penalty after getting beaten again in pass protection.

Once Mangold returns, he's unlikely to be at 100% so it's difficult to say how much of an improvement there will be. Right now, it's not looking certain Mangold will be back next year with a $9 million cap number, but if the Jets plan to have Johnson starting in his place, their line will take a hit. There's also the small matter of Johnson's own contract, which expires at the end of the season. The last time the Jets replaced an established starter with a reserve based on a part-season of uninspiringly promising relief work, it was Wayne Hunter replacing Damien Woody and we all know how that went.

James Carpenter is pretty much the only starter who is more than likely to return, although back-ups Brent Qvale, Dakota Dozier and Brandon Shell will still be under contract. Qvale was the only one of the three to see action yesterday, on one snap. Carpenter held up well in pass protection but lost at the point of attack on a few running plays, including one where the run was blown up.

Breno Giacomini had his most efficient game since his return in pass protection, as he was beaten for a pressure just once, although he was driven back by a couple of bull rushes. It was also probably his least effective game as a run blocker, as he had a couple of bad missed blocks. Giacomini was also called for a hold in pass protection, as he had his man controlled but seemed to drag or shove him to the ground. That one seemed a bit harsh and probably wouldn't have been called the other way.

Other than giving up the sack at the end, Ijalana was beaten a few times in pass protection but he's arguably been no worse than Ryan Clady since taking over the left tackle job full time. Clearly the Jets need an upgrade here, although Ijalana has established himself as a useful back-up that will draw some interest in free agency next year. He made a couple of good contributions in the running game, but allowed penetration a couple of times.

Brian Winters was once again the least bad of a bad bunch. He didn't make many impact blocks in the running game, but didn't have many mistakes either. He's another one out of contract at the end of the year who it will be difficult to determine a price for.

Receivers

BentBrandon Marshall and Quincy Enunwa each had their best game for several weeks, although for Marshall that's a sign of how far he's fallen because six catches and 67 yards would have been one of his least productive statlines last year. He scored his first touchdown since week five, but could he have had another if he laid out for Fitzpatrick's end zone throw rather than trying to grab it with one outstretched hand?

Enunwa delivered with the first 100-yard game of his career, spectacularly bringing down a jump ball for the go-ahead touchdown and making a few nice diving catches downfield to extend drives. It was an excellent bounce-back game for Enunwa, who had just two catches for 32 yards - on nine targets - in the previous two games.

Fitzpatrick's 40-yard hook-up with Enunwa in the first half was the first time all season he's completed a pass thrown more than 30 yards down the field (although he did have one negated by a penalty in week two). He entered the game 0-for-7 on such throws having gone 3-for-22 last year.

Robby Anderson provided a reminder that he's still a rookie with a momentum-changing fumble near midfield. After doing well to get open going across the field, Anderson tried to make some extra yardage but Malcolm Butler was able to strip the ball away from him. He ended up with just two catches.

Let's be positive about Anderson for a moment though. His rookie campaign (24 catches so far) compares very favorably with every high profile rookie receiver in recent Jets history: Jeremy Kerley ended up with 29 catches as a rookie. Laveranues Coles had 22. Stephen Hill ended up with 21. Devin Smith, Santana Moss and Jerricho Cotchery had just 17 between them.

Another rookie, Jalin Marshall, had two short catches and the officials ignored obvious pass interference on him as he was unable to haul in a third down pass downfield. That was the play before the Jets attempted a long field goal that was blocked.

Charone Peake was an unfortunate casualty of Marshall's struggles in the return game, as the Jets had to activate another return man, which meant there was no room on the active list for Peake. That's disappointing because he's the kind of player who should be getting as many reps as possible at this stage of the season.

The Jets actually targeted their tight ends four times with Brandon Bostick and Austin Seferian-Jenkins combining for three short catches. Seferian-Jenkins also contributed a good short yardage block, although Bostick fared less well on a stretch zone play.

Eric Tomlinson continues to impress in limited action as a blocking tight end. I suspect he might be a keeper. The Jets don't seem to miss Kellen Davis.

Defensive Line

Bent: There was a major change this week, as the Jets employed Leonard Williams primarily at defensive end and Muhammad Wilkerson at defensive tackle. It's something the team has gradually been shifting towards over the past few games.

Once again, Wilkerson had a depressingly unproductive game with just a couple of pressures and two run stops. He also jumped offside on third and short - although this was yet another example of the Patriots bending the rules and getting the benefit of a questionable call.

Something I kept noticing was the Wilkerson was constantly dropping off after an initial rush. Things like that are difficult to quantify but, by my count, he was in on 44 pass plays and he only penetrated more than two yards into the backfield on 23 of them. That means almost half the time he was effectively still a yard or two from the line of scrimmage when the pass was thrown.

There's obviously a strategic aspect to this, and most of the time it was a result of Wilkerson being double teamed at the line and dropping off to give everyone else room to work but it still raises questions.

Was that the gameplan or Wilkerson reacting to the fact he wasn't going to get how? If it was the gameplan, did the Jets decide to do this because they didn't feel Wilkerson would have much success getting into the backfield? Is he not getting to the quarterback because of his injuries so the Jets were scheming around that? If it was a reaction, is that smart on his part, or is it laziness? Are the Jets punishing him by forcing him to do more dirty work while others get a chance to post numbers? It would be interesting to know if Wilkerson would have been frustrated at having to drop off rather than getting the chance to "eat" or happy to follow a gameplan that seemed to work.

It's difficult not to question Wilkerson's effort and professionalism based on how the season has gone so far because he looks like a totally different player than the past few years, but let's not completely rule out the other factors that could be at play.

