Back in November, when the Jets signed Austin Howard, I did a detailed tape analysis of his only full NFL appearance with the Eagles in 2010.  With the announcement that he's going to get a shot at starting this weekend with a view to perhaps locking down the right tackle job full time, now seems like a good time to revisit this.  After the jump, I'm going to reproduce the article in full before making some comments about how well he seems to have developed since then.

The Jets this week added mammoth offensive tackle Austin Howard to their active roster. Since they signed him off Baltimore’s practice squad, he must remain on the active roster for at least three weeks. The Jets official site reported that he’d been added to their practice squad, but that was a mistake, because you must, by rule, add anyone signed from another team’s practice squad to your ACTIVE roster. Also, SBNation reported that he was a defensive tackle, but again I believe this was a mistake because I can’t find any source that suggests he made a position change.

What do we know about Howard? A converted tight end out of Northern Iowa, he packed on weight and became a decent offensive lineman for them, but went undrafted in 2010. He impressed enough in Eagles camp to make the active roster. He is 6-7 and currently listed at 333 pounds, although he has been pushing 350 in the past.

Howard played in four games last year, although mostly on special teams. He was in for four snaps of garbage time in a 59-28 win over Washington in week 10, but other than that, didn’t see any action until week 17, with the Eagles resting their starters for the postseason in a game against the Dallas Cowboys. Howard started and played every snap, so we can get some idea of what he’s capable of and whether there’s any chance he could help the Jets over the next six weeks or if he’s more of a long term project.

After the season, Howard returned to the Eagles, but fell out of favor and was cut in early September, eventually landing on the Ravens’ practice squad. The Jets have seen both starting tackles struggle over the past few weeks and have struggled with their depth on the offensive line all season, so it will be interesting to see what role they have in store for him.

The Dallas/Philly Game – Week 17, 2010

In this game, Howard was mostly matched up with DeMarcus Ware, who lined up on his side on 56 of the 68 snaps he was in the game, albeit not necessarily always a direct matchup for Howard, who was starting alongside several other backups with Kevin Kolb at quarterback.

This gives us an interesting comparison with Wayne Hunter’s performance in week one of this season. Hunter was responsible for one sack and six pressures per PFF – in 49 dropbacks. Actually, three of the pressures didn’t come from Ware, because the Cowboys drew up some exotic blitzes and he also ended up getting beaten by the likes of Anthony Spencer and Keynon Coleman. In the running game, Hunter graded out okay, although the Jets as a unit did not have a great deal of success.

Let’s see how Howard fared. Note that I am nitpicking to the nth degree here to get as much information on him as possible:

- Not a good start on the first play, as Ware swats him aside and has a clear run at Kolb, but then slips and Kolb is able to get the throw off. - On 2nd and short, he double teams a lineman with the left guard and they drive him off the line a couple of yards, albeit in the direction of the run, which still gets a first down. - Matched up with Anthony Spencer, he doesn’t do a good job of getting his hands on him, but Kolb rolls right. - They ran the ball to the right. Howard intitially knocked his man off the line, but let him get off the block on the inside so he could pursue the runner. - Howard backpedalled and looked uncomfortable doing so. Ware beat him outside but Kolb stepped up to throw before the pressure could get there. The ball slipped out of Kolb’s hands and almost ricocheted to Ware. - Ware initially tried a rip move, but the half back chipped him to slow him down and Howard was able to recover, only for Ware to make a spin move and toss him aside. He would have been able to get to Kolb, but the LG came over and picked him up and the pass was batted. - The drive stalled at the 50. Clearly Howard already had his hands full with Ware and was already getting help. Although he gave up no pressures, he was beaten or half-beaten on all four pass attempts.

