Earlier this week, the Jets signed free agent fullback/running back Lex Hilliard. Jets fans might not know too much about Hilliard, so I’ve been looking at game footage in detail to investigate what he could bring to the table.

Hilliard spent the preseason with the Vikings before being cut, after which he signed with the New England Patriots, although he didn't see much playing time in two games with them before being let go again. Prior to that, he had been with Tony Sparano's Miami Dolphins, who drafted him in the sixth round in 2008.

After the jump, I look in detail at footage from Hilliard's time in the league to evaluate some of his strengths and weaknesses.

Who is Lex Hilliard?

While he is mainly considered as a fullback now, Hilliard was a tailback in college at Montana. There he rushed for over 4,000 yards - including over 1,300 in 2005 - and caught 57 passes. In 2006, he suffered an achilles injury and missed the entire season and although he bounced back with another 1,000 yard season in his senior year, that may have robbed him of some speed. He only ran a 4.66 at the combine, although he did post impressive numbers in the short shuttle (4.03), vertical jump (36.5 inches) and broad jump (over 10 feet), so clearly he had some explosiveness and agility. Miami drafted him in 2008 and he spent his rookie year on their practice squad.

In 2009, he saw some action on special teams but finally started seeing regular action towards the end of the season - then as a backup tailback. He had a breakout game in Week 16, catching nine passes for 74 yards and a touchdown and rushing for another score. However, in 2010, he didn't play much, touching the ball just once on a three yard catch, but he did see regular action as a backup fullback and occasional halfback in 2011. When New England signed him in 2012, it was purely as a fullback, although he only played nine snaps in two games. It's assumed that's the role the Jets have in mind for him, but with their running backs struggling, maybe he can contribute at the tailback position too.

He is listed at 228 pounds so fits into that hybrid back mold that perhaps the Jets saw in Terrance Ganaway. He's not a 250 pounds pure blocking back like John Conner, but lacks the speed to be a conventional tailback. However, he should be able to run with some power and bring some versatility to the backfield.

The Numbers

Four seasons (plus one on Miami's practice squad)

50 games

Four starts, all in 2011

40 carries, 132 yards, two touchdowns (3.3 ypc)

26 catches, 210 yards, two touchdowns

93% catch rate

No drops or fumbles

One kick return for 14 yards

25 special teams tackles, including 14 in 2009 and nine in 2010, two missed tackles, one penalty (neutral zone)

One offensive penalty committed (false start)

Zero 20+ yard plays

One fumble recovery

One blocked punt recovery for a touchdown

Observations

Based on all the regular season footage I watched, here was my take on what Hilliard brings to the table, divided into categories:

Usage - As noted, Hilliard was mostly used as a tailback in 2009, but has been employed mostly as a fullback since 2010. While he isn't your classic lead-blocking fullback, Hilliard has been mostly used in that role over the last few years. The Dolphins under Sparano also occasionally used him in three back sets, typically in short yardage situations or the wildcat package. They would sometimes employ three backs with two fullbacks and one tailback in the backfield (and even employed the Wing T at one point). However, from that formation, either fullback was often an option to carry the ball too. In their wildcat package, they would often have Ronnie Brown taking the snap with a back either side of him. One would then run to the outside to make a block for Brown to follow and the other would go straight up the middle, sometimes getting the ball from Brown on the handoff. The Dolphins also employed him at times in a dual back set in passing situations, thereby giving one or both backs the option to stay in to pass block.

The most common assumption in the media is that Hilliard has been acquired to fill in temporarily for John Conner (and if he does well, maybe the possibility exists that they'll stick with Hilliard and get rid of Conner). That's probably true, but there's also a chance that adding Hilliard will bring about some versatility to the running game, perhaps with Conner in the game at the same time, or with Hilliard taking his place in certain packages, but Conner still operating as the main lead blocker. They could certainly run three back sets with both at fullback and I would suggest that Hilliard might be better equipped for some of those wildcat plays, because he should be more mobile in terms of getting to the outside. His versatility in general could be a positive thing for those packages and he'll obviously be familiar with the playbook, having played with Miami for the last few seasons.

