Just over two years ago, we all endured a tortuous offseason where it looked like the Jets were going to have to play without their best player. While we tried to keep a brave face on it and remain optimistic, we were all delighted when there was a last minute reprieve, as the Jets managed to sign him to an extension in time for the season opener. Here's what it meant to me at the time:

It’s an emotional moment. This was the article I was hoping to get a chance to write, yet for a long time it looked like that might not happen. Other than potentially one day writing about the Jets winning a Superbowl, this is the most eagerly anticipated article of my TJB “career”… Darrelle Revis is back! They may not have given him the lifetime deal many of us were hoping for, but it’s definitely exciting to be able to add him back to the already formidable Jets defensive lineup.


Unfortunately, now the tables have been turned and we're faced with a situation where the Jets must prepare for life without him and where I have to write the last article I would ever have wanted to. In a similar situation back in 2010, I was forced to begrudgingly write about Jim Leonhard's injury that threatened to derail a promising campaign. I was reasonably optimistic in that article, temporarily making me look foolish when they were blown out that Monday by the Patriots, but in the end the Jets did manage to scheme around the loss and had a pretty successful run in the postseason.

After a few people remarked that they were upset to hear me suggest that the Jets' postseason chances were "bleak" in this week's BGA, I thought I would take a more optimistic approach. After the jump, I'll be looking into how the Jets defense could approach the rest of the season and looking into the past to try and assess their chances of being successful.

Replacing Darrelle Revis

Of course, there's a simple answer here and it's that you can't replace Darrelle Revis. He's the best cornerback in the NFL, so whoever you replace him with isn't going to be as good. However, football is a team sport and he would have been one of 11 Jets players on the field and 53 on the active roster.

In the ongoing discussions about Revis' value in terms of his next contract, it's been debated at length just how valuable the cornerback position is compared to other positions. Is losing the best cornerback in the league as much of a death sentence for a team's chances as losing an elite pass rusher would be? Or an elite receiver? Or a top running back? We're about to find out...and the outcome could have a significant impact on the negotiations for his next deal.

Historical Significance

Looking back over the Rex Ryan era, he's managed to overcome some key losses in the past. I've already mentioned the Jim Leonhard injury, which they overcame mostly by transitioning to a quarters zone scheme and dropping a lot of defensive backs into coverage to make up for the fact that Leonhard was replaced by Eric Smith, who isn't as good in coverage. On a shorter term basis, they've had to deal without Calvin Pace (twice), Bryan Thomas and even Revis himself. There have also been some similar losses on offense, but we'll remain focused on the defense here.

The biggest loss Ryan's defense was able to overcome in his time as Jets head coach was that of Kris Jenkins in 2009. Few people gave them much hope of overcoming that, although I did say this at the time:

Actually sometimes Jenkins penetrates too far and creates a huge gap behind him for counter type plays. At least that won’t happen now! He’s too good for his own good sometimes ... I know I’m clutching at straws, but you gotta have faith, right?


Even though I was half-joking (and got royally mocked for making the comment anyway), there actually proved to be some truth to this. However, the real reason they were able to overcome it was the emergence of Sione Po'uha (then Pouha), who had - until that time - been considered something of a disappointment since being drafted in 2005. Clearly, the Jets can't rely on being saved by a role player suddenly emerging into an elite player (which Po'uha eventually did) in this situation, but at least that does speak positively to Ryan's ability to develop talent and at the same time presents an example of someone being thrown in at the deep end and responding with unexpected success.

Ryan's biggest achievement in terms of overcoming injuries is mentioned in an article about how the Jets can win without Revis, by our friend Melissa from iSports Times:

Ryan faced a similar situation in 2005, his first year as the Baltimore Ravens' defensive coordinator. That season, Ryan lost both linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed for an extended period of time, but his team still finished fifth in the league in both yards per game allowed and points per game allowed.


Another example was discussed by Bassett earlier today:

[Given] a similar situation in 2007, he dropped his safeties into two-deep zone and it “killed him” to do it.


In that season, the Ravens finished with the sixth best defense in the NFL and were still second best against the run, even though they took a safety out of the box.

All of these examples hopefully show that Rex Ryan has a lot of experience in dealing with this type of situation and the flexibility of his system will hopefully give him several different options for how he will proceed without Revis in the lineup.

How about on a league-wide basis, though? Let's revisit (hidden Darrelle reference not intentional) a question I raised earlier about the value of elite players at different positions, but considering some teams who lost elite players in recent years:

- New England lost Tom Brady for the year in 2008 but still went 11-5.

