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

Should the Jets trade down? 00:03:02
The Daily News Live crew discusses whether or not the Jets should trade down so they can acquire more draft picks.

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets were so intent on acquiring more draft picks that just three weeks ago Mike Maccagnan insisted the Jets were "open for business every round."

Now it sounds like he means every round except the first.

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QB Mitch Trubisky highlights 00:01:06
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays of former UNC quarterback and NFL Draft prospect Mitch Trubisky.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

One year after using a second-round pick on quarterback Christian Hackenberg, Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said he "potentially" could draft a quarterback again. And no, he insisted, that wouldn't mean he's admitting a mistake on Hackenberg.

It would just be another step in the long process of finding "the right quarterback for this team."

"I don't think taking a player at one position is a referendum on another player," Maccagnan said on a conference call with reporters on Friday afternoon. "I think the goal is to put together best roster you can. Of course quarterback is a very, very important position in this process. But I wouldn't necessarily view it as a referendum."

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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DeShone Kizer highlights 00:01:19
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays from former Notre Dame quarterback and NFL Draft prospect DeShone Kizer.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Only time will tell if the Jets are serious about taking a quarterback in the first-round of the draft, but in the meantime they certainly are doing their homework.

The latest proof of that is the NFL Network report that they've already held a private workout with DeShone Kizer, the Notre Dame quarterback considered to be one of the top three quarterback prospects in the draft. That explains why Jets GM Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles skipped Notre Dame's Pro Day on Thursday and were both at Ohio State's Pro Day instead.

The Jets also have a private workout scheduled with North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who revealed that "secret" to reporters at his own Pro Day earlier this week. And while it's not known if the Jets plan to do the same with Clemson's DeShaun Watson, it seems likely that they will...

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 (Brian Spurlock)
(Brian Spurlock)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The NFL's free-agent signing period is open, so bookmark this page and keep checking back for frequent updates on what the Jets are doing with their own free agents and with free agents from other teams, and for updates on their available salary cap space and contract numbers.

JETS SALARY CAP SPACE

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Brian Bassett is joined by SNY Analyst and former New York Jet Willie Colon for an all-new podcast, as they cover all the angles of the Jets rebuild - including Josh McCown, the future at running back, the state of the defense, and whether or not Todd Bowles will be around to see it all through.

Click below to listen!

 

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Marshon Lattimore highlights 00:00:35
SNY.tv takes a look at the highlights of Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

One day after sending a large contingent to North Carolina to watch quarterback Mitch Trubisky at his Pro Day, the Jets rolled out their big guns for the Pro Day at Ohio State.

General Manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles were both in attendance at the Buckeyes Pro Day, according to reports out of Columbus, Ohio, along with representatives of every other NFL team -- including Giants scouting director Marc Ross. Maccagnan and Bowles were surely taking a close look at cornerback Marshon Lattimore and safety Malik Hooker -- two strong candidates for the Jets to take with the sixth overall pick in the draft.

And for what it's worth, they chose a trip to Columbus over a trip to South Bend, Ind., where Notre Dame was holding its Pro Day on Thursday. The star of the Fighting Irish showcase was another quarterback -- DeShone Kizer -- who could go in the first round (though likely not as high as 6)...

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 (Kyle Terada)
(Kyle Terada)

WR Quinton Patton has signed with the Jets, the team annnounced Thursday.

He had visited with the team this past weekend.

Last season, Patton recorded 37 catches for 408 yards with the 49ers.

Tags: Charone Peake, Quincy Enunwa
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Jamal Adams highlights 00:01:05
SNY.tv takes a look at the highlights of LSU safety Jamal Adams.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Now that the big-money part of NFL free agency is over, teams have begun increasingly focusing on the NFL draft, and their first-round targets are becoming a little clearer. So here's SNY's weekly look at the top players on board for the Jets as they prepare to make the sixth overall pick of the NFL draft on April 27:

1.) S Jamal Adams, LSU - From the beginning, I've been focused on a cornerback for the Jets in this spot and Marshon Lattimore sure is a possibility (see below). But after free agency, it's clear that safety is the Jets' biggest unfulfilled need. No, they didn't do big things at corner either, but they have young players they liked and they added some potential in Morris Claiborne. At safety, though, they don't have much after striking out on Tony Jefferson in free agency. Calvin Pryor is in the last year of his contract and Marcus Gilchrist could be a salary cap casualty after the season. The 6-foot, 214-pound Adams is the best at his position in the draft and could be the leader of the Jets' secondary for years. (Last report: 2)...

