Feeding the Beast

The NFL Draft has become a beast. Since its inception way back in 1936, the Draft has never seen such an increase in scrutiny as it has since it was televised by ESPN (in 1980), moved to a weekend event (in 1988) and held during prime-time viewing hours (in 2010). Up until 2009, the NFL Draft had been a weekend daytime event. While it was steadily seeing small ratings increases, even a 2009 time shift to 4 p.m. ET in 2008 didn't seem make much of a dent.

The 2010 NFL Draft was a wake-up call to the sports viewing world. While it was considered a gamble at the time, it wasn't until the NFL moved the first round of the NFL Draft into a Friday night red carpet event that the television coverage became such a gold mine. Months from any meaningful games, the NFL's prime-time switch pushed ratings 30 percent in the first year while pummeling a Lakers-Thunder NBA playoff game in the process. Nine months ago, on the night that the Jets drafted Dee Milliner and Sheldon Richardson, the NFL Draft posted an impressive 7.7 million viewers, drubbing most everything on the first night of the May ratings sweeps.

While it isn't the single reason, part of that increased attention on the NFL Draft has undoubtedly led to another trend.

Year over year since 2010, the total of underclassmen forgoing their NCAA eligibility has escalated quickly. The rate of increase jumped this year with 2014 presenting an eye-popping 98 declarations (plus four early graduations) that has threatened the century mark for the first time ever.

Over the last five seasons, the NFL Draft has seen record numbers of NCAA underclassmen forgoing their eligibility for the supposed riches of the NFL. The problem, of course, is that fewer underclassmen are ever making it to NFL teams.

The "Godfather of the Draft" NFL.com’s Gil Brandt points out that of the 73 underclassmen who declared for the NFL Draft in 2013 21 players (or 28.8 percent) went undrafted

The growing number of underclassmen turning pro early is a trend that, unfortunately, is likely to continue. I say "unfortunately" because many of these players -- the majority of the time -- are coming into the league sooner than they probably should. Last year, for example, when 73 underclassmen chose to leave school early, only 52 were drafted. That means nearly 30 percent of the early entrants went undrafted.
Last year, Sheldon Richardson declared early for the NFL Draft and dropped to the thirteenth pick because of (airquotes) "concerns" about his maturity. In the end, it seems to have worked out for the best, but his story isn't going to be the same story for the 98 players leaving school early in 2014. Of course, it makes sense if players get a Draft Advisory Board letter telling them they are potential first rounders, but obviously 98 underclassmen (let alone competing against players who have played all their eligibility) aren't going to be drafted in the first round, let alone the first three.

So what is causing this massive change? The inexorable lure of NFL riches? Unscrupulous agents? The new CBA? The red carpet glamour of the NFL Draft?

Unfortunately, MMQB's Greg Bedard writes about how the number of talented seniors is decreasing and uses Jason Cole's theory about how the new CBA has ruined the most talented players in football's chance at a payday as a jumpoff point.

From Bedard's piece:

For a player like Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who played four years in college, he might not hit unrestricted free agency until he’s 29 and heading into his seventh season. That likely will be his only opportunity for a big-money contract.

That leads players—and the agents and buddies whispering into their ears—to the following thought: Get into the NFL as soon as possible to get that free agency clock started and get to that big money.

The result is that you’re getting more and more players leaving school early, many of whom aren’t ready.

“The college programs are having a big problem,” said one prominent NFC general manager who spends a lot of time on the road scouting. “That means the NFL has a big problem. I can only speak for me, but I want guys who have skins on the wall. A lot of these guys don’t have them, and you’re having to project even more.”

As Bent wrote, Cole's article which Bedard uses as a cornerstone is largely agent-infused rhetoric and only a partially accurate depiction.

Regardless, water always finds the lowest channel and so too do agents when it comes to worming their way into the counsel of potential NFLers. Which seems in line with what the godfather of the draft's take is on why this is happening.

I think the reasons for the early entry trend boils down to two factors, the first of which is competition among agents. Player representation is a very competitive business, and a lot of times if you're an agent who is largely unknown and looking for a breakthrough, you'll try to single out an underclassman that a more established agent hasn't gone after yet. You have a better chance of getting that player now than you would a year from now, when you'd have to compete for these players with the higher-profile agents of the world like Tom Condon. Consequently, a lot of underclassmen are represented by less-established agents.

