Now that the season is over, I'll be writing analysis articles each week until the beginning of the league year and also during the period between the draft and training camp. I'll be breaking down some of the data from the 2012 season and revisiting some of the things I wrote about over the last two offseasons to see if any patterns identified at the time have continued or if any new patterns have developed.

In this week's BGA, I'm going to do something I promised to do once the season was over. You may recall me writing this after the loss to the Seahawks:

[The Jets are] an easy team to beat right now. I’m just an amateur, but I could give any team a list of things to do against this Jets team that will be successful most of the time and will probably net you enough big plays to be the difference in the game. I’d also note that this was not the case over the past few years, where it was different things every week that would let the Jets down. While I’m not going to list those things here, because I don’t feel comfortable with putting up a blueprint of how to beat the Jets, it probably doesn’t matter because every team the Jets seem to face has done its preparation and identified these things for themselves. This enables them to exploit some very obvious weaknesses in the Jets line-up [...] Needless to say, when the Jets do the same things to their opponents, they never have quite the same level of success.

Now that the season is over and I would imagine the Jets would be addressing these weaknesses, I feel comfortable laying out my blueprint for how to beat the 2012 Jets. Obviously no gameplan is 100% certain to give you a win, but I'll be suggesting things that usually worked and outlining the reasons why. Any team that did these things had a good chance of making some game changing plays happen and, generally speaking, every team that beat the Jets did some damage by doing some of these things.

After the jump, I'll be looking at some specific areas where the Jets were consistently vulnerable and providing examples of situations where teams exploited this.

Introduction

This represents a bit of a departure from my usual M.O., since I like to base everything on a comprehensive review of every single snap. Here, I'm talking in more general terms about things I noticed that seemed to cause problems for the Jets on a consistent basis. However, I'm going to try to go beyond the obvious things like "Put Sanchez under pressure because he has bad numbers when pressured" or "Stack the box and try and make them beat you downfield because the receivers can't get deep separation" to look for specific frailties in the Jets schemes or any exploitable weaknesses in their personnel.

I'll break down a couple of different areas to discuss what teams did, why it worked and why the Jets weren't able to enjoy similar success by doing the same things. I'll also try to provide some examples of each.

General Philosophies

Although the Jets are regarded as a team with limited offensive firepower, there's no need to try and get in a shootout with them. While you'd think that racking up points would be a smart idea - because there's no way their offense will be able to keep up - you're actually better off in a low-scoring game. Remember this stat from the BGA after the Arizona game?

On this day three years ago, the Jets beat Buffalo 19-13 in another game Mark Sanchez was unable to finish (this time due to injury). Since that time, they were 0-18 in regular season games when they scored 21 points or less…until yesterday’s win.

Why is that? What it seemed to boil down to is that the Jets relied on teams turning the ball over to give themselves excellent field position and create defensive scores. If a team plays conservatively against the Jets, there's not much risk of the Jets offense being good enough to pull themselves into a sizable lead and - as we'll see when I get into some specifics lower down - the team is apt to costly breakdowns that can be the difference between winning and losing in a close game or can turn a tight game into a blowout. Getting into a higher-scoring game with the Jets can be risky because those seem to be the only times that the offense gets into a rhythm.

You can point to several blowout losses the Jets had this year as evidence to the contrary, but most of these were actually pretty close until pretty late in the game, only to turn into blowouts later on, usually thanks in part to some of the issues I'll be discussing. The Steelers game was a 17-point loss but the Jets led late in the first half and were obviously still in the game for most of the second half. The Niners beat them 34-0, but it was only 7-0 until a last second field goal just before the half. The 28-7 loss to the Seahawks and 28-9 loss to the Bills were 14-7 and 14-9 entering the fourth quarter. My advice to any teams wanting to beat last year's Jets would have been simple: Remain patient. Keep the game close and it's likely someone will make a big mistake at a key moment. Don't give them any traction and once they're chasing from behind, you have them where you want them.

Defending the Pass

Stopping the Jets' pass offense from being successful generally comes down to all the things you would expect. Pressuring Sanchez, taking away his primary options in key situations and either sitting on all short-intermediate routes or flooding intermediate zones with players to try and compel him to beat you downfield are all things you'd expect to slow down the Jets aerial attack. Sure enough, these were all things teams did and had success with. How do you achieve these things though?

