During the offseason, I’ll be looking back at certain aspects of the Jets’ season by analyzing data compiled from all nineteen games, rather than watching film. I will be tackling as many diverse topics as possible, but welcome your suggestions or requests in the comments.

Let's begin this week with a quote from the Head Coach:

The thing that is not noticed about Braylon is, I think he is the best blocker in football at the receiver position. Each week you watch (him), he’s knocking DBs down. (We mark him on) the bracket guy and (the bracket guy) is like, “What are you doing blocking me?” We take advantage of him. (Edwards) and Hines Ward are the two guys that really get after it probably better than anybody.


- Rex Ryan, January 2011

As Jets fans, we've all seen this. The imposing Edwards has five inches and 30 pounds on some defensive backs and can often be seen making dominating blocks downfield. However, while analyzing film this year, I noticed that Edwards often misses blocks too and he was heavily penalized during the year. Even more intriguingly, according to PFF's player ratings, he ranked 103rd out of 110 receivers in terms of blocking during the 2010 season.

So, is Edwards one of the best blocking wide receivers in the NFL or is he actually one of the worst? Without even doing any research, we can be pretty confident that the answer falls somewhere in between. There must be some truth to Rex Ryan's assessment, but equally if PFF have rated every player on every snap and over 90% of wide receivers ended up with a better grade than him then there must be some areas where he could improve or needs to be more consistent.

After the jump, I look at the data and try to pinpoint where Braylon might be underperforming or where his contributions may be being overlooked.

Making the Grade

Before we analyze Braylon's performance, it may be useful to briefly explain how PFF arrives at their grades. As you've probably heard, they rewatch every single play several times so that they can assign a grade to each player. Many players will simply get a 0.0 grade if they just do their job and their performance has little bearing on the success or failure of the play. However, if there is a broken tackle, somebody sheds a block, a pass is well thrown, caught or defensed or a lineman drives back his opposite number to affect the play, then positive and negative grades from -2.0 to 2.0 are distributed accordingly to the players involved. Note: a grade above 1.0 or below -1.0 on any given play is pretty rare.

In the context of wide receiver blocking, a 0.0 grade would be the norm, because most running plays either go up the middle or don't gain enough yards for downfield blocking to affect the success or failure of the play. However, by making a block at the line or downfield, a wide receiver can potentially earn himself a positive or negative grade. The success of the play also has an impact on the grade. For example, a great block to free up a runner for four yards on 3rd and short is typically going to get a better grade than a great block that springs a runner for six yards on 3rd and long.

Most importantly of all, every player is graded on the same criteria. So, once we've looked at Braylon's performance, it might not seem to be that bad. However, in terms of netting off positive blocks against blown blocks, most of the receivers in the league will have performed better, being judged on the same criteria. Edwards might have made more key blocks than a lot of less-talented blockers than him, but they could still have a better grade by more consistently doing their job and avoiding negatively graded plays. You may feel that Edwards should have received more credit for some of his downfield blocking, but then again the same could probably be said for everybody else, so that may not have tipped the overall balance in his favor very much.

Breaking Down Braylon's Blocking in 2010

Despite the fact that his overall ranking was so low, Edwards actually had more positively graded plays (eight) as a run blocker than negatively graded plays (seven). He also had two positively graded blocks on screen passes and no negative plays for screen blocking.

Let's look at the positive plays first:

1. Week 3 (at Miami) - 1st and 10, early 2nd quarter. Edwards blocks Quentin Moses and LaDainian Tomlinson gains 21 yards

2. Week 3 (at Miami) - 1st and 10, late third quarter. Edwards again blocks Moses and the run goes for seven yards, setting up 2nd and 3

3. Week 5 (v Minnesota) - 1st and 10, middle of the fourth quarter. Edwards blocks Ben Leber to the ground, but the play just goes for a gain of one

4. Week 9 (at Detroit) - 1st and 10, late third quarter. Edwards blocks Cliff Avril and the run goes for five yards, setting up second and five

5. Week 11 (v Houston) - 3rd and five, middle of the second quarter. Screen pass goes for 26 yards, as Edwards makes a good downfield block on Troy Nolan

6. Week 12 (v Cincinnati) - 1st and 10, early third quarter. End around to Brad Smith for a 53 yard TD, as Edwards makes a good downfield block on Reggie Nelson

7. Week 13 (at New England) - 1st and 10, late first quarter. Run goes for 13 yards, as Edwards makes a good downfield block on Devin McCourty.

8. Week 16 (at Chicago) - 1st and 10, late second quarter. Run goes for 11 yards as Edwards makes a good block on Charles Tillman

9. Week 17 (v Buffalo) - 3rd and 16, early first quarter. Brad Smith keeps for 40 yards, as Edwards drives back Leodis McKelvin on the outside and shoves him out of bounds

10. AFC Title Game (at Pittsburgh) - 3rd and two at the eight yard line. Edwards makes a good block on Ryan Clark, as Jerricho Cotchery gains six on a screen pass.

