The Jets this week announced the signing of tight end Shawn Nelson to the active roster. Unlike the Eron Riley signing, he was a free agent when they picked him up, so there is no requirement for them to keep him on the roster for a minimum of three weeks. Some have therefore suggested he’s only been signed to gain information on the Jets’ next opponents, his former team - Buffalo. However, the Jets have been looking at tight ends since Jeff Cumberland was injured and, with Matt Mulligan struggling, there might be an opportunity to stick. I have therefore been looking at game footage to get a feel for what he brings to the table.

Shawn Nelson was a 6-foot-5, 240 pound blocking tight end, drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 draft by the Bills. I say “was” because he bulked up during the lockout and the Bills were already listing him at 273 pounds back in August. However, he was 240 when the games I analyzed were played, so adjust your expectations in terms of speed, strength and mobility accordingly.

Nelson got plenty of playing time for the Bills in 2009 and although his 2010 season was eaten into by injuries and a suspension, there is plenty of regular season footage to analyze, unlike for the likes of Baxter, Schlauderaff and Riley, who only really played against backups in preseason.

However, I first became aware of Nelson back in 2005 when he caught six passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns to win MVP honors as Southern Miss beat Arkansas State in the New Orleanns Bowl. Back then, he was a 225-pound receiver, but they were already moving him around and using him in a variety of ways. By 2007, he had converted to tight end, although he was still considered more of a pass catching threat than a blocker. In a game against Boise State, he stayed in to block a lot early on, but later got open downfield for a 31-yard catch and scored a 22-yard TD on a screen pass as he ran untouched to the endzone. He could have had another touchdown, but badly dropped an over-the-shoulder catch in the endzone.

At the start of his rookie season, Nelson missed an entire week of OTAs due to “personal problems”. This is perhaps not a big deal, especially since the activities were not mandatory, although it was the first of many occasions where Nelson was not available. He made it into the rotation, even scoring a touchdown in his first game, but then injured his shoulder in week two and missed the next game. After returning to the lineup, he played in the next three games, before missing the next three with migraine issues.

In 2010, he injured his groin in preseason and had to have surgery. Then, it was announced that he had violated the NFL’s substance abuse policy and would be suspended for four games. He returned to the lineup in week seven and played the next five games, only to suffer more migraine issues and end up on injured reserve.

In 2011, he showed up 30 pounds heavier, which he had said was to help him with blocking. However, when the Bills surprisingly cut him, the media reported that it was because he showed up overweight. He hadn’t participated in any camp activities due to an undisclosed injury and the emergence of Scott Chandler obviously made him surplus to requirements.

Clearly, Nelson hasn’t been particularly reliable so far, although much of that probably isn’t his fault. Hopefully he’s spent the last two months getting in shape and re-dedicating himself to the game. Let’s now get a sense of how he performed when he DID play.

2009 Season

Week One – New England

Nelson caught two passes for 13 yards and (his only) NFL touchdown. He also dropped a pass and was called for two penalties.

An interesting sequence of plays late in the first quarter saw him line up on the right hand side and pull to the left three times. On the first one, he made a great seal block on the outside linebacker coming off the edge. This opened up a huge hole for a 17-yard gain. On the next one, a couple of plays later, the outside linebacker read the play and pinched in. Nelson couldn’t really find anyone to block and the run was stuffed. On the play after that, he pulled left again, but this time, as the linebacker avoided him, it was a play-action pass and he leaked into the flat to catch the ball and dive in at the pylon for a nine yard touchdown.

He also showed an ability to run block in space, sustaining his block well on Adalius Thomas on the edge for an 11-yard run that was negated by an illegal formation penalty and again on a 3rd and 3 conversion. However, on one similar play the linebacker battled with him to get outside leverage and in his efforts to allow the runner to turn the corner, Nelson grabbed his man’s arm and was called for a hold. The runner did get to the edge for a 12-yard gain, which was obviously called back. Nelson’s other penalty was a false start in the first quarter.

He was targeted another two times, with a pass in the flat being thrown too high so he had to jump to catch it and was held to a 4-yard gain. On another, he got good downfield separation going across the field on a square-in route, but the pass was thrown behind him and he dropped it.