Running Ability - The first thing that stands out about Hilliard's stats is his poor yards per carry average. However, this is somewhat misleading because he was used so much in short yardage situations. On the basis of all the footage I watched, I've calculated his success rate in short yardage situations to be 80%. That happens to be somewhere that the Jets have been struggling - to the point where they've been reluctant to even try running the ball in those situations. However, there were several examples of Hilliard driving the pile in short yardage situations, so he was able to get a first down even when there wasn't a hole. He even converted a short yardage situation earlier this year with the Pats, so although they hardly used him, clearly they saw his worth in that area.

What Hilliard doesn't bring as a runner is any breakaway ability. He has never had a 20-yard play (as a runner or a receiver) in the NFL. Having said that, he did have a 39-yard touchdown run in preseason in 2009. He does flash the ability to get to the second level though. On his first ever carry, on 3rd and 15, he broke two tackles and drove the pile downfield to pick up 18 and a first down. That remains the longest run of his career, although he averaged just 3.2 yards on the rest of his carries that year. He did have a respectable 2.9 yards per carry after contact though. Other than as a short yardage back, he's pretty limited as a runner, although he scored one touchdown on a Jet Sweep out of the wildcat formation. His other touchdown came as the Dolphins had first and goal from the eight yard line and just gave it to him three times until he scored (although, after it clearly looked like he broke the plane on second down, it actually looked like he didn't on third down). On just 40 career carries, he has broken nine tackles, although that may be a little misleading because only one of them came since the end of the 2009 season and his move to fullback.

Run Blocking - Conner's biggest problem since getting in the league has been that he is sometimes inconsistent with sustaining his blocks. Often that's a product of trying to "light up" a guy in the hole, which - with NFL players - often means they just bounce off you and make a play. Hilliard, being a little smaller also sometimes lets guys get off his blocks to make plays, but it's usually more to do with him getting overpowered or losing the leverage battle. However, his lack of size doesn't necessarily stop him from making conventional fullback blocks. I saw one play where he met a linebacker in the hole and drove him out of the play. He also handled Muhammad Wilkerson last season, to set up a huge lane for a 28-yard Steve Slaton run. As you'd expect, he does look better than Conner at getting out on the move to make a block in space, although he did sometime miss his target at the second level.

He's not a dominant blocker by any means, but he didn't seem to blow too many assignments and there were only a few plays where guys threw him aside to make plays - the worst of which was in his own end zone and led to a safety.

Pass Protection - Hilliard had some issues in pass protection in 2009, giving up two sacks, two hits and one pressure in 39 pass block sacks. Both sacks were by Lamarr Woodley in the last game of the regular season. He also got beaten for a hit that led to an interception. Since then, he's only given up two pressures and no sacks or hits in 38 pass blocking snaps. That may be a product of him becoming a fullback and perhaps improving his strength because on some of those 2009 plays, he was driven off his spot and didn't keep a strong base. Conner has never looked that good in pass protection, so Hilliard could be an upgrade here too.

Receiving Threat - As a receiver, Hilliard was useful as a safety valve out of the backfield. Looking at the footage, it was basically the same play over and over again - he ran a diagonal to the flat, then caught the ball and turned upfield. On a few occasions, he had the speed to beat the linebacker to the outside and turn it into a decent gain, although his longest play was only 18 yards (on two occasions). One of these came as the quarterback scrambled around on 3rd and 13 and he found a soft spot for a dump off, which he caught in stride to get the first down. He also had two touchdowns in consecutive games at the end of the 2009 season on the same dump-off play - one where he dived for the pylon and another where he was wide open for a walk-in score.

Hands - Another impressive stat that jumps out is that Hilliard caught 20 passes on 20 targets in 2009. Since then, he's caught six of eight. Having said that, all of these were dump-offs, as he has never been thrown to more than 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Still, that's a good sign of how reliable he is in the short passing game, which might be a good way to get Sanchez into a rhythm and create holes for the running game by stretching the defense. There was one play where he juggled the ball and was tackled for no gain, but otherwise, he was very sure handed. He also has zero fumbles in his NFL career.

Special Teams - Hilliard has been a good contributor on specials teams. He was productive as a tackler, especially in 2009 and 2010, and also contributed in other ways, for example as a blocker on the kick return unit and on the punt return unit where he scored a touchdown on a blocked punt in 2011.

