Every now and then, Bent's Game Analysis likes to branch out and investigate CBA or salary cap issues in depth. In light of the fact that some of the 2011 first rounders have started to receive long-term contract extensions, we're going to assess what this means for Muhammad Wilkerson.

A couple of days ago, Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson became the first of the players selected in the first round of the 2011 draft to receive a contract extension. Under the new CBA rules, it was not permitted to extend these players until after their third season in the league. Peterson was reported to have received a five-year extension worth $70m and with $48m in guarantees. Then, yesterday, came the first signs that the floodgates might open for the elite players from that class, when Cowboys tackle Tyron Smith received an extension that was reported by some sources as a mind-boggling $110m, eight-year deal with $40m in guarantees.

This is obviously going to get people talking about when Wilkerson will get his extension and what it might look like.

Let's get one important thing out of the way before the jump, though. There is no controversy, no threat of a holdout and no signs that Wilkerson is disgruntled or that anything of that nature on the horizon. No matter how hard the media try to manufacture something that isn't there, that's clearly not an issue right now, so this article merely addresses the financial impact of the deals made so far.

After the jump, we reveal how those contracts, as usual, are not quite as big as the initially-reported numbers would lead you to believe and try to assess where this leaves Wilkerson in terms of the timing, size and structure of his pending contract extension.

Introduction

Before we start, a quick recap of the current landscape for 2011 first round picks. These were the first draftees to have their rookie deals come under the new CBA, which puts significant restrictions on the types of clauses you can include, when you can restructure the deals and how they can be structured. Until the end of the 2013 season, teams were not permitted to restructure or extend any of these deals, but now that we're past that date, teams are under pressure to extend players like JJ Watt, whose current salary isn't really commensurate with his production and impact.

Unless someone selected in the first round of that draft has been a disappointment, it was a no-brainer for teams to exercise the team option available to them at the end of that third season. That adds a fifth year to the player's contract, keeping them under team control through 2015, with an option to franchise them still existing at the end of the deal. The salary in that fifth season is based on an average of the top salaries at each player's position with top ten picks seeing their salary based on the average of the top 10 but picks 11-32 based on the top 25, excluding the top two.

Media speculation was that in most cases this will mean teams will try and keep the player on their original deal as long as possible, especially in light of the fact these average salaries were potentially going to be lower than previously expected. However, while that might happen in a few cases, it's more likely that teams just use this as leverage to get an extension inked at the appropriate time. For some teams, that time is now, whereas for others it will be next year. Teams and players were well aware of the fifth team option at the time the rules were introduced and when the first contracts were signed, so those teams that have exercised options likely won't have surprised anyone and would have limited effect on the contractual expectations of all involved parties.

Reviewing the Peterson deal

As noted, Peterson's deal was reported as a five-year extenstion, worth $70m and with $48m in potential guarantees. However, PFT got the details and the most important thing to note is that the extension is effectively bolted onto the end of his existing contract, so Peterson remains under contract for seven years, during which time he is due to earn approximately $82m.

So, yes, the extension is worth $14m per year in new money (and he actually got $10,000 per year over that amount so he could claim to be the highest paid), but the effect is that he'll be earning under $12m a year.

The main reason this distinction has to be made is because the team is using the leverage having him under control for a few more years provides them with to keep the total contract value down. Peterson does receive his signing bonus (just over $15m) now - and $3m counts against the current cap - but otherwise his salaries for the next two years would basically be the same. I assume the salary they're giving him for 2015 is a rough approximation of what they expect the average of the top ten salaries will be at that point. ($11.6m sounds about right).

You need to be able to differentiate between new money and total contract value to cut through the propaganda where people with agendas can massage the figures to make it look like a good deal for the team and a bad deal for the player or vice versa. As an example, when David Harris signed for $9m per year, people compared that to Patrick Willis, who had signed a $53m deal over seven years. However, Willis had two years and $3m left on his contract when he signed that deal so really it was $10m per year in new money. At the same time, Harris had played his contract right to the end, so he was only really set to earn $7.4m per year over a five year period.

