Over the last month, I've been looking at some of the players the Jets have added to the active roster since the end of last season. Jets fans might not know too much about some of these players, so I've been looking in detail at preseason and regular season footage to get an insight into their strengths and weaknesses. This series concludes today with a look at former Bears safety Brandon Hardin.

The 24-year old Hardin is listed at 6'3" and 217 pounds and was a third round pick in the 2012 draft. He has never played in an NFL regular season game, following some injury issues. However, he did play in six preseason games before the Bears released him in August. The Jets picked him up in January.

After the jump, I look in detail at footage from the last two preseasons to evaluate some what Hardin brings to the table.

Who is Brandon Hardin?

Hardin had a productive college career, where he was actually a cornerback, but missed his entire senior season after injuring his shoulder and requiring surgery. He returned to action in the East West Shrine Game and then had a monster pro day with great numbers across the board, including a 4.43 forty. Had he not missed his senior year, most experts agreed he would have been a much more heralded prospect, but when the Bears selected him in the third round it was considered a reach.

The Bears immediately announced that they would be converting Hardin to safety and he was the second string free safety as the preseason got underway in his rookie year. However, he suffered a scary neck injury in the second game and was placed on injured reserve shortly after. In 2013, he was unable to climb any further up the depth chart in preseason, before a broken scapula in the last preseason game sealed his fate.

Let's look in detail at his six preseason appearances.

2012 Preseason

Week 1 - Denver

Hardin was only credited with one tackle in this game but was in on several others. The one tackle he got credit for was on a 20-yard completion down the sideline where the cornerback seemed to pass off the receiver to him, but he had to cover the deep middle.

His best play saw him range across the field to jump in front of a long pass down the left sideline. That could have been an interception but the ball bounced off his hands as he may have slightly mistimed his jump. On another play he closed well on the intended receiver running down the seam, but the pass was batted down by a linebacker.

There were three plays where if you were being harsh you could say he missed a tackle. The first of these saw the runner slip away from him inside the five only to be immediately tackled by someone else before gaining any more yardage. On the second he overpursued out to the sideline on a run to the outside and the running back cut back inside for another 5-10 yards. On the last one, he actually stopped the runner at the second level, but he was able to squirm free and fall forwards for a few extra yards.

There were a couple of moments of slight hesitancy, notably on these two touchdowns (here and here - Hardin is #35), literally for just a split second each time, but where without any hesitation he might have prevented the runner from breaking the plane each time.

On special teams, there was one play where he was initially employed as a vice, double teaming the gunner, but he ran downfield and then peeled off to get a good contact to slow up another player on the kicking team in the open field. However, he didn't finish the block and this player did still end up making the tackle. He was also employed as a punt protector, getting downfield first on one punt, but overpursuing to let the return man get upfield.

Week 2 - Washington

This was the game where Hardin suffered his scary neck injury. It came on a blown coverage where he reacted quickly to make a downfield tackle on a tight end to limit the yardage to 19, but lowered his head and injured his neck while making the hit.

Prior to that, he had only been in for a handful of plays. On one, he was in a good position in coverage downfield on an overthrown ball, but perhaps would have had a chance at an interception had he been able to locate the ball while it was in the air rather than focusing on the receiver the whole time.

2013 Preseason

Week 1 - at Carolina

Hardin played 26 snaps in this game, all in the second half. He had one downfield tackle, but did okay in coverage. He was in good position on one play where the quarterback threw wide, perhaps on purpose, as Hardin had the closest receiver covered. On another, the quarterback looked for Hardin's man on a hot route, but the receiver never looked back for the ball. Hardin reacted well, but should have intercepted this and probably would have scored. He dropped the ball that hit him right in the numbers. On another play, a pass was deflected but he was unable to react fast enough to have a shot at picking it off.

Week 2 - San Diego

Hardin played 25 snaps in this game, mostly in the third quarter. He played on the first series of the fourth quarter and returned for the last play of the game, which was a Hail Mary pass that was overthrown and he leapt up to bat safely out of the back of the end zone, although it obviously wasn't going to be caught anyway.

He got in on a couple of tackles in the running game, including one play where he came up from deep to avoid a pulling lineman and prevent a runner from turning the corner on an outside run, making the stop for a two yard gain.

