By contrast to the subject of yesterday's BGA, Quinton Coples has been one of the most scrutinized players this offseason. Heading into his third year in the league, people are still speculating over whether the way Rex Ryan uses him is a miscalculation on the part of the Jets' defensive mastermind.

Coples had 4.5 sacks last season, a slight decrease from the 5.5 he managed in his rookie season. Focus on him increased even further when former Jets great Joe Klecko questioned his work ethic. However, there are plenty of overlooked factors which need to be explored in more depth.

After the jump, we consider some of these things and discuss what the Jets can expect from Coples in 2014.

The "move" to "linebacker"

There were plenty of misconceptions flying around last year after the Jets shocked everyone by drafting another interior lineman and then went on to announce that Coples would be "moving to outside linebacker". Much was written about how Coples would struggle in coverage and lack the agility to play the position. However, that was rooted in the fact that the Rush Linebacker role within Ryan's defense is something the media struggles to fully understand.

That Rush role, as occupied by the likes of Terrell Suggs in Baltimore, has far more in common with a defensive end position that a linebacker position. That player will still rush the passer the majority of the time and even when they do drop into coverage, it's usually just dropping off into a passing lane or a shallow zone, not tracking a receiver down the field. Since the Rush plays on the weakside, there is no tight end on that side and therefore any concern that tight ends would be able to exploit Coples in coverage was overplayed.

Moreover, this was a role which Coples had already been playing in 2012, and with increasing regularity as the season wound to a close. While he only played 27 snaps from a standing position (some of which were merely amoeba formations with multiple linemen standing) he played as a 4-3 end on 26% of his snaps as a rookie, a not-insignificant number. Therefore, Coples seeing more time coming off the edge was something I was already predicting and, once they announced it, my research indicated that Coples was just as productive going against tackles as he was against interior linemen.

There was one major change to his role though, although it didn't involve putting more on his plate. That key change was that he stopped playing on the interior altogether. Having played there approximately 25% of the time in preseason, he saw less than 30 snaps as a defensive tackle all season, nearly all of them before week six. Maybe this was a reaction to how well the defensive line was playing without him or maybe it was an effort to get him to focus on the edge rusher role. Either way, he certainly responded over the second half of the season.

Heading into 2014, Coples has reportedly lost 15 pounds in an effort to make himself faster. This essentially cements the fact that he won't be used on the inside this season. However, while he's talking about doing more "linebackery" things like dropping into coverage, he's still going to be primarily an edge rusher and an edge setter in the running game.

At times, I'm left wondering if there are people out there who expected to see Coples going sideline to sideline like a conventional linebacker in the Derrick Brooks mold. He has even lined up in such a fashion once or twice as you can see in the image and it doesn't even look right! By the way, that play resulted in Coples mowing through the line to make a tackle in the backfield.

Who are we to question Rex Ryan?

It is surprising that the architect of one of the league's top defenses finds it so hard to earn the benefit of the doubt from the media. I've seen plenty of comments questioning the logic behind this move, including this one from ESPN New York's Rich Cimini:

To me, this move is a reach. A 280-pound linebacker? Why do I have the feeling we'll be reporting late in training camp that Coples is returning to the defensive line?

While I'm surprised Cimini hasn't - to my knowledge - attempted to play the "he's basically being used as a defensive end anyway" card, he continues to pour cold water on the move. Earlier this week he did, at least, pay Coples a compliment, saying:

There aren’t many 6-foot-6, 280-pound athletes like him walking the face of the Earth, someone who can play in a three-point stance and stand up as a linebacker.

However, even while doing this he also suggested that Coples had "underachieved" and that there might be a change if he has "another non-descript season".

Leaving aside the fact that guys like Julius Peppers and Mario Williams have both played the position at an equivalent size - and that Coples must weigh less than that now if reports of his weight loss are accurate - why would any writer know better than a head coach of a football team how to make the best use of his players?

But wait...have I not been guilty of something similar? In the past, I was outspoken about being unable to understand why the Eric Mangini Jets in 2006 and 2007 had opted to employ Eric Barton as an inside linebacker and Victor Hobson as an outside linebacker. It seemed like Barton would lack the size to take on blockers inside and Hobson would lack the speed to generate pressure off the edge.