- The Colts lost Peyton Manning for the year last season and ended up with the first pick in the draft.

- The Giants labored through most of last year with Osi Umenyiora out, but went on a run to the Superbowl when he returned to the lineup.

- Elvis Dumervil missed the entire 2010 season and Denver had the worst defense in the league, but returned in 2011 and by the end of the season, they had one of the best defenses.

- The Bears lost Brian Urlacher in Septemeber 2009 and ended up going 7-9.

- Andre Johnson and Mario Williams both missed multiple games last year, but the Texans kept winning until they were down to their third string quarterback.

- Jamaal Charles set records for average yards per carry in 2010, but missed most of the 2011 season and the Chiefs running game dropped to 15th in the league.

Not all of these players are as good as Revis and obviously there are other factors at play, but I think this illustrates that sometimes you can overcome a loss to a big player, whereas sometimes it can really take its toll.

Of course, none of these are cornerbacks...so are there any examples of elite cornerbacks getting injured and the effect it had on that team's season? Well, a 28-year old Deion Sanders missed seven games with groin and hamstring issues in 1995 - missing the pro bowl for the only time during his prime. Dallas survived without him and he returned to lead them to a Super Bowl win. In similar fashion, a 30-year old Champ Bailey also missed seven games in 2008, again missing the pro bowl for the only time during his prime years. This was a season ending injury and the Broncos just ended up 8-8. However, they were only 5-4 with him on the field, so it's not like it completely killed their season. There are also many examples of veteran cornerbacks being signed, sometimes off the street, and contributing on Super Bowl teams - like Hank Poteat, for example. However, none of these were replacing a player of Revis' caliber.

Sanders was always a put-you-over-the-hump guy rather than a player his teams were built around. He enjoyed success with some elite teams that were almost as successful without him. However, Revis has this reputation as a guy on whom the entire defense depends. Is that true, or is that part of an aura the Jets have deliberately created around him, in an effort to either scare teams off throwing his way or, in some cases, dare them to?

I think we need to consider how they've coped without Revis in the past.

Games Without Revis

These were the games where Revis missed the game or a significant part of it during the Rex Ryan era:

2010 - Week 2 v Pats

Revis missed the second half after suffering a hamstring injury at the end of the first half, but the Jets regrouped for a come-from-behind win. Revis had been covering Randy Moss, but in the second half, the Jets put Cromartie on Moss and he shut him down, also intercepting a pass. In the first half, Cromartie had been moving from player to player and had given up a few first downs, which is further evidence for one of my pet theories which is that Cromartie always seems to respond better when he remains on the same player, perhaps because it helps him to get in a rhythm. The Jets plan for the rest of the receivers had mostly been to bracket them at the line. They did put some slot receivers on Aaron Hernandez and he had a big day, but Rob Gronkowski was held to just one catch and Wes Welker's six catches netted just 38 yards.

2010 - Week 3 at Dolphins

In this game, the Jets managed to cling on for a 31-23 win. Cromartie covered Brandon Marshall most of the time and he caught 10 passes for 166 yards. However, a couple of those catches came against Jim Leonhard in zone coverage, including a 40-yarder, so Cromartie - who was thrown at 14 times - wasn't entirely responsible and at least he didn't get beaten deep. The longest play was a 30-yarder because he missed a tackle. Kyle Wilson gave up five catches for 72 yards on five targets and was eventually relegated to number three cornerback - initially for Dwight Lowery, but then Lowery was replaced by Drew Coleman. I actually wrote about their defensive strategy for BGA:

The gameplan coming in was obviously to give their corners plenty of safety support, but still send the occasional blitz. When it became apparent early on that perhaps the secondary was a little overmatched, the amount of pressure sent reduced and they also made some adjustments to personnel (Note: The personnel changes referred to relate to Wilson/Lowery/Coleman as mentioned above).

To some extent the playcalling was reactive rather than trying to set the tone and affecting the other team’s gameplan, which seemed to be the philosophy last year. Miami left 50 backs/tight ends in to block in 53 dropbacks. Contrast this with 14 on 32 dropbacks by the Jets and you can see how Miami’s gameplan was to ensure Henne had time and that they trusted their receivers to get open, even if the Jets had dropped extra players into the secondary.

The Jets countered, not with extra defensive backs, as they did against New England, but by dropping linebackers into coverage and playing more zone. Against New England there were only 5 plays where fewer than 5 DBs were on the field for the Jets, but against Miami there were only 4 DBs in the game for 35 out of 74 plays (just under 50%). Despite the fact there were extra players in to block so often, the Jets weren’t tempted to send two many extra rushers, sending an average of 4.4 pass rushers per play. Against the Ravens, they sent 4.8 pass rushers per play. Obviously one major factor in that is Darrelle Revis.