The second reason is more obvious: There's a lot of money out there, and tremendous pressure on players and their families who are contacted by agents and told that their child is going to be a second-round pick if they come out early.

So, with the increased focus on the televised NFL Draft, agents skirt NCAA rules and spin Radio City dreams (and fear of the NFL CBA) into the minds of sophomores and juniors. This was bound to happen.

And along the way, some kids on the brink might be more willing to listen to the agents if they feel it could help their family, be it parents, siblings or children.

Some players might even leave in hopes of throwing off seemingly burdensome team rules or NCAA elibility requirements. Look no further than Johnny Football's famous June 2013 tweet.

Every Action Has an Equal and Opposite Reaction

Like most good beasts, the problem eventually becomes feeding the critter once it reaches a certain size.

Sooner or later, there's just not enough sustenance and the beast eventually turns on the hand that feeds them. Which is where the the collegiate all star games enter the picture. The lede of Greg Bedard's article actually began with the canary in the coal mine for this whole thing; the Senior Bowl is facing major concerns about its influence and relevance due to the lack of NFL quality talent.

The cries came from every corner in the NFL world: coaches, personnel executives and agents.

There’s nothing here. … Worst group I’ve ever seen.

They were talking about the players on display at the Senior Bowl, the premier pre-draft showcase on the field. They weren’t just whistling in Dixie. In the previous five drafts, there were an average of 10.2 Senior Bowl players draft in the first round—and no less than eight (2012). There was an average of 2.2 players taken in the top 15.

After spending most of the week in Mobile, the consensus is there were maybe three first-round talents here, with a maximum of six.

Only six potential first rounders in all of Mobile last week? Yikes. With almost twice as many underclassmen declaring as just two years ago, think about what that means for the collegiate all-star games in 2015 and beyond. The Senior Bowl is the premier event, so imagine what that means for the pools of talent at the East-West Shrine and NFLPA Collegiate bowl games.  

Worse yet, what does this mean for future NFL Draft classes? Will there be a loaded concentration of talent at the very top of the draft while the rest of the draft becomes increasingly irrelevant?  

One long-time NFL scout told Bedard that “college football is turning into the NBA [draft process]. [NCAA coaching staffs are] telling the players they can get them in and out. And half of them aren’t ready.”

If there is one good bit of news, it is that the players who are generally the smartest (and who need be the strongest) aren't bowing to the trend. Of the 98 players who declared only seven were offensive linemen.

Meanwhile at positions where staying through four of five years means less, like at running back and wide receiver, the 2014 class is overloaded. Thirty six declarations of the 98 are centered on receivers and running backs.

The NFL's Version of Fracking?

For decades, Peak Oil theorists have held that with increased extraction and consumption of oil, a peak would ensue followed by a terminal decline. With the rise of fracking technology, this theory has largely been shelved in the last five years and has lead to the antiquation, or at least serious delay, on the theory of Peak Oil. The principle here is that with greater determination and technological advances in the face of scarcer resources, the petroleum industry has adjusted.

While NFL scouting certainly doesn't have as much money behind it, could the same principle be true in this brave new underclassmen driven world? NFL teams are preparing for the NFL Draft in new ways because of rules that restrict NFL scouts from delving too deep into underclassmen before they declare for the NFL Draft.

While the level of talent at the Senior Bowl is a concern for Buffalo Bills GM Doug Whaley and his Director of College Scouting Kelvin Fisher, they are adjusting to the talent shift per the Buffalo Bills website:

“It’s tougher on us as scouts because you cannot look at those guys or talk about those guys until they officially declare and the list came out on Sunday so we can only start our process now and it condenses all that information into a shorter time period,” said Whaley. “So it makes us work a lot harder and it’s tough because those are usually the best players so you want to be as thorough as possible.”

What Whaley and Fisher have done to lessen the burden on their area scouts is shrink their respective regions to allow their talent evaluators to spend more time at each of their campus stops.

“What we like to do is we condense their areas so they can have a better feel for everybody at their school,” he said. “You could watch a guy as an underclassman and not scout him, but be aware of him. So if he does decide to come out early at least you have a basis to start on and that helps you out a lot.”