Now that I've gone back over the 2007 season, I can see the wisdom behind Mangini making that move. It was true that Hobson would lack the speed to generate any pressure coming off the edge. However, Mangini (perhaps in concert with defensive coordinator Bob Sutton) knew that the Jets were unlikely to generate any pressure off the edge with their outside personnel, often resorting to sending them on delayed blitzes in the hope that they could avoid being picked up. Barton getting there half a step quicker wasn't going to make any significant positive influence on the Jets pass rush, but replacing him with the slightly slower Hobson inside might have more of a negative effect. So, leaving Hobson, who at least had the strength to hold up reasonably well against the run, on the outside, was an exercise in damage limitation.

This highlights one of the biggest differences between Ryan and Mangini. As I wrote yesterday, Ryan seeks to put his players in a position whereby they can play to their strengths. Mangini was allowing how he used his players to be dictated by what they could not do. In Mangini's defense, the Jets had been cap-strapped at the time and he didn't have ideal personnel to work with, so building a conservative, bend-but-not-break defense was the best chance they had of remaining competitive.

There's something much more interesting we can learn from the 2007 season that's relevant to this topic, though.

Whoever heard of a 280-pound linebacker?

Oh how they scoffed when the Jets announced they were going to be moving a defensive tackle to linebacker. Nobody ever tried that before. It's unheard of. Except...

Die-hard Jets fans may remember a game from that 2007 season when the Jets silenced the partisan Steelers faithful at the Meadowlands (no, that's not a misprint) with a stunning overtime win. The Jets threw a strategic wrinkle that the Steelers weren't expecting, by employing Shaun Ellis - a 6'5" 285-pound defensive lineman - as an outside linebacker. The result was that the Jets - who entered the game with a league-low nine sacks in nine games - sacked Ben Roethlisberger seven times, with Ellis recording one sack and two half-sacks. That was just a one-off, a novelty though. Except...

Over the last six games of the season, the Jets persisted with the Ellis-at-outside-linebacker experiment. He played 93 snaps as an outside linebacker in those six games. Contrast that with Coples, who only played 173 snaps as an outside linebacker in 14 games. That's fewer snaps-per-game standing up.

In addition, unlike the situation with Coples, Ellis wasn't simply playing a defensive end role without putting his hand in the dirt or just standing up in some pass packages, he was actually playing an outside linebacker role in the base defense. Mangini and Sutton's defense doesn't operate like a hybrid, so they were actually bringing in another interior lineman (often CJ Mosley) and taking an outside linebacker out of the game for Ellis to replace.

Any concerns about Coples' speed, agility or hip fluidity and the effect they could have on his ability to carry out such a role would apply equally to Ellis. In fact, I'd clearly peg Coples as better than him in these categories, although we can't make a measurables comparison because Ellis opted not to work out at the combine. Did it effect Ellis, though? Not really, because he dropped into coverage just three times in those six games, no more or less than he would in any typical season. By contrast, Coples dropped into coverage 25 times last year, although it is interesting to note that nine of these plays were when he had his hand in the dirt. Opposing teams were unable to exploit Ellis being out of position, as he was one of the Jets' better defensive performers throughout the season. The Jets were out of the race by midseason, but pretty competitive down the stretch.

Assessing Coples' progress

Some have suggested, perhaps based on the sack totals, that Coples was less productive once he moved full-time into the edge rusher role. However, that's not true at all. In his rookie year, Coples never had more than four total pressures (sacks plus hits plus hurries) in a game. However, in the second half of last year, he averaged 4.5 per game.

That's not entirely as cut-and-dried as it would seem. You would typically expect a higher rate of pressure coming off the edge than you would for an interior player. However, at the same time, we shouldn't forget that those rookie pass rush numbers do include some plays where he was coming off the edge.

What about the first half of the year, though? Just one sack, four hits and four pressures? That was definitely a slow start for him in terms of production. Of course this was partly attributable to the change in role, but also let's not forget that he broke his foot in August, so the fact it took him until October to get firing on all cylinders could also be attributable to that.

We'll have to wait and see whether that second half output was indicative of what he's capable of producing all the time or whether those numbers will even off. If he can generate pressure at that rate, those numbers would be comparable to the elite edge rushers around the NFL. Even when he wasn't producing statistically, there were signs throughout the season that he was giving opposing tackles more and more problems and there were plenty of examples of him beating his man but not generating a pressure because the opposing quarterback got rid of the ball almost immediately. He could perhaps benefit indirectly from a better performance from the secondary this year too.

It's not all about pass rushing though. How did Coples fare against the run? Again, he showed improvements in this area. As a unit, the Jets run defense was the best in the NFL for the majority of the season, with Coples playing over 80% of the snaps. That in and of itself indicates that he was making positive contributions. He graded out positively (+4.5) according to PFF, having had a negative grade (-1.5) as a rookie. Once again, he showed improvements in this area over the second half of the year. Overall, he had eight tackles for a loss in 14 games, as opposed to five in 16 as a rookie.