In some respects, slowing down the pass offense was a secondary goal for defenses. If you're looking for a game changing play to test the Jets' fragile psyche, one surefire way to give yourselves a good chance of beating them is to force turnovers. Entering 2012, the Jets were 29-11 when Sanchez threw one interception or less, but 2-11 when he threw two or more. Surprisingly, in 2012, he only threw two or more four times and the Jets actually won two of those games. However, he also had a slew of costly fumbles and when he does throw interceptions, they often prevent the Jets from converting a scoring opportunity or create one for the opposition, so it's definitely beneficial to try and tempt him into bad throws.

When looking at the kinds of mistakes Sanchez made that led to interceptions, there were some ill-advised short passes, a few tipped balls and some picks caused by poor accuracy. There were even a few that weren't really his fault. However, the one recurring mistake that he seemed to make was that he stared down his target and didn't see another defender coming across to jump the route having left their man. The most egregious of these was probably this play.

This is something Sanchez has struggled with for a while. Even at the start of the 2011 season, one of his most consistent stretches as a pro, he had two interceptions similar to this in a win over Jacksonville (in what was otherwise one of his more accomplished and confident performances) and it was a pattern that kept repeating itself over the next two years.

For teams to exploit this, it could be as simple as just having someone roaming deep - as Griffin was on the play linked above - ready to jump the route as soon as Sanchez starts staring down his primary read. However, teams have also been able to exploit this deficiency in the past by setting traps. Rolling coverage over so that a defender can come off his man, especially when Sanchez has a few obvious favorite routes (like the quick slant) that he likes to go to in certain situations, has been something that led to a lot of interceptions and near misses last year (and in 2011). Also, dropping a linebacker or even a lineman back into a passing lane has been something that can confuse him into a mistake (if he sees them) or lead to a tip or interception (if he doesn't).

My advice to teams facing the 2012 Jets would have been to set traps like this. Have your centerfielder roaming deep, drop front seven players into passing lanes and roll coverages every now and again. Based on last season, Sanchez would not be able to exploit any gaps this creates and the chances are that you'll force him into a mistake or two which could be the difference in a tight game.

The final question is why don't the Jets have success doing the same thing? They do from time to time and their defense certainly mixes up coverages as effectively as anyone in the league. Most quarterbacks see the field better than Sanchez does in such situations or are better at looking off defenders or freezing them with a pump-fake though. Also, if teams are playing conservatively based on the above advice then that makes it less likely that they'll throw one away. Even when they did, the Jets 2012 offense was not generally that good at capitalizing.

Creating Pressure

Another key element to the creation of turnovers, but one which also will invariably help to slow down the passing attack is the creation of pressure. On a day when Sanchez manages to limit the number of risky throws he makes, the chances are you could still benefit from a turnover if you manage to sack him. Alternatively, putting him under pressure increases the chance of a bad throw. You can't guarantee you're always going to create pressure though - and would want to avoid exposing yourself to unnecessary risk in terms of giving up big plays or allowing Sanchez to get into a rhythm - so what's the recommended approach?

Sending a bunch of guys is always a risky approach, even with a guy like Sanchez at quarterback who isn't great at hitting people in stride. However, if you just rely on four pass rushers and hoping one of them beats their man, the Jets' offensive line is usually good enough to handle that. That's what the Bills found in Week 1. They failed to sack Sanchez and only created six total pressures. In Week 17, they changed their approach - probably based on what they'd seen over the previous few weeks - and generated 14 total pressures with one key strip-sack.

Their approach was not necessarily to blitz more guys - they blitzed nine times in Week 17, only three more than in the opener - it was just to be smarter about how they sent the pressure. If you get creative with your pass rush - throw in a few stunts and so on - then even if the linemen handle that, it usually makes for less of a clean pocket which can cause a quarterback like Sanchez to rush his throw, run himself into trouble or lose his sightlines. The Bills had good success with this in the last game of the season and it made a big difference to Sanchez's performance against a team he had his best game of the year against four months earlier.

