During the season, Bent's Game Analysis charts games for some of the Jets' upcoming opponents, enabling a break down of what to watch out for on gameday...

I’ve been looking at some of the recent Saints games to get an insight into how the team is performing so far and their strategic approach.

After the jump, I break down the positional groupings (BGA-style!) to try and highlight what the Jets need to look out for.

Quarterbacks

After getting taken apart by Andy Dalton last week, the Jets face an even more formidable foe this week in the form of perennial pro bowler Drew Brees. Brees is having another great season, but he's yet another quarterback whose statistical output drops precipitously when he's under pressure. His completion percentage drops to 50% and his QB rating is almost 40 points lower than when not pressured.

The good news is that while Brees is renowned for being decisive and accurate, he doesn't habitually get rid of the ball as early and often as Dalton. In fact, he holds the ball longer than 2.5 of the time on 52% of his throws, 10th most in the league. Where Brees excels, despite his short stature, is in moving his feet within the pocket to create lanes, so if the Jets can collapse the pocket and fill lanes, perhaps they can disrupt Brees from emulating his usual level of performance. Pressure will also be on the secondary to do a better job of jamming at the line and jumping routes, otherwise Brees will get rid of the ball early and have success in doing so.

The Saints have scored more than 25 points in five straight games, but the Jets are statistically easily the best defense they have faced so far. The Jets rank 6th, whereas all seven teams they've faced so far are 14th or lower.

Offensive Line

The strength of the Saints line in recent times has been its guards. They've invested a lot of money in Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs to try and mitigate the amount of pressure up the middle while their philosophy has been to assist their tackles by chipping edge rushers to try and prevent pressure coming off the edge. Evans is a four time pro bowler, but is having a down year in the running game, probably connected to the hip injury which has caused him to miss one game and has him listed as questionable this week. Grubbs was a pro bowler back in 2011 and continues to be one of the better linemen in the league at getting out in front of a screen pass.

At right tackle, Zach Streif has good numbers although he is left on an island less than a lot of tackles. He's developed into his role well though. By contrast, the left tackle Charles Brown is a potential weak spot. Brown won a three-way battle in preseason that involved former Jet Jason Smith. He leads the team with six penalties and four sacks given up.

Center Brian De La Puente is athletic and benefits from being in between two great players. Off the bench, two undrafted players, second year man Bryce Harris and rookie Tim Lelito have each started a game and occasionally get reps as extra tight ends. Lelito really struggled when he replaced Evans against the Cardinals in week three, surrendering eight total pressures including three sacks.

Running Backs

The Saints running game isn't the main feature of their offense, but their backs still play a key role. Pierre Thomas is their lead back, but he's averaging just 3.5 yards per carry in their 25th ranked rush attack. He has caught 32 passes though. Darren Sproles (36 catches) remains a key option in the passing attack, but has only carried 15 times since week two. Mark Ingram (who had been dealing with a turf toe injury) hasn't played much so far this year, but is now healthy.

Fullback Jed Collins is mainly a blocker, with just 12 touches in seven games so far this season.

Receivers

The Saints' most dangerous weapon - tight end Jimmy Graham - played just 19 snaps last week as he deals with a partially torn plantar fascia in his foot. However, he was still pretty effective (two touchdowns) as they limited him to the two minute drill and red zone activity. They threw the ball on 17 of those plays. Veteran Ben Watson, now 32, is past his prime, but did catch three passes as the starter last week.

The Saints have plenty of receiving threats at wideout too. 6-5 former Hofstra product Marques Colston is still a big threat and he's been starting along with rookie fifth rounder Kenny Stills. After a slow start, Stills has three touchdowns in the last two games. On the bench, they have slot/possession receiver Lance Moore, second year man Nick Toon (the son of Jets legend Al Toon) and Robert Meachem, who returned to the Saints this year after a terrible season with the Chargers where he fell out of favor and barely played in the second half of the year. The three of them have combined for just 13 catches so far, though.