Attitude - Hilliard seems to have a positive attitude, as summed up by this quote, which perhaps is the sort of positive example it makes sense to add to the team:

"I'll play whatever. It may have to be on special teams. I'm ready to go. I'm ready to do whatever it takes to help the Miami Dolphins win."


(Obviously, replace "Miami Dolphins" with "New York Jets" within that quote).

I didn't see too many brain cramps and missed assignments by Hilliard, although there was a miscommunication on a draw play which indirectly led to Chad Henne's season ending injury last year and there was also one play where he recovered a muffed kickoff at the one and took a knee in the endzone, which should have been a safety, but he got lucky with the call.

Conclusions

This might be exactly what everybody says it is - a temporary move to replace an injured starter - but Hilliard may bring some things that the Jets currently lack and therefore end up making a positive contribution. He's not a great blocker, but might be more consistent than Conner. He's not a dynamic runner, but might be a better short yardage option than anyone on the roster. He might also give them a bit of backfield versatility that could allow them to run certain packages more effectively, including the wildcat. Indications are that he'll also provide a positive attitude and a good understanding of the playbook.

Let's hope he brings something...however long he's here.

Tags: BGA, Editorial Aside, Bent Double

Part 2 of Jets mini-camp 00:02:01
SNY delivers part 2 of an all-access behind-the-scenes recap of New York Jets minicamp, including the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

Click here to watch Part 1

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Jets DE Sheldon Richardson says head coach Todd Bowles has been more strict than in the past, per Darryl Slater of NJ.com. 

Bowles has been left with a young team following the Jets' roster purge that including veterans like C Nick Mangold and LB David Harris. With his job possibly in jeopardy, he has been putting emphasis on working harder.

"It's completely different from the last couple years," Richardson said at minicamp. "A lot more strict now. We weren't loose [in the past], but it's a lot more strict now. It's even more enforced than what it has been in the past."

Tags: Brandon Marshall, David Harris, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nick Mangold, Sheldon Richardson
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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) watches from the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) watches from the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Preseason Stats: 17-for-47, 159 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, 1-15 rushing, one fumble

Regular Season Stats: Did Not Play

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Jets LB Lorenzo Mauldin turned himself in to authorities Wednesday morning in Manhattan for his alleged role in a nightclub attack that took place on April 2, according to TMZ Sports.

Mauldin, who is also being sued in civil court, was not arrested or charged after the incident. The Jets said earlier this month that they're aware of the lawsuit but had no further comment.

An NFL spokesman told ESPN's Rich Cimini that the league is looking into the incident. 

Tags: Lorenzo Mauldin
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Behind the scenes at Jets camp 00:01:48
SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

SNY delivers an all-access behind the scenes recap of Jets minicamp, including all the sights and sounds from Florham Park.

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

Former Jets LB David Harris has agreed to a two-year deal with the New England Patriots worth $6.75 million, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

The Patriots offered Harris more than the Jets offered him earlier this month prior to his release, reports Mike Florio of NBC Sports.

Harris visited with the Patriots on Wednesday after speaking with head coach Bill Belichick (and coaches from five other teams) earlier this week, notes Florio.

Tags: David Harris
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Los Angeles Rams former and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Kevin Greene attends a NFL football game at between the Miami Dolphins and the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Kirby Lee)
Los Angeles Rams former and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Kevin Greene attends a NFL football game at between the Miami Dolphins and the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Kirby Lee)

The Jets were one of the worst pass-rushing teams in the NFL last year, finishing the season wtih just 27 sacks, and only 5.5 of them coming from the team's outside linebackers.

Todd Bowles brought in former NFL linebacker Kevin Greene as New York's new linebackers coach, and Greene has already expressed optimism towards his young group of players.

"The sky's the limit for all my kids," Greene told Daniel Popper of the Daily News. "I'm teaching my kids technique and fundamentals not based on athletic ability and skill. It's based on physicality. It's based on drive and desire and want-to and being a student of the game. ... All my kids can really be as good they want to be."

Tags: Darron Lee, Jordan Jenkins
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 (Mike Dinovo)
(Mike Dinovo)

The Jets have signed former Bears WR Marquess Wilson, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Wilson only played in three games last season as he was on the IR with a broken foot. He is a big target, standing at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, and will add some competition before training camp begins.