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Oakland Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera (81) against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Oakland Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera (81) against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

TE Mychal Rivera has agreed to terms with the Jaguars, reports Jeff Darlington of ESPN.

Rivera visted the Jets on Monday, according to Peter Schrager of Fox Sports.

Rivera caught 18 passes for 192 yards and one touchdown in 13 games with Oakland last season. 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson took to Instagram to refute a recent report that he is out of shape. 

In a video posted to his Instagram story, Wilkerson is seen running on a treadmill while sarcastically responding about his conditioning. 

"They say I'm fat and out of shape," he said. "Ha-ha. Keep sleeping on me. I'm telling you."

Wilkerson was referencing an article by the Daily News' Manish Mehta from last week. In the piece, Mehta quotes unnamed scouts who said the 27-year-old looked out of shape when he attended the Temple Pro Day in Philadelphia.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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Alabama Crimson Tide tight end O.J. Howard (88) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Clemson Tigers during the third quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. (Kirby Lee)
Alabama Crimson Tide tight end O.J. Howard (88) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Clemson Tigers during the third quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. (Kirby Lee)

Mel Kiper's third Mock Draft for ESPN has the Jets selecting Alabama tight end O.J. Howard with the sixth overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

Kiper notes that if the Jets are going to go with Josh McCownBryce Petty, and Christian Hackenberg at quarterback, they are going to need someone to catch passes, and at 6-foot-6, 251 pounds, Howard is Kiper's top-ranked pass-catcher. While his numbers were not staggering at Alabama, Howard "has all of the athletic attributes of a top-tier player, though, and he was one of the most impressive prospects at the combine."

Howard caught 45 passes for 595 yards and three touchdowns last season. In his four years at Alabama, the 22-year old accumulated 114 receptions for 1,726 yards and seven touchdowns.

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DNL on new Jets quarterback 00:02:51
The Daily News Live panel breaks down the Jets new man under center, journeyman quarterback and ex-Brown, Josh McCown.

The Daily News Live panel breaks down the Jets new man under center, journeyman quarterback and ex-Brown, Josh McCown. 

 


Weighing the Jets QB options 00:01:15
Ralph Vacchiano on the Jets' quarterback quandary after signing Josh McCown.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

One day after signing veteran quarterback Josh McCown, the Jets' search for their quarterback of the future continued in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The Jets had a group of scouts and coaches -- reportedly including new quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates -- in attendance there on Tuesday for the University of North Carolina's Pro Day, where the star attraction was Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky. And they're interested enough in the 22-year-old that Trubisky told reporters the Jets have set up a private workout with him, too.

The Jets currently are slated to pick sixth in the upcoming NFL draft and Trubisky and Clemson's Deshaun Watson are the only quarterbacks most NFL scouts and talent evaluators consider to be potential Top 10 picks. Some don't think any of the quarterbacks are Top 10 worthy, which means they could be available if the Jets decide to trade down.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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GEICO SportsNite: Josh McCown 00:01:28
Taylor Rooks talks with SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano on the Jets signing veteran quarterback Josh McCown.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Josh McCown is not the New York Jets' quarterback of the future, but neither were any of the other quarterbacks available on the free-agent market. There was no ideal answer to the Jets' biggest question.

But McCown is the perfect player to get them closer to the answers they need.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Eli Manning, Ryan Fitzpatrick
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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The No. 1 priority for the Jets heading into this offseason was unquestionably to find a quarterback. Nothing else came close. Without a quarterback, nothing else really mattered. The Jets were desperate.

Or so we all thought.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports Images)
(Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports Images)

Writer/director Spike Lee said it's "fishy" that free agent QB Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned, mentioning the Jets among the teams that could use Kaepernick.

