Yesterday, the Jets announced that they had, as expected, signed tight end Kellen Winslow to a one-year deal. Winslow had attended the recent mini-camp on a tryout basis and reports were that he had done a solid job. He will now attend camp to compete for playing time with the likes of Jeff Cumberland, Hayden Smith and Konrad Reuland.

Winslow, the son of a hall of famer, was the 6th pick in the 2004 draft, but has suffered some serious leg injuries early in his career, which continue to trouble him to this day. However, he has still been a productive player and his four 75-catch seasons are the third most in NFL history, behind only Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez. He does not have a good reputation as blocker though and has been a controversial figure over the years.

After the jump, I'll be looking back over his career with an in-depth look at last season in particular in order to assess what he brings to the table and whether the good outweighs the bad..

Who is Kellen Winslow Jr.?

Kellen Winslow was one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history and caught passes from Dan Fouts in San Diego's legendary "Air Coryell" offense. His son, Kellen Jr. attended the University of Miami, which had produced several elite tight end prospects over the previous few years, where he would catch 117 passes in two seasons. The 6-4, 247-pound Winslow Jr. would forego his senior year after winning the John Mackey award and all-American first team honors as a junior and lit up the combine with an excellent performance. Heading to the draft, his pedigree, skill-set and productivity made him one of the best tight end prospects of all time. Sure enough, the Browns took him with the sixth pick. That was a long time ago, though.

After suffering a broken leg in his first season, limiting him to just two games and five catches, Winslow badly injured his knee in a motorcycle accident and missed the entire 2005 season. His knee continued to be a problem, limiting him in practice and requiring at least five surgeries over the years. Despite this, after returning in 2006, he actually played all 16 games in five of the next six seasons, only missing six games in 2008 due to a staph infection. During this time, he was one of the most productive pass catching tight ends in the NFL.

2006 saw him catch a career-high 89 passes, although he averaged less than 10 yards per catch for the only time in his career. The following season, as his knee improved, he became more of a downfield threat, achieving career highs in yardage (1,106), yards per reception (13.5) and touchdowns (five, although he would match this twice later in his career). This would lead to the only Pro Bowl appearance of his career. In 2008, his production slipped because of the games he missed and at the end of the season, he was traded to Tampa Bay, who rewarded him with the biggest contract for a tight end in NFL history ($36m over six years).

In Tampa, he continued to be productive, averaging over 70 catches per season, scoring 12 touchdowns and playing in every game over the next three years. However, he did not get on well with new coach Greg Schiano and found himself traded for the second time in his career last May, this time to Seattle. Seattle released him at the end of preseason when he refused to take a pay cut and then New England picked him up but released him after one game for "personal reasons" according to Bill Belichick. It's believed he did not want to play for New England because he had realized he wasn't going to get many reps.

The Numbers

Eight seasons (plus one spent on IR)

93 games

80 starts

Never played in the postseason

438 catches, 4.848 yards, 23 touchdowns

11.1 yards per catch

66% catch rate (since 2007)

19 drops (since 2007)

One carry for seven yards

Seven fumbles (three lost)

12 tackles on turnovers

24 offensive penalties committed since 2007

57 20+ yard plays and five 40+ yard plays

Let's now take a more detailed look at what happened in 2012, since this affords us our most recent look at what Winslow is still capable of.

2012 Preseason (w/Seattle)

Week One: Tennessee

Winslow did not suit up for this game, although he had been practicing during the week and was expected to play.

Week Two: at Kansas City

After a Zach Miller concussion, Winslow was named the starter for this one and played during the first half. He was targeted once, making a catch for an 11-yard gain after getting a step on Wesley Woodyard on an out pattern. As a blocker, he didn't make any mistakes that affected plays, although he didn't really make any positive blocks to influence a play either. He did stay in to block once on a pass play though and on another play he initially double-teamed a pass rusher before leaking out on a route. It was interesting to note that Anthony McCoy was used as a motion tight end quite a lot, but Winslow was usually in-line (occasionally in the slot).