- The next drive opens with a run to the right for four. Howard missed his block on Spencer, but it didn’t impact the play. - This time, they ran up the middle for three. Howard was looking for someone to block at the second level and ended up blocking nobody. Ware was basically unblocked and Howard sort of gingerly pawed at him as he went by him. Ware hesitated in the hole and that let the runner get positive yards. - This time, he picked up Bradie James and the pass was a quick throw to the right. He backpedalled better this time and got a decent initial blow, but James seemed to make a half-hearted effort to beat him as he saw the quick pass was thrown. - This drive ended in a three and out. He wasn’t really actively involved in the success or failure of any of these plays, but still missed a block and perhaps an assignment.

- On the next drive, Ware opened by knocking him back, but then he recovered well enough to stay in front and allow Kolb to get off a quick throw. - On second down, they gained 21 as only three rushed. Nobody rushed from his side, so he gave the left guard’s man, Igor Olshansky a shove as another quick pass was being released. - Another quick throw, incomplete. Ware juked inside and then went outside, but slipped again before he could turn the corner. Howard’s footwork was decent on this play, but he didn’t do a good enough job of getting his hands on Ware. - On a short run up the middle, he had what looked like a zone blocking assignment. He blocked down on Olshansky and drove him back a yard, but still let him get off the block to assist on the tackle. - Was matched up with Ware, but Ware stunted inside and the LG reacted to pick him up. That left Howard on Olshansky and he picked him up enabling Kolb to roll out and find a man inside the 10. This was his best play so far, even though it was relatively routine in nature. - A wildcat run up the middle to the four. He blocked Ware straight up and even if Ware could have got off the block to the inside, which it looked like he was in the process of doing, there was too much traffic for him to get to the ball carrier. - As the second quarter begins, Kolb ran around in the pocket before finding Chad Hall for a touchdown. There was a five man rush against seven blockers. Howard initially blocked nobody and then decided to help the TE block on Spencer, just at the moment Olshansky beat the left guard on his side, where he would have been perfectly placed to pick that up. Olshansky whiffed on the sack, as Howard gave Spencer a good shove, but then saw Ware pursuing Kolb and tried to block him but missed. Kolb got the throw off with Ware in his face. - So far we can see Howard struggling with sustaining blocks, getting his hands on rushers and appearing to be very green when called upon to react to unexpected situations. He won’t be credited with a pressure allowed on the play where the touchdown was scored, although he arguably blew two chances to prevent a pressure. He was also half-beaten one more time.

- A short running play the other way. A wide receiver blocked Ware and he went to the second level to block a safety but it had no effect on the play. - Matched up with Stephen Bowen. Initially drove him back a couple of yards, but then let him get off the block and stuff the run for a short gain. - The Cowboys tied the score on a Ware fumble return after a Spencer sack. Howard was matched up with Ware who initially blitzed then dropped off into the passing lane. Howard went to double on the LG’s man and Kolb was hit from behind and the ball bounced right to Ware. - You couldn’t really blame him on the touchdown, but he was the main reason the second down run failed on this possession.

- Ware got him backpedalling again and easily beat him inside, but luckily the Center was driven back so he was blocking Ware’s path to Kolb whose throw gained eight. - On a 2nd and two run, the play was stuffed for a one yard gain. Howard’s assignment was to initially double team and drive the left guard’s man off the line, then peel off to block a linebacker. Both kept inside leverage and there wasn’t really anywhere for the run to go. - He missed his kick-out block, but the run still gained five up the middle. - On this play they did the same thing as they did two plays ago with Howard double-teaming then peeling off, but this time gained three, although both men assisted on the tackle. - A nine yard pass for a first down saw Howard get a good initial shove on Brandon Williams, but then he could have done a better job of helping the left guard whose man beat him for a pressure on Howard’s side while Williams dropped off to cover the tight end. - This run went up the middle for a short gain, but the right tackle was called for a hold. Howard did a decent job of staying in front of Bowen on a straightforward assignment. - Howard was blocking Ware, but the run went the other way for 10 and Ware didn’t actively make much of an effort to chase it down. - Dump off pass for three to the fullback. Ware was chipped by a TE and then went on Howard’s outside. Howard’s attempt to shove him upfield was a bit tame, but it was thrown too quickly for the pressure to get there. - Incomplete pass as the drive stalls. Ware was again chipped by a TE and tried an inside move on Howard who got a shove on him and then reacted well to come off him and pick up a stunting Jay Ratliff. - The final play at last saw him make a good decision under duress in pass protection, but he was beaten once again by Ware and wasn’t getting the job done in the running game on that drive.