The defensive playcalling finally paid dividends at the end, with the Jets deciding to rush just three players on the last two plays of the game and being able to prevent Miami from tying the score.

2010 - Week 4 at Bills

This was a comfortable win for the Jets, who dominated the trenches on both sides of the ball, although it was pretty close until just before half-time. At the time, Lee Evans was considered Buffalo's biggest threat and Cromartie stayed on him, holding him to one catch for six yards. Drew Coleman started at the other corner, but Kyle Wilson played most of the game anyway, mostly matched up with Stevie Johnson, who he held to two catches in five targets, although he did get beaten for a meaningless late score. With the Bills not representing much of a passing threat, the secondary held them to an inconsequential 128 yards.

It may also be worth noting that Revis played poorly (by his standards) in the next two games and the Jets won both, so again you can factor than into how often they managed to win without him providing his usual contributions.

2010 - Week 17 v Bills

Another blowout for the Jets and again over the Bills and their lack of a passing threat (as well as being in a meaningless game where the Bills players didn't seem to be particularly motivated and the Jets rested several starters, including Revis). However, this is noteworthy for two reasons. The first is that Kyle Wilson started at cornerback (as did Marquice Cole) and stuck to one side of the field. It's often been suggested that Wilson struggles in the slot because he doesn't have the sideline to give him that added protection like he did in college when he was working on the outside. It was therefore encouraging to see Wilson do well in this role. He gave up just one seven yard catch and held Johnson to no catches on three targets, including one pass breakup. I did note that he was particularly physical on a couple of those plays though and could easily have been flagged by a more fussy official. Cole actually had two interceptions - one for a touchdown - but did give up four catches.

The other interesting thing is that they used four man fronts to rush the passer on passing downs, a plan which they had success with against New England a couple of weeks later. This had a big impact, with the Jets racking up three sacks and nine QB hits. This is relevant because creating more pressure might be one way the Jets can make life easier for the secondary, by reducing how long they need to stay with their man for.

2012 - Week 2 at Steelers

Less than two weeks ago, the Jets suffered their first loss without Revis in the Rex Ryan era. In 2010, the Jets mostly matched up Cromartie with Mike Wallace and that was the case here too, which meant that Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster both had to cover Antonio Brown at times. As I had predicted, although Wilson was the starter, he moved into his customary slot role while the Jets were in their nickel package and Lankster played on the outside. The difference with those two games in 2010 was that the Jets ran more dime and seven DB packages and dropped a lot of guys into coverage, but in this one they played a more conventional system. It was discouraging to note that Cromartie and Wilson gave up ten catches in ten targets between them.

2012 - Week 3 at Dolphins

In last week's game, Revis missed almost exactly half of the defensive snaps following his injury. Once again the Jets were able to come from behind, although once again it was against a team that doesn't offer much of a passing threat. Cromartie was mostly matched up with Brian Hartline and Revis was matched up with the speedier Bess, who certainly had some success after Revis was hurt. Cromartie doesn't match up well with shifty and quick slot receiver types, so that made logical sense. He did get badly beaten by Hartline on one play, but overall played well.

While the Jets didn't really beat any strong teams other than the first game against the Patriots, at least this provides some evidence that they will be capable of winning games even without Revis. Looking at the schedule, there aren't too many elite passing attacks that they will face between now and the end of the season, so there is time for them to tighten up whatever system they decide to implement and for each player to become comfortable within their new role.

Other Sources

Just in case you don't trust my opinion, let's consider what some other analysts and experts have been saying:

- Ben Shpigel of the New York Times notes that Rex has indicated he might take a more aggressive approach- Bassett says the Jets must get penetration up front to allow ease the burden on the secondary.

- Florio predictably agrees with Ross Tucker that the Jets "could implode".

- James Walker says they won't survive.

- Mike Lupica fluctuates between being the voice of reason and throwing them a backhanded compliment that sets up the opportunity to bash the organization if they fail.

- Rex Ryan insists they can still be competitive without him.

- Finally, the First Take crew (plus Snoop Lion) couldn't resist turning the topic around to be about Tim Tebow. *Sigh*.

Also, it's worth recalling back in 2010, when the Football Scientist KC Joyner suggested that Revis is expendable...although we did of course mock him relentlessly for that opinion.

