On Monday, the Jets signed free agent cornerback Aaron Berry to a two-year contract, having worked out Berry and three other cornerbacks last week (including Darrin Walls, who went onto the practice squad). Jets fans might not know too much about Berry, so I’ve been looking at game footage in detail to investigate what he could bring to the table.

Berry was a free agent, so assuming he received a standard deal with little or no guaranteed money, there is no requirement to keep him on the team for any length of time if he isn't working out. He was released by the Detroit Lions in preseason after getting arrested twice in one month on gun charges. While I won't be dedicating any time to that aspect of his character, it's apparent he has some baggage. However, he might have some talent too, so if he's now on the straight and narrow, then it's plausible the Jets might have found themselves a bargain. Berry was suspended for the first three weeks of the season, so only became available last week. However, it may take him some time to get into NFL shape, or at least into enough of a rhythm to contribute on gamedays at the NFL level.

After the jump, I look in detail at footage from Berry's first two seasons in the league to evaluate some of his strengths and weaknesses.

Who is Aaron Berry?

Berry went to college at Pittsburgh and went undrafted following some injury concerns. He spent preseason in 2010 with the Detroit Lions and impressed so much that he ended up in the starting lineup (as a third corner) on opening day, although he would suffer a shoulder injury that day and miss the rest of the season. In 2011, he played a pretty big role with the Lions, starting three games and receiving significant reps in most of the others. Berry isn't big - listed at 5-11, 180 - but certainly has better size than Isaiah Trufant. He actually measured just 5-9 and three-eighths at his Pro Day, where he did post good numbers, including a 4.47 forty, 36-inch vertical, broad jump of over 10 feet and a sub-four second short shuttle.

Bassett asked Ty Schalter from Lions in Winter for some insight on twitter and Ty shared this:

Very physical outside man coverage guy. Isn't all-world, inconsistent downfield, but much better than people realize ... I often compared him to Cortland Finnegan before CF became everyone's new favorite Best Corner Ever last week (?!?)


Some pretty lofty praise there, so it does sound like he has some promise to at least be serviceable.

The first thing to note about Ty's comments is that he calls Berry an "outside man cover guy". Sure, enough, in 2011, he only played nine snaps (out of 478) in the slot. However, the Jets might need someone who can play in the slot, because when they go to a nickel package, they have preferred to use Wilson in that role, rather than Ellis Lankster, so they may not see Lankster as a slot option. The good news is that all of Berry's 2010 reps were in the slot. Having said that, he only played half of one game, so it's not like he has a ton of experience there.

Let's look at his numbers from his career so far:

The Numbers

Two seasons

13 games

Four starts

504 snaps

40 tackles (39 solo)

Two missed tackles

Coverage numbers: 35-for-56, 442 yards, one TD, one INT and six passes defensed

Completion percentage: 62.5%

Yards per attempt: 7.9

QB rating: 85.6

One special teams tackle

Four penalties (one holding, one neutral zone, one interference, one offsides on a kickoff)

2010 Season

As noted, Berry started the first game, but suffered a season ending shoulder injury during it. He was on the field for 26 snaps:

Week 1 - at Chicago

- On the very first play of his career, he lined up in the slot and came up to trip Matt Forte in the hole for a short gain, showing some run stopping ability.

- Later in the first quarter, on 3rd and 20, he intercepted a pass and returned it into Bears territory. This was an unconventional play, as he lined up opposite the slot receiver, but just dropped off into a zone and a throw across the middle was tipped into the air and then batted right to him by another defender. He showed some quickness on the return.

- On the first play of the second quarter, he made another good play against the run. Again he came across from the slot to stuff a run up the middle.

- Later on in the second quarter, he was targeted on a throw down the seam to Devin Aromashodu that went for a 21-yard gain. He again dropped off into what seemed like zone coverage and Aromashodu made the catch in behind him as the safeties were backed off too far, so that may not have been his fault.

- Finally, a few plays later, he was taken out of the play by a pulling lineman on a screen pass.

2011 Season

Week 1 – at Tampa Bay

- In kick coverage midway through the first quarter, he took a step too far to the inside, creating a seam, although he did show good speed to hustle back and get the angle on the return man, who was stopped at about the 30.

- Into the second quarter, he lined up on the outside, but the Bucs motioned the receivers and bunched them together in an effort to confuse the Lions on 3rd down. Berry backed off and Preston Parker ran a corner pattern and got a step for 18 yards on an accurately delivered pass to the sideline.

- Late in the half, with the Bucs needing to go 80 yards in 1:16, his man came back for the ball and made a diving catch downfield for 14. Berry made a rookie mistake here, allowing the receiver to roll out of bounds before he touched him.