Defensive Line

The Saints defense has turned things around this year, led by the pass rushing of Cameron Jordan. They play both 4-3 and 3-4 formations with Jordan moving all over the place. Veteran Broderick Bunkley is listed as the starter at nose tackle, but hasn't played much this season due to a calf strain. He did start last week, but played just 26 of 72 snaps. In his absence, third round rookie John Jenkins - a 360-pounder - did a solid job. The other starter on the line is Akiem Hicks - last year's third rounder - who is more of a run stopper than pass rusher. The main backups are undrafted rookie Glenn Foster and veteran Tom Johnson, both of whom are listed as under 290 pounds.

Linebackers

The media are making a big deal of the fact that former Jet Jonathan Vilma has been activated from the short-term injured reserve list, but the truth is he's been a shadow of his former self these past few years. Curtis Lofton is their leader now, playing every snap, but he is also second in the league with 11 missed tackles. David Hawthorne, the former Seahawk, lines up alongside him.

On the outside, the Saints have Parys Haralson, who had 21.5 sacks with the 49ers from 2006 to 2012, but it's been the guy on the other side - Junior Galette - who has made more of an impact as a pass rusher this year. He has four sacks, one short of his career best five last season. They have some experience among their backups with Keyunta Dawson outside and Will Herring and Ramon Humber inside, but none have played much this year.

They would be even stronger on the outside, but veteran Will Smith and offseason pickup Victor Butler are both on injured reserve.

Defensive Backs

At safety, both starters - this year's first pick Kenny Vacarro and former first rounder (albeit as a cornerback) Malcolm Jenkins - are listed as questionable with a concussion and a knee respectively. Vacarro has been good in run support when he comes into the box.

At cornerback, Jabari Greer typically plays on the right and Keenan Lewis on the left. Greer was targeted by the Bears a few weeks ago, to the tune of eight catches for over 120 yards. Lewis, the former Steeler, has three interceptions, including two in the last two games.

The Saints nickel package involves Rafael Bush entering the game to play the deep safety role while one of the other safeties comes up to play the slot.

In reserve, they have some experience with Chris Carr at cornerback and Roman Harper at safety. Harper had been starting but then hurt his knee and only returned to practice this week.

Special Teams

Thomas Morstead is one of the better punters in the NFL, having allowed just 80 return yards through seven games. He also does a good job on kickoffs. Garrett Hartley is the placekicker and he's made 14 of 18 field goals. Three of those misses were from beyond 40 yards, but he hasn't even attempted one from 50. These numbers benefit from the Saints playing in a dome, too, so they might not see the same kind of success on a November's day in New Jersey.

Sproles is the key to the Saints' return game, although his longest return of the year is just 32 yards. He's always a threat to avoid the first man on a punt return though. In terms of coverage, they don't have any players with more than three solo tackles. Overall, their special teams unit ranks 5th according to PFF but dropped from 14th to 19th on Football Outsiders last week.

>>>

I'll be back tomorrow to recap the game!

Stats from PFF were used in the completion of this article.

Tags: BGA, Bent Double

 (Eric Hartline)
(Eric Hartline)

The Jets' new linebackers coach, Hall of Famer Kevin Greene, is looking to instill more aggression and power in his players, especially LB Lorenzo Mauldin.

The 25-year-old has shown spurts of potential in two seasons with the Jets, but his 2.5 sacks last season isn't the production they had expected. Greene intends to change that, and he told NJ.com's Darryl Slater why he uses this specific approach to his coaching. 

"Everybody at this level has skill, correct?" Greene said. "They'rea ll athletic, and agility and dexterity and all that stuff. Well, what separates people initially is their physical level of play. That's always our first step, is we have to play more physical than whoever is in front of us, because we're all athletic." 