Week Three: at Denver

Winslow caught two passes in this game, for 23 yards and a touchdown. His first catch saw him motion over to H-Back and then catch a pass in the flat, but it was slightly behind him and he was tackled for a short gain. He then added a 21-yard touchdown, which you can see here. Obviously that wasn't particularly impressive, because it was more of a coverage breakdown. On one other play, he was wide open on an out pattern but Wilson opted to throw downfield. He was targeted one other time, down the middle, but the ball was thrown too far out in front of him.

One thing about this game that reveals more about the reasons behind Winslow's departure from Seattle was McCoy's continued emergence. It was obvious he and Wilson had good chemistry, probably due to playing on the second unit together, which gave them the leverage to demand Winslow took a pay cut if he wanted to remain with the team.

Week Four: Oakland

As you'd expect, Winslow didn't play much in this last game, which mostly featured backups. He was targeted once on a throw down the middle which was too high and over his head, but he did get a couple of steps on his man.

2012 Regular Season (w/New England)

Week Three: at Baltimore

His cup of coffee with the Patriots saw him feature in just four plays before being granted his release the following week. The first play was actually a 59-yard gain as his route down the seam played a part in drawing the defense out of position on a pass to Wes Welker over by the sideline. On the next play, he and Rob Gronkowski made a double-team block, but the run was bottled up. In the second half, he was in on two plays and targeted on both. The first saw him run an out pattern on 2nd and six, but the ball was off his fingertips on a diving attempt for what would have been a first down. On the second, a slightly deeper throw on another out pattern saw him make the catch and step out for a 12-yard gain.

Summary:

There's not too much we can read into those four games, since he was only thrown the ball seven times. However, he did show an ability to get open and - as we'd expect - no significant impact as a blocker. He made a couple of plays - and looked good doing so - and other than one difficult drop, didn't really do anything to hurt the team. The fact he was released twice doesn't therefore seem to be connected to anything he did or didn't do on the field of play. As we've already touched on, there were other reasons and the footage would seem to back that up.

Now let's break down some observations about Winslow based on the above footage and some from earlier in his career.

Usage

Winslow is a guy that will be split out wide or in the slot quite often. In his last full season, he did that on 241 of 840 snaps. That's not quite as high of a percentage as Dustin Keller, but it's clearly a similar role, whereby neither of them would be required to make a key block very often and they would mostly be running routes or otherwise occupying a defensive player as a decoy.

Receiving threat

Winslow's numbers speak for themselves. If he returns to the level of production he had in each of his years with the Bucs this year, he'll surpass 500 catches for his career, which would put him in the top ten all-time for tight ends. He's capable of piling up a lot of short catches for modest gains and occasionally getting downfield to stretch the field. As I noted in last week's look at Marty Mornhinweg's offense, Winslow makes a lot of catches on throws down the seam, which could be a staple route in Mornhinweg's offense this year.

In each of his three years in Tampa Bay, he made three catches beyond 20 yards downfield. However, they targeted him progressively less with such passes (14 in 2009, seven in 2010, four in 2009). Maybe that's a sign that he is slowing down and perhaps is less of a threat downfield now unless the element of surprise is involved.

Routes

Winslow's route running has been praised in the past and he does make it look pretty effortless. Maybe he doesn't always come out of his breaks with the quickness or sharpness of a slot receiver, but that probably doesn't matter. Usually he will have an athletic advantage compared with any linebackers that try and cover him, so he often doesn't even need to run technically sound routes to get open.

Hands

Winslow's hands are very impressive, suggesting that even if he has lost a step, he can still make plays in the passing game. Reviewing all his drops shows that hardly any of them were routine plays. In fact, of the six he had in 2011, one was a catch anyway (he bobbled it and it was ruled incomplete, but the Bucs opted not to challenge because even though he clearly caught it, it was fourth down anyway). Two others would have seen him hold onto the ball but for a hit from a defensive back as he gathered it in. Two were slightly off target and off his fingertips and the last one was fired into his shoulder pad from close range.

He consistently catches the ball with his hands rather than his body, is able to go up and high point the ball and looks comfortable catching it. Here's a legendary catch he made while in college, a leaping catch from a couple of years ago and an insane one-hander on a tipped ball from 2010.