Week Two – Tampa Bay

Nelson caught one pass for 13 yards, but left with a shoulder injury.

Nelson’s only target in this one saw him leak to the outside where he was wide open for a 13-yard catch and run.

As a blocker, he had mixed results. Early on, he drove DE Jimmy Wilkerson back five yards as the runner gained five up the middle. Later, he met an OLB in space and drove him out of the play as the Bills gained four more. After that, he did a good job of making a block at the second level, but then did not sustain the block and his man was able to get to the runner. That ended up being a six yard gain. Finally, a linebacker diagnosed the run and got to the hole before Nelson could make the block, beating him inside to stuff the run for a loss.

Week Four - Miami

Nelson made his return from injury but was not targeted.

An interesting sequence here saw him blocking Jason Taylor on the outside. On the first play, he met him on the edge and made a good kickout block to set up a nine yard gain. On the next play, he lost outside leverage and Taylor was able to string the play out for a loss.

Week Five - Cleveland

Nelson was targeted four times, but caught just one pass for no gain. He was in the game for a career high 67 snaps (85% of the time).

In this game, Nelson’s only catch saw a cornerback come off his man to tackle him in the backfield. This was almost a safety. As a blocker, he had problems sustaining his blocks on a couple of occasions. On one, his man got off his block on the outside and missed the tackle in the backfield before recovering to make the tackle for a loss with his second effort. On another, his man got off his block on the inside and held the run to a three yard gain.

Week Six - Jets

Nelson caught two passes for 34 yards and was called for one penalty. After this game, he missed three weeks with migraine issues.

This must be where Nelson first found his way onto Rex Ryan’s radar screen. Entering the game, the Jets were hitting the opposing quarterback five times per game on average and the Bills were not regarded as a strong pass-protecting team. However, in this game, they thwarted the Jets’ overload blitzes by leaving extra guys in, moving the pocket and generally being extremely well-organized in pass protection. Nelson was one of these guys, as he stayed in seven times and did not allow any pressure. Overall, the Jets blitzed 14 times, but had just one sack and one QB hit.

As a pass catcher, he had a 25 yard gain on a seam route and a nine yard reception on his only two targets.

In the running game, he threw a good early block to set up a 12-yard run, but was beaten on two runs that were stuffed either side of the end of the first quarter. He also had a false start. In the third quarter, he made three consecutive good blocks as the Bills gained nine yards on three straight runs. The first saw Terrell Owens gain nine on an end around as Nelson made a pulling block. Nelson also made a good pulling block on the third of those runs.

Week Ten - Tennessee

Nelson made his return and caught three passes for 13 yards and was also called for a hold on a kickoff. In addition, he recovered a fumble early in the second half.

His most important catch was a five yard gain as he leaked out into the flat on 2nd and 3. As a run blocker, he had a good early block where he blocked the first guy, then peeled off to block a second guy on the edge. The run went for seven yards. Later on, he tried to make a pulling block, but Kyle Vanden Bosch diagnosed the play and avoided him to make the tackle, albeit downfield for a five yard gain, so at least he did enough to enable the runner to get through the line. As a pass blocker, William Hayes got a step on him to the outside and used his strength to pressure the quarterback. This is the only pressure Nelson has given up so far in his career, having stayed in to block 79 times.

Week Eleven - Jacksonville

Nelson was thrown at three times and caught one pass for 25 yards. He also had a costly penalty.

His one catch, late in the second quarter saw him leap over a linebacker to make the grab downfield. On one of the other two targets, he was well-covered and the pass was broken up.

Late in the first quarter, he lined up in the slot and made a cut block on the defensive end to spring an outside run for a 9-yard touchdown. Unfortunately, blocking below the waist is illegal if you are lined up outside the tackle box, so the touchdown was negated.

Other than that, he had mixed results as a run blocker. He made a good second level block on an outside run for 11 and combined with a fullback to seal a run-blitzing linebacker on the inside as a run went outside. He also made two good pulling blocks, cutting his man to the ground on one. Unfortunately, those last three plays netted just seven yards as his linemates didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. Another run went for four yards, but this time it was Nelson’s man who made the stop as he pulled but did not sustain.