"The New York J-E-T-S Need A Quarterback," Lee wrote on Instagram. "Who Is The J-E-T-S Quarterback? Is My Man Joe Willie Namath Coming Back? Crazy Times We Live In."

Lee, who recently had brunch with Kaepernick, added that Kaepernick being unsigned "stinks to the high heavens."

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Chase Daniel (10) runs past New York Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Chase Daniel (10) runs past New York Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

Free agent quarterback Chase Daniel will visit with the Jets on Monday, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed.

Last Monday, Daniel asked the Eagles for his release after they traded for veteran QB Nick Foles.

The 30-year-old backup quarterback visited with the Saints over the weekend, but left New Orleans without a deal.

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GEICO SportsNite: McCown 00:00:53
After reports that QB Josh McCown left his visit with the Jets without a contract, Ray Lucas discusses if signing the veteran is a fit.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

The Jets' latest search for their quarterback of the future could be nearing a temporary conclusion. And if it is, they'll have yet another short-term answer to the franchise's biggest problem.

Josh McCown, a 37-year-old journeyman free agent, continued his visit with the Jets for a second day on Saturday, according to an NFL source. The two sides are serious enough about each other that they've discussed contract parameters, the source said. Indications were that his visit was going very well.

That seems to position McCown as the leader of the dwindling pack of Jets' quarterback options. The Jets are also interested in former Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, according to a source, and though he was expected to be brought in for a visit that has not happened yet. A team source confirmed the Jets have no interest in ex-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and beyond that the market is extremely thin.

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CB Morris Claiborne has signed with the Jets, the team announced. 

It will be a one-year deal worth $5 million, according to multiple reports.

The 27-year-old Claiborne had 26 tackles and one interception in seven games last season for the Cowboys.

Tags: Buster Skrine, Juston Burris, Marcus Williams
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On the latest edition of Timeout with Taylor Rooks, former Jets QB Geno Smith sits down with Taylor to discuss his time with the Jets and his decision to join the Giants.

"I will always kind of have that regret because I wanted to do so many things for that franchise.....I'm not a quitter, I don't like to lose and I don't like to give up on things. Sometimes in business you have to go your separate ways."

Click below to listen...

 

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown (13) scrambles away from Baltimore Ravens defensive end Chris Canty (99) during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Ken Blaze)
Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown (13) scrambles away from Baltimore Ravens defensive end Chris Canty (99) during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Ken Blaze)

Free agent QB Josh McCown will visit the Jets on Friday and Saturday, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed. 

McCown, 37, recently visited with the Cowboys.

He completed 90 passes for 165 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions in five games last season for the Browns...

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Geno Smith
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Smart or Disappointing 00:02:19
Marc Malusis and Dan Graca discuss if the jets had a smart or disappointing off season

Marc Malusis and Dan Graca discuss if the jets had a smart or disappointing offseason.

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Jets making right moves in FA? 00:03:37
The Daily News Live panel debates whether or not the Jets have been right in their approach to free agency so far this offseason.

The Daily News Live panel debates whether or not the Jets have been right in their approach to free agency so far this offseason.


 (Mark Hoffman)
(Mark Hoffman)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets claimed defensive tackle Mike Pennel off waivers in February, only to let him go a month later. Now they are bringing him back again.

The 25-year-old Pennel has signed a one-year deal with the Jets, his agent, Andy Simms, confirmed on Twitter. The former Green Bay Packer will be in the mix this summer to make the team on the Jets' crowded defensive line.

Pennel was once seen as a promising player. The 6-4, 332-pounder even started five games with the Packers in 2015. But his career took a bad turn last season when he was suspended twice -- for the first four games and then the last four games -- for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy...

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Let me get you started with the questions, because I know the big one that's on everybody's mind:

Q: What are the Jets going to do at quarterback?

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 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Quincy Enunwa's breakout year was another example of how the former sixth-round pick has exceeded expectations. And in the NFL, young players get compensated for doing that.