Week 3 - at Oakland

In this game, Hardin only played in the fourth quarter but still saw action on 17 plays. He had two downfield tackles on 22 and 21 yard completions over the middle where he was playing deep. He was targeted once, for this touchdown. On the play, Hardin (still #35) got caught up in traffic on a rub route and didn't take a particularly good angle. Again, he could have helped himself by anticipating better here.

Week 4 - Cleveland

The final preseason game usually features backups, so you might expect Hardin (who started) to perform better in this one, but it was actually his worst game by some margin. Having said that, the Browns starters did do some of the damage, including on the first play of the game where they threw a 45-yard bomb to Josh Gordon. The cornerback passed Gordon off to Hardin downfield and Hardin didn't react fast enough as he initially went to cover the same slot receiver as the cornerback. On another early play, Hardin came up too fast and overpursued on a slant route, allowing Gordon to turn the corner upfield.

Hardin was used in direct coverage a lot more in this game and did not fare well. On one play he picked up a tight end running a post pattern and couldn't prevent a 21-yard completion. That was pretty tight coverage though and he almost got a finger on the ball. On another play, he was matched up with a receiver in the slot for the only time all preseason, but the outside receiver came underneath and Hardin failed to react to this in time, getting turned around and leaving him open for 12 over the middle.

As if this wasn't bad enough, there were also three plays where he didn't get over in time from center field, leading to two first downs and this touchdown. He wasn't in direct coverage on these plays, so it's hard to blame him for them, but they were plays where an elite player would perhaps be expected to break it up.

There were a couple of plays where he was in a better position, although the receiver slipped on one and the other was a bad overthrow. He injured himself late in the game, but might have been due to be a final cut anyway following this disappointing finish to the preseason.

Usage

There are many reports out there saying that Hardin was employed as a strong safety in Chicago. This is inaccurate. Hardin was employed as a deep safety, often single-high. In 2013, he was only in the box 14 times in 121 snaps and his role in 2012 was essentially the same.

Coverage skills

Any time you get a former cornerback moving into a safety role, that can be an advantage in coverage. However, Hardin was mostly employed in coverage support rather than in direct coverage.

Hardin did a disciplined job of keeping things in front of him, but there were times where he reacted a beat late or failed to anticipate something with the ball in the air. There were occasional flashes of him breaking well to the ball, but not many.

Athleticism

Hardin's measurables are incredible and obviously the reason he was drafted so high despite injury concerns. The Bears are apparently adopting a "maximum ceiling" approach to their draft strategy and this fits in with that. While there were instances where he showcased this athleticism (and he's an impressive physical specimen that looks more like a linebacker than a defensive back), he was so hesitant at times that this mitigated some of those gifts.

Physicality

One thing I noticed from Hardin was that there were a lot of plays where he came up but then pulled up short of getting in on the tackle. I know Jets fans in recent years have been frustrated at what they perceive to be "shying away from contact" by the likes of Kerry Rhodes and Antonio Cromartie and it's difficult to determine whether that's what this was or if Hardin was just being extremely disciplined in terms of keeping the play in front of him. I lean towards the latter, because there were a couple of plays where he did actually lay the lumber on a ball carrier that was held up in that situation although I expect there was some degree of uncertainty in his new position and over-cautiousness in terms of not wanting to make a mistake. It's possible he was tentative in certain situations due to some of his injuries, but most of the time he would break himself down as he arrived at the ball, which is certainly preferable to a safety coming up too fast and overpursuing (although he did do this once or twice).

As noted, he wasn't employed in direct coverage much, so I couldn't really comment on his physicality in coverage based on the footage viewed.

Run defense

As he wasn't in the box very often, Hardin didn't really contribute much as a run defender. He got in on a few tackles at the second level, but there was only one play where he came up and stopped a run. That was on an outside run where he came up from deep. He did run blitz a few times, but the run went the other way each time.

Tackling

This ties in with the last few sections, but Hardin didn't make a ton of tackles, nor did he miss too many bad ones. He had a few plays where he took a bad angle and overpursued, but not many instances of having a runner wrapped up and letting him get away. There were, however, a few times where he didn't quite make a clean stop, enabling the runner to fall forward and a few other times where he hesitated when going to make a tackle allowing costly yardage.

Blitzing

Hardin only blitzed once and only had one sack in his college career. However, his combination of speed and size (he's basically the same size as Rhodes) could mean he'd be good at this in a special packages role.