In four seasons with the Bears, Wilson played in 31 games, hauling in 56 receptions for 777 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

The Jets new running backs coach, Stump Mitchell, believes RB Bilal Powell has Pro Bowl ability, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

Mitchell has been impressed with Powell since joining the Jets this season, and he thinks if he didn't have to share time with another back, he has would attain Pro Bowl status. 

"Bilal is a Pro Bowl back if he was playing by himself, make no doubt about that," Mitchell said at minicamp.

Tags: Bilal Powell
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Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Ivory is tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins during the first quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Ivory is tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins during the first quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected Starters: Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin

Projected Backups: Dylan Donahue, Josh Martin

Tags: Deion Barnes, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin, Mike Catapano, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets minicamp 00:02:24
Quarterback Christian Hackenberg and defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson break down Jets minicamp and their expectations for the season.

Quarterback Christian Hackenberg and Defensive Lineman Sheldon Richardson break down Jets minicamp and their expectations for the season.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Sheldon Richardson
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Former Jets LB Larry Grantham dies at age 78: Larry Grantham, a member of the Jets' only Super Bowl team in 1969, died on Tuesday at the age of 78. Apart from being a Super Bowl Champion, Grantham has been enshrined in the Jets Ring of Honor as well. 

Elsewhere in New York sports the Mets dropped a slugfest to the Dodgers, the Yankees lose their top prospect to injury, and the NBA draft is just two days away. 

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

The Jets' roster purge and commitment to begin rebuilding this season earned them a "C+" offseason grade, per ESPN's Rich Cimini.

As the offseason is normally used to rebuild rosters, the Jets tore theirs down thanks to move made by owner Woody Johnson. Among the roster cuts were LB David Harris and WR Eric Decker, which saved the Jets almost $14 million in payroll alone. C Nick Mangold and CB Darrelle Revis were also part of the 11 veterans the Jets go rid of this offseason. 

Cimini said the grade should be worse considering the Jets now have one of the worst rosters in the NFL, but looking at the big picture, the Jets are acknowledging their rebuild and will have $80 million to work with next offseason.

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New York Jets running back Bilal Powell leaps over Miami Dolphins safety Isa Abdul-Quddus during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell leaps over Miami Dolphins safety Isa Abdul-Quddus during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected Starter: Matt Forte

Projected Backups: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire

Tags: Bilal Powell, Matt Forte
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GEICO SportsNite: Larry Grantham 00:00:26
Michelle Yu reports on the passing of former Jets linebacker Larry Grantham, a member of the Jets Ring of Honor, who was 78 years old.

The Jets announced former LB Larry Grantham, a Ring of Honor member and Super Bowl III champion, has died at age 78.

Grantham opted to join the AFL's New York Titans despite being drafted in the NFL by the Baltimore Colts in 1960. The Titans became the Jets in 1963, and Grantham would stay with them until his retirement in 1972. 

He was the starting linebacker for the Jets' Super Bowl III championship team where he called all the plays on defense. Grantham played in 175 career games, and was a five-time AFL All-Star and a five-time all-NFL selection. 

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets receivers 00:01:37
Jeane Coakley talks to Quincy Enunwa to discuss his expectations for himself and the young receivers for the upcoming season.

SNY's Jeane Coakley talks to Quincy Enunwa after the conclusion of Jets minicamp to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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Former Jets wide receiver signed a deal with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.  (Bill Wippert/AP)
Former Jets wide receiver signed a deal with the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. (Bill Wippert/AP)

Former Jets wide receiver Eric Decker is now a Tennessee Titan after agreeing to a deal on Sunday. 

Elsewhere, Jacob deGrom homers, the Yankees drop their sixth straight, Bradley Wright-Phillips scores twice and the Rangers, Islanders and Devils announce their protected players list ahead of the NHL Expansion Draft. 

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Eric Decker (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
Eric Decker (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Former Jets wide receiver Eric Decker agreed to a contract with the Tennessee Titans, the team announced Sunday.

Decker, 30, played 33 games with the Jets over the past three seasons, totaling 163 catches, 2,183 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.

Decker had appeared healthy entering organized team activities in May after he missed 13 games last season due to rotator cuff and hip injuries.

New York released him last Monday when they were unable to find a trading partner. The Jets will face a $1.5 million cap hit this year and next after releasing Decker.