Williams produced well at defensive end with several pressures. He had just two tackles though, with one just short of the marker to force a punt on the first drive.

Sheldon Richardson seems more at home now that he's not playing the rush linebacker role, but his production is still falling short of what we'd have expected from him in the past. He had a couple of quarterback hits and a tackle for loss, but was also driven off the line on one running play. He created good penetration on a couple of plays.

Steve McLendon, Deon Simon and Anthony Johnson played a rotational role off the bench. Simon jumped into the neutral zone once and Johnson was driven off the line on one play.

Linebackers

BentDarron Lee returned to a starting role this week and produced an upgrade over the struggling Julian Stanford. However, he missed a chance to win the game when he was just a split second too late out into the flat on a fourth down pass to James White. That sums him up perfectly right now, as if he could have anticipate that play just a fraction of a second faster, it would have been a huge play and that's how close he is to making a consistent impact.

Lee made some good plays in coverage but was beaten for a couple of first downs and got caught inside a couple of times against the run. He also overpursued badly in space once.

David Harris made some solid plays and ended up tied with Lee as the team's leading tackler as he posted 11 tackles for the second week in a row. He made one bad mistake though, vacating his running lane and allowing the runner to cut back and into the open field for a big gain.

Lorenzo Mauldin had a couple of pressures and made some plays against the run but lost contain on an outside run and missed an open field tackle in space. He was also manhandled at the line and blocked to the ground on one running play.

Jordan Jenkins contributed four tackles and a hit, while Mike Catapano did not record a tackle, but pressured Tom Brady once.

In limited action off the bench, Josh Martin did well beating his man outside a few times to generate pressure. He's a player who Belichick praised during the week, albeit presumably based on his special teams contributions. Perhaps he deserves more time on defense.

Defensive Backs

BentDarrelle Revis had another rough game. The Patriots ignored him for most of the game, but went after him a few times on third down and in the red zone. He was beaten for two touchdowns and a couple of first downs. He also showed a disappointing effort on one third down play where a running back caught the ball in the flat and he was in a position to get in on the tackle. Instead, he kind of half-heartedly waved a shoulder at the runner and left Harris to complete the tackle. The runner dragged Harris almost to the marker and the Patriots picked up the first down on 4th-and-short.

In the starting line-up with Marcus Williams still out, Darryl Roberts also struggled, giving up a couple of first downs including one on third down. Roberts' worst play saw him called for pass interference on a deep throw where the pass was disrupted and probably could have been intercepted if he just got his head turned around.



Compounding matters, later on there was a play where he looked back for the ball too early and the receiver got behind him in the end zone and probably should have made the diving catch for a touchdown. At least he was trying to make the adjustment - and to give credit where it's due, he did get his head turned on another end zone throw to break it up. Hopefully he will show better instincts as he continues to develop, but there's plenty of room for improvement.

Roberts almost had another offensive pass interference penalty on a deep throw to Rob Gronkowski, but the officials and announcers both ignored the fact that Gronkowski blatantly pushed him off to create the initial separation from which he was forced to grab Gronkowski's arm.

Buster Skrine gave up a few first downs, including one on third down, and had a missed tackle. He was in on one stop in the flat and had one pressure as a pass rusher. On the coverage breakdown that led to the long completion to set up the winning score, it's difficult to know who was at fault, but this looked very similar to some early season plays where Skrine stayed up to cover the flat and someone ended up wide open down the field.

At safety, Marcus Gilchrist was beaten a few times in coverage, twice for a first down and once on a deep ball that was overthrown. He made a potentially big play when he prevented the back from scoring on the two-point conversion though.

Calvin Pryor came up and made a couple of nice plays in run support and had a pass break-up in coverage. However, he overpursued and missed a tackle in the flat on one play and seemed to be late getting over or slightly out of position in zone coverage a few times.

Finally, Rontez Miles made a play against the run, a good play in coverage and a third down stop, but he was cut to the ground on the edge on the run that allowed the Patriots to run out the clock.

Special teams

Bent: Once again, special teams let the Jets down as Nick Folk had a 54-yard field goal blocked just before half time. Folk had earlier made a 51-yarder, his longest of the season. The field goal was blocked because Tanner Purdum was driven back after the snap, with the officials once again ignoring the fact that the nearest guy to Purdum didn't appear to have his whole body outside the long snapper's shoulders as the ball was snapped. Qvale and Johnson were also flat-backed on the left side of the line, which didn't help.

With Jalin Marshall seemingly permanently out of a job as the return man, Jeremy Ross had an underwhelming performance in his place. He didn't get past the 25 on any of his kickoff returns and gained 10 yards on his only punt return. He made a great play to dive on the ball and rescue a possession after a punt deflected off Skrine deep in Jets' territory for a potentially costly muff, though.

Ross was involved in a controversial moment when the officials decided not to penalize the Patriots for the most blatant fair catch interference violation you could expect to see. Had they decided that Ross didn't indicate clearly enough that he was making a fair catch (he did) then they should have flagged the Jets for an invalid fair catch signal, so it's difficult to know what they saw there.

Punter Lac Edwards had another underwhelming game, averaging a 42 yards per punt net on his first three kicks. His last punt was a 27-yard net but the return was negated by a penalty so that at least meant the Patriots had to go 83 yards on the game-winning drive. Juston Burris drew that flag.

There was one illegal block in the back penalty called on the Jets but it wasn't clear whether it was Tomlinson or Miles who was flagged, as both seemed to be guilty on the same play and no number was announced.

Martin made another special teams tackle, but has dropped from first to sixth in the NFL in terms of special teams tackles over the past few weeks. Bostick also had an important stop in the open field.

Tags: BGA

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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