Week Twelve - Miami

Nelson was in for 58 snaps, but caught just one pass for 22 yards. Overall, he was targeted four times and had one drop.

Nelson’s one catch here came on a crossing route. Aside from his drop, he also ran a poor route to allow Yeremiah Bell to jump in front of him and intercept a pass. He didn’t have much of an impact as a blocker.

Week Thirteen - Jets

Nelson was not targeted in this game, but again had an important role in pass protection, staying in to block on 12 snaps and helping limit the Jets to just nine QB disruptions.

Nelson’s best block here came on special teams as he met James Ihedigbo head-on and turned him around. You may remember Fred Jackson’s 36-yard run where Kerry Rhodes seemed to be running away from the ball carrier downfield. That play came about because Calvin Pace was blocked on the edge and David Harris got caught in traffic. On that play, Nelson was looking for someone to block at the second level, but there was nobody there. Bart Scott came from the opposite side and was almost able to blow the play up, but Nelson just saw him in time and got enough of him to spring the runner. Later on, despite the fact that the play only went for a two yard gain, he had a very impressive block on Shaun Ellis on the edge. Ellis couldn’t get off the block and was unable to drive Nelson off his spot as he did a good job of standing his ground and sustaining the block until after the whistle.

Week Fourteen – Kansas City

Nelson caught two passes for 19 yards, but also fumbled once.

Nelson had a nice downfield catch on a square-in route, showing soft hands as he got his hands to a high ball and then pulled down a juggling catch. His other catch in the flat, saw the ball stripped away from his grasp for a turnover.

As a run blocker, he did a good job of turning and driving a DE out of the play and forcing his man to the inside to create a small seam behind him. Both plays gained just four yards.

Week Fifteen – New England

Nelson was targeted five times and made a career high four catches, but for just 17 yards. He did recover a muffed punt on special teams, though.

On one of his catches, he was tackled for a loss and on another, he was hit for a short gain and fumbled the ball out of bounds. As a run-blocker, he did a good job of forcing Tully Banta-Cain to the inside, so that the runner could get to the edge for six yards, then made a second level block on another run for eight. However, he was beaten to the inside on a run that was stuffed for a one yard gain.

Week Sixteen - Atlanta

Nelson was not targeted in this game, but performed well as a blocker.

As a run blocker, Nelson did a decent job on DE Chauncey Davis, driving him five yards off the line on one play and turning him out of the play on a short yardage conversion. He also had a good block to drive a safety out of the play on a screen pass for an eight yard gain.

2010 Season

Week Seven - Baltimore

After missing the first six weeks due to injury/suspension, Nelson returned to the lineup and caught two passes for 16 yards on three targets. However, he also lost a fumble.

Nelson was targeted in the endzone late in the first quarter and seemed to have a size mismatch, but the pass was off-target and out of his reach. He did make a great first down catch where he made contact with his man downfield and then broke off his route to the outside. He used his size well on that one. His other catch was less promising as Ray Lewis was able to stop him for a short gain and then ripped the ball away from him as he fought for extra yardage. This was a crucial turnover in overtime that ended up costing the Bills the game.

As a run blocker, there were three runs for 32 yards where Nelson was involved in a key block. On the first, his man shed his block, but luckily Eric Wood was right behind him to block the guy anyway and the play went for 11. Early in the second quarter, he was matched up with Haloti Ngata, who shot the gap and beat him to the inside. However, Nelson used Ngata’s momentum to ride him out of the play and the runner cut back to where they had come from to gain 13. I don’t think that was by design, but if it was, Nelson did a great job. It’s more likely he got badly beaten, but made a good recovery and the back made a good read. Another run to the outside picked up eight as Nelson drove his man back and slowed him up enough to allow the runner to turn the corner.

Week Eight – Kansas City

Nelson was in for just six snaps and was not targeted. He did have a special teams tackle.

Week Nine - Chicago

Nelson was only in for one snap.

Week Ten - Detroit

Nelson was not targeted and was only in the game for 11 snaps.

In this game, Nelson did have one good block, meeting safety Louis Delmas on the edge and springing a huge run with a solid kickout block that he made look easy because of the size difference (six inches, 40 pounds).