Ball skills

It doesn't seem like Hardin has very good hands. He dropped one easy interception and there were a few other plays where he might have been able to pick the ball off. Part of that was perhaps down to him failing to anticipate and react in time, though, rather than his ability to catch the ball. He did have one interception and eight passes defensed in two years at Oregon State. He did get his hands on a few balls and jumped a few routes, but could have done a better job of being alert to tipped or overthrown passes in his area.

Instincts

Since he was playing a new position, we should probably give Hardin a pass here, but there was a constant sense he was a beat slow to react and occasional confusion over what he should do in a given situation. It reminded me of Demario Davis' rookie season. If he could start to get more comfortable in his role, Hardin would start to make a lot more plays because he'd arrive half a step sooner.

Special teams

Hardin made some minor contributions on special teams. He was employed as a punt protector, on the punt rush unit, as a secondary vice when doubling a gunner and blocking on the kick return unit. He'll likely need to shine in these roles and also in kick coverage (where he had one assist as a tackler) to have a realistic shot at a roster spot.

Injuries

As noted, Hardin is yet another player who became available because of major injury concerns. Whether any of these will pan out remains to be seen, but there's potential upside in a lot of them. To recap, he missed 2011 after shoulder surgery, had a serious neck injury in 2012 and then broke his scapula last August.

Off-field issues

I could not find any details of any off-field issues for Hardin.

Conclusions:

Yes, of course, this is another long-shot that depends primarily on whether Hardin can get healthy. Even if he can, he still has to prove he can make the transition to safety.

While completing this analysis, I was reminded of Jaiquawn Jarrett, another high draft pick safety who also struggled before being released early in his second season. Since he did make the team and - other than that one play Jimmy Graham made on him - acquitted himself pretty well, that's an interesting re-read for context.

The Jets do have several promising safeties under 25 and may even add another in the draft next weekend, so competition is high. However, there are places up for grabs. The main thing Hardin brings to the table that none of the other safeties do is his size and speed combo.

Hardin did show inexperience at times, but wasn't constantly making bad mistakes. While it looks likely he'll end up as a story of unfulfilled promise, you can't blame the Jets for giving him one last shot.

That wraps up our look at the guys the Jets have added to the roster since the end of the season. We'll be back with some more analytical stuff after the draft, including articles on Dee Milliner and Quinton Coples.

Tags: bentdouble, BGA, Bent Double

New York Jets tackle Ben Ijalana blocks during the second half of the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets tackle Ben Ijalana blocks during the second half of the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports Images)

The Jets made offensive tackle Ben Ijalana a free agent on Monday after they failed to exercise his player option.

New York did not exercise Ijalana's $500,000 option bonus that would have activated his $4.5 million base salary for the 2018 season. By doing so, the Jets will save a total of $4.6 million.

Tags: Ben Ijalana
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Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

The Jets know they need a quarterback, and in particular, free-agent QB Kirk Cousins. That is why the team is "willing to pay whatever it takes" to employ him next season, per ESPN's Rich Cimini

New York has failed to find their franchise quarterback for years now, as fill-ins, so to speak, continue to come to town with Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg failing to show they are the guy the Jets need. Josh McCowwas the latest of those rentals, and he had a career year before an injury unfortunately ended his season. 

This offseason, though, GM Mike Maccagnan has no excuse in Cimini's eyes. He currently has over $70 million in cap space, and could have more than that by the time they can grab Cousins. The Redskins can still franchise tag him, so they could use him in a trade, but that is unlikely. 

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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In 2017, the Jets' running game struggles probably had more to do with the offensive line being overmatched than the performance of the backs.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Matt Forte
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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron throws against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. (David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports)
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron throws against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. (David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets reportedly turned down a Cincinnati Bengals trade proposal that would have sent quarterback AJ McCarron to New York last season, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini.

Cincinnati, according to Cimini, called the Jets organization at the start of free agency and offered McCarron in a trade, however the Jets turned it down to focus on free agency. It is unclear what Cincinnati requested in the deal.

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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets started over last offseason and actually built themselves a nice core of talent. They have many young, inexpensive players they can build around this spring.