To no one's surprise, the 24-year old receiver led the Jets in performance-based compensation from the NFL for the second straight season, pocketing another $327,637 for his 58-catch, 857-yard season. The annual bonus distribution is a way for the NFL and NFL Players Association to make sure that lower-salaried players are compensated for excellent performances, without counting against a team's salary cap.

In 2015, Enunwa pocketed nearly $300,000 in performance-based pay, giving him about $625,000 in bonuses for the last two seasons. His salaries for those two seasons were slightly more than $850,000 combined, so his bonuses equated to about 74 percent of his base pay...

Tags: Ben Ijalana, Rontez Miles, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (88) carries the ball ahead of San Francisco 49ers strong safety Antoine Bethea (41) during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium. The New York Jets defeated the San Francisco 49ers 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (88) carries the ball ahead of San Francisco 49ers strong safety Antoine Bethea (41) during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium. The New York Jets defeated the San Francisco 49ers 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Jets TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been suspended by the NFL for two games for violating the league's substance abuse policy, the team announced. 

Late last September, Seferian-Jenkins was arrested for a DUI charge and was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Three days later, the Jets claimed him off waivers. 

In seven games with the Jets, he recorded 10 catches for 110 yards. 

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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Aug 19, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) looks on from the sidelines against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field.  (Brad Mills (USA Today))
Aug 19, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) looks on from the sidelines against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field. (Brad Mills (USA Today))

A Pittsburgh judge has dismissed all charges against former Jets CB Darrelle Revis.

According to reports, Revis' childhood friend appeared before the judge with his attorney and said he pulled the accusers off Revis and punched them.

Pittsburgh police charged Revis with four felonies, including two counts of aggravated assault, one count of robbery, one count of conspiracy/aggravated assault and one count misdemeanor count of making terroristic threats for the incident that took place in the early morning hours of Feb. 12.

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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 (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets are looking for a versatile third running back and kick returner and had made an offer to Travaris Cadet, but he has chosen to remain with the Saints, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Cadet was also weighing an offer from the Bills.

A 6-foot-1, 210-pounder, Cadet -- who visited with the Jets this past weekend -- has spent most of his five NFL seasons with the Saints. He had 40 catches and four receiving touchdowns for New Orleans last year, where new Jets offensive coordinator John Morton was the receiving coach...

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Dont'a Hightower returns to Pats 00:02:26
The Daily News Live team talks about Dont'a Hightower's decision to re-sign with the defending-champion Patriots rather than the Jets.

Free agent LB Dont'a Hightower has returned to the Patriots, signing a four-year, $43.5 million deal that includes a $19 million signing bonus.

The 27-year-old All-Pro visited the Jets on Monday and the Steelers on Tuesday. 

There were reports that New York was among the highest bidders for Hightower's services, reportedly offering him more than $12 million per year.

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 (Daniel Powers (USA Today))
(Daniel Powers (USA Today))

Update: 

The Jets have offered free agent LB Dont'a Hightower more than $12 million per year, according to Bleacher Report's Jason Cole.

Jason La Confora reported yesterday that the Jets had offered the most money for Hightower. La Confora said that the 27-year-old was not inclined to take New York's offer.

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 (Steven Senne/AP)
(Steven Senne/AP)

In today's Jets mailbag, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano weighs in on the quarterback situation, the possibility of tanking, and the Jets' potential pitch to Dont'a Hightower...


Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Is it worth the #Jets going after a Brock Osweiler or Chase Daniel if other teams are on the hook for their salaries? -- @MiniHulk5

If you mean that's because their prices will be lower, I wouldn't worry about that. Yes, Osweiler and Daniel are already making money this season from their old teams, so perhaps they'd be willing to take less from their new one. But really, how high is their value going to be anyway? Right now I only count four teams without a starting quarterback - the Jets, Browns, Texans, and 49ers. The Texans are probably going to get Tony Romo and the other two are drafting 1-2 in April...

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Minnesota Vikings fullback Zach Line (48) catches a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the preseason NFL football game at TCF Bank Stadium. (Bruce Kluckhohn)
Minnesota Vikings fullback Zach Line (48) catches a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the preseason NFL football game at TCF Bank Stadium. (Bruce Kluckhohn)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Looking to bolster their rushing attack - which might be especially important if they end up with an inexperienced quarterback - the Jets are bringing in fullback Zach Line for a free-agent visit.

