Yesterday, the Jets announced that they had signed running back Michael Smith to their 90-man roster. Jets fans might not be too familiar with Smith, so I've been watching game film to get a sense of what he brings to the table.

The 25-year old Smith was a 7th round pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012 and won the job as the kickoff returner in camp. However, after the first game, he was benched and remained inactive for the rest of his rookie year. In 2013, he was back in the mix, but missed the whole season with an injury. The Bucs released him in May.

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

Who is Michael Smith?

The 5'9" Smith attended Utah State where he split reps with Seattle Seahawks running back Robert Turbin. Smith, used in a change of pace role, averaged over seven yards per carry, including 7.6 in his senior year. He had a sparkling performance at his pro day (4.33 forty, 40.5" vertical, 126" broad jump, 23 bench press reps), which led to him being projected as a late round pick in the 2012 draft.

Sure enough, Tampa Bay selected him in the seventh round and he did a good job on kickoff returns in preseason, winning that job. He had also generated 112 yards from scrimmage on 30 touches. However, in his NFL debut, he returned just three kicks and didn't see any action on offense, then was made inactive as the Bucs gave that job to Arrelious Benn. He didn't play again that season, although he remained on the 53-man roster.

In 2013, he again flashed as a return man, but tore a ligament in his foot and was placed on injured reserve prior to the season. He joins the Jets who have already brought in one running back this year (Daryl Richardson) after Mike Goodson failed to report. There could be an opportunity to get some touches in preseason with Bilal Powell currently hurt, Chris Johnson on a "pitch count" and Chris Ivory being monitored closely due to previous injury concerns.

Let's take a brief look at the six preseason and one regular season appearances that Smith has made:

2012 preseason

Week 1 - at Miami

Smith didn't make much of an impact on offense, with just 12 yards on 10 touches, but did flash with this spectacular 74-yard kickoff return. He bounced off one tackle and ran through another on that play, but did get caught from behind. He showed good burst on his other kick return too, as that went for 34 yards. On most of his runs, he really had nowhere to go and did at least move the pile a few times. He was slow out of his stance on one run where the hole closed before he got to the line, perhaps misreading the snap count there. He stayed in to pass block a few times, making an effective cut on an outside linebacker but also missing a pickup on a delayed blitz where the quarterback got rid of the ball quickly.

Week 2 - v Tennessee

Smith had more offensive success in the next game, running for 31 yards on seven carries. 17 came on one play as he showed good burst to hit a big hole on the right side and burst into the open field. He also had a conversion on 3rd and two. On one run, he wasn't able to break out of a tackle by a defensive end on the edge, otherwise he could have had another big gain. While he didn't break any long returns here, he impressively got the ball out past the 20 on five out of five returns, breaking a few tackles in the process.

Week 3 - v New England

In this game, Smith rushed for 38 yards on six carries, caught two passes for 16 yards and returned three kicks for 78 yards. At the start of the fourth, he had an impressive drive where they gave him the ball four straight times and he took the Bucs from their own 28 to the Patriots 38. First of all he ran up the middle for 11, skipping over a tackle at the second level. Then he caught a pass in the flat and slipped a tackle. On the next play they dumped it to him underneath and he broke one tackle and then used a stiff arm as he got outside on another man. Finally he showed burst and drive to pick up seven more. Later on that drive, he had a nine yard run outside, but it was negated by a hold. He had one more run later in the game where he showed patience to drive for six behind his fullback. As a return man, he had a good runback for 39 as he slipped a tackle and drove for extra yardage. However, his other two returns were bad decisions, one seeing him tackled inside the 20 and the other seeing him almost tackled inside the 15, although he managed to slip out to the 22. As a pass blocker, he had one semi-effective cut block as the quarterback got rid of the ball early.

Week 4 - at Washington

In the last preseason game, Smith started and did not play much, rushing just four times for four yards. On each carry he had nowhere to go. He did pick up 11 on a dump-off pass underneath but that was easy yardage on 2nd and 23. He did get some extra pass protection reps and struggled on one pickup as the OLB got him off-balance with an outside rush. However, on another pickup he did well to get in front of a strong safety blitz.