Yards after the catch

Winslow hasn't been a player that makes a lot of yardage once the ball is in his hands over recent years, averaging between three and four yards after the catch per reception over each of his three years with the Bucs. He did break 18 tackles though, 11 of them in 2010. He did make this memorable and spectacular move to get into the end zone against Seattle in 2010.

Demeanor

In recent years, I've noticed that Winslow seems to have calmed down somewhat on the field. He did seem to be more fiery and demonstrative when he was younger. However, maybe that's just because he lost motivation with the Bucs struggling in 2011. He is a guy that will jaw with an opponent and show frustration when he makes a mistake though.

I was intrigued by a comment I read from a Bucs fan who said that Winslow gets upset if he isn't getting a lot of looks and this causes the quarterback to force the ball to him, leading to interceptions. I therefore went back and reviewed all the times Josh Freeman was intercepted trying to throw it to him in 2011. Sure enough, this happened nine times and nearly all of them were head-scratching "why did he throw that?" type passes. Also, nearly all of them were either in the red zone or on the first play of a drive, situations where Winslow might specifically be demanding more of the ball. Some were of the variety where Freeman stared down his target and didn't see another defender coming off their man to jump the route and some where where he was hesitant and then threw it late, both situations Mark Sanchez finds himself in far too often in recent times.

So, there may be some truth to this - I can certainly remember a similar situation with Jeremy Shockey and Eli Manning in the past whereby you could see Shockey demanding the ball even when he wasn't open and the inevitable Manning forced throw that gets picked a play or two later. However, I could not find any direct evidence of Winslow looking like he was frustrated at not getting the ball. That doesn't mean it didn't happen, but it seems more likely Freeman just started struggling and tried forcing it to his best target a bit too often - a theory strengthened by the fact that in 2009 and 2010 Freeman-to-Winslow only led to an interception twice (one each year).

Run blocking

I found it a little difficult to get a read on Winslow's blocking, by virtue of the fact they rarely employed him in a key role. I didn't see anything impressive from him, but at the same time, he didn't make any terrible mistakes. I don't want to say he wasn't trying (and, of course, some of the footage was from preseason, so even if he wasn't trying, maybe it's not that big of a deal), but I did get a sense he was doing the bare minimum most of the time. He'd stay on his guy, slow him down, but if the run wasn't coming to his side, he wouldn't maintain leverage and rarely played to the whistle unless he had to.

In one way, maybe this is like his route running - if he's going to get open anyway, then he doesn't need to run a perfect route because the play will still work. This could be the sign of an experienced player not expending too much energy on things that don't make a difference and concentrating on those things he can do well which have an impact. Like I say, that's just a sense I get, because he seems to be under control and it seems like the game comes pretty naturally to him. By contrast, I always got the sense Keller - who did make improvements as a run blocker - was really trying hard, just made a bunch of mistakes.

Maybe as he becomes more experienced and thinks about reinventing himself to stick around into his thirties, Winslow could start to channel his experience and become more of a blocker. It would be reminiscent of Bubba Franks, another Miami product who was better known as a pass receiver who joined the Jets at about this stage of his career and - although Rex Ryan was mocked by the media for suggesting he could serve as a blocking tight end for them in 2009 - he actually didn't do a bad job as a blocker in 2008.

Pass blocking

As a pass blocker, Winslow has stayed in just 73 times from 2008 to 2012. That's less than Keller, which is not a good sign in terms of how much his teams trusted him in that role. Having said that, Winslow has only surrendered one pressure (no sacks), whereas Keller gave up a sack and four pressures in 111 pass block snaps. Where I saw him in this role, he again uses his big frame to get in front of his man and the play almost always saw some kind of quick pass. I doubt they would use him too often on a play where the he had to sustain his block to buy time for a downfield route.

Off-field attitude

One of the bigger reservations about Winslow is that he has been a controversial figure over the years. At Miami, he had to issue an apology after making a fired-up speech comparing himself to a soldier. In Cleveland, he was suspended by the team after criticizing their handling of him while he was dealing with the staph infection. In Tampa, he was traded after bad-mouthing the organization and coaching staff. Other than these three examples, he has always been brash, outspoken and overconfident. That could be a combustible mix when facing the New York media if things aren't going well. The hope is that last season may have been a humbling experience for him and maybe he will mature as he enters his thirties, but this must be something the Jets weighed up against the potential benefits of bringing him in.