They certainly have the tools to build around them - perhaps as much as $100 million in cap room, the sixth overall pick in the draft, and some extra picks too. And that's good, because even though the Jets exceeded expectations last season, they were still 5-11, and have plenty of holes to fill.

Now, as they get ready to begin Phase 2 of their rebuilding project, here's a look at their biggest needs.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brian Winters, James Carpenter, Juston Burris, Leonard Williams, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Trevor Ruszkowski)
(Trevor Ruszkowski)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: Cornerback is one position where the Jets obviously need to upgrade.

They opted not to pick up a corner from last year's deep draft class until they took two project players - Jeremy Clark and Derrick Jones - in the sixth round. The coaching staff claimed to like the upside of these players along with Juston Burris and Darryl Roberts as well as Rashard Robinson, who was added via trade at the deadline.

However, none of these players stepped up as hoped.

Tags: Derrick Jones, Jeremy Clark, Juston Burris, Morris Claiborne
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

"Broadway Baker" has a nice ring to top prospect QB Baker Mayfield

The 2017 Heisman Trophy Award winner sat down with The Post's Steve Serby to talk about the prospect of playing in the Big Apple, and if he has what it takes to succeed in a market that isn't friendly to anyone. 

Simply put: Mayfield loves the spotlight...

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New York Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets have officially announced the hiring of Jeremy Bates as offensive coordinator/QB Coach, and announced the hirings of Rick Dennison as offensive line coac/run game coordinator and Steve Jackson as assistant defensive backs coach.

"Jeremy is a talented coach who has a sound understanding of what it takes to build a successful offense," head coach Todd Bowles said in a press release. "Having spent last season with us, he offers continuity and has a good sense of what we need to do to improve. I look forward to him working together with our offensive coaches."

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: When Todd Bowles decided to fire offensive coordinator John Morton, he always had quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates in mind as a replacement...

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 (Jeremy Brevard)
(Jeremy Brevard)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets have been a team whose defense has been built around their interior linemen for a long time, but Muhammad Wilkerson's anticipated departure could be an opportunity to reinvent themselves by finding a difference-maker who can create constant pressure off the edge.

The Jets haven't really had an elite edge rusher since John Abraham, who was traded before the 2006 draft. They've tried drafting one high (Vernon Gholston), converting an interior lineman into one (Quinton Coples), and bringing in an established veteran (Jason Taylor). But none of these have been successful. None of their low-cost free agents, reclamation projects, or later draft picks have stepped up either.

Tags: Dylan Donahue, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin
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Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets are in position to be the kings of free agency, with potentially more salary cap room to spend than any team except for the Cleveland Browns. They are already projected to have about $75 million in salary cap space, and that's if they don't make another move.

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New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne breaks up a touchdown attempt to Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne breaks up a touchdown attempt to Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When the free agency frenzy finally begins, the Jets figure to be at the center of the storm. And all eyes will be on how hard they go after the quarterback they so desperately need.

But they have a ton of salary cap space to spend in other areas, including maybe on the 24 players they have on their roster who are approaching free agency. Here's a look at all their free agents-to-be, and their prospects of returning or finding potential riches somewhere else around the league:

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brent Qvale, Chandler Catanzaro, Dakota Dozier, Demario Davis, Josh McCown, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Rontez Miles, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Mark J. Rebilas)
(Mark J. Rebilas)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

There are always plenty of receiver prospects who make an immediate impact as a rookie, even in the later rounds. However, the Jets haven't had much success in recent years despite selecting seven wideouts in the last four drafts.

While four of those seven are under contract for 2018 and a fifth -- restricted free agent Quincy Enunwa -- also figures to be back, the Jets got just 15 catches of production from that group in 2017.

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Daily News Live: Jimmy Garoppolo 00:03:54
The Daily News Live crew discusses the impact Jimmy Garoppolo's new contract will have on the deal Kirk Cousins will want.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jimmy Garoppolo just became the NFL's highest paid player, even though he's only started seven NFL games and thrown 12 touchdown passes in four seasons. He reportedly agreed to a monster, five-year, $137.5 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers -- a record average of $27.5 million per season. That record will be very short-lived.

It's a simple fact of the NFL that the price of franchise quarterbacks only goes up, and in less than five weeks another one will be on the open market. And when Kirk Cousins officially becomes free on March 14 you can bet his deal will eclipse what Garoppolo just got...