2012 regular season

Week 1 - v Carolina

After a solid preseason as a return man, it was Smith's decision making that cost him the role in the season opener. He was tackled at the 10 and 18 on two of his three returns where he should have just stayed in the end zone.

2013 preseason

Week 1 - v Baltimore

In the first preseason game of 2013, Smith ran for 15 yards on five carries and caught a nine yard pass on a 2nd and 10 screen. On one run he looked to turn the corner, but was nailed in the open field by a safety and stoppped in his tracks for four. He did convert a third and one play. As a kick returner, he had two underwhelming attempts, one of which saw him run into his own man short of the 20. He did have a good blitz pickup off the edge, but on another play, two rushers came free and he picked up the outside guy, leading to pressure up the middle.

Week 2 - at New England

Another promising runback from Smith here, as he takes this one 63 yards, bursting into the open field and turning a would-be tackler around in the open field. This would be his only significant contribution though, as he did not play on offense and suffered the foot injury that would end his season.

Observations

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

Usage - In 2013, Smith was used exclusively as a half back. However, he did line up out wide once in 2012.

Running Ability - Despite the fact his speed is his greatest asset and he doesn't have ideal size, Smith is a direct, straight-ahead runner. He doesn't dance around or make many fancy moves, just powers ahead mostly. One thing I did notice was that where he broke tackles, it tended to be on defensive backs rather than big front seven players. As most of this action was two years ago, he might have developed more power since then, which could make a difference.

While his preseason rushing numbers were pretty underwhelming, a lot of that was down to poor blocking from the backups in front of him. As a decent statistical comparison, he had 83 yards on 26 carries in 2012 whereas Mossis Madu had 60 on 23 carries. He beat out Madu for the last roster spot and then Madu spent time with the Jets last year, so maybe we can conclude he has slightly more to offer than Madu.

Pass Protection - In the last preseason game of 2012, they were using Madu on running downs and then bringing Smith off the bench to pass protect so that may be a sign that he was ahead of him in that area too. However, it might just have been an area where they wanted Smith to get extra reps.

While we didn't see much from Smith in this area, he didn't make any terrible mistakes. He looked overmatched at times, but generally did what he could to allow the quarterback to get his throw off. Smith actually looked good against defensive backs, but again struggled with bigger players, something that he might have improved upon if he's added strength since then.

Receiving Threat - All in all, Smith caught five passes for 38 yards, so he showed moderate capabilities in this area. Each time he was targeted was a completion, but he didn't showcase much versatility, as they were all checkdowns underneath. On the one play where he lined up outside, he ran a shallow crosser and was actually uncovered underneath but the quarterback didn't see him and was sacked.

Hands - His hands seem pretty good, albeit that he never had any difficult catches to make when receiving or returning. He didn't have any drops or fumbles.

Instincts - There were a couple of moments where Smith didn't appear to find a suitable space to sit down in for a dump-off pass in time and where the quarterback scrambled but Smith missed the chance to make a block downfield. These struck me as rookie mistakes, perhaps caused by him concentrating too hard on his primary assignment.

Injuries - Smith should no longer be troubled by the foot injury that wrecked his 2013 season. He also missed most of 2010 with a toe injury when he was in college.

Special Teams - This is where Smith has the most chance to contribute. He broke some long returns and showed that he was capable of bringing the ball out past the 20 consistently, showing burst, vision and an ability to break tackles when he can accelerate up to top speed. Other than on kickoff returns, I didn't see any other special teams contributions from him.

Earlier today, Rich Cimini tweeted that Smith can return punts, but I think he's been ill-informed. Smith never returned punts in college or while with the Bucs and didn't even try it in practice when the Bucs were desperate for someone in 2012 and he was sitting on the roster inactive every week. (And yes, I know the 74-yard return above says "punt return" in the link but that was a mistake by NFL.com too).

Conclusions

The Jets often bring up a back during camp and they might get a chance to see action in preseason but rarely challenge for a roster spot. Smith's return skills might give him an outside shot, especially since there's no obvious candidate for the role currently on the roster. However, I think it's more likely that an actual contributor will double up and take the role because the Jets may not have enough spare roster spots to afford the luxury of a specialist.