As an example of how a strategy like this can lead to a game changing play, we turn to the 49ers game in Week 4. The Jets trailed just 7-0 midway through the first quarter and had a third and one in 49ers territory. Had they converted, who knows how differently the game (34-0 final) would have turned out?

The 49ers lined themselves up like this:

Ray McDonald (#91) drove hard upfield and Ahmad Brooks (#55) stunted underneath him to sack Sanchez and force another Jets punt. The Niners also created plenty of pressure doing the same thing throughout the day.

Again, a creative pass rushing approach wasn't necessarily something which only worked against the Jets in 2012. Teams like the Cowboys and Ravens really rattled Sanchez in 2011 by doing similar things. It's something which the Jets do have some success with, but many teams - including the Bills - tend to see it coming and get rid of the ball to prevent it from leading to any pressure. Since the pass rusher isn't taking a direct route to the quarterback, these blitzes take slightly longer to develop so if your quarterback is decisive, he should still be able to get rid of the ball even as his linemen are on their heels. The reason this was so much more effective against Sanchez at the tail end of last season was because his decisiveness really deserted him and he brought a lot of pressure on himself by being hesitant. Also, even when he did get rid of the ball quickly, his accuracy often let him down and he rarely hit receivers in stride so they could punish the defense and dissuade them from continuing with that approach.

It wasn't just Sanchez that struggled with these situations though. Greg McElroy also showed an alarming lack of poise and an inability to get rid of the ball in his start against the Chargers. He was sacked 11 times and four of these (including three of the first four) came as a direct result of somebody stunting. In McElroy's defense, he was concussed early on in the game which may have slowed down his thought process in the pocket. Also, he may have been specifically told that he should take a sack rather than make a risky throw under pressure. In addition, he hadn't really worked with the first unit. With that said, he did seem to be running for his life a lot in preseason over the past few years too, so I would suggest that he isn't fully developed in terms of having NFL-ready ability to stand comfortably in the pocket and make quick decisions.

In that 11-sack game, the Chargers didn't get their second sack until halfway through the second quarter. It came as a result of a stunt as shown below. The Chargers set up like this:

Jarret Johnson (#96) stunts from the outside to the middle. While Austin Howard and Brandon Moore get themselves in position to deal with this, they both lose inside leverage and Moore is on his heels. He ends up being driven backwards into McElroy by Kendall Reyes (#91). The situation isn't helped by the fact that a defensive back is coming off the edge unblocked, while the back who perhaps should have been directed to stay in, has gone the other way. (We'll revisit that scenario lower down).

On the very next play, the Chargers obviously realized they were onto something. They set up like this:

This time the stunt came from the opposite side and Melvin Ingram (#54) has a clean shot at McElroy because D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Matt Slauson are both blocking the same guy. To his credit, McElroy escaped the rush and got back to the line of scrimmage where he was tackled for no gain (which goes down as a zero-yard sack officially).

You don't need to be that creative all the time, just do it enough times and you're likely to reap the benefits. Sometimes, you can generate pressure simply by sending an extra rusher off the edge. As seen in the example above, this can often lead to a clean shot at the quarterback.

Here's another example. On this play, Richard Sherman comes unblocked off the edge. Maybe this is Sanchez's fault for not directing the back (Lex Hilliard) to get out there and block him or getting rid of it to a hot receiver. Maybe it's Hilliard's fault and he heard the call or read the play wrongly. Maybe one of the receivers should have gone "hot" and didn't, thereby leaving Sanchez exposed. I don't know for certain and it doesn't matter. What does matter is that this is another pattern which kept repeating itself and teams were comfortable to send a guy off the edge because Sanchez wasn't ever able to punish them effectively enough.

The good thing about doing this is that you can mix it up with one of our earlier strategies and drop a linemen or linebacker into coverage at the same time, so you're still only sending four and the rush is less risky.

Again, the Jets do this too, but other quarterbacks tend to be better than Sanchez was last year at getting rid of quick passes to mitigate pressure. It also doesn't help when you don't have great speed at linebacker, which can prevent the coverage underneath such a blitz from being air-tight.