Maybe the change to his role accelerated his growth, maybe it set him back. Either way, it seems clear he did improve from year one to year two and that progress is something the Jets will be keen to continue fostering.

Conclusions

While much has been written and speculated about Coples' role and likely performance in 2014 and beyond, the proof is in the pudding and it will be exciting to see what he can achieve this season.

It remains to be seen whether the weight loss will work in his favor, but if he can get to the quarterback a half-step sooner, that could make a huge difference. Coples had a team leading 15 quarterback hits in 2013; Turning just half of these into sacks would take him comfortably into double-digits.

As long as he remains healthy, the sky's the limit for Coples and Ryan has set up the defense in such a way as he could make a real name for himself this year if he lives up to his promise. Things are moving in the right direction, so perhaps we should trust Rex Ryan. He knows what he's doing.

This series continues next weekend with an article focusing on Kenrick Ellis.

Tags: bentdouble, BGA, Bent Double

A general view of MetLife Stadium before the season opener for the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns. (Danny Wild)
A general view of MetLife Stadium before the season opener for the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns. (Danny Wild)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

The Jets' rebuilding project will need all the help it can get -- and it got some huge help on Friday afternoon in the form of an extra third-round draft pick.

The Jets were one of 11 teams to be awarded a third-round compensatory pick in the 2017 NFL draft, the league announced. Their comp pick will be 43rd in Round 3 - 107th overall.

The comp picks, according to the league, "are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors". Essentially, if a team loses more or better free agents than it signs, it is eligible for a comp pick the next offseason...

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 (Brian Spurlock)
(Brian Spurlock)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

The NFL's free-agent signing period opens on March 9, but the offseason activity has already begun. 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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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

The Jets are already beginning to clear salary cap space, but they know they still have a lot of work to do if they're going to be players in this year's free-agent market. They could easily help heir situation and clear more than $13 million in space by cutting their two veteran receivers who'll turn 30 and 33 in March.

With a stable of young, promising receivers on the roster, and with a team that is most definitely not ready to win now, the idea of parting ways with Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall makes a lot of sense. Of course, it was only two seasons ago where they were as good as any 1-2 punch in football.

And that could be a good thing for a new, young quarterback to have...

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Charone Peake, Devin Smith, Eric Decker, Jalin Marshall, Quincy Enunwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (William Hauser)
(William Hauser)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

The Jets began the reshaping of their roster and the first of what could be many moves to help clear salary cap space on Thursday as they released two veterans -- kicker Nick Folk and right tackle Breno Giacomini.

The moves clear about $7.5 million in salary cap space and leave the Jets somewhere around $10 million under the projected NFL salary cap. They were actually over until last week, when they declined to pick up the option on veteran left tackle Ryan Clady.

Tags: Ben Ijalana, Brandon Marshall, Breno Giacomini, Darrelle Revis, Eric Decker, Nick Folk, Nick Mangold, Ryan Clady, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets corner back Darrelle Revis (24) stretches before a game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Jets corner back Darrelle Revis (24) stretches before a game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

Whatever the Jets decide to do about Darrelle Revis between now and March 11, this much is known: He is contractually guaranteed to receive $6 million of his 2017 salary, no matter what.

Or, at least, probably.

Of all the issues hanging over the Jets cornerback at the moment, from his NFL future to the four felonies and misdemeanor he's been charged with after a recent street fight in Pittsburgh, that $6 million he's owed might be the most intriguing. A "guarantee" of course is never completely guaranteed, and there is some language in his deal - both specific and vague - that could allow the Jets either recoup it or not pay it at all.

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 (AP)
(AP)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

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, complete with who's rising and who's falling throughout the process and as the Jets' potential needs change:

1.) CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State - The ides of the Jets taking a cornerback sixth overall seemed logical even before Darrelle Revis was charged with four felonies and a misdemeanor after a street fight in Pittsburgh 10 days ago. He probably wasn't coming back anyway, certainly not as a corner, but the incident amplified the need at his position. The combine next week will help solidify Lattimore's status as a Top 10 player. It even could push him out of the Jets' reach and into the Top 5. (Last week: 1)...

Tags: Bilal Powell, Calvin Pryor, Darrelle Revis, Darron Lee, David Harris, Leonard Williams, Matt Forte, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jets interested in Cutler? 00:02:44
Daily News Live talks about the Jets and their level of interest in quarterback Jay Cutler.