Still, Smith is young and has upside, so if he makes the most of his opportunities, maybe he can turn some heads - especially if other backs continue to suffer with injuries.

Tags: bentdouble, BGA, Bent Double

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

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

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

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

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

Click below to listen!

 

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Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson took to Instagram to refute a recent report that he is out of shape. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 (Brian Spurlock)
(Brian Spurlock)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

JETS SALARY CAP SPACE

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

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

 


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

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

Or so we all thought.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

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

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

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

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December 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Quinton Patton (11) runs past New York Jets middle linebacker David Harris (52) during the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. The Jets defeated the 49ers 23-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
December 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Quinton Patton (11) runs past New York Jets middle linebacker David Harris (52) during the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. The Jets defeated the 49ers 23-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Free-agent WR Quinton Patton met with the Jets on Saturday, the team announced. 

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

The 2013 fourth-round pick has 73 career catches for 880 yards. 

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

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

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

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

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

Click below to listen...

 

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

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

McCown, 37, recently visited with the Cowboys.

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

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

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

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

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


 (Mark Hoffman)
(Mark Hoffman)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

Cadet was also weighing an offer from the Bills.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update: 

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

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

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

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


Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

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

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

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

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

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


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

Click below to listen!

 

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 (Bill Streicher)
(Bill Streicher)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

Latest Updates (Mar. 13)

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

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

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

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 (Matt Kartozian)
(Matt Kartozian)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV

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On Guard with Willie Colon 00:04:08
Willie Colon joins DNL to discuss the Giants acquisition of Brandon Marshall and the Jets quarterback situation as free agency begins.

Willie Colon joins DNL to discuss the Giants acquisition of Brandon Marshall and the Jets quarterback situation as free agency begins.


GEICO SportsNite: Darrelle Revis 00:04:54
The Jets informed Darrelle Revis of his impending release next week amid issues off the field and declining performance on the field.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Darrelle Revis' long and sometimes stormy tenure with the Jets has officially come to an end.

The Jets released the 31-year-old on Thursday, on the first day of the NFL's new league year. It was "100 percent" a football decision, according to a team source, and not at all related to his recent legal troubles in Pittsburgh.

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 (Andrew Weber)
(Andrew Weber)

The Jets have re-signed LT/RT Ben Ijalana to a two-year deal worth $11 million, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano confirmed.

Ijalana, 27, played in all 16 games for the Jets last season.

He made $760,000 in 2016...

Tags: Ben Ijalana
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Jets Nation: Free Agency Special 00:03:24
In a special Free Agency edition of Jets Nation the panel discuss if they were surprised by any of the Jets' recent free agent moves.

SNY had full coverage of the opening of NFL Free Agency at 4PM on Thursday with a special Jets Nation: Free Agency Special.

Jeane Coakley hosted with former Jets Ray Lucas and Willie Colon and longtime Jets Special Teams coach Mike Westhoff. Ralph Vacchiano was around providing the latest news and notes as the Jets looked to reshape their roster.
 

 

 

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The Jets have released RB Khiry Robinson, the team announced Thursday.

Robinson, 27, signed with the Jets last March after missing the end of the 2015 season due to a broken leg. 

He reinjured the leg during a preseason game against the Eagles and was waived/injured on Sept. 4. Robinson re-signed with the Jets on Dec. 7 but reinjured the leg against the Patriots in Week 16.

Tags: Khiry Robinson
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 (Steve Mitchell)
(Steve Mitchell)

League executives are not high on the idea of signing CB Darrelle Revisreports Manish Mehta in the NY Daily News.

Revis, 31, was released by the Jets last week. It was a move Jets head coach Todd Bowles said had to do strictly with football, and not Revis' recent arrest.

"Have you seen his tape?" one general manager told Mehta. "I wouldn't let him play for me for free."

"Revis is done," another front office executive told Mehta. "You respect the body of work throughout his career, but all good things come to an end." 

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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