The final point is in respect of guarantees. The $48m doesn't constitute full guarantees, at least at the outset. Obviously the $15m signing bonus is fully guaranteed and his 2014 salary was already guaranteed. Beyond that, his 2015, 2016 and 2017 salaries are guaranteed for injury only and will become fully guaranteed as he reaches the beginning of each season. It looks like his workout bonuses have been included in the guarantees as well.

Reviewing the Tyron Smith deal

As noted, Smith was reported to have received an eight-year deal and $110m. However, Jason from OTC has the actual details here. The most important distinction to make here is that the $110m includes the money he was already due to receive over the last two years of his deal. In addition, the eight years are bolted onto the end of these two years. So...he is actually getting $110m but over ten years.

So, in new money, he's getting $98m over eight years. Even that's somewhat misleading though, because the last two years have high salaries totalling over $27m and include zero guarantees. So, it's essentially a much-more-in-line-with-the-current-market $70m extension over six years. Of course, by 2022 (wow!) inflation and rising salary caps generally could make those final two years reasonable, if Smith's level of play is still considered elite into his thirties. Note: Smith will be 30 in 2020, which is also the year that the current CBA expires.

You don't often get deals longer than six years these days, because bonus money can only be prorated for six years under the current rules. Therefore, it is probably a good gamble for the Cowboys to tack those extra two years onto the end of the deal where there are no comparables. Dallas is a rare case of a team where the agents will want the deal to look as big as possible, but also the Cowboys owner will relish letting everyone know he's writing a nine-figure sum in his checkbook without blinking.

That $70m compares favorably with the extension the Jets gave to D'Brickashaw Ferguson which was worth a maximum of $73.6m over six years, but really was worth $60m. However, since this was signed four and a half years ago, that's just a sign of how the top end of the tackle market has moved. You may recall that the Ferguson deal was bashed by Team Revis (via PFT) because of the lack of "fully guaranteed" money, but the rolling guarantees structure is something adopted commonly these days, including in the Peterson deal above. Again, Ferguson got his extension with two years remaining on his deal but it didn't kick in until the last year of the deal.

Smith's deal does have full guarantees in the first two years (which is actually the last year of his existing deal and the first year of the eight-year extension), but when added to his signing bonus, these still only comprise $22m rather than the reported $40m. The difference is attributable, it would seem, to his already-guaranteed 2014 salary, workout bonuses and his 2016 salary which is another rolling guarantee.

The key to these deals and pretty much every big money deal that has been signed recently is that they do allow the teams to use the leverage of the years remaining on the deal to keep the contract value down. As Jets fans, we need to remove ourselves from the mindset of the advisors for Darrelle Revis (and to a lesser extent Leon Washington) whereby those players expected to have their existing deal torn up and a new deal starting from that point.

Such deals are extremely rare at this point, but Revis used the threat of a holdout - something which has been somewhat mitigated by the more stringent anti-holdout measures in the new CBA - to leverage this situation a couple of times. His four-year extension in 2010 came with three years remaining on his deal. So, basically, it was a one-year extension for $25m in new money. On this occasion, his advisors could not afford to portray the contract in that light because Revis had actually painted himself into a corner by telling New York media that he wouldn't be seeking $20m per year because that was "ridiculous".

The deal Smith signed is somewhat reminiscent of the deal Revis reportedly turned down in 2010. He was reported by Newsday's Bob Glauber to have received an offer for 10 years and $122m (obviously including the three years and $21m remaining on his deal). That would have enabled the deal to be described as a $100m extension and $14.4m per year in new money. Revis and his team turned down the deal on the basis that there was no full guarantees, despite the fact the Jets claimed to be flexible on structure. In the modern market, these kind of deals are being made with elite players with Revis merely the exception that proves the rule.

Watt's on the horizon?

A lot of people are anticipating that the Jets will either (a) want to wait until JJ Watt gets his extension, so that his deal can set the market, or (b) want to rush to get the deal done before Watt gets his extension, so that his deal doesn't drive prices upwards.