To assist in the process of getting up to speed on the underclassmen this time of year the Bills and a handful of other NFL clubs rely on the BLESTO scouting service to provide a jumping off point for the 100-plus prospects that were thrust into the draft pool earlier this month. Simply put the BLESTO meetings are invaluable.

BLESTO might not be a acronym that many Jets fans are familiar with, but it stands for Bears Lions Eagles Steelers Talent Organization, and over many years has become a co-op of 12 NFL teams that share scouts and pay subscriptions into pooled scouting services. All but a handful of NFL teams participate in some shared scouting network and the Jets participate in the other big scouting co-op named "The National" which comprises 15 teams. Learn more about BLESTO and The National in this Draft Daddy article.

More from Whaley:

“This is our first chance to talk to our scouting service BLESTO on any guy they upgraded from the fall,” said Whaley. “So they’ll give us an update on those guys that they upgraded or gave a better draft grade. They’ll go over those guys and then they will also give us a breakdown of all the juniors that came out and give us a draft grade of A, B, C or D. That will allow me and (Director of Player Personnel) Jim Monos to funnel our attention to the higher rated guys.”
Essentially since BLESTO (and we assume the same for The National) are vendors and not the NFL teams themselves, different rules apply. BLESTO and The National are allowed to hold those draft grades while the NFL teams by rule are not allowed to do the same. Once the January 15 declaration window passes, it seems that the shared scouting services are free to share those underclassmen grades again with their subscribing teams.

While it sounds like a mad dash, the NFL teams can then use those grades as a starting point to begin watching film, start necessary inquiries, write reports and ultimately assign draft grades. Due to the short window of time, players with "D" and "C" grades are likely deprioritized by teams to focus their grading on the smaller subset of players over the next three months. It might be messy, but from Whaley's statements it sounds like NFL teams are learning to adjust thanks to the help of their scouting subscription services.

One thing is certain though is that with younger players entering the league and the pressure on talented underclassmen to fill the vacuum that was created by their predecessors, teams are going to have to draft and subsequently develop more of their own talent moving forward which might pressure NFL teams to go push the competition committee to make changes to the numbers or types of roster spots in coming years.

Even so, for the allure of entering the NFL Draft early, Brandt will always give underclassmen the same advice:

Sometimes, though, what appears to be the best deal today isn't necessarily the best deal. I know of very few players whose draft status went down because they stayed an extra year. That's what I always try to tell these kids. If you're an underclassman who is going to be drafted in the second round this year, you have a much better chance of advancing than going down the following year.
Tags: NYJets, Brian Bassett

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron throws against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. (David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports)
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron throws against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. (David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports)

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

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

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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

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

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

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

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

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

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

However, none of these players stepped up as hoped.

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

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

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

Simply put: Mayfield loves the spotlight...

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

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

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

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

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 (Jeremy Brevard)
(Jeremy Brevard)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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 (Glenn Andrews)
(Glenn Andrews)

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

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

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

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 (Chuck Cook)
(Chuck Cook)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

Can the 50th time be their charm?

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

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Two years ago, the Jets drafted Darron Lee with their first pick, hoping to shore up one of their inside linebacker positions for the foreseeable future. Over the course of his first two seasons, he's been up and down, but he has retained an every-down role.

Last year, he struggled initially, then played the best football of his career in the middle of the season, only to regress down the stretch. However, there are no indications that the Jets intend to move on from Lee.

Tags: Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams
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Jan 27, 2018; Mobile, AL, USA; North Squad quarterback Josh Allen of Wyoming (17) throw a pass during the second quarter of the 2018 Senior Bowl against the South Squad at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports (Glenn Andrews)
Jan 27, 2018; Mobile, AL, USA; North Squad quarterback Josh Allen of Wyoming (17) throw a pass during the second quarter of the 2018 Senior Bowl against the South Squad at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports (Glenn Andrews)

In his latest mock draft, Todd McShay changed his pick for the Jets, and has them taking Wyoming QB Josh Allen with the sixth overall pick. 

McShay originally had New York taking LSU DE Arden Key. However, he had a change of heart as the Jets desperately need to find their franchise quarterback. But he warns not to forget about free agency, where GM Mike Maccagnan will have about $100 million to go after high-profile QB Kirk Cousins.