Week Eleven - Cincinnati

Nelson was in for nine snaps, catching one pass for nine yards. He left the game with migraine issues and was ultimately placed on injured reserve.

Conclusions

It’s not difficult to see why the Bills cut Shawn Nelson. When you’re a rebuilding team, you don’t want to rely on someone who has proven to be unreliable. However, Nelson showed flashes of being an emerging talent over those first two seasons, so if the Jets can nurture that, they may have found themselves a productive player.

Without knowing what kind of shape he’s in, it’s difficult to know how indicative of what we can expect from him this footage will prove, but Nelson showed that he can get downfield, catch the ball and run after the catch. He also showed that he has good strength and an ability to drive people, including defensive linemen, off their spots and to sustain blocks. Perhaps most importantly of all, he didn’t seem to make many dumb mistakes as a blocker and it was rare that he was cleanly beaten.

If this provides a realistic assessment of what Nelson is likely to be able to provide the Jets, then I would say he has more to offer as a pass catcher and blocker than Matt Mulligan does, based on current form. His consistency as a pass blocker has been much more reliable – although he only stayed in to block seven times in 2010. As a run blocker, his strength is impressive and he appears better at finding a man in space and at sustaining blocks than Mulligan. Drops and fumbles are always concerning, but less important if he's been brought in primarily as a blocker.

Even if he has worked his way back into shape, the question is how much effect will that extra 30 pounds have on his speed – he ran a 4.56 at the combine – and will it improve his blocking? If Nelson is ready to re-dedicate himself as his former teammate Aaron Maybin seems to have, then perhaps he is ready to turn his career around. If not, the Jets haven’t lost anything by trying – and, who knows, maybe they’ll pick up some useful information along the way.

Check back tomorrow for a midseason "Expendables" update!
Tags: BGA, Bent Double

 (Isaiah J. Downing)
(Isaiah J. Downing)

The Jets will sign OL Jonotthan Harrison to a one-year deal, reports Kimberly A. Martin of Newsday, who says Harrison will compete for the starting center job.

Harrison, 25, played in 13 games for the Colts last season, including four starts.

He played 31 of 32 games for the Colts from 2014 to 2015, starting 19.

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New York Jets owner Woody Johnson on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson on the field before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Jets owner Woody Johnson is in Arizona for the NFL owners meetings, along with his brother Christopher, according to Kimberly A. Martin of Newsday.

The Jets owner declined to talk to reporters on Sunday.

Woody Johnson has long been expected to be named the ambassador to the United Kingdom in President Donald Trump's administration, although the president has not yet formally announced the appointment.

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Josh McCown led the Browns down the field on their initial drive. The drive stalled after McCown's fumble in the end zone, and the quarterback suffered a concussion on the play and did not return. (AP)
Josh McCown led the Browns down the field on their initial drive. The drive stalled after McCown's fumble in the end zone, and the quarterback suffered a concussion on the play and did not return. (AP)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Mike Maccagnan wouldn't say if Josh McCown will be the Jets' starting quarterback this season - that, he insisted, is a decision for coach Todd Bowles. But he did say that McCown can still be a good quarterback, even as he closes in on 38 years old.

"I know he's had some injuries this past season, but the season before he played and actually did some good things for Cleveland," Maccagnan said on a conference call with reporters on Friday. "I still think he has good football left in him. We do think he has the ability to play and perform if needed."

The Jets signed McCown to a one-year, $6 million contract last week, with another possible (but unlikely) $7 million in incentives. Maccagnan said that the 15-year vet - a journeyman now on his eighth NFL team - was under consideration from the start of free agency, even as the Jets sorted through all their other options.

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Should the Jets trade down? 00:03:02
The Daily News Live crew discusses whether or not the Jets should trade down so they can acquire more draft picks.

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets were so intent on acquiring more draft picks that just three weeks ago Mike Maccagnan insisted the Jets were "open for business every round."

Now it sounds like he means every round except the first.

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QB Mitch Trubisky highlights 00:01:06
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays of former UNC quarterback and NFL Draft prospect Mitch Trubisky.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

One year after using a second-round pick on quarterback Christian Hackenberg, Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said he "potentially" could draft a quarterback again. And no, he insisted, that wouldn't mean he's admitting a mistake on Hackenberg.