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 (Glenn Andrews)
(Glenn Andrews)

In NFL.com's latest mock draft, Chad Reuter forecasted the first three rounds for all teams. With the Jets first selection at no. 6 overall, Reuter has them taking Wyoming QB Josh Allen.

The Jets take Allen over Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, who fell to the Cardinals at no. 15. USC QB Sam Darnold went no. 1 to the Browns and UCLA QB Josh Rosen went no. 2 to the Giants.

Allen threw for 3,202 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his sophomore season. However, his production dropped this season to 1,812 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also suffered a shoulder injury, and was forced to miss the final two regular-season games this year...

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 (Chuck Cook)
(Chuck Cook)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Most of the draft discussions surrounding quarterback prospects have been focused on the consensus top five prospects: UCLA's Josh Rosen, USC's Sam Darnold, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, Wyoming's Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson from Louisville.

However, depending how the offseason goes, the Jets might end up in a situation where they're not in the market for one of the top prospects.

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Nov 26, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) (Jay Biggerstaff)
Nov 26, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) (Jay Biggerstaff)

The Chiefs have released former Jet Darrelle Revis, the team announced. 

Revis, 32, would have been owed a $10 million contract guarantee if he was still on the roster on March 18. He was signed by Chiefs in November, playing five games, including two starts. 

After the Chiefs' season ended, Revis admitted he wasn't at his best.

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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New York Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers responds to questions from media during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers responds to questions from media during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: Kacy Rodgers never got a chance to play in the NFL before he turned to coaching. But now he might be able to give his son the shot that he never had.

The Jets will be signing Kacy Rodgers II, the son of their current defensive coordinator, according to his agent, David Canter. Rodgers II will join the Jets for their offseason program, at least, after two years with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.

Rodgers II is a 6-2, 208-pound defensive back out of the University of Miami. In 2014 he was a tryout player at the Kansas City Chiefs rookie minicamp, but didn't stick. He then signed with the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos and spent a year on their practice squad before joining the Roughriders...

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Former Jets C Nick Mangold was thinking about starting his political career, and running in his local GOP primary, according to Politico's Matt Friedman.

However, Mangold said Thursday that he will not be running.

Mangold would've been running to replace the retiring Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, who represents the 11th District of New Jersey. Essex County Republican Chairman Al Barlas has spoken with Mangold, and he appears to be serious about running for the position.

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Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) rushes the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Jacksonville won 45-42. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) rushes the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Jacksonville won 45-42. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

After saying he wouldn't join the Jets for $60 million, Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell, a pending free agent, told TMZ exactly what it would take to secure his services.

"A hundred Ms," Bell said, referring to $100 million. "Hey, listen to me: I play running back, but they've got to respect me like I am, man." 

Bell, 25, responded to a fan's tweet last week asking what amount of money it would take for him to join the Jets.

 

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Another year has come and gone without the Jets winning the Super Bowl. Even the Philadelphia Eagles now have ended their forever Super Bowl drought. If you're counting, that's 49 straight Super Bowls that have been played without the Jets.

Can the 50th time be their charm?

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Leonard Williams, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Two years ago, the Jets drafted Darron Lee with their first pick, hoping to shore up one of their inside linebacker positions for the foreseeable future. Over the course of his first two seasons, he's been up and down, but he has retained an every-down role.

Last year, he struggled initially, then played the best football of his career in the middle of the season, only to regress down the stretch. However, there are no indications that the Jets intend to move on from Lee.

Tags: Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams
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Jan 27, 2018; Mobile, AL, USA; North Squad quarterback Josh Allen of Wyoming (17) throw a pass during the second quarter of the 2018 Senior Bowl against the South Squad at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports (Glenn Andrews)
Jan 27, 2018; Mobile, AL, USA; North Squad quarterback Josh Allen of Wyoming (17) throw a pass during the second quarter of the 2018 Senior Bowl against the South Squad at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports (Glenn Andrews)

In his latest mock draft, Todd McShay changed his pick for the Jets, and has them taking Wyoming QB Josh Allen with the sixth overall pick. 

McShay originally had New York taking LSU DE Arden Key. However, he had a change of heart as the Jets desperately need to find their franchise quarterback. But he warns not to forget about free agency, where GM Mike Maccagnan will have about $100 million to go after high-profile QB Kirk Cousins.