- He made up for it with nine seconds left and the Bucs at the 13 yard line, breaking up a pass in the end zone, forcing them to settle for a field goal. However, this was a terrible missed call by the officials as he never looked back for the ball and drove his shoulder into the receiver's chest well before the ball arrived.

- Into the fourth quarter, he made an aggressive play to come and tackle the receiver in the flat, but missed the tackle and allowed him to pick up the first down.

- A few plays later, he gave up another 13 yard catch on an out pattern. He was 10 yards off his man at the snap and gave him far too much cushion.

- Two plays later, he was playing press coverage at the line, got contact to slow him and drove him out towards the sideline, staying with him stride for stride as the pass never had a chance of being completed. That was excellent, physical coverage, although the receiver once again was appealing for a flag.

- With 1:40 to go, the Bucs – down 14 – had 4th and three at the five. Berry was in single coverage on his man, backed off to the goal line at the snap and the Bucs targeted him for a touchdown, on an inside route to the back of the end zone. Again, Berry didn’t do a good job of getting his head turned around. Overall, he was victimized eight times for 77 yards on ten targets.

- The Bucs did get the ball back, but were forced to attempt a crazy multi-lateral play in the final seconds. Berry himself iced the win by falling on a wayward toss at his 42.

Week 2 – v Kansas City

- Early in the second quarter, he came off the edge as the Chiefs ran a draw play on 3rd and six. Although he missed the tackle, it forced the runner inside and he came up a yard shy.

- On the next drive, he made a great read on 3rd and three and came off his man to prevent Dexter McCluster from getting outside on a screen pass, then closed well to tackle him for a one yard loss as he tried to turn upfield.

- In the second half, there was one play where Dwayne Bowe beat him for a first down on 3rd and 8. Berry had help to the inside, so was playing outside technique and Bowe ran a good route with a sharp inside cut to get Berry on his back.

In Week 3, Berry only played 15 snaps and was targeted once (an incompletion). He did not play in week 4.

Week 5 – v Chicago

- In the fourth quarter, Berry was a bit over-aggressive with his jam in press coverage and was called for a hold, negating a sack.

- Two plays later, he gave too much cushion to Johnny Knox, who cut off his route downfield and made a sideline catch for 13.

- Later on the same drive, Matt Forte lined up out wide and made a diving catch on a similar route. This time Berry closed on the ball a bit better, but it was still just out of his reach.

- A few more plays later, he broke well on the ball as Dane Sanzenbacher cut his route to the inside and broke up the pass superbly. Chicago, down 11, had to settle for a field goal.

- In the last minute with Detroit once again up by 11, he backed right off his man to give up an easy seven yard catch, but closed quickly to push his man out of bounds.

In Week 6, against the 49ers, he played 21 snaps and was again just targeted once, on an incompletion. This was on a throw to the pylon where Michael Crabtree was ruled to have come down out of bounds. Berry was in press coverage and was again pretty physical down the field and could have been called for pass interference because he had two hands on the receiver as the ball was in the air, although Crabtree kind of pushed him off at the same time. After a review, the play stood, but Berry was perhaps lucky that it wasn’t a touchdown or a penalty.

Week 7 – v Atlanta

- On an early 3rd and two, he jumped a route on a quick throw to the inside and almost picked the ball off. As he jumped in front of Harry Douglas, there was contact before the ball arrived, but on this occasion, Berry was driving on the ball and probably entitled to that space.

- Later in the first, he gave up a first down to Roddy White on 3rd and 12, as he gave him too much of a cushion and wasn’t able to close fast enough with White catching the ball in stride and diving beyond the marker.

- Into the fourth quarter, the Falcons had 4th and two and the Lions – down by four – may have expected the Falcons to try and draw them offside and then call a timeout, but they snapped the ball and White lost Berry on the outside. However, Berry recovered well and when White made a jumping catch, he forced him out of bounds before he could get both feet down. Unfortunately, this good play was negated by a penalty.

- With four minutes to go, the Falcons still led by seven and Berry read an attempted bubble screen superbly to avoid the block, close on the receiver and make the tackle at the line of scrimmage. Detroit got the ball back, but their comeback bid fell short.

Week 8 – at Denver

- This was the game in the middle of Tim Tebow’s run, where the Broncos got blown out. Obviously with the Broncos running the ball a lot, Berry wasn’t tested much but did have a play in the second quarter where he confidently sat on the receivers route and easily jumped the route to break up a pass.

- In the third quarter, he did have one play where Eddie Royal beat him for a would-be first down, but he dropped the pass as Berry put him under close pressure.