Those were the ten plays that earned Edwards a positive grade. Just over one every two weeks, although that isn't too bad for a wide receiver. If there were other plays you felt should have earned him a positive grade, bear in mind that under PFF's grading criteria, an equivalent block by somebody else would also not have received a positive grade.

Breaking down the ten plays, seven went for more than ten yards, although Edwards received credit for a downfield block rather than blocking a guy at the line or at the second level on four of those.

Let's now look at the seven plays which saw Edwards given a negative run blocking grade:

1. Week 9 (at Detroit) - 2nd and 7, late first quarter. Edwards missed his block on Chris Houston, who should have made the stop to force a third and long. He ultimately missed the tackle and the play went for a 12 yard gain, but Edwards still gets marked down

2. Week 9 (at Detroit) - 1st and 10, early first quarter. Edwards tried to cut block Ashlee Palmer, but Palmer hurdled him. Again, the damage was averted, as Damien Woody was able to pick him up, but the play went for a two yard gain to set up 2nd and eight

3. Week 11 (v Houston) - 1st and 10, late second quarter. Edwards tried to block Mario Williams, but got beaten and the play was blown up. A safety made the tackle for a one yard loss

4. Week 13 (at New England) - 1st and 10, early second quarter. Edwards got beaten by Patrick Chung and the play was stuffed for a gain of one to set up second and nine

5. Week 14 (v Miami) - 1st and 10, late third quarter. Edwards got beaten by Sean Smith and the play was stuffed for a gain of one to set up second and nine

6. Week 17 (v Buffalo) - 2nd and 6, early first quarter. Edwards got beaten by Arthur Moats and although Joe McKnight was able to turn the play into a five yard gain, this was because Wayne Hunter committed a holding penalty when McKnight was forced to cut back.

7. Wild Card Game (at Indianapolis) - 1st and Goal at the three. Edwards was called upon to make a key block on Pat Angerer from the slot. He missed the block and that redirected the runner into two tacklers at the goalline

It's interesting to note that he didn't actually have a negatively graded play until the eighth game of the year. This could be due to the fact that he was not as focused on his blocking in the second half of the season, although he was more reliable as a receiver. You might think that this shows that they started giving him tougher assignments at that point, but he actually lined up as a tight end 36 times all season and 26 of those were before the bye week. Only one of the seven negatively-graded plays was remotely successful and that was in spite of Edwards missing his block.

Paying the Penalty

One key factor in Edwards' blocking performances is his penalty count. Edwards was the most penalized wide receiver in the NFL this season, although only four of his penalties were in the act of run blocking. (His others were two false starts, one offensive pass interference, a taunting penalty and a running into the kicker penalty). Let's consider these plays individually, because they might show signs of Edwards being able to make some key blocks with slight refining of his technique or perhaps more favorable officiating.

1. Week 3 (at Miami) - 2nd and three, late third quarter. Edwards was called for tripping on a play that went for six yards and a first down in the red zone. If you recall the play, Edwards kind of whiffed on his block and made contact with the defender by whipping his leg at him as he rolled over. The call was perhaps a bit dubious. Although I think the play would probably have gone for a first down if he didn't trip the defensive player, Edwards would probably otherwise have been graded negatively there.

2. Week 10 (at Cleveland) - 2nd and 10, middle of the fourth quarter. Brad Smith runs for 25 out of the Seminole package, but Edwards is called for a hold. He seemed to turn his man but then held on for a split second too long. I don't know if the play would have worked without the hold, but it did look like if Edwards showed slightly better technique it could have been a key block and would certainly have received a positive grade.

3. Week 11 (v Houston) - 1st and 10, middle of the second quarter. Edwards is called for an illegal block above the waist and the play still only goes for a gain of two. It's difficult to say whether Edwards would have been given a negative grade if he didn't commit the penalty.

4. Week 12 (v Cincinnati) - 1st and 10, early first quarter. Edwards is called for an illegal block above the waist and the play still only goes for a gain of three. It's again difficult to say whether Edwards would have been given a negative grade if he didn't commit the penalty.

In terms of his PFF grade, these penalties won't have had an effect on his rating, because penalties are separately tracked. In fact, if you combined the run blocking and penalty grades, Braylon would be last in the league, although that isn't strictly fair, because not all of the penalties relate to run blocking, as noted above.

Just Doing His Job

So, on the whole, Edwards makes a strong contribution as a run blocker. If a play that receives neither a positive or negative grade is considered "just doing his job" then Edwards "just did his job" on all but 15 plays where he was employed as a run blocker. That was 464 plays in total, so Edwards can be said to have done his job 97% of the time. Of course, on many running plays, that doesn't involve much more than getting up out of your stance and walking back to the huddle, but it's still worth bearing in mind.