Tags: Lorenzo Mauldin
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A pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is broken up by Buffalo Bills cornerbacks Corey White and Kevon Seymour during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
A pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is broken up by Buffalo Bills cornerbacks Corey White and Kevon Seymour during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson

Projected backups: Jalin Marshall, Charone Peake, ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Charone Peake, Eric Decker, Jalin Marshall, Quincy Enunwa
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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) watches from the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) watches from the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Preseason Stats: 17-for-47, 159 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, 1-15 rushing, one fumble

Regular Season Stats: Did Not Play

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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Part 2 of Jets mini-camp 00:02:01
SNY delivers part 2 of an all-access behind-the-scenes recap of New York Jets minicamp, including the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

Click here to watch Part 1

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Behind the scenes at Jets camp 00:01:48
SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

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New York Jets owner Woody Johnson before the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson before the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)

President Donald Trump plans to nominate Jets' owner Woody Johnson as the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, the team confirmed on Thursday.

In the case that Johnson is nominated and confirmed by the US Senate, he would hand over his duties as Chairman and CEO to his brother, Christopher Johnson, who will directly oversee the team's day-to-day operations.

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Jets DE Sheldon Richardson says head coach Todd Bowles has been more strict than in the past, per Darryl Slater of NJ.com. 

Bowles has been left with a young team following the Jets' roster purge that including veterans like C Nick Mangold and LB David Harris. With his job possibly in jeopardy, he has been putting emphasis on working harder.

"It's completely different from the last couple years," Richardson said at minicamp. "A lot more strict now. We weren't loose [in the past], but it's a lot more strict now. It's even more enforced than what it has been in the past."

Tags: Brandon Marshall, David Harris, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nick Mangold, Sheldon Richardson
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Jets LB Lorenzo Mauldin turned himself in to authorities Wednesday morning in Manhattan for his alleged role in a nightclub attack that took place on April 2, according to TMZ Sports.

Mauldin, who is also being sued in civil court, was not arrested or charged after the incident. The Jets said earlier this month that they're aware of the lawsuit but had no further comment.

An NFL spokesman told ESPN's Rich Cimini that the league is looking into the incident. 

Tags: Lorenzo Mauldin
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 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

Former Jets LB David Harris has agreed to a two-year deal with the New England Patriots worth $6.75 million, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

The Patriots offered Harris more than the Jets offered him earlier this month prior to his release, reports Mike Florio of NBC Sports.

Harris visited with the Patriots on Wednesday after speaking with head coach Bill Belichick (and coaches from five other teams) earlier this week, notes Florio.

Tags: David Harris
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Los Angeles Rams former and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Kevin Greene attends a NFL football game at between the Miami Dolphins and the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Kirby Lee)
Los Angeles Rams former and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Kevin Greene attends a NFL football game at between the Miami Dolphins and the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Kirby Lee)

The Jets were one of the worst pass-rushing teams in the NFL last year, finishing the season wtih just 27 sacks, and only 5.5 of them coming from the team's outside linebackers.

Todd Bowles brought in former NFL linebacker Kevin Greene as New York's new linebackers coach, and Greene has already expressed optimism towards his young group of players.

"The sky's the limit for all my kids," Greene told Daniel Popper of the Daily News. "I'm teaching my kids technique and fundamentals not based on athletic ability and skill. It's based on physicality. It's based on drive and desire and want-to and being a student of the game. ... All my kids can really be as good they want to be."

Tags: Darron Lee, Jordan Jenkins
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 (Mike Dinovo)
(Mike Dinovo)

The Jets have signed former Bears WR Marquess Wilson, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Wilson only played in three games last season as he was on the IR with a broken foot. He is a big target, standing at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, and will add some competition before training camp begins.

In four seasons with the Bears, Wilson played in 31 games, hauling in 56 receptions for 777 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

The Jets new running backs coach, Stump Mitchell, believes RB Bilal Powell has Pro Bowl ability, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

Mitchell has been impressed with Powell since joining the Jets this season, and he thinks if he didn't have to share time with another back, he has would attain Pro Bowl status. 

