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

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.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

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

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

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