- This drive opened with a play action rollout to the right. On such plays, Howard pretty much just has to sell the running action. He gave Ware a shove for good measure. - Howard backpedalled and was beaten on the outside by James, although he doesn’t get credited with a pressure allowed, because Ware got there first from the other side. Howard just got enough of a shove on James to allow the quick screen to be thrown, but it was negated by an illegal block. - On second and long, he initially reacted well to Ware’s spin move. Then Kolb held the ball for too long and Ware eventually got by him to pressure Kolb, who threw it away. Again this won’t be credited to Howard, because Olshansky got there a half-step ahead of Ware. - On 3rd and 22, there was a short quick pass and he only had to stay in front of Ware for a split second. - The drive went three and out and Howard still hadn’t given up any pressures, although he was beaten twice more on this drive.

- Howard backpedalled and once again Ware easily beat him inside, but Kolb threw a quick pass before he could get there. - On a short pass, Ware beat Howard badly on the outside and he got two hands on Kolb just after the ball was thrown. Anthony Spencer hit him coming up the middle at the same time. PFF didn’t give Ware a pressure there, but I probably would have. - This time, Ware picked up a sack as he easily beat the TE inside and Howard was double-teaming Bowen for some reason, so couldn’t help out. - We’ll give him a pass on the third down play, but he was beaten twice more on this drive. The Eagles got the ball back on a muffed punt, though.

- On the first play of the next drive, Howard was easily beaten for a sack by Ware, who dodged his attempt to get an initial shove on him and took him outside with an impressive club move. Howard was looking at the LG as he backpedalled for some reason, which contributed to him not making contact with the shove. - On second down, they motioned a FB over to TE to chip Ware, but he still dipped his shoulder and blew by Howard on the outside for a pressure/hit on Kolb. - On third down, Kolb throws an interception into the endzone to end the half. This time, the HB stays in to double team and they manage to neutralize Ware. - After getting beaten multiple times (10 entering this drive) and managing not to get credited with a pressure allowed, Howard finally gave up a sack and a pressure on this three-play series. They’re trying a lot of different things to help him, but it was also apparent he was getting confused with his assignments when dealing with anything other than a straight-up rush.

Let’s look at whether things got any better in the second half.

- The second half opened with an awful drop by a wide-open Clay Harbor. This was on a play action rollout to the right, where Howard had nobody to block. - Let his man beat him to the inside, but it didn’t affect the run, which gained four to the right. - The Eagles picked up the first down on a penalty. Howard looked confused as, of the two men on his side, one went wide (picked up by the TE) and the other dropped into coverage, leaving Howard with nobody to block. Ratliff stunted from the nose tackle position and got a pressure as Howard realized too late. - A short run the other way as Howard again double-teamed and then peeled off to block a linebacker, but it didn’t affect the play. - Ware dropped into coverage and the defensive end on his side took a wide route to the QB, so that Howard had to pick him up. He moved his feet to get into position, but didn’t have him engaged. Luckily it was a quick throw for a completion downfield. - A run for four yards to his side. He and the TE worked together for a kick-out block on Ware. - Kolb was intercepted, after being pressured by Ware, who beat Howard easily on the inside. Howard probably got away with a hold on the play. - A costly pressure to end this drive, where he continued to look shaky.