Conclusions

Here is a move with plenty of pros and cons. Winslow is an extremely talented player, who has had seasons where he put up numbers twice as good as all of the other tight ends on the roster combined have ever managed in their entire careers. However, he's a controversial figure with an injury history and might not have much left in the tank.

The good news from the Jets perspective is that the deal comes with no real financial risk and that the tight end competition has been bubbling along nicely during the offseason program, so the Jets do have other options if the Winslow move doesn't work out.

At his best, there's no question he's a better pass catcher than any of the tight ends (and arguably most of the wide receivers) on the roster. It just remains to be seen how close to his best he can be in 2013. Hopefully, the young guys behind him will learn some things that will elevate their game as well.

Exclusive stats from Pro Football Focus were used in this article.

Tags: BGA, Bent Double

Who will the Jets select #3? 00:05:13
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano and SNY NFL Draft Expert Rich Cirminiello discuss who the Jets will select third overall in the NFL Draft.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

In less than a week, Jets GM Mike Maccagnan will make the most important draft pick of his tenure with the team, the one that surely will define his legacy.

No pressure, right?

Tags: Eli Manning, Josh McCown, Ralph Vacchiano
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Tulane Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson returns his interception against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)
Tulane Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson returns his interception against the Connecticut Huskies in the second quarter at Rentschler Field. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Over the last few weeks, we looked at some of the players who have been invited to attend an official pre-draft visit with the Jets. With the visits ending earlier this week, let's take a final look at a selection of the players New York brought in.

Parry Nickerson, CB, Tulane

Nickerson is a four-year starter who was a constant standout on the Tulane defense. During his career, he recorded 16 interceptions, broke up another 31 passes and scored two defensive touchdowns. He turned heads at the scouting combine when he ran a 4.32 40-yard dash.

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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon are ready to open their present that is the #3 pick in the NFL Draft. The guys discuss the possibility of the Jets trading up, yet again, and the crazy idea of selecting a non-QB (can someone say Bradley Chubb) with the 3rd overall selection. Plus, former NFL QB Dan Orlovsky calls in to give his insight into the top four quarterbacks.

Click below to listen

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 (Tim Fuller)
(Tim Fuller)

The Jets will open the 2018 season in Detroit against the Lions on Monday night football, and finish things in Week 17 on the road against the Patriots.

Their entire 2018 schedule has been confirmed by SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, and is below...

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Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Former QB Dan Orlovsky thinks the Jets are targeting Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield with the No. 3 pick in the Draft, and one of the reasons is very specific.

Orlovsky, who played under Kyle Shanahan, noted that Jets OC Jeremy Bates is from the Mike Shanahan coaching tree. And that one of the traits Shanahan loved about John Elway is that he would screw his back foot into the ground when he threw -- adding that Bates loves that trait in quarterbacks as well. 

"There's one guy in the Draft who has that trait," Orlovsky said earlier this week on SNY's Jet Stream podcast. "And it's Baker Mayfield. He does the same thing when he throws. And I just think that those coaches fall in love with traits of guys that remind them of players that they had success with in the past. I think that they're looking at Baker Mayfield and going 'that's our guy.'"

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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

Projecting trades in a Mock Draft is a futile effort. There are too many variables and rumors. It's mostly speculation. And really, it's just an exercise in fantasy football.

But … well, who doesn't love fantasy football?

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Oct 14, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold. (Kirby Lee)
Oct 14, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold. (Kirby Lee)

In his latest mock draft, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer has the Jets taking Sam Darnold as their quarterback of the future at No. 3. 

Many experts believe Darnold could be the first overall pick by the Browns, and if he doesn't land with Cleveland, then the Giants would scoop him up at No. 2. However, with Josh Allen as Breer's No. 1 pick and the Giants electing to go with Saquon Barkley over a quarterback, Darnold drops in the Jets' lap. 

So, there is no need for the Jets to choose between Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield...