Week 10 – at Chicago

- After the bye week, Berry was beaten by Earl Bennett for a first down on 3rd and 12. This was a zone coverage and he was too far off down the middle.

- At the end of the second quarter, he made a good play on special teams, bringing the return man down short of the 20.

- He was targeted one other time for a short gain of seven.

Week 12 – v Green Bay

- After missing out in week 11, Berry started his only three games of the season over the next few weeks

- Aaron Rodgers went after Berry on the first play, for 15 yards to Jordy Nelson, who once again came back for the ball with Berry playing too far off.

- In the third quarter, on a dump off to the flat, Berry came up from the secondary to make the tackle, but overpursued and got beaten to the outside for a 14-yard gain.

- Entering the fourth, Greg Jennings beat him downfield for a 31-yard gain. Berry lined up a couple of yards off the line and ran alongside him instead of trying to make a jam. He ran stride for stride, but never looked back for the ball and Jennings was able to make an easy jumping catch on a timing pattern.

- Lined up at left corner for a change, Berry jammed Randall Cobb at the line and stayed with him as he ran down the sideline and Rodgers threw him a low pass at the goal line. Cobb dropped the pass. Berry was right with Cobb, but again had his hands all over him as the ball arrived. The good news was that this time he did get his head turned round eventually, but that was only because Rodgers delayed the initial throw.

- With 11 seconds to go, the Lions tried an onside kick, but Berry was flagged for being offside.

Week 13 – at New Orleans

- Early on in the game, Brees targeted Berry with the same downfield curl route that he’d been playing too far off on a lot of the time. On this play, he had inside safety support, so was playing outside technique. The receiver came back to the ball, but Berry timed his hit from behind to break up the pass.

- On the first play of the second quarter, Berry gave up his longest pass of the regular season, a 38-yarder. As with the Rodgers completion to Jennings, Brees lofted the throw downfield and Robert Meachem ran under it. Berry slowed him momentarily with a jam at the line and was right with him in tight coverage, but once again didn’t get his head turned around and this enabled Meachem to get enough separation by leaning into him as the ball was about to arrive.

- He made a good play in run support a few plays later, avoiding a block from the wide receiver who lined up close to the left side of the line and assisting on a tackle for a one-yard gain.

- On the next play, he was targeted for an 18-yard catch to Marques Colston. However, this was a zone coverage and he wasn’t really out of position because there was a receiver on his outside, so that may have been someone else’s fault.

- Late in the half, Colston gained 13 more. This was another curl route downfield with Berry playing off, although it again looked like a zone coverage and he perhaps should have had better help from the inside.

- Late in the game, with Detroit trailing by 14, he gave up another first down to Meachem who ran an out route with Berry playing off him at left cornerback. Over these two games, his only full-length starts in the NFL, he gave up nine catches on 14 targets, for 161 yards.

Week 14 – v Minnesota

- In this game, Berry injured his arm pretty early on, missing the rest of the regular season.

- In the first quarter, he was lined up on the outside and should have had an interception when Christian Ponder overthrew the receiver in the slot, but he dropped it on a diving attempt.

- Early in the second quarter, Berry’s injury occurred. He actually made a great play, tripping Percy Harvin up for no gain with an arm tackle as he tried to bounced outside.

Wild Card – at New Orleans

- Berry’s return to the line-up for this big game saw him heavily involved.

- On a play in the second quarter, he was a bit over-eager at the snap and called for a neutral zone infraction. On the next play, he was beaten by Colston for a 22-yard gain. Colston got behind him, but this again looked like a zone coverage.

- Later on, on the same drive, Meachem beat him for a nine yard catch out at the sideline on 2nd and 10. This was absolutely perfect blanket coverage from Berry, who even got a hand on the pass, but somehow Meachem still caught it with his feet inbounds.

- The Saints drive continued, as they looked to tie the score before halftime. However, they had to settle for a field goal. Berry made another key play, batting a pass away as Brees scrambled and tried to loft the ball to Jimmy Graham at the back of the end zone. However, the replay showed that he should probably have intercepted it.

- In the third quarter, he made a great play against the run, as he wasn’t fooled on an end around to Darren Sproles and pulled him down in the backfield.

- Early in the fourth, he made another good play against the run, coming off the edge unblocked and combining with a teammate to stop Pierre Thomas in the hole for two.

- On third and two later on the same drive, Jimmy Graham lined up on the left and Brees threw a quick pass to him. Graham pushed off (no call) and reached back for the ball, but Berry stood his ground and knocked the ball out of Graham’s hands as he tried to secure the catch.