Losing a Star

One thing that always springs to mind in situation like this is Bill Simmons' "Ewing Theory". Whenever a star player goes down, Simmons' theory is that this can sometimes - but sadly not always - galvanize the team. When the media writes off a team because the star player is gone, the team is often forced to change its approach and sometimes that approach works better than the way the team was built to make the most of that player's talents.

Whether you buy into the theory (or one of Simmons' other go-to theories which could also apply - the "Nobody Believed In Us!" effect), there can still be longer term advantages from an injury like this. Po'uha is a good example of this. Would he ever have developed into the player he is today without the opportunity provided to him by Jenkins' injuries? Even if the Jets can't be successful this season, they're going to learn a few things about their team which will all come in useful when Revis is ready to return.

There have been games where Cromartie has given a Revis-type performance and the Jets have won plenty of games without Revis having much of an impact, so in theory they should still be competitive most weeks. However, when you focus on what they're losing, it's not just a guy who can shut down the elite receivers on a more consistent basis than a guy like Cromartie could ever hope to. As he showed in week one, Revis has a knack for the clutch play at exactly the time when the team needs it and I could see that being something that they will miss over the remainder of the season.

While I am hopeful that Cromartie can overcome some of his inconsistency to do pretty well as the number one cornerback, the biggest impact will probably come from the increased playing time that will have to be given to the inexperienced players further down the depth chart. As an example, Cromartie handled Brandon Lloyd pretty well in the Denver game in 2010, as Lloyd was in the form of his career. Him handling Lloyd when the Jets face New England would have freed up Revis to cover guys like Welker and Gronkowski, but now it will be guys like Landry and Wilson who are forced into those roles.

Also, I hate to even mention this possibility, but you also have to wonder where another cornerback injury would leave them.

One underrated aspect of Revis' greatness has been the leadership he has provided in the locker room. He has reportedly been an influential mentor for the likes of Wilson and Lankster over the last couple of seasons. That's one area where Revis could still contribute. Even though if the Jets are successful without him that might hurt Revis' bargaining position in terms of a new contract, I would hope that Revis would consider that doing this sort of thing gives them value for money and would be a show of good faith in terms of his commitment to the team.

Salary implications

The implications on Darrelle's current salary are pretty straightforward. His salary is fully guaranteed anyway and has already been accounted for on this year's cap. So, he will still receive it even if he goes onto injured reserve and it will all count against the cap. More of an issue is the implications for his contract extension, which is expected following the season.

Next year, Revis has a salary of $6m which is guaranteed for skill but not injury. As long as he doesn't hold out, he will become a free agent at the end of the 2013 season, so the Jets will be keen to extend him before that date - especially since a $9m dead money cap hit would apply at that point.

The injury could affect certain things in terms of the deal. For example, the Jets might be reluctant to fully guarantee money until they are certain he will be fully recovered. At the same time, some have suggested that Revis' bargaining position will improve if the Jets struggle without him. However, if the Jets' depth and talent level without Revis proves insufficient, then maybe that means that the Jets would be better served in spreading their resources wider rather than dedicating so much of their salary to the cornerback position. Also, if the Jets are successful without him, that could make it easier for them to let him go or trade him away without fear of a public backlash.

With next year's salary not fully guaranteed and the Jets also keen to get the deal done before next year is over, both sides have reason to make concessions in the short term. With Revis no longer on the field this year, maybe that could provide an opportunity to negotiate without any risk of a distraction - perhaps even behind closed doors - and it certainly puts the Jets in a situation where they can generate some goodwill by showing a commitment to Revis even though he's hurt.

Conclusions

It's difficult to predict what will happen over the remainder of the season. The Jets have not looked good over the last two games, but did show some promise in week one. Maybe it should be viewed as a different situation to the Jenkins and Leonhard injuries which were seen to have derailed promising seasons. I'm not sure as many people were sold on them as a potential contender prior to the Revis injury.

Revis is - of course - a tremendous talent, but he is just one player and the Jets do have some other talented players in the secondary, which may not have coalesced completely in the games with Revis missing so far. Somebody - or bodies - is (or are) going to have to step up for this team to still be successful. It's also a big test for Ryan's coaching acumen too.

Earlier this week, Mike DeVito said the Jets thrive on people doubting them. With that in mind, I'd like to categorically state that there is no hope of them contending without Revis in the line-up.

Now let's get behind our team.

We're going to send your messages of support to Darrelle at the end of this week. Please visit here and leave your messages.

Tags: BGA, Editorial Aside, Bent Double

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)

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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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