The Jets reportedly have 'some interest' in Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler when or if he is cut, CBS Sports Jason La Confora reports. One possible reason for New York's interest is the presence of new quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, who coached Cutler with the Bears and Denver Broncos.

"They believe he can play in the elements that are a reality in the AFC East," La Confora said. "And they like his moxie and arm talent. And that was well before the Jets hired Jeremy Bates as their quarterback coach."

La Confora also mentions the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans as possible landing spots for the 34-year-old quarterback.

 

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Sep 15, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) makes a catch and tries to evade Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) during the first half at New Era Field.  (Timothy T. Ludwig (USA Today))
Sep 15, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) makes a catch and tries to evade Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore (24) during the first half at New Era Field. (Timothy T. Ludwig (USA Today))

Darrelle Revis' future with the Jets was in doubt even before he was charged with four felonies for an incident outside a Pittsburgh bar back on Feb. 12. His cost, his skills, his age were all conspiring against him, and by March 11 he was surely going to end up an ex-Jet.

But while the Jets have some young corners on their roster, they don't necessarily have Revis' heir - the next shutdown corner to help lockdown their struggling secondary. Many NFL people believe they're most likely to look to the draft for Revis' replacement. But free agency could present some intriguing possibilities.

Here is a look at a few:

CB Stephon Gilmore (Bills) - For a cap-strapped team, they probably can't dip this deep into the free agent pool, especially if they decide to spend (or overspend) for a quarterback. But if they can't get one of the top quarterbacks or decide to go through the draft at that position, a free-agent corner would be a big help. And while Gilmore, 26, is no Revis-in-his-prime, he's the best on the market. The Pro Bowler had five interceptions this season and that could land him in the range of the five-year, $62.5 million deal the Giants gave Janoris Jenkins last offseason (with $28.8 million guaranteed). Of course, that's if he hits the market. He may get franchise-tagged by the Bills.

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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GEICO SportsNite: Darrelle Revis 00:00:19
Darrelle Revis had his preliminary hearing regarding his altercation in Pittsburgh rescheduled for March 15.

Darrelle Revis' next court appearance, which was scheduled for Thursday, will now take place six days after the start of NFL free agency -- complicating the Jets' decision even more.

The preliminary hearing for Revis to answer the charges he's been hit with stemming from an incident in Pittsburgh back on Feb. 12 was officially postponed on Tuesday afternoon and rescheduled for March 15. The hearing will take place at 12:30 p.m. in front of Judge Jeffrey Manning, and Revis is obligated to appear in person -- assuming that hearing takes place.

A lot can happen between now and then, including a plea deal, another continuation, or the charges being dropped altogether. For now, though, Revis remains charged with two counts of aggravated assault, one count each of making terroristic threats, robbery, and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault as a result of an apparent street fight nine days ago that left two men knocked out on a street corner around 2:30 a.m...

Tags: Darrelle Revis, Ralph Vacchiano
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Cleveland Browns free safety K'Waun Williams (36) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. (Aaron Doster)
Cleveland Browns free safety K'Waun Williams (36) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. (Aaron Doster)

Update (Feb. 21)

7:15 PM: Former Browns cornerback K'Waun Williams has agreed to a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers, reports Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network

The Jets made Williams a contract offer of their own Tuesday morning after he visited with the team last week, according to Darryl Slater of NJ Advance Media.

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darrelle Revis, Marcus Williams
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New video emerges in Revis saga 00:03:06
TMZ released a video which may add new information to the Darrelle Revis assault case.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Darrelle Revis "absolutely" did not knock out two men on a street in Pittsburgh in the early morning hours of Feb. 12 and the voice heard bragging about it on a video of the aftermath of the incident was "NOT" Revis' voice, his attorneys said.

Their denial and defense of the Jets cornerback came on Sunday night, hours after a video was published on TMZ.com that allegedly showed the aftermath of the incident that ended with Revis facing a variety of charges from Pittsburgh police. The video shows two men on the ground, seemingly unconscious, and a voice can be heard saying "I knocked both of these m---f-ers out."

Then what sounds like the same voice can be heard saying "Shut up before I knock you're a-out next."

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports Images)

TMZ released footage of the aftermath of the alleged altercation New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis was involved in.

The video shows two men lying on the ground unconscious with the voice of another person saying, "I knocked both of these m-----f---ers out." It is not known whether or not the man speaking in the video is Revis. Teammate Brandon Marshall said he didn't believe it was Revis'.