- A few plays later, Berry dropped another possible interception. He seemed to have pretty good coverage downfield on Colston, but Brees underthrew it badly under pressure and Berry reacted fastest. However, his diving attempt saw the ball go right through his hands.

- The drive ended with a 17-yard touchdown run by Sproles. Berry was easily blocked downfield by Devery Henderson and didn’t seem to make much of an effort to get off the block at the five yard line.

- With just under four minutes to go, Meachem – who you’ll recall beat him for a 38-yard gain in the regular season – beat him for 41, setting up the clinching touchdown. Berry, on the left side again, was in pretty tight coverage and made the tackle at the goal line, but Meachem comfortably made the catch with Berry, playing outside technique, on his back. Berry looked like he was expecting help on the inside, but Brees froze the safety with a pump fake.

- On the Saints last possession, they ran a pump and go, Berry was called for pass interference, surprisingly for the first time in his NFL career. He had his hands all over the receiver downfield, but that had been the case on several other plays over the course of the season.

Conclusions: Berry definitely lives up to the billing of a physical corner. He seemed pretty comfortable on the big stage of playing in a postseason game and wasn't really picked on or embarrassed badly even on the big plays he gave up over the course of his two seasons in the league. It's not difficult to draw some very straightforward conclusions about his strengths and weaknesses based on the footage:

- The first thing that stood out was a negative and that's the fact that there were several plays where he just didn't get his head turned around. That's a criticism that's justifiably been thrown at Kyle Wilson since he's been in the league. In Berry's defense, he actually seemed to improve in this area over the course of the 2011 season, so we'll have to wait and see if that's something he'll continue to struggle with at times.

- Berry is very physical, almost to the point of being too physical. There were several plays where the pass was incomplete and the receiver wanted a flag and certainly a couple where I'd expect a flag to be thrown more often than not. Physicality is a good thing, but I'd be worried that he could become a bit of a penalty machine if given significant playing time, even though he was lucky not to have been hit with too many penalties so far in his career.

- There were several plays where Berry gave up too much of a cushion. Obviously it's good that receivers aren't getting behind him and maybe in some cases it was by design, or he was a victim of his teammate not giving him help at the right time, but that's something that elite quarterbacks will always be able to exploit at this level.

- He did give up some catches in zone coverage, but on the whole I'd say that his positioning was generally good. It's always difficult to attribute blame when a receiver finds a gap in a zone, but I didn't see any obvious missed assignments from him.

- Berry showed a willingness to help out in run support, making a couple of nice plays. He only missed two tackles, which is a sign that he's a pretty sure tackler, and wasn't taken out of many plays by blockers.

- On special teams, Berry didn't make much of an impact with only one positive play and one where he made up for his initial mistake with good hustle standing out. With his athletic ability, you'd think he could contribute well in this area, but maybe his build isn't ideal.

- In terms of ball skills, Berry seems to have pretty good timing and closing speed and when he gets there, he did break up or deflect some passes. However, based on his NFL career so far, he can't catch, as he has dropped several possible interceptions. He did pick off one pass, but it was abnormally easy.

- Berry's physical play translated well to him playing press coverage. In this week's BGA, I noted how Antonio Cromartie finally seems to be heeding his coaches' advice to play more physically at the line and get his hands on his opponents. Berry does a good job of this, usually slowing his man at least temporarily at the jam. He was penalized once, but I don't think I ever saw him give up a completely clean release.

- One nitpick I have about Kyle Wilson is that he has a tendency to celebrate incomplete passes, even when he was beaten and got a bit lucky. Berry's demeanor is somewhat similar to this at times. He did also seem really frustrated when he gave up a first down in zone coverage, so at least he seems passionate, which might be something this team needs.

- Obviously, given his lack of size and the number of games he's missed so far, durability may also be a concern.

- Finally, I noted that even when giving up receptions, Berry was usually in pretty tight coverage. His numbers for yards after the catch confirm this. In 2011, he was third in the entire NFL, giving up just 2.0 yards per catch. As a point of reference, Cromartie was 5th with 2.7. Only Keenan Lewis and William Middleton did better, but neither played as much as or gave up as many catches as Berry.

In watching this footage, I was trying not to fall into the trap of comparing him with Darrelle Revis, which would only ever make him look inadequate. Instead I was trying to make a direct comparison with what we saw from Wilson on Sunday. On the basis of his performance last year, there's no reason why Berry shouldn't be able to push Wilson for time, as long as he (a) gets his head screwed on, (b) gets in shape and (c) learns the playbook. While I still have reservations about him avoiding getting flagged all the time on key plays, this is a move that should have a lot of upside for the Jets. Let's hope he is ready to make the most of this opportunity.

Tags: avsny, bentdouble, BGA, 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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