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Mangold's Hall of Fame chances 00:04:59
Dan Graca and Jon Hein debate over Nick Mangold's chances at making the Hall of Fame and the Devils' chances at beating the Lightning.

After a year out of football, No. 74 is officially hanging up the cleats. 

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: On the lists of favorite players and all-time greats, you'll rarely find a center. They're buried in the trenches, often noticed only when a bad snap happens or a defensive tackle breaks through.

The same was probably true for Nick Mangold during his 11 NFL seasons - rarely noticed from the outside and incredibly underappreciated game to game. Yet somehow he still emerged from his long career as a fan favorite. And he definitely emerged as one of the Jets' all-time greats.

Tags: Nick Mangold
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New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams gestures while jogging on the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams gestures while jogging on the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan made it clear he had no worries about the state of the Jets' defensive line heading into the offseason. Sure, they've lost a lot of talent in recent years, trading Sheldon Richardson, cutting Muhammad Wilkerson and not re-signing Damon Harrison.

But they still have Leonard Williams, the sixth pick of the 2015 draft, and despite a down season last year, the Jets have huge expectations for him.

Tags: Damon Harrison, Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Steve McLendon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Los Angeles Chargers kicker Nick Rose attempts a field goal during an NFL game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Nick Rose attempts a field goal during an NFL game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets were awarded kicker Nick Rose on Monday after the Los Angeles Chargers placed him on waivers, the team announced.

Rose made 11 of 14 field goals in 10 games with the Chargers and Washington Redskins last season and converted on 23 of 26 extra points. He went 1-for-3 as a member of the Chargers in Weeks 16 and 17, and 10-for-11 in eight games with Washington. His longest make last year was 55 yards.

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Brian Winters remembers everything about the moment his 2017 season went off the rails. He remembers the time, the place, the play, and without question, the pain.

"It was second quarter in Oakland (in Week 2) with five minutes to go before half when we were driving in to the north end zone. I still remember it like it was yesterday," said the 26-year-old guard. "It was an outside zone play and (running back) Bilal (Powell) was trying to stretch it outside of me, so I went to continue to push my guy through. And as soon as I pushed through I felt like a pop."

Tags: Brian Winters, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jeff Badet catches a touchdown pass against Texas Longhorns defensive back Kris Boyd in the second quarter at the Cotton Bowl. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)
Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jeff Badet catches a touchdown pass against Texas Longhorns defensive back Kris Boyd in the second quarter at the Cotton Bowl. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Last week, we looked at some of the players who have been invited to attend an official pre-draft visit with the Jets. More names have leaked out over the past seven days, so let's break down some of the more interesting ones in detail.

Jeff Badet, WR, Oklahoma

Badet spent most of his collegiate career at Kentucky, but saw some high profile action last year after transferring to Oklahoma. He wasn't invited to the scouting combine, but if he had been, his pro day numbers for the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump would all have ranked first or second at the receiver position.

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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: It's not quite crunch time yet, but there are less than three weeks until the start of the first round of the NFL draft, which means draft boards are in their final stages all around the league. It also means that the truth about which players are being targeted by which teams is starting to leak out -- albeit slowly.

Still, there are a lot of variables, especially in the first two picks. But at the moment there aren't many changes to my latest Mini-Mock Draft. The Browns are still taking a quarterback at 1. The Jets are still definitely taking one at 3. And I still think the Giants will take one -- assuming the right one is available -- at 2.

Here's a full look at my new Top 10, with some updated inside information...

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Former Jets QB Mark Sanchez has been suspended four games after violating the performance-enhancing drug policy, the league announced Friday. 

Sanchez, who last played for the Jets in 2013, was the Bear's third-string quarterback last season. He claimed that "unknowing supplement contamination" was the reason for his drug test to turn up positive. 

The 31-year-old took to Instagram to explain the whole story...

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 (Kamil Krzaczynski)
(Kamil Krzaczynski)

The Jets have already begun condensing their roster for next season as the team announced several cuts on Friday. 

Among them was former Bears RB Jeremy Langford, who signed a reserve/future contract with the Jets worth $630,000 this offseason. The 26-year-old spent time jumping through practice squads last season, and though he was promoted to the Ravens' 53-man roster, an injury pushed him to the IR the same week he joined the team. 