Tags: Eric Decker, Tennessee Titans
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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

RB Matt Forte says the Jets aren't tanking the season, despite the fact that they've cut the majority of their veteran players this offseason.

"It's a good thing we don't operate off of what the fans think and what everybody on the outside thinks," Forte said, according to The Record. "What we think as a team, that's what's going to happen. And none of us on the team think that we're going to tank. So all I have to say about that is: Bring it."

The Jets, who went 5-11 last season, have cut Brandon MarshallEric DeckerDavid HarrisDarrelle RevisNick MangoldNick Folk, and Breno Giacomini since the season ended. They also declined their option on Ryan Clady.

Tags: Matt Forte
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 (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)
(Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It's really quite an accomplishment for the Jets to come off a disappointing and perhaps disastrous 5-11 season and find a way to get worse. But they did it. They purged their roster of most of their veterans and replaced them with untested, unknown players. They're playing the long game, even though their short term looks rather bleak.

Who knows if they're "tanking" with their eyes on a top draft pick next season? Maybe they're just acknowledging the need to experience short-term pain for long-term gain. Whatever it is, there isn't a lot of hope for the 2017 season. Their eyes are on 2018, or perhaps beyond.

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Rookie Marcus Maye on minicamp 00:01:51
SNY's Jeane Coakley chats with Jets rookie safety Marcus Maye about his first minicamp in the NFL.

SNY's Jeane Coakley chats with Jets rookie safety Marcus Maye about his first minicamp in the NFL.

The Jets selected Maye in the second round of Apri's NFL Draft.

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Jets quarterbacks practice during minicamp on Wednesday. (Julio Cortez/AP)
Jets quarterbacks practice during minicamp on Wednesday. (Julio Cortez/AP)

Jets coach Todd Bowles said Thursday there is no frontrunner for the srarting quarterback job. 

Elsewhere, the Yankees lose in extra innings, Juan Lagares is injurede in a Mets loss and the Giants ink their first-round pick. 

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:02:10
Jeane Coakley talks to Jets coach Todd Bowles as they wrap up spring practices about the quarterback competition and the rookie safeties.

Jeane Coakley talks to Jets coach Todd Bowles as they wrap up spring practices about the quarterback competition and the rookie safeties.


 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Jets DE Sheldon Richardson wants to stay with the team for the rest of his caeer, but is not open to giving a hometown discount. 

The Jets, who finished 5-11 last season, are entering a rebuilding phase. But Richardson wants to be a part of it.

"A lot of guys just want to go jump on a bandwagon," Richardson told Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News earlier this week. "Older guys. Later in their career, it's easy to go jump into a good situation. It's a free market, so by all means, do your thing. But me personally, I like to make history, not be a part of it."

Tags: Sheldon Richardson
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles insinuated the team's starting QB is job still up for grabs, noting Thursday that there is currently no frontrunner.

The Jets, who are expected to turn to Josh McCown as their starter, have also been giving reps to Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty.

McCown, 37, signed a one-year deal worth $6 million this offseason.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
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New York Jets inside linebacker Demario Davis (56) comes away with a fumble recovery during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. (Steven Ryan)
New York Jets inside linebacker Demario Davis (56) comes away with a fumble recovery during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. (Steven Ryan)

Jets linebacker Demario Davis took a $2.7 million pay cut in order to help facilitate the trade that brought him back to New York, according to Field Yates of ESPN.

Davis, who was set to earn $3.7 million in the final year of his contract, will now make $1 million this season. This includes a $100,000 signing bonus and a $900,000 base salary. He can also earn $1.225 million in incentives. 

Davis re-structured his contract at the time of the June 1 trade. 

Tags: Demario Davis
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 (Julio Cortez/AP)
(Julio Cortez/AP)

Jets quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates said he was impressed with Christian Hackenberg's passing in minicamp. 

Elsewhere, Yankees lose and Mets win their respective rubber games and Joe Girardi would have no problem with Aaron Judge in the Home Run Derby.

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GEICO SportsNite: New York Jets 00:01:57
Jeane Coakley breaks down the latest from the New York Jets training facility as Quincy Enunwa talks about his new role in the offense.

 (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)
(Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

Despite evidence to the contrary, Jets quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates has been impressed with Christian Hackenberg's passing in minicamp, according to Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News. 

Bates, who previously coached the team's quarterbacks in 2005, likes the precision of Hackenberg's passes thus far at camp. 