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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Sep 13, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans tackle Jeff Adams (70) during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 13, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans tackle Jeff Adams (70) during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Bent, theJetsBlog.com: 

Over the last few weeks, we've been looking at some of the players signed to futures deals since the end of the season. Today we wrap up with a quick look at the other additions.

 

Tags: BGA
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GEICO SportsNite: Revis, Jets 00:03:25
SNY insider Ralph Vacchiano discusses the Jets' options regarding Darrelle Revis and his recent criminal charges.

Latest Update: (Feb. 17)

10:15 p.m. 

Darrelle Revis has been arraigned and was given a non-monetary bond, reports Coley Harvey of ESPN.

According to Harvey, Revis still has to attend all hearings in the case and cannot come in contact with the alleged victims or witnesses.

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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What is Revis' future with Jets? 00:04:30
SNY insider and former Jet Willie Colon weighs in on Darrelle Revis' future after being charged with four felonies and one misdemeanor.

SNY insider and former Jet Willie Colon weighs in on Darrelle Revis' future after being charged with four felonies and one misdemeanor.


 (Danny Wild/USA Today Sports Images)
(Danny Wild/USA Today Sports Images)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

As bad as Darrelle Revis was last season, he kept insisting he was far from finished. Several times he made it clear he wanted to keep playing and was even willing to see if that could happen with the Jets. He seemed to be embracing his role as a future elder statesman on the team. He hinted he might accept a pay cut to stay. He even admitted he was willing to switch positions.

None of that matters anymore.

Tags: Darrelle Revis, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Scott Galvin)
(Scott Galvin)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

The incident that has surely ended Darrelle Revis' Jets career, and could land him in jail, began with two star-struck men who seemingly couldn't believe they had run into the NFL player on the streets of Pittsburgh in the middle of the night. They asked if he was really Revis. They didn't believe his answer.

And everything escalated from there.

Much of the confrontation from early Sunday morning is on a cell phone video, too, according to the criminal complaint filed with the Pittsburgh Police and obtained by WTAE in Pittsburgh. The evidence was strong enough for Revis to be charged on Thursday with four felonies (two counts of aggravated assault and one each of criminal conspiracy and robbery) and one misdemeanor (making terroristic threats)...

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

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

Each week, SNY will put a current player, a position, or perhaps a draft or free agent target of the Jets in the spotlight as part of our regular offseason coverage. Last week we took a look at Jay Cutler, the Chicago Bears quarterback who might hit the open market in the coming weeks. This week we turn inward and look at a proud Jet who is at the center of one of the team's biggest offseason decisions:

CB Darrelle Revis.

After a miserable season in which he was a shell of his former self it seems like a pretty simple decision for the Jets to let Darrelle Revis go -- especially since he's due $15 million in salary and bonuses in 2017 and his cap number is $15.3 million...

Tags: Darrelle Revis, Juston Burris, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV: 

The Jets had such high hopes for their offensive line when they acquired left tackle Ryan Clady from the Broncos last April. But the experiment is over after less than a year.

The Jets have informed Clady's agent that they do not intend to pick up his option for the 2017 season, according to an NFL source. New York had until Wednesday to make a decision before the team would owe him a $1 million roster bonus. Clady also was scheduled to make a non-guaranteed salary of $10 million this year.

Tags: Ryan Clady, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (AP)
(AP)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

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, complete with who's rising and who's falling throughout the process and as the Jets' potential needs change:

1. CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State - The Jets should soon have some clarity on the Darrelle Revis situation since cuts around the NFL have already begun and he's due a $2 million roster bonus on March 11. Assuming he's not coming back - and if he does, assuming he'll come back as a safety - this position remains one of the Jets' biggest needs. Perhaps offensive line is bigger, but at the moment few scouts seem to believe there's a tackle worthy of a Top 10 pick. The big question with Lattimore? Will he even make it out of the Top 5? A strong combine or Pro Day performance could push him out of the Jets' reach. (Last week: 1).

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 (Brett Rojo)
(Brett Rojo)

Mel Kiper's second Mock Draft for ESPN has the Jets selecting LSU running back Leonard Fournette with the sixth overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Kiper notes that while the Jets have a quarterback problem to solve and could also draft a defender with the pick, Fournette may be the best player available and the Jets would "know they can get a ton of reps from Fournette right now, and this is a team that needs to be better."

Fournette had 129 carries for 843 yards and eight touchdowns last season for LSU, adding another 146 yards on 15 receptions...

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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

The Jets haven't begun to clear the salary cap room they need to be active in free agency, so it remains to be seen just how active they will be. But they'll have to do something when the signing period opens on March 9 because they have plenty of needs.