Passing the Ball

So far, the blueprint seems to be to keep the game close and rely on the Jets to turn the ball over or at least struggle to move the chains on offense. However, in 2012 (and this wasn't the case in 2011) one area where you could usually outperform the Jets was in terms of converting scoring opportunities. Take the last game of the year as an example. The Jets had to settle for four field goals (missing one), whereas the Bills got in the endzone four times. Despite being outgained by just two yards, that translates to a 19-point loss in what otherwise would have been a close game.

My advice to teams down near the goal line would therefore be to throw the ball. We know from a previous BGA that the Jets' goal line defense is pretty good. However, down in the red zone, they can be prone to coverage breakdowns.

Coverage breakdowns are again not something that were unique to the 2012 season. Brodney Pool made some bad mistakes in 2011 and 2010. Even the 2009 defense wasn't immune as Kerry Rhodes and James Ihedigbo both had costly blown coverages. However, these types of play - where a receiver is all alone in the end zone - are like free points to an NFL-caliber player and there were enough of them that I think it would be worthwhile to set up a play looking for an easy option, while still having the option to throw into a tight window or scramble for the line if the defense doesn't flinch.

The issue seems to come from defensive players being unaware whether they have a man or zone assignment. Let's look at some examples:

On this play, the Rams send three guys to the outside and then have one break back to the back of the end zone. Three defenders all follow to the outside, so clearly someone should either have been in man coverage on the receiver who got loose or someone should have stayed underneath in zone coverage. Without knowing the defensive set, I can't know who was at fault, but it doesn't really matter from the offense's perspective. What matters is that it happened and they exploited it.

On this play, Ellis Lankster is covering in the slot and when Wes Welker goes to the outside, he clearly passes him off to the man behind him. The only problem is that the man who would be behind him - Kyle Wilson - has followed another receiver to the inside. Clearly Lankster thought this was a zone coverage and Wilson thought it was a man. Again, you can't know who was at fault without knowing the defensive set, but the fact is that the easy scoring opportunity presented itself, so this is the kind of thing worth looking at doing for an offensive opponent.

Finally, this play is a well executed playfake. Rob Gronkowski runs a drag route and ends up outrunning Bart Scott and Calvin Pace to the outside for an easy catch. It looks like Scott is responsible for the zone over the middle and Pace - who starts off lined up opposite another tight end is responsible for the outside, but ends up taking a step to the inside and is unable to get his momentum going in the other direction in time. This isn't so much a blown coverage as a coverage where there was an easily exploitable weakness - Pace's lack of mobility and acceleration. It's similar though, because he ends up being a step late - just due to a physical deficiency rather than a mental error.

What these plays have in common and what they tell us about how to attack the Jets' pass defense is that offenses should use misdirection to create gaps in the Jets zones. Instead of attacking single coverage, where the Jets excel, you're better off running a clear-out route, bunching receivers or criss-crossing routes to try and cause confusion. Down there, if you cause enough hesitation to get one step of separation, most NFL quarterbacks can make that throw.

This isn't just effective in the red zone - consider my breakdown of the Antonio Gates touchdown which showed how well-crafted the play was in terms of pulling Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson away from where Gates was able to get open. Also, consider the Shane Vereen touchdown on Thanksgiving (which nobody wants to see again so I'm not going to link to it) where they drew the defense to the inside and then were able to get a long touchdown down the sideline.

(If I'm going to be snarky, I'd also add to my blueprint the suggestion to set as many illegal picks as possible because the Jets never seem to get that call).

I'd like to hope that the new offensive coordinator would be able to do a better job of designing plays so that opportunities like those that presented themselves in the examples above occur regularly for whoever is quarterbacking the Jets next year, but we'll have to see. As far as 2012 was concerned, Sanchez just wasn't as good in the red zone as he was in 2011, blowing opportunities like this one, for example. His accuracy and hesitancy continued to blight him all year.

Without any coverage breakdowns, it's not easy to attack the Jets. While Scott has a reputation for being exploited repeatedly in coverage, the reality simply doesn't bear this out, as he's only given up catches down the field on a couple of occasions in the last few years. Tom Brady famously picked on rookies Antonio Allen and Demario Davis in the Pats' come-from-behind overtime win earlier in the year and Isaiah Trufant went through a phase of being routinely picked on whenever he lined up on the outside, but generally your best bet is to take what the defense gives you.