- On first down, a run was stuffed, although Howard did his job, staying in front of Ware one-on-one and driving him off his spot. - Shoved Ware, but was then beaten inside, although Ware then stumbled and his momentum took him laterally rather than upfield. Another Cowboy got pressure and Kolb threw away. - Despite a chip from a back lined up in the TE position, Ware got around Howard on the outside, but Kolb was flushed from the pocket by pressure from the LG and ran for a first down. - Running play stuffed for two, as Olshansky shed his block to stuff the run. - On second down, he moved his feet well to stay in front of Bradie James and Kolb completed a short, quick pass. - On third down, Kolb threw incomplete. Howard intitially blocked Ware, but then was thrown aside and Ware had a clean shot at Kolb, but doesn’t get a pressure because Ratliff beat him there by half a step. - He was half-beaten three more times on this drive and also had a running play that was blown up by his man.

- Spencer tried to beat him to the outside, but the pass was thrown almost immediately incomplete. - He initially blocked James, but he got off the block almost immediately to chase the ball carrier. The run went the other way and gained 36 yards. - A run was stuffed for one yard as he didn’t sustain his kick-out block on Ware, who was in on the assist. - This run was stuffed for no gain, as he double-teamed Olshansky to set the edge, but a pulling RG missed his block on a linebacker who stuffed the run to end the third quarter. - I think this was a designed QB draw, although Kolb was “sacked”. Howard let Ware to the outside and gave him a big shove upfield as Kolb took off but had nowhere to go. - Howard wasn’t tested in pass protection on this series and had mixed results in the running game.

- The next drive opened with a 48-yard completion, once again on a play-action rollout to the right with Howard having nobody to block. - Kolb lost a yard on another designed QB draw. Howard stayed in front of Ware, but didn’t move him which meant Kolb had nowhere to go. He almost ran right into Ware, but the safety came up to clean it up. - On a short pass to his side, Howard anticipated and countered Ware’s spin move, enabling Kolb to get the throw off. - Kolb was flushed and scrambled for three on third down, so the Eagles had to settle for a field goal. Ware drove him upfield, but Howard recovered to stay in front of him and actually took him down. - This was probably his best series of the game, although that isn’t saying a great deal.

- A run was stuffed for one to open the next drive. He missed his block on Olshansky, who then missed the tackle in the backfield. - Kolb rolled right, as Howard backpedalled to stay in front of Olshansky, but never actually laid his hands on him. - Tried to make a second level block, but didn’t sustain it and then got tripped over, so that the running back tripped over him. The play still gained nine after a fumble was recovered by the Eagles. - Double-teamed Bowen with the left guard and drove him off the line, but the play gained just one. - Another run went for no gain. Howard tried to cut block Bowen, who simply stepped over him and then had a shot at stuffing the runner, but actually tackled his own man instead. - On a play action with Kolb rolling LEFT this time, Howard and the left guard combined to drive Bowen to the right and well out of the play, but Kolb was chased down from behind and sacked as the drive stalled. - On this drive, Howard didn’t make any major mistakes, but there were three running plays where he should perhaps have done better.

- On the last drive, the Eagles got the ball back with just under a minute to go, down 14-13 at their own 20. On first down, Ware blew by Howard on the outside for a sack. After the play, Howard argued with the TE who had leaked into the flat and was perhaps expecting help. - On second down, Ware didn’t get to Kolb, but did shove Howard in the chin, driving him back and spinning him around. - On third down, four rushed and six stayed in to block. Howard had help from his TE and LG. - On fourth down, Kolb threw an interception. Ware was chipped as he tried to go inside and Howard seemed to have him sealed, but even then Ware span off the block and nearly got to Kolb. - Once again, Howard was overmatched in pass protection on this last drive. In all, he was only credited with two sacks and two pressures allowed, but if you include the number of times he was beaten and lucky not to have a pressure because of a quick pass, a slip, or someone getting there first, it was into the high teens. In the running game he had little positive impact and missed several blocks although only a few of these affected the outcome of the play.