So what will they do? Last week, I took a look at five free agents who could (or should) be on the Jets' radar at several positions. This week, I'll focus on the most important position -- quarterback. The Jets will likely at least look for a quarterback-of-the-future on the market. Whether they sign one might depend on the price.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick
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New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker is tackled by Buffalo Bills strong safety Aaron Williams after making a catch during the first half at New Era Field. (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker is tackled by Buffalo Bills strong safety Aaron Williams after making a catch during the first half at New Era Field. (Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports)

The NFL offseason may be off to a slow start, but things are surely about to pick up with cuts and contract restructures on their way, and with the scouting combine just two weeks away.

With that in mind, here is our weekly look at some of the biggest questions facing the Jets, what's new about them, where they stand on finding an answer, and if any of the issues have changed.

1. Who is their quarterback?

They of course haven't answered this yet, but they did answer who'll be coaching the quarterbacks: new offensive coordinator John Morton and new quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates. Neither has an extensive resume at their current positions -- or really working with quarterbacks -- which is interesting if they're going to be entrusted with developing a young quarterback.

Tags: Ben Ijalana, Brandon Marshall, Breno Giacomini, Brian Winters, Bryce Petty, Charone Peake, Christian Hackenberg, Darrelle Revis, Eric Decker, Geno Smith, James Carpenter, Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nick Mangold, Quincy Enunwa, Ryan Clady, Sheldon Richardson, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) prepares to throw the ball against the New England Patriots during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) prepares to throw the ball against the New England Patriots during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

The Ryan Fitzpatrick Era was never supposed to happen for the Jets, and it certainly never was expected to last two roller-coaster seasons. In the end, though, it was a wild ride that rescued a franchise in one of its darkest moments before leading it back into the darkness again.

For better or for worse, the Fitzpatrick Era officially ended on Friday when the contract that the 34-year-old quarterback signed last summer automatically voided. All that's left is a $5 million cap hit the Jets must endure during the 2017 season. And memories - more than a few good ones, and plenty of bad.

So was it worth it? That all depends on your perspective, how much your sights are set on the Jets' long-term future, and how much you value all the fun that was had in 2015 during the Jets' near-playoff-miss.

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Eric Decker, Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Aaron Doster)
(Aaron Doster)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

Each week, SNY will put a current player, a position, or perhaps a draft or free agent target of the Jets in the spotlight as part of our regular offseason coverage. This week we begin with one of the potential quarterback options for the Jets -- and one with ties to their brand new quarterbacks coach:

QB Jay Cutler.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. (Kevin Jairaj)
New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. (Kevin Jairaj)

Jets WR Brandon Marshall listed JJ Watt and Deion Sanders among the players he believes could be the best of all time, but one player was notably absent from his list: Tom Brady.

Marshall told NJ Advanced Media during a charity event for his Project 375 foundation that Brady is "not the best player ever," adding that his idea of the best player would be "a guy that I can put at corner, safety, defensive end, a guy that I can put back on punt return, chase down kicks." He also mentioned Reggie White and Jerry Rice as possible contenders for the best player ever, but conceded that it "would probably be impossible [to say for sure]." 

Tags: Brandon Marshall
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Denver Broncos defensive end Kenny Anunike (68) during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Chris Humphreys)
Denver Broncos defensive end Kenny Anunike (68) during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Chris Humphreys)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Since the end of the season, the Jets have added several players to their 90-man roster. We've been looking at each of these players to determine their strengths and weaknesses.

Today we're going to look at three additions on the defensive front seven; Kenny Anunike, Frank Beltre and Jeff Luc. All three are undrafted free agents but they have different roles. Let's compare their attributes, divided into categories.

Experience

At 27, Beltre is the oldest of the three, but actually has the least NFL experience. He played three preseason games with the Chargers in 2013 but has only played in the CFL since that time.

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 (Rick Scuteri/AP)
(Rick Scuteri/AP)

The Jets have signed tackle Jeff Adams, the club announced on Wednesday. The 27-year-old ended this past season on the Houston Texans' practice squad after appearing in four games in 2014 and 2015. Adams has also been a part of the Cincinnati Bengals' and Miami Dolphins' practice squads.

Adams was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dallas Cowboys in 2012 after playing collegiately at Columbia University

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Corey Griffin and Brian Bassett are back with a new podcast, and they're turning their Jets frowns upside down with some positivity. As they contemplate the future of Darrelle Revis, they turn the clock back to Revis past, with a deep dive countdown of their favorite moments in Revis / Jets history.