Conclusions

As I said at the outset, there did seem to be a few distinct things which teams routinely saw success with during the 2012 season and I've discussed these above. You're not guaranteed to have success with these things all the time, but they generally weren't things the Jets were able to exploit, so it wasn't a big risk to try them - and often led to key plays that were the difference in any given contest.

Are these things a flawless way of achieving certain victory? Absolutely not - in fact, often when you spot a weakness in your opponent, you'll find that they've been working on it all week and when you try to exploit it, they've figured things out. (A good example of this is the Eagles game in 2011, where the Jets were facing a team that was notoriously bad against the screen pass, so they tried a bunch of screen passes and the Eagles had been well-drilled enough to blow them all up, en route to a huge win). However, these are things that the Jets never managed to figure out and by the end of the year it was apparent that if teams did these things, they were increasing their chances of winning.

A lot of the content in this article is opinion-based, moreso than in a usual BGA. You may have your own ideas about some of the things I suggested above or even other suggestions for things that always seemed to catch the Jets out. This is not the final word on this by any means, so feel free to pick holes in what I've written down in the comments.

With free agency right around the corner, we're taking a break now until after the draft. Ideas for future BGA articles are still welcomed though!

Tags: BGA, Editorial Aside, Bent Double

With the Jets holding the no. 6 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, there's a chance Saquon Barkley falls to them. The electric running back would welcome that possibility as a boyhood Jets fan. 

As all Jets fans understand and admit, there have been more than enough tough times while being a fan of the team. He jokes that if Jets GM Mike Maccagnan asks what he could do for the team, he might be a bit shy in his answer due to his fandom.

"I'll probably be a little more shy 'cause I was a Jets fan growing up, a true, true Jets fan," Barkley said...

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Nov 6, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets middle linebacker David Harris (52) tackles Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi (23) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. The Miami Dolphins defeat the New York Jets 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Nov 6, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets middle linebacker David Harris (52) tackles Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi (23) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. The Miami Dolphins defeat the New York Jets 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The next stop for David Harris figures to be the Jets' Ring of Honor.

Harris, who spent 10 years as the anchor of the Jets defense before he was released last year, announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday afternoon. The 34-year-old inside linebacker ended his 11-year career through a short statement released by his agent on Twitter, less than three weeks after reaching the first Super Bowl of his career with the New England Patriots - although he wasn't activated for the game.

Tags: Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Nick Mangold, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Winslow Townson)
(Winslow Townson)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets have seen Sheldon Richardon, Damon Harrison, and Quinton Coples depart within the past few seasons. With the departure of Muhammad Wilkerson thought to be imminent, they suddenly find themselves in a position where they lack depth on the defensive interior.

In addition, a potentially promising pipeline of young depth hasn't really materialized. Deon Simon and Claude Pelon couldn't crack the rotation, and spent most of the year on the practice squad, while Lawrence Thomas became a full back. Leonard Williams will be back, but his 2017 season was arguably just as disappointing as Wilkerson's, and he might find that teams can more readily gameplan around him if he's not surrounded with the same kind of talent...

Tags: Deon Simon, Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, Sheldon Richardson, Steve McLendon
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Daily News Live: NFL Combine 00:03:50
The Daily News Live panel breaks down which quarterbacks have the most to prove at the upcoming NFL Combine.

The Daily News Live panel breaks down which quarterbacks have the most to prove at the upcoming NFL Combine.

Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, and Lamar Jackson are among the top prospects.

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Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Wesley Johnson (76) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Wesley Johnson (76) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: When the Jets start their sales pitch to Kirk Cousins, he's going to want to know about more than just the size of their check. He's going to want to know, among other things, how they plan to protect him.

That's a project they can get started on right now.

The Jets should begin by re-signing center Wesley Johnson before the free-agent market opens on March 14, and solidify what was a young and better-than-you-think offensive line last season. Together with right guard Brian Winters and right tackle Brandon Shell, it would give the Jets a strong young corps on the line to build around. And with two solid veterans on the left side -- tackle Kelvin Beachum and guard James Carpenter -- it's a line that could actually be pretty good.

Tags: Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

In ESPN Insider Mel Kiper's eyes, "Broadway Baker" will find his way to the Jets in his latest mock draft. 

Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, has seen his draft stock significantly rise all season. After leading his Sooners team to the College Footbal Playoff with gutsy drives and precision passing all season long, Kiper thinks he is the starter -- and leader -- the Jets need under center. 

READ KIPER'S ANALYSIS BELOW

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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GEICO SportsNite: Cousins 00:02:18
The Jets hope to be in the mix to land highly touted free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins in order to provide stability at the QB position.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The entire Jets offseason will be played out in the shadow of Kirk Cousins -- the biggest name on the free-agent market, and the franchise quarterback they so desperately need. And that's even true right now, as the NFL's 15-day "franchise tag" window opens on Tuesday.

The Jets aren't likely to use the tag, but the Washington Redskins are reportedly considering using it on Cousins.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Demario Davis, Morris Claiborne, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sep 4, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Quenton Nelson (56) during the game against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports  (Kevin Jairaj)
Sep 4, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Quenton Nelson (56) during the game against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports (Kevin Jairaj)

The offensive line was a huge disappointment for the Jets in 2017, especially on the interior. In 2016, Wesley Johnson started eight games for the injured Nick Mangold, and the line didn't seem to suffer too badly. However, he struggled throughout the 2017 season after moving into the full-time starter role.

Guards Brian Winters and James Carpenter also failed to play as well as they had in 2016, although that may partly have been caused by Johnson struggling on their inside shoulder.   Injuries were also an issue here, with Winters in particular playing most of the season hurt, and eventually requiring surgery on an abdominal issue.

Dakota Dozier's performances in relief of Winters over the past few years have some people wondering if it was really wise to give Winters a big money extension, when Dozier doesn't appear to be much of a downgrade. However, he's out of contract now, so the Jets may need to replenish their depth.

Tags: Brian Winters, Dakota Dozier, James Carpenter, Nick Mangold
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Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon (99) sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium.  (Brad Penner (USA Today))
Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon (99) sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner (USA Today))

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets exercised their options on two defensive starters on Tuesday, ensuring that defensive tackle Steve McLendon and linebacker Josh Martin will both be back for the 2018 season.

The Jets were facing a deadline of Tuesday on both players, but the decision likely wasn't difficult, especially with the team likely to have nearly $100 million in salary cap space to spend this offseason. McLendon is due a salary of $3.125 million this year and has a salary cap number of $4.25 million. Martin is due a salary of $1.8 million, with a cap number of $2.1 million.

The moves come one day after the Jets declined their 2018 option on tackle Ben Ijalana, making him an unrestricted free agent...

Tags: Steve McLendon, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Kelvin Kuo)
(Kelvin Kuo)

It is no secret the Jets wants top free-agent QB Kirk Cousins on their roster next season, and it came out Monday that they are "willing to pay whatever it takes." But what if Cousins decides to sing elsewhere? What is the Jets' next move from there?

According to SI's Peter King, the Jets should be high on bringing back Josh McCown, and drafting Heisman Trophy Award winner Baker Mayfield ahead of next season. Though the jets are expected to have a pretty healthy cap situation, McCown could come back for cheap, and Mayfield will obviously be on a rookie contract. 

King doesn't deny that Cousins could certainly be a Jet, but this situation could also work with McCown mentoring Mayfield as he did Johnny Manziel back in 2014. 

Tags: Josh McCown
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New York Jets tackle Ben Ijalana blocks during the second half of the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets tackle Ben Ijalana blocks during the second half of the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports Images)

The Jets made offensive tackle Ben Ijalana a free agent on Monday after they failed to exercise his player option.

New York did not exercise Ijalana's $500,000 option bonus that would have activated his $4.5 million base salary for the 2018 season. By doing so, the Jets will save a total of $4.6 million.

Tags: Ben Ijalana
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Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

The Jets know they need a quarterback, and in particular, free-agent QB Kirk Cousins. That is why the team is "willing to pay whatever it takes" to employ him next season, per ESPN's Rich Cimini

New York has failed to find their franchise quarterback for years now, as fill-ins, so to speak, continue to come to town with Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg failing to show they are the guy the Jets need. Josh McCowwas the latest of those rentals, and he had a career year before an injury unfortunately ended his season. 