On those other 15 plays, he actually had more plays where he made a positive contribution, which suggests he is at least competent as a run blocker. This is especially true if - as Rex Ryan's quote at the beginning of the article suggests - Braylon was given assignments above and beyond those that a regular wideout might be granted. PFF's ratings wouldn't take that into account, since they are just a measure of how well you do your job. If you are given a tougher job to do, then that is a reflection on your ability, but you still need to perform well at it to be successful. It's up to analysts like myself to derive added meaning from any anomalies that this will throw up.

In that respect, the value isn't seen in terms of the 15 plays where he was positively or negatively graded, many of which were of the routine variety. Instead, it's hidden within the 97% that he "just did his job" because if he held his own in those situations and most other receivers wouldn't have been able to, then he is adding tremendous value to his team, in terms of them being able to run with passing personnel on the field and increasing the potential in terms of being flexible enough to run the no-huddle or call audibles to cash in on the versatility.

For fear of accidentally writing the conclusion before I've finished the research, let's take a step back at this stage. Edwards' run blocking performance doesn't seem so bad that 90% of the receivers in the league would grade out better, so why is that?

It's All Relative

You can watch every snap of every Jets game - multiple times, if you want to - and it gives you a pretty good idea of how well a player has played, but not necessarily how well they are playing in comparison to the rest of the league. For example, in 2009, I repeatedly wrote how Kerry Rhodes - despite all the criticism he was getting - wasn't actually playing that badly, on balance. However, even I was amazed to find that he ended up number two in PFF's rankings that year. That's where the value of PFF comes in, because instead of just knowing that your guy made X good plays and Y bad plays, you can see how that stacks up against the rest of the league. In Kerry's case, it was a down year for safeties, apparently. How about Braylon? Was this a banner year for run blocking wideouts or something?

Not exactly. In fact, only 22 of the receivers (one-fifth) with over 25% snap counts graded out positively for blocking. So what led to Braylon being so far down the list?

Remember, Braylon had eight positively-graded run blocks and two positively-graded screen blocks, but also had seven negatively-graded run blocks. Let's compare that to the benchmark for run blocking wide receivers: Hines Ward.

Ward has long since been regarded as one of the best blocking wideouts in the league, if not THE best and, unlike Edwards, this time his reputation IS backed up by his PFF grades. Consistently in the top three, he placed 1st again this year, if you include playoff games. How do his blocking numbers compare to those of Edwards?

The difference is quite striking. He had 26 positively-graded run blocks and five positively graded screen blocks, as opposed to 12 negatively-graded run blocks and just one negatively-graded screen block. Not only is he more consistent in terms of making more positive than negative blocks, but Ward also seems to get more opportunities to make (or fail to make) a key block.

Why could this be? One reason is that the Jets only run to the outside 21% of the time and the Steelers do 30% of the time (perhaps to capitalize on Ward's abilities). Also, Ward is in the slot more often than Edwards, so he is more likely to be directly involved in running plays. One key difference is that Ward had ten positively-graded blocks at the second level. Edwards had zero.

Clearly Ward - who had five positively-graded blocks in the Superbowl alone - is still an elite run blocker and Edwards eventually needs to show the same level of consistency.

Not everybody that was above Edwards in the rankings is as involved as Hines Ward in the running game. You need look no further than Santonio Holmes and Jerricho Cotchery, each of whom graded out better than Edwards in 2010. Holmes had just two positively-graded run blocks and two negatively-graded run blocks, as well as two positively-graded screen blocks and only one negatively-graded screen block. He was just a couple of places above Edwards, whereas Jerricho Cotchery only just graded negatively and actually had just one negatively-graded run block on the year. He had nine positively graded run blocks, but clearly the results of these plays were not good enough to garner him a positive grade.

Arrelious Benn was in a similar position to Cotchery. He had 13 positive blocks and only one negative one, but still found himself below Ward in the rankings. Terrence Copper (14 positive blocks, five negative) rounded out the top three. Copper and Benn are notable because they played less than half as many snaps as Ward, so may have ended up with a better grade if they played as much as him.

Just to complete the picture, at the bottom of the pile was another Steeler, Mike Wallace, who had four positive and eight negative blocks (including screen blocking).

Does Size Matter?

One theory I had was that perhaps the likes of Ward might be more likely to get a positive grade on a play because they are blocking somebody of a similar size, whereas Edwards is often bigger than the guy he is blocking and therefore it tends to look more effortless.

I've decided to throw out that theory, though, because guys like Andre Johnson and Brandon Marshall were near the top of the ratings. That doesn't mean that size is important though, because guys like Danny Amendola and Eddie Royal were also near the top.