Preseason 2011

I did look at some footage from the 2011 preseason to see whether he had made any obvious progress. He was a second stringer for the first game against Baltimore, but was badly beaten inside by Paul Kruger for a sack. Over the next couple of games, he seemed to have been bumped off the second unit, but then he played the second half against the Jets’ third stringers. He was the lead blocker for Graig Cooper’s short third-quarter touchdown run, but this wasn’t particularly impressive, because he let Brashton Satele get off his block, only to miss the tackle at the goal line.

Conclusions

The Dallas game is the ONLY game in which Howard has ever seen extensive action, so it would be completely unfair to make any sweeping generalizations about his abilities based on this, especially when he was facing the best-of-the-best in DeMarcus Ware, who gave him all he could handle.

However, this is also the only concrete information we have to go on, so we can make some observations about what he needed to improve at that stage of his career (10 months ago).

Yes, he did struggle all night in pass protection. No matter who he is, you expect your tackle to get beaten a few times by Ware – as indeed Hunter was. In fact, Ware had over five QB disruptions in every game in the second half of that season. However, the number of times Howard was beaten by Ware was a bit alarming. Had it not been for Kolb getting rid of the ball and his teammates (sometimes saving him and at other times getting beaten sooner than he did, so he wasn’t the one hit with the pressure), this could have been an extremely high number…despite the fact they made a concerted effort to help him.

As I say, though, you expect Ware to get to the quarterback. Looking at everything else Howard did, he still seemed to be very green. His footwork was inconsistent, his decision making got confused when there were stunts, he let guys get off his blocks too easily and when he was in space he didn’t always get his hands on his man well enough.

In trying to look for some positives from this performance, it’s difficult because PFF – who gave him a –4.1 grade for the game – didn’t grade him positively on ANY plays. There were a couple of examples where he did react well to pick up a stunt and one or two where he carried out his assignment in the running game. Considering it was his first ever game and the level of competition, maybe he deserves some credit. It almost reminds me of Colin Baxter’s first game in that respect. I wouldn’t say he reminded me of Vladimir Ducasse, because Ducasse sometimes shows flashes of physical dominance and Howard didn’t really show that, although Howard only looked slightly confused on a couple of plays, whereas Ducasse has had moments in the past where he’s looked totally lost.

What could Howard bring to the Jets? Well, size is definitely one thing. Potential could be another. Also, it’s important to note that ten months have passed since the Dallas game, so – despite the fact he was cut in preseason – maybe he’s progressed while working with the Ravens. It’s not impossible that someone in the Jets’ organization heard rumblings that the Ravens were considering activating Howard and decided to jump the gun and bring him into their system.

This move doesn’t necessarily mean that Howard will be needed to contribute this season. If they’ve been high on Howard, or have heard he’s really progressing, making the move now enables them to get him in their system and ensures they can get him to camp next year. If they are going to use him, the most obvious place would be as a Jumbo package tight end, although based on what I saw in this footage, I’m not sure that he brings the dominance that you might expect from a 330+ pounder in that role.

I know a lot of people are down on the performance of both tackles right now, but I can’t envisage a situation where Howard would replace either of them unless there was an injury. Maybe they just needed a second backup tackle right now because one of the two starters (or maybe Ducasse) is dealing with an injury we don’t know about. I don’t know.

In the game I saw, it was apparent Howard was very raw and I strongly doubt he has moved on that much in the last 10 months. This makes me think that they’ve mostly brought him aboard to develop him in the medium term, but we’ll have to wait and see if they have a role earmarked for him in the meantime.