Click below to listen!

 

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The Jets have added four coaches to their staff for the 2017 season, hiring Jeremy Bates (quarterbacks coach), Mick Lombardi (assistant quarterbacks coach), Jason Vrable (offensive assistant) and Joe Giacobbe (strength and conditioning assistant), the team announced on Wednedsay.

Bates held the same position with the Jets in 2005 under then-head coach Herm Edwards. He was the Chicago Bears QBs coach in 2012 but was not retained and has been out of the NFL since. Lombardi was an offesnive quaity control coach with the 49ers this past season while Vrable was the assistant QBs coach for the Bills. Giacobbe was the director of player performance at Rutgers from 2012-2015.

 

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North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) passes as Pittsburgh's Ejuan Price (5) rushes during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) (Gerry Broome/AP)
North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) passes as Pittsburgh's Ejuan Price (5) rushes during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) (Gerry Broome/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

As miserable as the Jets' 5-11 season was their consolation prize isn't bad. They stand to get a heck of a player with the sixth overall pick in the 2017 draft - perhaps a franchise-changing player, and maybe someone who can contribute right away.

That's no guarantee, of course, but it's a positive to focus on for a team that needs a lot of help in a lot of different areas. Maybe - just maybe - they could end up with the franchise quarterback they've been seeking for far too many years.

It's early, of course - very early - and a lot can change during free agency. But here's a look at five players the Jets might have their eyes on in the first round of the NFL draft, which takes place on April 27. SNY will be taking a weekly look at this board and charting who is rising and falling throughout the combine and Pro Day season, and as the Jets' potential needs change:

Tags: Darrelle Revis, Matt Forte, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Jim Brown)
(Jim Brown)

Former Jets' running back and broadcaster Mike Adamle revealed he his battling dementia and doctors think he may have CTE, the New York Daily News reported on Wednesday. Adamle, 67, played with the Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears during a six-year NFL career.

"It shook my world," Adamle said in an interview with NBC-5 in Chicago. "It just kind of a little bit worse sometimes every day."

Adamle is perhaps best known for his work as co-host of "American Gladiators" from 1989-1996.

 

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 (Reinhold Matay (USA Today))
(Reinhold Matay (USA Today))

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

With one month to go until the NFL free-agent signing period opens on March 9, the Jets have some work to do. They have to make several cuts and restructure several contracts just to get under the 2017 salary cap, which figures to be somewhere around $168 million.

How active they'll be in free agency depends on how much cap room they're able to clear. It also depends on how much -- if anything -- they devote to finding a starting quarterback on the free-agent market.

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 (Jim Brown)
(Jim Brown)

The Jets have signed long-snapper Josh Latham, the team announced Tuesday.

Latham, who spent three years as the long-snapper for Sacramento State, has never appeared in the NFL.

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Former Green Bay Packers DL Mike Pennel (Mark Hoffman/USA Today Sports Images)
Former Green Bay Packers DL Mike Pennel (Mark Hoffman/USA Today Sports Images)

The Jets claimed former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Mike Pennel off waivers, the team announced Tuesday.

Pennel, 25, has recorded one sack and 40 combined tackles in 37 games over the past three seasons with Green Bay. He recorded seven combined tackles in eight games last season.

Pennel was suspended four games last season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

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New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Darron Lee, the New York Jets' promising young linebacker and their first-round pick in last year's draft, says he is OK after being attacked in a bar in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday night.

The 22-year-old explained the incident in some detail on Monday in a video posted to his Twitter account, in which he showed off a bruise under his right eye and what he said were "bumps all around my head." He insisted he was attacked without provocation and he had no idea by whom.

Tags: Darron Lee, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson during practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson during practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

Now that the Super Bowl is over, the New York Jets can begin cleaning up the wreckage from their 5-11 season and start yet another rebuilding project. Despite being on the cusp of the playoffs a year ago, they seem farther away than ever now.

With that in mind, here are some of the biggest questions the Jets must answer this offseason. We'll check back in each week to see how they're doing, whether any of the questions have been answered, and whether any have changed:

Tags: Ben Ijalana, Brandon Marshall, Breno Giacomini, Brian Winters, Bryce Petty, Charone Peake, Christian Hackenberg, Darrelle Revis, Eric Decker, Geno Smith, James Carpenter, Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nick Mangold, Quincy Enunwa, Ryan Clady, Sheldon Richardson, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates during the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE)
Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates during the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE)

The New York Jets are targeting former Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates to be their new quarterbacks coach, The MMQB's Albert Breer reports.