This offseason, though, GM Mike Maccagnan has no excuse in Cimini's eyes. He currently has over $70 million in cap space, and could have more than that by the time they can grab Cousins. The Redskins can still franchise tag him, so they could use him in a trade, but that is unlikely. 

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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In 2017, the Jets' running game struggles probably had more to do with the offensive line being overmatched than the performance of the backs.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Matt Forte
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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron throws against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. (David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports)
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron throws against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. (David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets reportedly turned down a Cincinnati Bengals trade proposal that would have sent quarterback AJ McCarron to New York last season, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini.

Cincinnati, according to Cimini, called the Jets organization at the start of free agency and offered McCarron in a trade, however the Jets turned it down to focus on free agency. It is unclear what Cincinnati requested in the deal.

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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets started over last offseason and actually built themselves a nice core of talent. They have many young, inexpensive players they can build around this spring.

They certainly have the tools to build around them - perhaps as much as $100 million in cap room, the sixth overall pick in the draft, and some extra picks too. And that's good, because even though the Jets exceeded expectations last season, they were still 5-11, and have plenty of holes to fill.

Now, as they get ready to begin Phase 2 of their rebuilding project, here's a look at their biggest needs.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brian Winters, James Carpenter, Juston Burris, Leonard Williams, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Trevor Ruszkowski)
(Trevor Ruszkowski)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: Cornerback is one position where the Jets obviously need to upgrade.

They opted not to pick up a corner from last year's deep draft class until they took two project players - Jeremy Clark and Derrick Jones - in the sixth round. The coaching staff claimed to like the upside of these players along with Juston Burris and Darryl Roberts as well as Rashard Robinson, who was added via trade at the deadline.

However, none of these players stepped up as hoped.

Tags: Derrick Jones, Jeremy Clark, Juston Burris, Morris Claiborne
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

"Broadway Baker" has a nice ring to top prospect QB Baker Mayfield

The 2017 Heisman Trophy Award winner sat down with The Post's Steve Serby to talk about the prospect of playing in the Big Apple, and if he has what it takes to succeed in a market that isn't friendly to anyone. 

Simply put: Mayfield loves the spotlight...

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New York Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets have officially announced the hiring of Jeremy Bates as offensive coordinator/QB Coach, and announced the hirings of Rick Dennison as offensive line coac/run game coordinator and Steve Jackson as assistant defensive backs coach.

"Jeremy is a talented coach who has a sound understanding of what it takes to build a successful offense," head coach Todd Bowles said in a press release. "Having spent last season with us, he offers continuity and has a good sense of what we need to do to improve. I look forward to him working together with our offensive coaches."

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: When Todd Bowles decided to fire offensive coordinator John Morton, he always had quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates in mind as a replacement...

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 (Jeremy Brevard)
(Jeremy Brevard)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets have been a team whose defense has been built around their interior linemen for a long time, but Muhammad Wilkerson's anticipated departure could be an opportunity to reinvent themselves by finding a difference-maker who can create constant pressure off the edge.

The Jets haven't really had an elite edge rusher since John Abraham, who was traded before the 2006 draft. They've tried drafting one high (Vernon Gholston), converting an interior lineman into one (Quinton Coples), and bringing in an established veteran (Jason Taylor). But none of these have been successful. None of their low-cost free agents, reclamation projects, or later draft picks have stepped up either.

Tags: Dylan Donahue, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin
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Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets are in position to be the kings of free agency, with potentially more salary cap room to spend than any team except for the Cleveland Browns. They are already projected to have about $75 million in salary cap space, and that's if they don't make another move.

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New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne breaks up a touchdown attempt to Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne breaks up a touchdown attempt to Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When the free agency frenzy finally begins, the Jets figure to be at the center of the storm. And all eyes will be on how hard they go after the quarterback they so desperately need.

But they have a ton of salary cap space to spend in other areas, including maybe on the 24 players they have on their roster who are approaching free agency. Here's a look at all their free agents-to-be, and their prospects of returning or finding potential riches somewhere else around the league:

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brent Qvale, Chandler Catanzaro, Dakota Dozier, Demario Davis, Josh McCown, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Rontez Miles, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Mark J. Rebilas)
(Mark J. Rebilas)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

There are always plenty of receiver prospects who make an immediate impact as a rookie, even in the later rounds. However, the Jets haven't had much success in recent years despite selecting seven wideouts in the last four drafts.