The speculation about the possible size of his deal is widespread, ranging from OTC's projection that he gets a short term $14.5m per year extension to Spotrac's suggestion that his true value is $23m per year and Joel Corry's suggestion that even this is undervalued.

Ultimately, I've got a sneaking suspicion that Watt might have shot himself in the foot with his recent comments about how dedicated he is to being the best player he can be and the Texans might just insist on him playing out his deal and then franchise him and let some other team do the negotiation for them, pocketing two first round picks if they decide not to match. Either way, I don't think the Jets should let the Watt situation dictate their thinking in respect of Wilkerson.

One more thing to take into account with regard to Watt and Wilkerson is that they were not top ten picks, so their option year salary is going to be less than for Smith and Peterson, thereby giving the Jets and Texans a little extra leverage.

Conclusions

While these recent deals might have had some eye-popping numbers to make us wonder what Wilkerson might be worth, digger deeper there's some good news. While Wilkerson's eventual deal will almost certainly produce some shocking baseline numbers, these deals suggest that at least teams are structuring these deals to take into account the remaining years on the deal.

Both Peterson and Smith are interesting cases who cannot really claim to be the best at their position, but are in the upper echelon and still young enough to continue to improve. Wilkerson is at least that good and arguably better - although the fact he is yet to make a pro bowl and has the lower salary in year five hurts his bargaining position a little. He's also difficult to find a comparison for because he plays both as a tackle and defensive end.

These new deals are right at the top end for their respective positions, but at least they are not driving those prices upwards, which is another good sign. In fact, Jason wrote today how Smith's deal doesn't really make him the highest paid.

In a lot of these cases, the additional cap room required upfront has been extremely low. The Jets have the luxury of plenty of cap space remaining in the current year, so may opt to increase salaries in 2014 or 2015 rather than pay a big signing bonus (or, better still, pay it as a roster bonus so Wilkerson doesn't have to wait for his game checks to reap the rewards). However, I wonder if the team will be reluctant to do this given how they were burned by Revis claiming he was underpaid twice based on his current year salary/cap number without accounting for his frontloaded deal. As you can roll money forwards with no limits, it might be better for the Jets to make a deal with a similar structure to these recent ones and draw on their current surplus cap room over the next few years as Wilkerson's cap charges rise, eating into their current year surpluses.

As noted, it's difficult to pin a value on Wilkerson, but I've been suggesting 75% of whatever Watt might get as a reasonable ballpark figure. On the basis of the OTC and Spotrac projections, this would put him on a deal of somewhere between $10.5m and $17m per year. If we split the difference and call it a five year, $13.75m deal that would work out as just under $11m per year over the next seven years, assuming they take into account the existing two years on his deal.

Looking around the league, that seems reasonable based on the values of some other top contracts. Calais Campbell got a five-year extension for $11m per year, as did Gerald McCoy. Haloti Ngata and Ndamukong Suh both had deals with an average value of over $12m but less than $13m. Remember, these are the values of their extensions and don't account for the years remaining on their existing deal when signed. The only defensive linemen in the league with average contract values over $13m are Mario Williams (who clearly seems to be established as an outlier) and Greg Hardy (who was franchised).

On the basis of these deals, it would be very difficult to push the value of Wilkerson's deal above $13m and even if it was at that level, less than $11m per year over the next seven years is affordable, especially with the cap surplus they already have. Taking into account Wilkerson's reputation, production and attitude, I'd say he can make a convincing argument that he deserves the same kind of money as Campbell and McCoy, perhaps with a small inflationary bump, but likely not more than that. Maybe a deal like that given to Chris Long (just over $12m per year) is a realistic target.

With other deals happening that are being structured in a way that would seem to suit the Jets, a deal could in theory be completed any time. Now the challenge is for the two sides to come to some kind of agreement that works for both sides. Let's hope that happens behind the scenes.

Previously: Salary Cap Update: If a storm is brewing, will Mo be high and dry? [TJB

Tags: avsny, bentdouble, BGA, Bent Double

New York Jets wide receiver Devin Smith watches team warm up from sidelines before game against Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets wide receiver Devin Smith watches team warm up from sidelines before game against Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Jets waived/injured wide receiver Devin Smith on Monday, the team announced.