The 26-year-old Line, who played the last four seasons for the Vikings, is expected to arrive in Florham Park, N.J., on Wednesday. He had been the Vikings' primary fullback the last two seasons. In 2016, the Vikings had the NFL's worst rushing attack, though that was largely due to the absence of running back Adrian Peterson. In 2015, they ranked fourth in the league as Peterson rushed for 1,485 yards.

The Jets did not have a true fullback on their roster last season, though they still ranked 12th in the NFL in rushing behind Matt Forte and Bilal Powell.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Matt Forte, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 11, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Howard Jones (95) in action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Philadelphia Eagles won 17-9.  (Bill Streicher (USA Today))
Aug 11, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Howard Jones (95) in action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Philadelphia Eagles won 17-9. (Bill Streicher (USA Today))

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Howard Jones, a defensive end who can play linebacker in a 3-4 defense and who spent the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will make a free-agent visit to the Jets on Friday, an NFL source confirmed.

The visit, reported by ESPN, will be a chance for the Jets to check on his rehabilitation from a torn ACL that limited him to just eight games last season. In 2015, before he got hurt, he showed a lot of promise with five sacks in 12 games, including five starts. He had two sacks that season in his NFL debut.

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Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) on the field during the game against the St. Louis Rams at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman)
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) on the field during the game against the St. Louis Rams at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

The free-agent market has thinned out a bit, but the Jets still have plenty of holes to fill. Yes, they still need a quarterback. But they have many other needs, too.

The good news is they still have a decent amount of salary-cap space and there is still help available. Here's a look at some of the non-quarterbacks still on the market who could be a fit:

CB Morris Claiborne (Cowboys) - The former sixth-overall pick (2012), he was long considered a bust before he began to finally play up to expectations last season - right up until he injured his groin. He's still only 27 and as the Jets begin a youth movement in the secondary it might be worth giving him a chance to prove his start last season wasn't a fluke. They'd need to move fast, though, since word is he could soon end up with the Ravens.

Tags: Darrelle Revis, Darron Lee, David Harris, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Patriots still tormenting Jets 00:02:49
The Daily News Live crew discusses how the Patriots are dominating the Jets in every aspect this offseason.

The Daily News Live crew discusses how the Patriots are dominating the Jets in every aspect this offseason.


Corey Griffin and Brian Bassett are back with a new podcast, and for the Jets, it's been a few weeks of out with the old, and in with the…well, not much. The guys say goodbye to Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall, and Nick Folk, and look ahead to what comes next as the Jets look to re-build around QB TBD.

Click below to listen!

 

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 (Bill Streicher)
(Bill Streicher)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets don't seem to be in any hurry to figure out their starting quarterback for 2017 and they are "considering all options," according to a source. At the moment there are many. None of them are great.

But Jay Cutler does appear to be up near the top of their list.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Geno Smith
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Dont'a Hightower (Daniel Powers/USA TODAY Sports)
Dont'a Hightower (Daniel Powers/USA TODAY Sports)

Latest Updates (Mar. 13)

4:25 p.m.: The Jets concluded their visit with free agent LB Dont'a Hightower on Monday afternoon.

11:10 a.m.: After visiting the Jets, Hightower is scheduled to visit the Steelers, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

 

Tags: Darron Lee, David Harris, Ralph Vacchiano
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GEICO SportsNite: Cutler to NY? 00:02:51
Ralph Vacchiano breaks down the latest on the New York Jets and Giants in free agency.

The Jets have called to express interest in free agent QB Jay Cutler, who was released by the Bears last week, reports SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

Cutler, 33, completed 81 of 137 passes for 1,059 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions in five games last season for the Bears while dealing with two separate injuries.

He threw for 3,659 yards in 2015 to go along with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Geno Smith
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

The Jets sat on the sidelines during the first few days of the NFL's free-agent frenzy, choosing to avoid some of the crazy contracts being thrown around. But they have done some spending, re-signing a few of their own players and bringing in a new left tackle and a new kicker.