2012 Preseason

So, that was what I wrote at the time.  As we now know, Howard remained on the bench over the rest of the season, so I was keen to see how he would perform this preseason.  Here's what I wrote about his performance against Cincinnati in week one:

[Getting a good surge together with the right guard on one play as they double teamed a defensive linemen] was probably Howard’s best moment too, although he didn’t make too many costly mistakes.  While, as noted, the Jets did attempt to give their linemen some help in pass protection, Howard held his own for the most part.  He did let his man get away from him on the first play, although that was a designed rollout and short throw where Sanchez was fading safely away from the pressure, so that may have been partially by design.  Conner lined up as an H-back and chip blocked the defensive end, then leaked out into the flat but the play didn’t work as Manny Lawson diagnosed it and came over to make the stop.

After the first unit left the game, Howard remained in but moved over to left tackle, which may be his more natural position.  It’s worth noting that Tebow was in at quarterback, so Howard still wasn’t protecting the blindside.  Howard surrendered one QB hit on a play where Tebow was flushed from the pocket and rolled out and threw the ball away, but on the whole didn’t have any issues staying in front of the edge rushers.

Although only giving up one hit (and maybe a pressure) in almost three quarters of work is pretty good, let’s not get ahead of ourselves on Howard, though.  In last year’s preseason, Wayne Hunter only gave up a sack and four pressures.  I’d caution that something I noticed when I scouted Howard for BGA last year is still a potential issue.  He needs to ensure he keeps his hands on his opponent because elite players will be able to disengage from him and get after the quarterback.  Hopefully he’s been working at that, because although I noticed his man getting separation from him on a couple of occasions, he was much more consistent with this.

Howard also had one bad mental error, committing a false start penalty on third and short.

In the game against the Giants, Howard went back to the bench and played the entire half at left tackle.  Obviously this once again meant he was not protecting the blind side because Tebow was in:

Over at left tackle, Austin Howard didn’t have a very good game either after a positive display with the starters last week.   Howard gave up a sack and two pressures and also got beaten on a play where his man stuffed the runner for a loss.  On one other play he got driven back into the running lane.  The most disconcerting thing of all is that neither Howard or Griffin had any positive moments to balance out their struggles.  Maybe Howard would respond positively to getting more work with the starters, but I am not optimistic that the Jets view him as anything more than an extra blocker with some residual upside.
Clearly Howard hasn't been flawless so far, and it could be said that him getting the job has more to do with Hunter's performance than his own.  However, for a young player, this could be a situation where he could thrive, playing alongside some other talented players.  If the plan is to overcome the issues at right tackle by leaving extra blockers in or making chip blocks, as we've speculated all offseason, then it perhaps makes more sense for a younger and cheaper player to be out there.  This is especially true if the other option is so low on confidence.  They might even be able to get some production from Hunter by moving him into a role in which he's been successful before and where there is less pressure on him.

That's the optimistic viewpoint.  If Howard struggles this weekend and the Jets end up finding a veteran to fill the right tackle position, then Howard's spot on the final roster might not be safe, because it might not make sense to keep both Howard and Hunter - each of whom only play tackle - on the team.  Faced with a choice between the two, there's a chance Hunter would be who they'd go with based on the fact he's had success in an extra tight end role in the past and also - perhaps more importantly - he's the one with a guaranteed salary right now.

We'll be looking forward to seeing how well Austin plays on Sunday night and, of course, will break that down for you in detail on Monday.

Tags: BGA, Editorial Aside, Bent Double

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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Click here to watch Part 1

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( 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."

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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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(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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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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(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."

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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)

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.

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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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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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GEICO SportsNite: New York Jets 00:01:57
Jeane Coakley breaks down the latest from the New York Jets training facility as Quincy Enunwa talks about his new role in the offense.

 (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)
(Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

Despite evidence to the contrary, Jets quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates has been impressed with Christian Hackenberg's passing in minicamp, according to Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News. 

Bates, who previously coached the team's quarterbacks in 2005, likes the precision of Hackenberg's passes thus far at camp. 

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson, who struggled in 2016, said he's ready to rebound this season.

"I want to pretty much have one of my best years ever," Wilkerson said Wednesday, according to the NY Post. "I plan on being dominant."