"Bilal is a Pro Bowl back if he was playing by himself, make no doubt about that," Mitchell said at minicamp.

Tags: Bilal Powell
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Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Ivory is tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins during the first quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Ivory is tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins during the first quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected Starters: Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin

Projected Backups: Dylan Donahue, Josh Martin

Tags: Deion Barnes, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin, Mike Catapano, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets minicamp 00:02:24
Quarterback Christian Hackenberg and defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson break down Jets minicamp and their expectations for the season.

Quarterback Christian Hackenberg and Defensive Lineman Sheldon Richardson break down Jets minicamp and their expectations for the season.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Sheldon Richardson
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Former Jets LB Larry Grantham dies at age 78: Larry Grantham, a member of the Jets' only Super Bowl team in 1969, died on Tuesday at the age of 78. Apart from being a Super Bowl Champion, Grantham has been enshrined in the Jets Ring of Honor as well. 

Elsewhere in New York sports the Mets dropped a slugfest to the Dodgers, the Yankees lose their top prospect to injury, and the NBA draft is just two days away. 

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

The Jets' roster purge and commitment to begin rebuilding this season earned them a "C+" offseason grade, per ESPN's Rich Cimini.

As the offseason is normally used to rebuild rosters, the Jets tore theirs down thanks to move made by owner Woody Johnson. Among the roster cuts were LB David Harris and WR Eric Decker, which saved the Jets almost $14 million in payroll alone. C Nick Mangold and CB Darrelle Revis were also part of the 11 veterans the Jets go rid of this offseason. 

Cimini said the grade should be worse considering the Jets now have one of the worst rosters in the NFL, but looking at the big picture, the Jets are acknowledging their rebuild and will have $80 million to work with next offseason.

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell leaps over Miami Dolphins safety Isa Abdul-Quddus during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell leaps over Miami Dolphins safety Isa Abdul-Quddus during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected Starter: Matt Forte

Projected Backups: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire

Tags: Bilal Powell, Matt Forte
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GEICO SportsNite: Larry Grantham 00:00:26
Michelle Yu reports on the passing of former Jets linebacker Larry Grantham, a member of the Jets Ring of Honor, who was 78 years old.

The Jets announced former LB Larry Grantham, a Ring of Honor member and Super Bowl III champion, has died at age 78.

Grantham opted to join the AFL's New York Titans despite being drafted in the NFL by the Baltimore Colts in 1960. The Titans became the Jets in 1963, and Grantham would stay with them until his retirement in 1972. 

He was the starting linebacker for the Jets' Super Bowl III championship team where he called all the plays on defense. Grantham played in 175 career games, and was a five-time AFL All-Star and a five-time all-NFL selection. 

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets receivers 00:01:37
Jeane Coakley talks to Quincy Enunwa to discuss his expectations for himself and the young receivers for the upcoming season.

SNY's Jeane Coakley talks to Quincy Enunwa after the conclusion of Jets minicamp to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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Former Jets wide receiver signed a deal with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.  (Bill Wippert/AP)
Former Jets wide receiver signed a deal with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. (Bill Wippert/AP)

Former Jets wide receiver Eric Decker is now a Tennessee Titan after agreeing to a deal on Sunday. 

Elsewhere, Jacob deGrom homers, the Yankees drop their sixth straight, Bradley Wright-Phillips scores twice and the Rangers, Islanders and Devils announce their protected players list ahead of the NHL Expansion Draft. 

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Eric Decker (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
Eric Decker (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Former Jets wide receiver Eric Decker agreed to a contract with the Tennessee Titans, the team announced Sunday.

Decker, 30, played 33 games with the Jets over the past three seasons, totaling 163 catches, 2,183 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.

Decker had appeared healthy entering organized team activities in May after he missed 13 games last season due to rotator cuff and hip injuries.

New York released him last Monday when they were unable to find a trading partner. The Jets will face a $1.5 million cap hit this year and next after releasing Decker.