Langford was released following his IR placement, and the former fourth-round pick wouldn't see time for the rest of the season.

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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) greets Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) during warmups before a game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) greets Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) during warmups before a game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

WR Dez Bryant was released by the Cowboys on Friday afternoon, with Bryant reportedly hinting afterwards that he might be staying in the NFC East.

Bryant, 29, had a down year in 2017, with 69 receptions for 838 yards and six touchdowns in 16 games.

"I let a lot of things get in the way that bother me mentally," Bryant said late last season. "I feel like, if anything, I need to deal with in the offseason - is that. Like I said, there's only certain things I can control."

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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets are taking a quarterback with the third overall pick in the draft. They know it. Everyone knows it. And they know everyone knows it. "I mean, you'd have to be out of your mind to think otherwise," was how one team official said it. The only lingering question is: Which one?

The Jets have had or will have had private meetings and workouts with all of the top four, and GM Mike Maccagnan has made the rounds at their Pro Days. When they traded up to No. 3 they were convinced that they'd be happy with choosing from whichever two (or three) fell to them. And obviously at least two of the Big Four -- USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Wyoming's Josh Allen -- will still be there...

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Jonas Schwartz and Willie Colon take their deepest dive yet into the NFL Draft. They discuss the latest with the four quarterbacks, as well as look back at Willie's draft process with the Steelers in 2006. Later, Brian Costello of the New York Post joins the show to give his take on the draft and the possibility of Mike Maccagnan signing defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

Click below to listen

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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) gestures after thrown a touchdown pass to wide receiver Robby Anderson, not pictured, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) gestures after thrown a touchdown pass to wide receiver Robby Anderson, not pictured, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

The Jets' preseason schedule has been officially released for the 2018 season. 

The Falcons will be Gang Green's first opponent of the new year on their home turf. Then, they will hit the road to face the Redskins on Aug. 16 at 8 p.m.

The annual Snoopy Bowl at MetLife Stadium between the Jets and Giants will be the Week 3 matchup, with the Jets getting home field advantage.

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Top QB prospect Josh Rosen 00:01:13
Former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is expected to be taken as one of the top QB's in the 2018 NFL Draft.

In his latest mock draft, ESPN's Mel Kiper sees the Jets grabbing UCLA QB Josh Rosen with their third overall pick -- as SNY's Ralph Vacchiano projects in his Mini Mock Draft 3.0. 

The Jets clearly traded up to the No. 3 slot to take one of the highly touted quarterbacks. With Wyoming's Josh Allen and USC's Sam Darnold going to the Browns and Giants respectively, Rosen appears the best option for the Jets in Kiper's mind. 

CLICK BELOW TO READ KIPER'S ANALYSIS

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Oct 22, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets tight end Eric Tomlinson (83) hurdles Miami Dolphins strong safety Nate Allen (29) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Oct 22, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets tight end Eric Tomlinson (83) hurdles Miami Dolphins strong safety Nate Allen (29) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Having opted to let Austin Seferain-Jenkins leave in free agency, the Jets are relying on a group of young tight ends to replace his production, recently adding two more options to the mix.

It's possible the Jets could look to add to the group via the draft but, for now, let's consider what each of the tight ends currently on the roster brings to the table, and consider how they might be used in 2018...

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Top QB prospect Josh Rosen 00:01:13
Former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen is expected to be taken as one of the top QB's in the 2018 NFL Draft.

With the NFL Draft a little over two weeks away, the Jets continue to get their last live look at the top prospects they could select with their third overall pick. 

After Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield wraps up his private workout with the Jets Tuesday, UCLA QB Josh Rosen will visit the team, per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.

After Rosen's visit, USC QB Sam Darnold is expected to be next on the list at some point later this week. Wyoming QB Josh Allen is also expected to visit at a later date.

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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

The Jets continue to bolster their defense with another addition at the second tier in vetearn LB Kevin Minter, the team announced Monday. 

Minter most recently played for the Bengals in 2017, where he tallied 32 tackles in nine games. 