The 27-year-old Wilkerson, who signed a five-year deal worth $86 million before last season, had 4.5 sacks, 58 tackles, and one forced fumble in 15 games. He had ammassed 12.0 sacks in 2015.

Wilkerson said the leg he broke during the final game in 2015 was strong enough to play on last season, but that it impacted his performance. And he bristled at those who suggested he was mailing it in.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
(Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets QB Christian Hackenberg has been making lots of awful throws this spring -- first during OTAs and again on Tuesday when minicamp began.

A few of the team's beat writers tweeted during OTAs that Hackenberg had been hitting those on the sidelines with errant throws. On Tuesday at minicamp, one of those throws was filmed...

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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New York Jets quarterbacks Josh McCown (15), Christian Hackenberg (5) and Bryce Petty (9) work out during NFL football practice, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets quarterbacks Josh McCown (15), Christian Hackenberg (5) and Bryce Petty (9) work out during NFL football practice, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Josh McCown is still standing in front of Christian Hackenberg for the starting quarterback role. 

Elsewhere, Odell Beckham Jr. speaks, and the Yankees and Mets both have their respective win streaks snapped. 

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:02:02
Darron Lee, Lorenzo Mauldin and Leonard Williams are surprised by the Jets' decision to release David Harris and Eric Decker.

 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

It doesn't seem to make any sense that the Jets are rebuilding and going with young players at every position, but they will almost certainly be led by a 38-year-old quarterback. Everywhere else, the Jets purged their roster of veterans so the young players could get an unimpeded opportunity.

Yet McCown, who has no viable future with the Jets beyond this season, still stands in second-year pro Christian Hackenberg's way.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Jets quarterback Josh McCown said he has been working with younger quarterbacks Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty in the team's mandatory minicamp this week.

The veteran 37-year-old, who signed a one-year deal with the Jets this off-season, said Hackenberg and Petty have often asked him questions as they continue to learn the quarterback position.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Jets DE Sheldon Richardson wasn't afraid to voice his disapproval of the Jets cutting veteran LB David Harris, per Manish Mehta of NY Daily News. 

Jets owner, Woody Johnson, made the call to cut Harris as he looks to shed payroll for the upcoming season. Upon hearing the news, Richardson said what many were most likely thinking. 

"It shocked the s--t out of me," Richardson said. "It is a business. But after a while it don't become a business. Dave wasn't (greedy). I know him, so I know he would have taken something (a fair and reasonable pay cut). I know he wasn't busting nobody over there. He don't want to play for free, either."

Tags: Sheldon Richardson
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 (Jim O'Connor)
(Jim O'Connor)

Former Jets WR Kenbrell Thompkins is among 12 players trying out for the Jets at minicamp Monday, per AP's Dennis Waszak. Jr.

Thompkins, who didn't play in the league last year, spent the 2015 season with the Jets. He played in seven games, hauling in 17 receptions for 165 yards. 

Other notables on the list are former Jaguars RB Denard Robinson, veteran WR Dexter McCluster, and RB Bobby Rainey, who spent time with the Giants last season. 

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Jacksonville Jaguars running back Denard Robinson (16) runs the ball during the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at EverBank Field. (Reinhold Matay)
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Denard Robinson (16) runs the ball during the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at EverBank Field. (Reinhold Matay)

Former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Denard Robinson is trying out with the Jets at minicamp this week, Robinson's agency announced on Twitter Tuesday morning.

Robinson carried the ball 41 times for 144 yards last season, appearing in 14 games for the Jaguars.

In four seasons in the NFL, Robinson has rushed the ball 263 times for 1,058 yards, averaging 4.0 yards per carry, with five touchdowns. The 26-year old back has added 47 receptions for 310 yards, all during the last three years.

The former Michigan quarterback had a tryout with the Bears last month, but left without a contract.