Smith suffered a torn ACL for the second time since the Jets drafted him in the second round in 2015.

"It's bad luck and bad timing because the kid worked so hard to get back," head coach Todd Bowles said during the NFL Draft, according to a press release. "He has to persevere and adversity will help him get stronger. But unfortunately in this game, over my course of time playing and coaching, you see these types of things. Some of the best athletes get hurt and don't get a chance to get on the field and it's just bad timing, bad luck."

Tags: Devin Smith
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Former Jets CB Darrelle Revis may not find a new home in the NFL soon due to his bleak market value, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini.

Released by the Jets on March 9, there has been no talk about Revis generating interest around the league. Cimini states his decline in performance and lack of passion and commitment have turned off any potential suitors at the moment.

Revis is no longer the shutdown corner he used to be due to age and injuries from his ten-year career. His latest injury came in 2012 when he tore his ACL in Week 3. He would need microfracture surgery to repair it which ended his season. This was one reason the Jets traded him to the Buccaneers the following year.

Last season, Revis had a significant lapse in production as he secured only one interception which came in Week 17. He amassed five in 2015, which was good for sixth-best in the NFL.

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) prepares to throw the ball against the New England Patriots during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) prepares to throw the ball against the New England Patriots during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed former Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrickthe team announced Friday morning.

The deal is for one year and worth $3 million, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Fitzpatrick appeared in 14 games for the Jets last season, throwing for 2,710 yards with 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. 

Tags: Ryan Fitzpatrick
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McCown on team chemistry 00:01:51
Jeane Coakley talks to new Jets QB Josh McCown about how Bart Scott's Taste of the Jets event is bringing the whole team together

Jeane Coakley talks to new Jets QB Josh McCown about how Bart Scott's Taste of the Jets event is bringing the whole team together.

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Leggett on Jets offense 00:01:43
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano talks with Jets rookie tight end Jordan Leggett about his adjustment to the NFL and his role in the team?s offense.

The Jets have signed fifth-round pick Jordan Leggett who the team selected with the 150th overall pick in last month's NFL Draft...

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New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs with the ball during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland)
New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs with the ball during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland)

Jets running back Matt Forte says the Jets do not want a repeat of last season's locker room issues this year.

"Being in that locker room and going through that season, we know what the issues were," Forte told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday. "We identify those issues as a group and meet with the coaches and talk about, 'How do we change that? How do we change the culture in the locker room? How do we change the mistakes we made last year?'"

Forte went on to say that team leaders have conducted "a lot of meetings" with the coaching staff throughout the offseason, and have relayed the message to the rest of the team. The veteran running back touched on a topic that was brought up by WR Quincy Enunwa at the end of last season, about how the Jets simply did not play as a team.

Tags: Matt Forte, Quincy Enunwa
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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))

Jets linebacker David Harris said on Monday at a charity golf outing that former Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis still has "a lot of football left in him."

"I think he'll keep playing," Harris said. "I think he has a lot of football left in him. He didn't have his best year last year, and he knew that. But I'm sure somebody will pick him up. He knows too much of the sport and he's too good of a player to be finished.

"I'm pretty sure he'll get picked up," he said. "I know Darrelle. He works hard. He's a student of the game. He loves football. So I think somebody will give him a shot.

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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Chad Hansen talks joining Jets 00:03:52
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano catches up with rookie WR Chad Hansen to talk about his long road to the NFL Draft, and his opportunity with the Jets.

The Jets have signed wide receiver Chad Hansen, their fourth-round selection out of California in last month's NFL Draft, the team announced on Tuesday.

Hansen (6'2", 202) ranked third in the FBS as a redshirt junior last season, with 9.2 catches/game and fourth with 124.9 receiving yards/game. He totaled 92 catches for 1,249 yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing two games with an ankle injury...

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Derrick Jones on minicamp 00:02:13
SNY's Jeane Coakley chats with Jets rookie cornerback Derrick Jones about his first workouts with the team.