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson, who struggled in 2016, said he's ready to rebound this season.

"I want to pretty much have one of my best years ever," Wilkerson said Wednesday, according to the NY Post. "I plan on being dominant."

The 27-year-old Wilkerson, who signed a five-year deal worth $86 million before last season, had 4.5 sacks, 58 tackles, and one forced fumble in 15 games. He had ammassed 12.0 sacks in 2015.

Wilkerson said the leg he broke during the final game in 2015 was strong enough to play on last season, but that it impacted his performance. And he bristled at those who suggested he was mailing it in.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
(Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Jets QB Christian Hackenberg has been making lots of awful throws this spring -- first during OTAs and again on Tuesday when minicamp began.

A few of the team's beat writers tweeted during OTAs that Hackenberg had been hitting those on the sidelines with errant throws. On Tuesday at minicamp, one of those throws was filmed...

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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New York Jets quarterbacks Josh McCown (15), Christian Hackenberg (5) and Bryce Petty (9) work out during NFL football practice, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets quarterbacks Josh McCown (15), Christian Hackenberg (5) and Bryce Petty (9) work out during NFL football practice, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Josh McCown is still standing in front of Christian Hackenberg for the starting quarterback role. 

Elsewhere, Odell Beckham Jr. speaks, and the Yankees and Mets both have their respective win streaks snapped. 

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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:02:02
Darron Lee, Lorenzo Mauldin and Leonard Williams are surprised by the Jets' decision to release David Harris and Eric Decker.

 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

It doesn't seem to make any sense that the Jets are rebuilding and going with young players at every position, but they will almost certainly be led by a 38-year-old quarterback. Everywhere else, the Jets purged their roster of veterans so the young players could get an unimpeded opportunity.

Yet McCown, who has no viable future with the Jets beyond this season, still stands in second-year pro Christian Hackenberg's way.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Jets quarterback Josh McCown said he has been working with younger quarterbacks Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty in the team's mandatory minicamp this week.

The veteran 37-year-old, who signed a one-year deal with the Jets this off-season, said Hackenberg and Petty have often asked him questions as they continue to learn the quarterback position.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Jets DE Sheldon Richardson wasn't afraid to voice his disapproval of the Jets cutting veteran LB David Harris, per Manish Mehta of NY Daily News. 

Jets owner, Woody Johnson, made the call to cut Harris as he looks to shed payroll for the upcoming season. Upon hearing the news, Richardson said what many were most likely thinking. 

"It shocked the s--t out of me," Richardson said. "It is a business. But after a while it don't become a business. Dave wasn't (greedy). I know him, so I know he would have taken something (a fair and reasonable pay cut). I know he wasn't busting nobody over there. He don't want to play for free, either."

Tags: Sheldon Richardson
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 (Jim O'Connor)
(Jim O'Connor)

Former Jets WR Kenbrell Thompkins is among 12 players trying out for the Jets at minicamp Monday, per AP's Dennis Waszak. Jr.

Thompkins, who didn't play in the league last year, spent the 2015 season with the Jets. He played in seven games, hauling in 17 receptions for 165 yards. 

Other notables on the list are former Jaguars RB Denard Robinson, veteran WR Dexter McCluster, and RB Bobby Rainey, who spent time with the Giants last season. 

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Jacksonville Jaguars running back Denard Robinson (16) runs the ball during the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at EverBank Field. (Reinhold Matay)
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Denard Robinson (16) runs the ball during the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at EverBank Field. (Reinhold Matay)

Former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Denard Robinson is trying out with the Jets at minicamp this week, Robinson's agency announced on Twitter Tuesday morning.

Robinson carried the ball 41 times for 144 yards last season, appearing in 14 games for the Jaguars.

In four seasons in the NFL, Robinson has rushed the ball 263 times for 1,058 yards, averaging 4.0 yards per carry, with five touchdowns. The 26-year old back has added 47 receptions for 310 yards, all during the last three years.

The former Michigan quarterback had a tryout with the Bears last month, but left without a contract.

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New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) runs on the field for the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)
New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) runs on the field for the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)

After failing to find a trade partner, the Jets released wide receiver Eric Decker on Monday. 