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New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) runs on the field for the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)
New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) runs on the field for the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)

After failing to find a trade partner, the Jets released wide receiver Eric Decker on Monday. 

Elsewhere, the Yankees and Mets continued their winning streaks, and made selections in the MLB Draft, 

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New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams celebrates with defensive end Sheldon Richardson after Richardson's tackle against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium. (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams celebrates with defensive end Sheldon Richardson after Richardson's tackle against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium. (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Steve McLendon

Projected backups: Sheldon Richardson, Lawrence Thomas, Deon Simon

Tags: Deon Simon, Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Steve McLendon
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:01:34
New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins discusses his role in the Jets offense and his mindset heading into camp.

New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. (Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. (Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets released wide receiver Eric Decker on Monday after they were unable to find a team as a trading partner.

"We think very highly of Eric. Our focus right now is seeing our young players, how they do," GM Mike Maccagnan said earlier this week in a press release.

New York had reportedly discussed trading Decker to the Baltimore Ravens among other teams, however were unable to eat enough of Decker's $8.75 million cap hit for 2017 to make the numbers work, according to SNY.tv's Ralph Vacchiano.

Tags: Eric Decker
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Indianapolis Colts running back Jordan Todman returns a kickoff against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. (Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY Sports)
Indianapolis Colts running back Jordan Todman returns a kickoff against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. (Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Jets are expected to sign running back and kick returner Jordan Todman to a contract, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan.

Todman, 27, recorded 59 rushing yards on nine attempts in 16 games last season for the Indianapolis Colts. As a kick returner, he totaled 16 returns for 478 yards, including a 99-yard return for a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in Week 9.

A sixth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, Todman played 33 games with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2012 to 2014 and played 11 games with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015. 

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

The old battle cry from venters that "You can't tell the players without a scorecard" has never felt more appropriate than it does now, heading into the Jets' full-team minicamp. So many familiar names and faces are gone. Really, almost every familiar name and face is gone.

The Jets might want to consider handing out nametags, too.

For better or for worse - and yes, it's likely for worse - the Jets get their first, full look at the purged roster that GM Mike Maccagnan has assembled when their three-day minicamp kicks off on Tuesday morning. They have so much work to do - work that likely won't be completed until 2018, or perhaps later - and so many questions to answer.

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

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starter: Josh McCown

Projected back-ups: Christian Hackenberg, Bryce Petty

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick
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 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

The Jets have announced they have waived LB Randell Johnson.

A seventh-round pick by the Bills in 2014, Johnson didn't record a stat with the Jets last season, only playing in a single game. 

Johnson played two seasons with the Bills, recording five total tackles and one fumble recovery in 15 games. 

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 (Mike Dinovo (USA Today))
(Mike Dinovo (USA Today))

Recently-retired QB Jay Cutler said he 'balked' at the potential of signing quickly with the Jets this offseason before the team signed Josh McCown.

Cutler was contacted by the Jets soon after being released by the Bears but wasn't ready to make up his mind on his next move.

"I kind of balked at that because I didn't really want to jump into anything," Cutler told Adam Schefter of ESPN earlier this week. "Whether they would've offered me a contract or that it would've worked out, I have no idea. That's something the Jets know more than I know."

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Spencer Paysinger heads onto the field before a game against the San Diego Chargers. (AP)
Spencer Paysinger heads onto the field before a game against the San Diego Chargers. (AP)

The Jets have signed former Giants and Dolphins linebacker Spencer Paysingerthe team announced Friday morning.

Paysinger spent the last two years with the Dolphins, appearing in 29 games (three starts) and recording 83 tackles. 

The 6-foot-2, 249 pound Paysinger joined the Giants as an undrafted free agent following the 2011 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons in New York, and was a part of the Super Bowl XLVI championship team.

In his six NFL seasons, Paysinger has played in 91 games (17 starts) and has racked up 157 tackles on defense and 70 more on special teams.

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