SNY's Jeane Coakley chats with Jets rookie CB Derrick Jones about his first workouts with the team, and starting to learn the playbook.

 

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New York Jets player Jamal Adams (33) during New York Jets mini rookie camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets player Jamal Adams (33) during New York Jets mini rookie camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)

Jets linebacker David Harris was surprised when the Jets selected safeties in the first two rounds of last month's NFL Draft.

"It's very odd to have two safeties get drafted in the first and second rounds," Harris said to Connor Hughes of NJ.com. "All you can do is trust [the front office's] decision and try to move on." 

New York selected LSU's Jamal Adams at No. 6, and 33 picks later, took Florida's Marcus Maye. It marked the first time in franchise history the Jets selected two safeties, and also defensive backs, with its first two picks.

While he expected the team to draft one safety, Harris said management "surprised everybody" by doubling down and selecting two. 

Tags: Calvin Pryor, David Harris, Marcus Gilchrist
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New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Latest Update (May 16)

8:55AM:  An arraignment hearing has been set for Jets WR Robby Anderson on June 6, according to Miami-Dade court records.

Anderson has been participating in the Jets' voluntary offseason program. 

New York is scheduled to practice on June 6.

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 (Jim Brown)
(Jim Brown)

The Jets have signed LB Jevaris Jones and released LB Austin Calitro, the team announced Monday.

Jones attended the Jets' recent rookie minicamp.

He had 106 tackles last season for Division II Shorter University.

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 (Kelley L Cox)
(Kelley L Cox)

The Jets currently have 100-to-1 odds to reach Super Bowl LII, according to a list released by Bovada sportsbook in Las Vegas.

Their odds are tied with the Browns for the worst in the AFC.

The Jets currently have 150-to-1 odds to win Super Bowl LII. They opened at 75-to-1 odds shortly after the Super Bowl in February, which moved to 150-to-1 odds on April 1...

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 (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)
(Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports Images)

Jets QB Christian Hackenberg is more confident and comfortable heading in to his second season with the team, he said Monday, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.

Hackenberg, who will battle with Josh McCown and Bryce Petty for the starting job, said he's excited about the opportunity.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles said earlier this offseason that there will be an open competition for the starting quarterback job...

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
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Chad Hansen talks joining Jets 00:03:52
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano catches up with rookie WR Chad Hansen to talk about his long road to the NFL Draft, and his opportunity with the Jets.

In the last two years, the Jets have loaded up on young wide receivers. With all of the depth New York now has at the position, the team is ready for a great competition as the young receivers prepare to battle for a spot on the roster.

Quincy Enunwa and possibly Robby Anderson look like the two receivers whose spots on the team are secure, while veteran Eric Decker is returning from hip and shoulder surgeries and doesn't necessarily fit with the Jets' youth movement.

Second-year players Anderson, Charone Peake, and Jalin Marshall will compete in training camp with third-round pick ArDarius Stewart and fourth-round pick Chad Hansen as the young receivers fight to get on the field.

Tags: Charone Peake, Eric Decker, Jalin Marshall, Quincy Enunwa
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New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) makes a catch during practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) makes a catch during practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)

Jets WR Eric Decker is recovering well from hip and shoulder surgeries that were completed at the end of 2016.

According to SB Nation's Gang Green Nation, Decker said he is "back" and has "been doing everything." 

"The first phase was just the workout, so we were in the weight room and running," Decker said. "Now, we're on the field and I've been out there as a full participant. I feel great. It was a long four or five months, but to be where I am now and feel how I do, I'm excited."

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Marcus Maye on joining Jets 00:02:43
SNY's Jeane Coakley talks with Jets rookie Marcus Maye about being drafted and playing alongside fellow rookie safety Jamal Adams.

SNY's Jeane Coakley talks with Jets rookie Marcus Maye about being drafted and playing alongside fellow rookie safety Jamal Adams.

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JR Sport Brief: Jets predictions 00:01:45
In the latest installment of JR Sport Brief on SNY.tv, JR has some solid advice for Muhammad Wilkerson and the rest of the Jets.