Tags: Eric Decker, Tennessee Titans
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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

RB Matt Forte says the Jets aren't tanking the season, despite the fact that they've cut the majority of their veteran players this offseason.

"It's a good thing we don't operate off of what the fans think and what everybody on the outside thinks," Forte said, according to The Record. "What we think as a team, that's what's going to happen. And none of us on the team think that we're going to tank. So all I have to say about that is: Bring it."

The Jets, who went 5-11 last season, have cut Brandon MarshallEric DeckerDavid HarrisDarrelle RevisNick MangoldNick Folk, and Breno Giacomini since the season ended. They also declined their option on Ryan Clady.

Tags: Matt Forte
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 (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)
(Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It's really quite an accomplishment for the Jets to come off a disappointing and perhaps disastrous 5-11 season and find a way to get worse. But they did it. They purged their roster of most of their veterans and replaced them with untested, unknown players. They're playing the long game, even though their short term looks rather bleak.

Who knows if they're "tanking" with their eyes on a top draft pick next season? Maybe they're just acknowledging the need to experience short-term pain for long-term gain. Whatever it is, there isn't a lot of hope for the 2017 season. Their eyes are on 2018, or perhaps beyond.

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Rookie Marcus Maye on minicamp 00:01:51
SNY's Jeane Coakley chats with Jets rookie safety Marcus Maye about his first minicamp in the NFL.

SNY's Jeane Coakley chats with Jets rookie safety Marcus Maye about his first minicamp in the NFL.

The Jets selected Maye in the second round of Apri's NFL Draft.

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Jets quarterbacks practice during minicamp on Wednesday. (Julio Cortez/AP)
Jets quarterbacks practice during minicamp on Wednesday. (Julio Cortez/AP)

Jets coach Todd Bowles said Thursday there is no frontrunner for the srarting quarterback job. 

Elsewhere, the Yankees lose in extra innings, Juan Lagares is injurede in a Mets loss and the Giants ink their first-round pick. 

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:02:10
Jeane Coakley talks to Jets coach Todd Bowles as they wrap up spring practices about the quarterback competition and the rookie safeties.

Jeane Coakley talks to Jets coach Todd Bowles as they wrap up spring practices about the quarterback competition and the rookie safeties.


 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Jets DE Sheldon Richardson wants to stay with the team for the rest of his caeer, but is not open to giving a hometown discount. 

The Jets, who finished 5-11 last season, are entering a rebuilding phase. But Richardson wants to be a part of it.

"A lot of guys just want to go jump on a bandwagon," Richardson told Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News earlier this week. "Older guys. Later in their career, it's easy to go jump into a good situation. It's a free market, so by all means, do your thing. But me personally, I like to make history, not be a part of it."

Tags: Sheldon Richardson
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles insinuated the team's starting QB is job still up for grabs, noting Thursday that there is currently no frontrunner.

The Jets, who are expected to turn to Josh McCown as their starter, have also been giving reps to Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty.

McCown, 37, signed a one-year deal worth $6 million this offseason.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
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New York Jets inside linebacker Demario Davis (56) comes away with a fumble recovery during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. (Steven Ryan)
New York Jets inside linebacker Demario Davis (56) comes away with a fumble recovery during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. (Steven Ryan)

Jets linebacker Demario Davis took a $2.7 million pay cut in order to help facilitate the trade that brought him back to New York, according to Field Yates of ESPN.

Davis, who was set to earn $3.7 million in the final year of his contract, will now make $1 million this season. This includes a $100,000 signing bonus and a $900,000 base salary. He can also earn $1.225 million in incentives. 

Davis re-structured his contract at the time of the June 1 trade. 

Tags: Demario Davis
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 (Julio Cortez/AP)
(Julio Cortez/AP)

Jets quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates said he was impressed with Christian Hackenberg's passing in minicamp. 

Elsewhere, Yankees lose and Mets win their respective rubber games and Joe Girardi would have no problem with Aaron Judge in the Home Run Derby.

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