So what's next? Well, the biggest question of all still hangs over the Jets since they don't yet know who their starting quarterback will be in 2017. Pretty much every other question pales in comparison to that one, and they don't appear much closer to answering it right now.

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 (Matt Kartozian)
(Matt Kartozian)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV: 

The Jets still haven't ruled out bringing Geno Smith back to compete for their starting quarterback job next season. But the Giants may be taking a shot at him first.

Smith, the former Jets second-round pick, is making a free agent visit across town to the Giants on Saturday afternoon, an NFL source confirmed. The Giants are in the market for a backup to Eli Manning, with both Josh Johnson and Ryan Nassib currently unrestricted free agents.

A big part of the visit, according to one source, is so the Giants can get a sense for where the 26-year-old Smith is in his recovery from the torn ACL he suffered last October in his lone start last season with the Jets. In a recent interview with NFL Network, Smith said he was on track to be ready for the start of training camp in July, but likely wouldn't be ready for football activities before that.

Tags: Geno Smith, Ralph Vacchiano
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Kelvin Beachum started 15 games last season for Jacksonville (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)
Kelvin Beachum started 15 games last season for Jacksonville (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY: The Jets are still searching for a quarterback, but now they have someone who can protect his blindside.

Taking their first dip in this year's free-agent pool, the Jets signed former Jaguars left tackle Kelvin Beachum on Friday night. He figures to immediately become the starter on the left side, taking the place of the Ryan Clady/Ben Ijalana combo the Jets used last season.

The Jets also filled two other key vacancies on Friday night when they signed former Arizona Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro, who replaces the recently released Nick Folk, and they re-signed long-snapper Tanner Purdum.

Beachum (6 foot 3, 308 pounds) was the big get for the Jets. A former seventh-round pick of the Steelers, he was on his way to becoming one of the best left tackles in the NFL before he tore his ACL during the 2015 season. He proved his recovery, though, by starting 15 games at left tackle for the Jaguars last year.

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Jets outlook for 2017 00:03:24
The Daily News Live panel wonders if the Jets have already given up on the 2017 season given the current makeup of the team.

Maccagnan's seat warming up? 00:02:42
Jon Hein and Dan Graca discuss if Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan should be on the hot seat as the Jets enter free agency.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV

The first few hours of the NFL's free-agent frenzy didn't clear up the Jets' quarterback question, but the landscape changed a bit and may have increased their options. Jay Cutler, as expected, is now available. And Brock Osweiler, unexpectedly, is available too.

So what are the Jets doing and who are they looking at, and do they have any idea who their quarterback will be in 2017?

Here's a look at their current options, just a few hours after the market opened with the Jets standing relatively still:

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Jets lack of free agent activity 00:03:06
Jon Hein and Dan Graca debate just how depressing the first day of free agency has been for the New York Jets and their fan base.

Free agent RB Benny Cunningham  met with the Jets on Friday, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano reports.

The 26-year-old appeared in 11 games last season with the Rams, rushing 21 times for 101 yards.

Cunningham signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2013 and has spent his entire career with the St. Louis/Los Angeles franchise.

Since debuting in 2013, he's carried the ball 171 times for 748 yards and four touchdowns in 57 career games with the Rams.

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Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) fumbles the ball after being sacked by New York Jets linebacker Corey Lemonier (44) and New York Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) fumbles the ball after being sacked by New York Jets linebacker Corey Lemonier (44) and New York Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Jets have re-signed LB Corey Lemonier, the team announced Thursday night.

The 25-year-old was claimed off waivers from the Lions on Dec. 26 and appeared in New York's Week 17 game against the Bills.

Lemonier has appeared in 51 career games since he was selected by the 49ers in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft.

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Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Jets linebacker Josh Martin (95) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports (Mark J. Rebilas)
Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Jets linebacker Josh Martin (95) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports (Mark J. Rebilas)

The Jets have re-signed LB/ST Josh Martin to a two-year, $4.3 million deal, the team announced Thursday night.

The fourth-year pro played in a career-high 15 games for New York last season, primarily on special teams.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV

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