Elsewhere, the Yankees and Mets continued their winning streaks, and made selections in the MLB Draft, 

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New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams celebrates with defensive end Sheldon Richardson after Richardson's tackle against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium. (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams celebrates with defensive end Sheldon Richardson after Richardson's tackle against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium. (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Steve McLendon

Projected backups: Sheldon Richardson, Lawrence Thomas, Deon Simon

Tags: Deon Simon, Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Steve McLendon
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:01:34
New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins discusses his role in the Jets offense and his mindset heading into camp.

New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. (Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. (Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets released wide receiver Eric Decker on Monday after they were unable to find a team as a trading partner.

"We think very highly of Eric. Our focus right now is seeing our young players, how they do," GM Mike Maccagnan said earlier this week in a press release.

New York had reportedly discussed trading Decker to the Baltimore Ravens among other teams, however were unable to eat enough of Decker's $8.75 million cap hit for 2017 to make the numbers work, according to SNY.tv's Ralph Vacchiano.

Tags: Eric Decker
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Indianapolis Colts running back Jordan Todman returns a kickoff against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. (Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY Sports)
Indianapolis Colts running back Jordan Todman returns a kickoff against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. (Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Jets are expected to sign running back and kick returner Jordan Todman to a contract, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan.

Todman, 27, recorded 59 rushing yards on nine attempts in 16 games last season for the Indianapolis Colts. As a kick returner, he totaled 16 returns for 478 yards, including a 99-yard return for a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in Week 9.

A sixth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, Todman played 33 games with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2012 to 2014 and played 11 games with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015. 

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 (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
(Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

The old battle cry from venters that "You can't tell the players without a scorecard" has never felt more appropriate than it does now, heading into the Jets' full-team minicamp. So many familiar names and faces are gone. Really, almost every familiar name and face is gone.

The Jets might want to consider handing out nametags, too.

For better or for worse - and yes, it's likely for worse - the Jets get their first, full look at the purged roster that GM Mike Maccagnan has assembled when their three-day minicamp kicks off on Tuesday morning. They have so much work to do - work that likely won't be completed until 2018, or perhaps later - and so many questions to answer.

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 (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
(Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starter: Josh McCown

Projected back-ups: Christian Hackenberg, Bryce Petty

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick
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 (Timothy T. Ludwig)
(Timothy T. Ludwig)

The Jets have announced they have waived LB Randell Johnson.

A seventh-round pick by the Bills in 2014, Johnson didn't record a stat with the Jets last season, only playing in a single game. 

Johnson played two seasons with the Bills, recording five total tackles and one fumble recovery in 15 games. 

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 (Mike Dinovo (USA Today))
(Mike Dinovo (USA Today))

Recently-retired QB Jay Cutler said he 'balked' at the potential of signing quickly with the Jets this offseason before the team signed Josh McCown.

Cutler was contacted by the Jets soon after being released by the Bears but wasn't ready to make up his mind on his next move.

"I kind of balked at that because I didn't really want to jump into anything," Cutler told Adam Schefter of ESPN earlier this week. "Whether they would've offered me a contract or that it would've worked out, I have no idea. That's something the Jets know more than I know."

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Spencer Paysinger heads onto the field before a game against the San Diego Chargers. (AP)
Spencer Paysinger heads onto the field before a game against the San Diego Chargers. (AP)

The Jets have signed former Giants and Dolphins linebacker Spencer Paysingerthe team announced Friday morning.

Paysinger spent the last two years with the Dolphins, appearing in 29 games (three starts) and recording 83 tackles. 

The 6-foot-2, 249 pound Paysinger joined the Giants as an undrafted free agent following the 2011 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons in New York, and was a part of the Super Bowl XLVI championship team.

In his six NFL seasons, Paysinger has played in 91 games (17 starts) and has racked up 157 tackles on defense and 70 more on special teams.

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New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker catches a pass during the team's organized team activities at its NFL football training facility, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker catches a pass during the team's organized team activities at its NFL football training facility, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Good morning. Here's what you need to know for today in New York sports. 

The Yankees earned a 9-1 win over the Red Sox on Thursday night after a strong seven innings from starter Michael Pineda and a two-homer, five-RBI performance from Gary Sanchez. 

Elsewhere, Odell Beckham, Jr. could command the largest wide receiver contract ever, and the Jets are engaged in trade talks about Eric Decker. 

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