It would just be another step in the long process of finding "the right quarterback for this team."

"I don't think taking a player at one position is a referendum on another player," Maccagnan said on a conference call with reporters on Friday afternoon. "I think the goal is to put together best roster you can. Of course quarterback is a very, very important position in this process. But I wouldn't necessarily view it as a referendum."

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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DeShone Kizer highlights 00:01:19
SNY.tv takes a look at the best plays from former Notre Dame quarterback and NFL Draft prospect DeShone Kizer.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Only time will tell if the Jets are serious about taking a quarterback in the first-round of the draft, but in the meantime they certainly are doing their homework.

The latest proof of that is the NFL Network report that they've already held a private workout with DeShone Kizer, the Notre Dame quarterback considered to be one of the top three quarterback prospects in the draft. That explains why Jets GM Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles skipped Notre Dame's Pro Day on Thursday and were both at Ohio State's Pro Day instead.

The Jets also have a private workout scheduled with North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who revealed that "secret" to reporters at his own Pro Day earlier this week. And while it's not known if the Jets plan to do the same with Clemson's DeShaun Watson, it seems likely that they will...

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 (Brian Spurlock)
(Brian Spurlock)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

JETS SALARY CAP SPACE

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

Click below to listen!

 

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Marshon Lattimore highlights 00:00:35
SNY.tv takes a look at the highlights of Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

One day after sending a large contingent to North Carolina to watch quarterback Mitch Trubisky at his Pro Day, the Jets rolled out their big guns for the Pro Day at Ohio State.

General Manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles were both in attendance at the Buckeyes Pro Day, according to reports out of Columbus, Ohio, along with representatives of every other NFL team -- including Giants scouting director Marc Ross. Maccagnan and Bowles were surely taking a close look at cornerback Marshon Lattimore and safety Malik Hooker -- two strong candidates for the Jets to take with the sixth overall pick in the draft.

And for what it's worth, they chose a trip to Columbus over a trip to South Bend, Ind., where Notre Dame was holding its Pro Day on Thursday. The star of the Fighting Irish showcase was another quarterback -- DeShone Kizer -- who could go in the first round (though likely not as high as 6)...

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 (Kyle Terada)
(Kyle Terada)

WR Quinton Patton has signed with the Jets, the team annnounced Thursday.

He had visited with the team this past weekend.

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

Tags: Charone Peake, Quincy Enunwa
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Jamal Adams highlights 00:01:05
SNY.tv takes a look at the highlights of LSU safety Jamal Adams.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Now that the big-money part of NFL free agency is over, teams have begun increasingly focusing on the NFL draft, and their first-round targets are becoming a little clearer. So here's SNY's weekly look at the top players on board for the Jets as they prepare to make the sixth overall pick of the NFL draft on April 27:

1.) S Jamal Adams, LSU - From the beginning, I've been focused on a cornerback for the Jets in this spot and Marshon Lattimore sure is a possibility (see below). But after free agency, it's clear that safety is the Jets' biggest unfulfilled need. No, they didn't do big things at corner either, but they have young players they liked and they added some potential in Morris Claiborne. At safety, though, they don't have much after striking out on Tony Jefferson in free agency. Calvin Pryor is in the last year of his contract and Marcus Gilchrist could be a salary cap casualty after the season. The 6-foot, 214-pound Adams is the best at his position in the draft and could be the leader of the Jets' secondary for years. (Last report: 2)...

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

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

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

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

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
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Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson took to Instagram to refute a recent report that he is out of shape. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

Or so we all thought.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click below to listen...

 

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

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

McCown, 37, recently visited with the Cowboys.

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

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

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

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

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


 (Mark Hoffman)
(Mark Hoffman)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

Cadet was also weighing an offer from the Bills.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update: 

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

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

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

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


Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

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

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

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

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

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


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

Click below to listen!

 

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 (Bill Streicher)
(Bill Streicher)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

Latest Updates (Mar. 13)

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

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

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

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 (Matt Kartozian)
(Matt Kartozian)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV

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

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

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

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