In any case, it's clear from the plays that I broke down earlier that Edwards was often charged with blocking a guy of equivalent size or bigger.

2009 and 2008

So, is Edwards capable of being a more consistent blocker? It would certainly appear so, based on the two seasons prior to this one. In 2009, he still graded out negatively, but was much higher up the list, near the middle of the pack. Back in 2008, playing for the Browns, he may have been one of the league's worst receivers overall, thanks to his 19 dropped catches, but he actually graded out positively and in the top 25 for his blocking. Maybe he had easier blocking assignments in those days, though. Note: He also had seven penalties in 2009 and 11 in 2008.

Conclusions

Based on this research, I'd suggest that Braylon Edwards is capable of being an elite blocker, although he does tend to have the occasional lapse in either judgment, technique or focus. If he can improve in these areas in the same manner as he seems to have corrected his issues in terms of catching the ball, then there's every chance he could become an even more dynamic and productive player over the next few seasons.

Although his PFF rating was poor, that can perhaps be explained away by the fact he was given tougher assignments than many of his peers. While it does underscore how he must become more consistent, I don't feel that his bottom-ten ranking truly reflects his ability and contribution.

Was Rex Ryan jumping the gun slightly to call him the best in the league? Of course he was. Then again, talking up his guys is not out of character for Rex and if it motivates Edwards to continue to take pride in his blocking, then that can only be a good thing...if Edwards remains a Jet, of course.

Note: Exclusive data provided by ProFootballFocus.com have been used in the compiling of this analysis. This information is not available to the general public, so we are grateful to have been granted exclusive access. Off-season subscriptions are still available at their website and you can follow them on twitter (@profootbalfocus) where one of their analysts is always happy to respond quickly to any questions you might have.
Tags: BGA, Main Page, Bent Double

 (Ross D. Franklin/AP)
(Ross D. Franklin/AP)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

PHOENIX - The Jets shed a group of veteran players this offseason, didn't make any big splashes in free agency, and the quarterback they brought in is a 37-year-old journeyman. Not surprisingly, the expectations for them this season couldn't be much lower.

Just don't try telling that to Todd Bowles.

Despite the look of his roster to outsiders, and the general perception that the Jets are beginning a total rebuilding job, the Jets head coach refused to downplay his team's chances heading into the 2017 season. He looks at the moves the Jets have made this offseason and believes they have given his team a chance to be competitive -- now.

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Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV

PHOENIX - The Jets' new offensive coordinator, John Morton, has never run an NFL offense before, never called plays in the league, and he hasn't revealed yet what kind of scheme he will run. But none of that should worry anyone, according to one of his former bosses.

Saints coach Sean Payton promised you'll be "impressed."

"Listen he's been around (Jon) Gruden, (Jim) Harbaugh, myself," Payton said on Wednesday morning during the NFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Owners Meetings. "He's very meticulous. I think he's going to be outstanding."

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

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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 set for Thursday.

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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Loud Mouths: Is Bowles the guy? 00:06:24
Marc Malusis, Jon Hein and Willie Colon talk about whether Todd Bowles is the right man for the job.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

PHOENIX - The Jets weren't just bad last season, they were downright dysfunctional at times. Todd Bowles knows it. Everybody knows it. And the Jets coach expects that to change.

Just don't expect him to drop the hammer on his players, or tighten the rules on what at times appeared to be his loosely-run ship. Bowles, as a former player, understands that stuff happens. And he doesn't plan on taking control with some draconian approach.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

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PHOENIX - Todd Bowles came to the Jets as a defensive guru, but he plans on making the struggling Jets offense his project this year.

The third-year Jets head head coach promised that he will be "heavily more involved" in all aspects of the offense this season during an hour-long interview at the annual AFC Coaches Breakfast on Tuesday. He didn't say his decision had anything to do with the fact the offense ranked 26th in the NFL last season, or that he'll be breaking in a new offensive coordinator in John Morton.

He said it's all just part of his "evolution" as a head coach...

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Do the Jets need Hackenberg? 00:04:25
The Daily News Live crew discusses whether the Jets should settle for Christian Hackenberg as their starter or target a QB in the draft.

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PHOENIX - Todd Bowles has declared he will hold an "open competition" at quarterback this summer between the three quarterbacks on his roster, and maybe even a fourth one from the draft. He did not promise veteran Josh McCown the job when the Jets signed him, and he wouldn't say his experience gives him any edge.

All of them will have an equal shot to be the Jets' Opening Day starter. And that's the right approach. It's also the only thing the Jets coach could do.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Isaiah J. Downing)
(Isaiah J. Downing)

The Jets have signed OL Jonotthan Harrison to a one-year deal, the team announced Tuesday. 

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 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. 

 


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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