The organization had Bates, who was the Jets' quarterbacks coach in a 4-12 2005 season which featured five different quarterbacks, including Brooks Bollinger, in mind for their offensive coordinator vacancy before they signed John Morton, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Bates served as the Chicago Bears' quarterbacks coach in 2012 and Seahawks offensive coordinator in 2010.

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Licata vents after Falcons' loss 00:06:16
Falcons fan Sal Licata vents his frustrations after the Falcons' loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell of the Seahawks may forever be known for the single dumbest play call in Super Bowl history, when they called for a pass instead of a run from the 1 yard line at the end of Super Bowl XLIX, leading to a Malcolm Butler interception and handing the Patriots a championship.

But Dan Quinn and Kyle Shanahan of the Falcons gave that inexplicable decision a run for its money on Sunday night.

Their brain-frozen play calling with four minutes left in Super Bowl LI snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and gift-wrapped a championship opportunity to the Patriots again. In a span of three mind-boggling plays, they went from being well within range of a game-sealing field goal to punting the ball away and putting it back in Tom Brady's hands...

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 (AP)
(AP)

The Jets have opened at 75/1 odds to win Super Bowl LII, according to a list released by Bovada sportsbook in Las Vegas.

Among the Jets' AFC East rivals, the Patriots -- at 5/1 -- have the best odds in the NFL. The Dolphins have 50/1 odds, while the Bills opened at 66/1.

Only the Bears (100/1), Browns, and 49ers (both at 150/1) have worse odds than the Jets.

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 (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
(Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

The Jets and their fans have endured 48 years of pain without a Super Bowl, made worse by 12 years without a division title and now six straight years without a trip to the playoffs. It has to hurt more that the dominant team of this era is from their own division, led by a coach (Bill Belichick) they once had for one day in 2000 and a quarterback (Tom Brady) they, like everyone else, passed over in the 2000 draft.

So watching the Patriots' epic comeback and 34-28 overtime win in Super Bowl LI on Sunday night had to be especially painful.

But don't worry: There's a good chance the pain is going to get much worse.

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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates a two-point conversion against the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates a two-point conversion against the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas)

Many current and former Jets took to Twitter to react to the Patriots' 34-28 overtime win over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI...

Tags: Ben Ijalana, Marcus Williams, Quincy Enunwa
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GEICO SportsNite: FNNY on SB51 00:04:53
The guys on FNNY discuss what went wrong for the Falcons in the second half of the Super Bowl, as well as Tom Brady's place in NFL history.

What went wrong for the Falcons in the second half of the Super Bowl, and what is Tom Brady's place in NFL history?

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 (Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE)
(Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE)

Ronald Gasser, who shot and killed former Jets RB Joe McKnight, pleaded not guilty on Monday to a second-degree murder charge, according to the Associated Press.

The 55-year-old Gasser, who had initially been charged with manslaughter, was indicted last week, NBC Sports reported.

McKnight, who was 28 years old, was killed in a shooting in Louisiana in December.

A witness said an argument took place between McKnight and the shooter before the shooter opened fire multiple times.

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GEICO SportsNite: Super Bowl 00:01:31
Former Jet Chad Cascadden joins GEICO SportsNite to discuss the Patriots' exhilarating comeback Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

Despite trailing 28-3 in the third quarter, Tom Brady and the Patriots scored 31 unanswered points, ending with James White's 2-yard touchdown rush in overtime as New England beat the Atlanta Falcons, 34-28, to win Super Bowl LI.

Tags: Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY:

Here's a look at Super Bowl LI …

NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons (13-5) vs. AFC Champion New England Patriots (16-2)

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LaDainian Tomlinson played the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the Jets. (Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE)
LaDainian Tomlinson played the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the Jets. (Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE)

Former Jets center Kevin Mawae is passed over in this year's vote for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but LaDanian Tomlinson and Jason Taylor, who played briefly with the Jets, made it in.

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Deshaun Watson in New York? 00:02:37
The DNL panel debates the idea of the Jets drafting Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson after stating he would like to play for the Jets.

New Orleans Saints wide receivers coach John Morton against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas)
New Orleans Saints wide receivers coach John Morton against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas)

The Jets' decision to hire John Morton as the team's new offensive coordinator was endored by future Hall of Famer Drew Breesaccording to Rich Cimini of ESPN.

Brees has known Morton for over a decade, as the two spent three seasons together in New Orleans - 2006, 2015, and 2016- while Morton served as the team's receivers coach. 

Over the last two seasons, the Saints have scored more touchdowns and produced more yards than any team around the league.

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