In the latest installment of JR Sport Brief on SNY.tv, JR has some solid advice for Muhammad Wilkerson and the rest of his Jets teammates.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets have seemingly been searching for a franchise quarterback since Joe Namath was wearing green. So it's no surprise that Namath doesn't want to see them waste any more time in their search.

The Jets legend made it clear that he wants to see Christian Hackenberg emerge as the starting quarterback for his old team this season, not the soon-to-be-38-year-old Josh McCown. Speaking before the United Way's Gridiron Gala in Manhattan on Tuesday night, Namath said he understands why the coaches might go with McCown.

But he said if there's a chance the 22-year-old Hackenberg is the future, then the future has to be now...

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Quincy Enunwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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Elijah McGuire on his future 00:02:26
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano talks with Jets rookie running back Elijah McGuire about being drafted and his professional football future.

SNY's Ralph Vacchiano talks with Jets rookie running back Elijah McGuire about getting drafted by the Jets and what he can add to the team.

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New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa misses a catch against Indianapolis Colts cornerback Darius Butler in the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa misses a catch against Indianapolis Colts cornerback Darius Butler in the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports Images)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

A year ago at this time Quincy Enunwa was just a former sixth-round pick with modest credentials who had been used mostly as a pseudo-tight end in the Jets' offense. He hadn't had his breakout season yet. And he was very deep in the shadow of some talented veterans on his team.

One year later, he's essentially the elder statesman and potentially the Jets' No. 1 receiver.

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Cornerback Jeremy Clark, one of the Jets' three sixth-round picks in the NFL draft, officially signed his rookie contract on Wednesday. Now he can focus on getting on the field.

Clark, whom the Jets took with the 13th pick of the sixth round (197th overall), became the last of the Jets' three sixth-rounders to sign, joining Ole Miss cornerback Derrick Jones (20/204) and Lousiana-Lafayette running back Elijah McGuire (4/188). The 6-3, 220-pound Clark, though, isn't quite ready to join his teammates. He's still rehabbing a torn ACL he suffered early in his final season at Michigan.

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NFL legend Joe Namath arrives on the red carpet prior to the 6th Annual NFL Honors at Wortham Theater. (Kevin Jairaj)
NFL legend Joe Namath arrives on the red carpet prior to the 6th Annual NFL Honors at Wortham Theater. (Kevin Jairaj)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Woody Johnson thinks this Jets season should be measured by progress, not wins. Some Jets fans think the team should tank the whole season to secure the No. 1 pick in next year's draft. The expectations for this team could not be much lower.

Joe Namath understands all that. But count him among the few who believe the Jets will be a better team this year.

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Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is pursued by New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser/USA TODAY Sports)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is pursued by New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

As bad as things were for the New York Jets last season, most people think things are about to get even worse. But not Muhammad Wilkerson. He sees something different.

After a miserable 5-11 season, he sees the Jets on the way back up.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Baylor Bears wide receiver KD Cannon celebrates after catching a touchdown pass against the Boise State Broncos in the first quarter during the Cactus Bowl at Chase Field. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
Baylor Bears wide receiver KD Cannon celebrates after catching a touchdown pass against the Boise State Broncos in the first quarter during the Cactus Bowl at Chase Field. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Jets acquired former Baylor wide receiver KD Cannon off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday, the team announced.

Cannon, a 5-foot-11, 182-pound receiver, was waived on Sunday after the 49ers signed him as an undrafted free agent.

He scored 27 touchdowns and recorded 3,113 receiving yards in three seasons at Baylor, including 13 touchdowns and 1,215 receiving yards in his junior season in 2016.

Tags: Bryce Petty
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles leaves the field following a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles leaves the field following a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

The Jets will play three preseason games at MetLife Stadium this year.

New York opens its preseason slate at home against the Titans on Aug. 12 at 7:30 p.m. before traveling to Detroit to play the Lions on Aug. 19 at 7:30 pm.

The Jets will be the road team at MetLife Stadium against the Giants on Aug. 26 at 7 p.m., before closing the preseason by hosting the Eagles on Aug. 31 at 7 p.m.