While four of those seven are under contract for 2018 and a fifth -- restricted free agent Quincy Enunwa -- also figures to be back, the Jets got just 15 catches of production from that group in 2017.

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Daily News Live: Jimmy Garoppolo 00:03:54
The Daily News Live crew discusses the impact Jimmy Garoppolo's new contract will have on the deal Kirk Cousins will want.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jimmy Garoppolo just became the NFL's highest paid player, even though he's only started seven NFL games and thrown 12 touchdown passes in four seasons. He reportedly agreed to a monster, five-year, $137.5 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers -- a record average of $27.5 million per season. That record will be very short-lived.

It's a simple fact of the NFL that the price of franchise quarterbacks only goes up, and in less than five weeks another one will be on the open market. And when Kirk Cousins officially becomes free on March 14 you can bet his deal will eclipse what Garoppolo just got...

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 (Glenn Andrews)
(Glenn Andrews)

In NFL.com's latest mock draft, Chad Reuter forecasted the first three rounds for all teams. With the Jets first selection at no. 6 overall, Reuter has them taking Wyoming QB Josh Allen.

The Jets take Allen over Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, who fell to the Cardinals at no. 15. USC QB Sam Darnold went no. 1 to the Browns and UCLA QB Josh Rosen went no. 2 to the Giants.

Allen threw for 3,202 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his sophomore season. However, his production dropped this season to 1,812 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also suffered a shoulder injury, and was forced to miss the final two regular-season games this year...

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 (Chuck Cook)
(Chuck Cook)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Most of the draft discussions surrounding quarterback prospects have been focused on the consensus top five prospects: UCLA's Josh Rosen, USC's Sam Darnold, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, Wyoming's Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson from Louisville.

However, depending how the offseason goes, the Jets might end up in a situation where they're not in the market for one of the top prospects.

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Nov 26, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) (Jay Biggerstaff)
Nov 26, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) (Jay Biggerstaff)

The Chiefs have released former Jet Darrelle Revis, the team announced. 

Revis, 32, would have been owed a $10 million contract guarantee if he was still on the roster on March 18. He was signed by Chiefs in November, playing five games, including two starts. 

After the Chiefs' season ended, Revis admitted he wasn't at his best.

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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New York Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers responds to questions from media during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers responds to questions from media during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: Kacy Rodgers never got a chance to play in the NFL before he turned to coaching. But now he might be able to give his son the shot that he never had.

The Jets will be signing Kacy Rodgers II, the son of their current defensive coordinator, according to his agent, David Canter. Rodgers II will join the Jets for their offseason program, at least, after two years with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.

Rodgers II is a 6-2, 208-pound defensive back out of the University of Miami. In 2014 he was a tryout player at the Kansas City Chiefs rookie minicamp, but didn't stick. He then signed with the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos and spent a year on their practice squad before joining the Roughriders...

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Former Jets C Nick Mangold was thinking about starting his political career, and running in his local GOP primary, according to Politico's Matt Friedman.

However, Mangold said Thursday that he will not be running.

Mangold would've been running to replace the retiring Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, who represents the 11th District of New Jersey. Essex County Republican Chairman Al Barlas has spoken with Mangold, and he appears to be serious about running for the position.

Tags: Nick Mangold
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Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) rushes the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Jacksonville won 45-42. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) rushes the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Jacksonville won 45-42. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

After saying he wouldn't join the Jets for $60 million, Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell, a pending free agent, told TMZ exactly what it would take to secure his services.

"A hundred Ms," Bell said, referring to $100 million. "Hey, listen to me: I play running back, but they've got to respect me like I am, man." 

Bell, 25, responded to a fan's tweet last week asking what amount of money it would take for him to join the Jets.

 

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Another year has come and gone without the Jets winning the Super Bowl. Even the Philadelphia Eagles now have ended their forever Super Bowl drought. If you're counting, that's 49 straight Super Bowls that have been played without the Jets.

Can the 50th time be their charm?

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Leonard Williams, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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