"Yes, it's a running theme -- this is another landing spot for Cousins," McShay writes. "If the Jets don't sign him in free agency, Allen makes a lot of sense if Mayfield is off the board. There is a significant drop-off in talent after the first four QBs in this draft, so the Jets need to make sure they grab one here. Allen had an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, showing off his arm and his mobility. There are still concerns about his accuracy and ability to make multidimensional throws consistently, but all the tools are there. And he has the prototypical QB build (6-foot-4 7/8, 237 pounds)."

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 (Matthew Emmons)
(Matthew Emmons)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Philadelphia Eagles would be absolutely crazy to get rid of Nick Foles now after he slayed the mighty Patriots, and was rightfully named the Super Bowl MVP. Yes, they have Carson Wentz, a legitimate MVP candidate, before he got hurt. And yes, Foles will likely be Wentz's backup again next season.

But didn't Foles just prove to everyone how valuable a backup quarterback on a contender really is?

Tags: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

In last year's draft, the Jets used their first two picks on safeties, and Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye started every game alongside one another in the secondary. Those starting roles seem settled for the next few years, but the Jets like to operate out of packages with three and even four safeties, so Todd Bowles may be keen to add some depth.

Last year, Rontez Miles and Terrance Brooks each saw regular playing time, often playing together as the Jets used a four-safety dime package in passing situations. Also, Doug Middleton, who missed the season due to injury, was expected to contribute. All three are now out of contract though, so the Jets may look to fortify their depth in the draft.

While it seems unlikely the Jets would select another safety with their top pick, Alabama's Minkah Fitzpatrick is a possible consideration due to his versatility. Could Fitzpatrick be like Jalen Ramsey -- a hybrid cornerback/safety who has developed into one of the league's better cornerbacks?

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Rontez Miles
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GEICO SportsNite: Super Bowl 00:06:46
Nick Foles and the Eagles upset Tom Brady and the Patriots for the first Super Bowl win in Philadelphia's franchise history.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) As their delirious fans sang their theme song and their owner lifted the Lombardi Trophy, the Philadelphia Eagles finally could breathe freely.

Tags: New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles
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Loud Mouths on the Super Bowl 00:05:06
Chris Carlin and Jon Hein host Loud Mouths from the Mall of America to discuss the Super Bowl and how they think it will play out.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles (15-3) vs. the AFC Champion New England Patriots (15-3) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER

Thank goodness for domes! Outside the Super Bowl stadium the temperature won't even reach double digits, with a forecast high of 9 and a low of 0. Inside it'll be fine. Hopefully it'll be nice and toasty in front of your TV, too.

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 (Brad Mills)
(Brad Mills)

With the Alex Smith trade complete, it appeared the Redskins were going to allow Kirk Cousins to look for his lucrative deal in free agency. Now, they could have a change of heart.

Washington is considering placing the franchise tag on Cousins just so they could trade him, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter. The reasoning behind this decision would be for the Redskins to get back what they dished out in the trade with the Chiefs. So, instead of getting nothing in return by allowing the hottest free-agent commodity to walk, Washington is looking for something in return. 

However, if they do make that decision to tag him, it comes with a lot of risk considering Cousins is allowed to make his own decision. First, he can wait as long as he wants to sign the franchise tag, which would have the Redskins biting their fingernails as they watch the $34.5 million stay on their books.

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 (Jim Brown)
(Jim Brown)

Former Jets C Kevin Mawae was not among the players selected on Saturday for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's class of 2018.

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Retired NFL football coach Bill Parcells chats with New York Mets manager Terry Collins, not pictured, before a spring training baseball game between the Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla., Friday, March 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (Patrick Semansky/AP)
Retired NFL football coach Bill Parcells chats with New York Mets manager Terry Collins, not pictured, before a spring training baseball game between the Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla., Friday, March 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (Patrick Semansky/AP)

On Thursday night, ESPN aired their newest documentary "The Two Bills", which chronicled the relationship between Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. Most of the filming took place at MetLife Stadium, but both Bills refused a request to do an interview in the Jets locker room. 

Belichick infamously left the Jets after one day as head coach and is the current head coach of division rival Patriots, so that was understandable. But why Parcells? Does he hold animosity towards the Jets? 

Well, Parcells clarified that it was not that he has ill will towards the Jets, it was just time to go that day...

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