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Donahue talks rookie camp 00:02:37
SNY's Jeane Coakley talks with Jets rookie linebacker Dylan Donahue about rookie minicamp, getting drafted and his small school background.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

It was a long road to the NFL for Dylan Donahue, from an NAIA school in Montana to a junior college in San Diego, to a Division II school in Georgia. Those aren't the places prospects usually go to get noticed.

Good thing for him he caught a Pro Football Hall of Famer's eye.

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New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) and quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) prior to action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. (Bill Streicher)
New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) and quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) prior to action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. (Bill Streicher)

Former Jets quarterback Michael Vick, who doesn't know which quarterback will get the starting job this season, is not optimistic on the Jets' chances this year.

"Man, good luck," Vick said to Andy Vasquez of NorthJersey.com with a laugh. "I don't even know who the quarterback is going to be. Good luck. I know there's three of them."

The Jets do have three quarterbacks under contract, and will hold an open competition throughout training camp to determine who will be the starter. The team signed veteran Josh McCown to battle against youngsters Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
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GEICO SportsNite: Willie Colon 00:01:38
Willie Colon talks with former Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick at his golf outing on the outlook for quarterback Christian Hackenberg.

Brick, Colon and Mangold reunite 00:02:33
It's a New York Jets offensive line reunion, as Willie Colon chats with D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold on Monday at his golf outing.

It's a New York Jets offensive line reunion, as Willie Colon chats with D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold on Monday at his golf outing.

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Leggett on Jets offense 00:01:43
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano talks with Jets rookie tight end Jordan Leggett about his adjustment to the NFL and his role in the team?s offense.

Jordan Leggett is aware of how little tight ends have mattered to the Jets over the last two seasons. But he's been assured that's all about to change.

After talking with new offensive coordinator John Morton, Leggett - a tight end out of Clemson whom the Jets took in the fifth round of the draft - is convinced that he can be a big part of the Jets' new scheme. He said Morton, the former New Orleans Saints receivers coach, "loves" tight ends and plans to use them as a "go-to" guy in his passing attack.

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 (Brett Davis)
(Brett Davis)

The Jets may not be any better this season than they were last season, but one thing seems certain: Their coaching staff will be a lot louder.

That was crystal clear on Saturday, just listening to two of Todd Bowles' newest assistants -- outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene and offensive coordinator John Morton. The two could be heard constantly yelling and screaming at players -- both criticism and encouragement. Greene even slammed a garbage can after one broken play.

Yes, it was only rookie mini-camp and two practices filled with players who have little chance of making the team. But the intensity was high, particularly from Greene, the 54-year-old Hall of Famer who seemed more intense than just about every player on the team.

"Kevin is like Hulk Hogan and Randy 'Macho Man' Savage," Bowles said.

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Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Donald Hawkins during the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. (Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports)
Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Donald Hawkins during the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. (Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Jets signed offensive linemen Benjamin Braden and Chris Bordelon from rookie minicamp and cut long snapper Zach Triner and offensive tackle Donald Hawkins, the team announced on Sunday.

Braden, who measures at 6-foot-6 and 335 pounds, started two years for Michigan and was an All-Big Ten second team selection in 2016. Bordelon, who is 6-foot-6, 315 pounds, started 12 games at Nicholls State.

Hawkins spent time on New York's practice squad last season, while Triner had signed a reserve/futures contract in January.

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New York Jets owner Woody Johnson before the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson before the preseason game at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)

Former Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards ripped owner Woody Johnson on Instagram and Twitter on Saturday.

"Keep your squad together from 2010 and the promise land shall reveal itself," the now-retired wide receiver said on Instagram. "Don't feel close to losing the franchise so now lie to save face and fans.

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Jets rookies report for camp 00:02:22
Ralph Vacchiano discusses the stories and early standouts from Jets rookie mini-camp in Florham Park on GEICO SportsNite.

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles, center, looks on after challenging a call during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles, center, looks on after challenging a call during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

Jets head coach Todd Bowles spoke to reporters at Saturday's rookie mini-camp and said that the ultimate goal of the Jets season is to win the championship.