He was a second round draft pick by the Cardinals back in 2013, and he would spend four seasons in Arizona before heading to Cincinnati. He totaled 175 tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble, and six passes defended over 61 games (37 starts). 

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Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson (12) runs after the catch in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)
Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson (12) runs after the catch in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)

The Jets continue to stack their wide receiving corps for next season as former Vikings WR Charles Johnson signed a deal with the team on Monday. 

Johnson, who was waived by the Panthers in July 2017, sat out all last season due to surgery on his right knee. He played for the Vikings from 2014-16, where he totaled 60 receptions for 834 yards and two touchdowns over 39 games. 

The Grand Valley State product was a Packers' seventh-rounder back in 2013, and after joinging the team's practice squad following camp that year, the Brown picked him up to join their 53-man squad. He dressed but never saw action with the Browns. 

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The Jets' free agency strategy 00:12:52
The Jets Nation panel analyzes the Jets' recent free-agent additions, including former Vikings franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Here is the most up-to-date information on whom the Jets have added and lost during free agency, including contract details and salary cap information. Be sure to bookmark this page and check back for frequent updates.

JETS SALARY CAP SPACE

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Dec 27, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Akrum Wadley (25) rushes against Boston College Eagles defensive tackle Noa Merritt (94) during the second half of the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Dec 27, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Akrum Wadley (25) rushes against Boston College Eagles defensive tackle Noa Merritt (94) during the second half of the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

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While the Jets are reportedly hosting Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen for official Draft visits this week, we've also been keeping an eye on who else is reportedly scheduled to attend. Last year, both Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye took official visits before being selected with the Jets' top two picks.

Aside from the quarterbacks, most of this year's names that have leaked so far would be players the Jets might be hoping will drop to day three of the draft or maybe even be available as a priority free agent if they go undrafted. Let's look at some of the more interesting prospects...

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Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 1, 2018; Pasadena, CA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter in the 2018 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

With the NFL Draft just 17 days away, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield is scheduled to meet with the Jets in Florham Park on Monday and Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

The Jets have already met with Mayfield on multiple occasons -- including at the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine -- and the team held a private workout with him. 

The 22-year-old Mayfield, who is expected to be selected early in the first round, threw 119 touchdowns in three seasons with Oklahoma and capped it off by throwing 43 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2017 when he started a career-high 14 games...

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell is pursued by Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell on a 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter during an NFL football game at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell is pursued by Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Isaac Rochell on a 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter during an NFL football game at MetLife Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Despite the retirement of Matt Forte, the Jets have bolstered their depth in the offensive backfield with a couple of veteran additions. Let's give consideration to what each back brings to the table and how they might find a niche in the Jets' offense this season.

Bilal Powell...

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Sep 10, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Indianapolis Colts nose tackle Al Woods (99) and Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) wait to take the field before the Colts game with the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro)
Sep 10, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Indianapolis Colts nose tackle Al Woods (99) and Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) wait to take the field before the Colts game with the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro)

Free agent DT Johnathan Hankins visited the Jets on Thursday, reports Dan Graziano of ESPN. Hankins, who was cut by the Colts earlier this offseason, has also visited the Redskins.

After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Giants, Hankins agreed to a four-your deal with the Colts worth $30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed. 

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets were obviously looking for an upgrade at defensive tackle when they made their brief -- and ill-advised -- pursuit of Ndamukong Suh. Thankfully, they pulled the plug on that before it happened. Johnathan Hankins could turn out to be a much better fit...

Tags: Johnathan Hankins
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A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)
A general view of a New York Jets helmet and an NFL football during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman)

Former Jets WR/DB and Super Bowl champion, Bill Rademacher, has passed at the age of 75, the team confirmed on Tuesday. 

Rademacher came out of Northern Michigan undrafted, and ending up joining the Jets as a receiver in 1964. He would play in New York for five seasons that included a Super Bowl title in 1968. 

After getting released in 1969, he joined the Boston Patriots where he played just two seasons before retiring. Radebacher, then, became the head coach of Norther Michigan, where he owned a 37-16-1 career record. 

Overall, he played in 58 games totaling 24 receptions for 282 yards and three touchdowns.

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