"Our ultimate goal is to get to the Super Bowl," Bowles said, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. "Obviously, we have to take steps. We have a lot of guys we have to get acclimated, chemistry-wise, right away. But our goal is to win, regardless of whether we've got younger guys or older guys. Our goal is to win.

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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles leaves the field following a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles leaves the field following a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

The Jets waived former All-Star CFL cornerback John Ojo on Saturday afternoon. 

Ojo played three seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos, leading them to the Grey Cup in 2015. That same season, Ojo was selected as a member of the CFL West All-Star team. 

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Jamal Adams is selected as the No. 6 overall pick to the New York Jets in the first round the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
Jamal Adams is selected as the No. 6 overall pick to the New York Jets in the first round the 2017 NFL Draft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- There were plenty of people who didn't understand the Jets' decision to draft safeties in both the first and second round, but Marcus Maye wasn't one of them. As far as he's concerned, the Jets' plan was obvious and simple. 

"They tried to get the best two safeties in the draft," he said. "And they did that." 

Those are strong words coming from the former Florida safety whom the Jets took in the second round, one day and round after they took LSU safety Jamal Adams with the sixth overall pick - especially since three other safeties were chosen in between them. But the Jets don't necessarily disagree with that assessment. 

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets rookies 00:02:28
Jeane Coakley talks to the young Jets about their experience at rookie mini-camp.

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) (Ben Margot/AP)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles watches during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) (Ben Margot/AP)

Connor Harris, a three-way player out of Lindenwood University in Missouri, took part in his first day of rookie minicamp with the Jets on Friday after signing a contract as an undrafted free agent.

If Harris makes the roster, he will be competing for a role at inside linebacker and a position on the special teams unit in his first NFL campaign. The college linebacker/wildcat quarterback/punter/kicker has 30 1/8-inch arms (short for a standard NFL player), but also won the 2016 Cliff Harris award for the nation's top defensive player at the Division II, III and NAIA levels, and is the NCAA's all-time tackle leader. 

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Daily News Live: Jets camp 00:04:41
The DNL panel discusses the changes in the Jets defense heading into rookie training camp this year.

RB Khiry Robinson is among 39 players trying out at the Jets' rookie minicamp this weekend.

Robinson was waived in March after breaking his leg for a second time.

Click here to see the full list of tryout players, which includes three quarterbacksl, five running backs, four wide receivers, and three tight ends.

Tags: Khiry Robinson
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 (Matt Rourke/AP)
(Matt Rourke/AP)

Giants All-Pro safety Landon Collins thinks not having veterans in the secondary to offer advice and leadership to recent Jets draftees Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye could be a detriment.

"There was pressure from the team on me to take over the back end [of the secondary], but I didn't have any old heads [veterans] that could coach me up on the field and teach me about the quarterbacks," Collins told the NY Post about his first year in the league in 2015.

"I was out there on the field trying to figure it out. I basically felt like I was on my own."

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 (James Snook)
(James Snook)

Once the draft was over, the Jets had room to sign six undrafted free agents -- although they can create room for more by cutting other players on their roster.

Below is a list of the UDFAs they are believed to have signed since the end of the NFL draft on Saturday night. 

On Friday morning, the Jets announced the signing of eight of the nine players listed below (all but DE Jareid Combs).

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Who will be the Jets' 2017 QB? 00:01:44
Jonas Schwartz, John Harper, Willie Colon and Peter Botte ask if the New York Jets should hold an open competition for the starting QB job.

 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

The Jets have released S Marcus Gilchrist and waived CB Nick Marshall and FB Chris Swain, the team announced Thursday.

Gilchrist was due $6 million in salary this season, and the Jets cleared $4.6 million in cap space by releasing him.

The 28-year-old had 66 tackles last season before injuring his knee in Week 14 and winding up on injured reserve.

The Jets drafted two safeties -- Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye -- during last week's NFL Draft, making Gilchrist expendable.

Tags: Marcus Gilchrist
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