"Yes, it's a running theme -- this is another landing spot for Cousins," McShay writes. "If the Jets don't sign him in free agency, Allen makes a lot of sense if Mayfield is off the board. There is a significant drop-off in talent after the first four QBs in this draft, so the Jets need to make sure they grab one here. Allen had an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, showing off his arm and his mobility. There are still concerns about his accuracy and ability to make multidimensional throws consistently, but all the tools are there. And he has the prototypical QB build (6-foot-4 7/8, 237 pounds)."

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 (Matthew Emmons)
(Matthew Emmons)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Philadelphia Eagles would be absolutely crazy to get rid of Nick Foles now after he slayed the mighty Patriots, and was rightfully named the Super Bowl MVP. Yes, they have Carson Wentz, a legitimate MVP candidate, before he got hurt. And yes, Foles will likely be Wentz's backup again next season.

But didn't Foles just prove to everyone how valuable a backup quarterback on a contender really is?

Tags: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

In last year's draft, the Jets used their first two picks on safeties, and Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye started every game alongside one another in the secondary. Those starting roles seem settled for the next few years, but the Jets like to operate out of packages with three and even four safeties, so Todd Bowles may be keen to add some depth.

Last year, Rontez Miles and Terrance Brooks each saw regular playing time, often playing together as the Jets used a four-safety dime package in passing situations. Also, Doug Middleton, who missed the season due to injury, was expected to contribute. All three are now out of contract though, so the Jets may look to fortify their depth in the draft.

While it seems unlikely the Jets would select another safety with their top pick, Alabama's Minkah Fitzpatrick is a possible consideration due to his versatility. Could Fitzpatrick be like Jalen Ramsey -- a hybrid cornerback/safety who has developed into one of the league's better cornerbacks?

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Rontez Miles
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GEICO SportsNite: Super Bowl 00:06:46
Nick Foles and the Eagles upset Tom Brady and the Patriots for the first Super Bowl win in Philadelphia's franchise history.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) As their delirious fans sang their theme song and their owner lifted the Lombardi Trophy, the Philadelphia Eagles finally could breathe freely.

Tags: New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles
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Loud Mouths on the Super Bowl 00:05:06
Chris Carlin and Jon Hein host Loud Mouths from the Mall of America to discuss the Super Bowl and how they think it will play out.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles (15-3) vs. the AFC Champion New England Patriots (15-3) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER

Thank goodness for domes! Outside the Super Bowl stadium the temperature won't even reach double digits, with a forecast high of 9 and a low of 0. Inside it'll be fine. Hopefully it'll be nice and toasty in front of your TV, too.

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 (Brad Mills)
(Brad Mills)

With the Alex Smith trade complete, it appeared the Redskins were going to allow Kirk Cousins to look for his lucrative deal in free agency. Now, they could have a change of heart.

Washington is considering placing the franchise tag on Cousins just so they could trade him, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter. The reasoning behind this decision would be for the Redskins to get back what they dished out in the trade with the Chiefs. So, instead of getting nothing in return by allowing the hottest free-agent commodity to walk, Washington is looking for something in return. 

However, if they do make that decision to tag him, it comes with a lot of risk considering Cousins is allowed to make his own decision. First, he can wait as long as he wants to sign the franchise tag, which would have the Redskins biting their fingernails as they watch the $34.5 million stay on their books.

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 (Jim Brown)
(Jim Brown)

Former Jets C Kevin Mawae was not among the players selected on Saturday for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's class of 2018.

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Retired NFL football coach Bill Parcells chats with New York Mets manager Terry Collins, not pictured, before a spring training baseball game between the Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla., Friday, March 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (Patrick Semansky/AP)
Retired NFL football coach Bill Parcells chats with New York Mets manager Terry Collins, not pictured, before a spring training baseball game between the Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla., Friday, March 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (Patrick Semansky/AP)

On Thursday night, ESPN aired their newest documentary "The Two Bills", which chronicled the relationship between Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. Most of the filming took place at MetLife Stadium, but both Bills refused a request to do an interview in the Jets locker room. 

Belichick infamously left the Jets after one day as head coach and is the current head coach of division rival Patriots, so that was understandable. But why Parcells? Does he hold animosity towards the Jets? 

Well, Parcells clarified that it was not that he has ill will towards the Jets, it was just time to go that day...

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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

Winter was always coming for the Jets, even if Bill Belichick stayed in New York. 

George R.R. Martin, writer of the famous HBO series "Game of Thrones," is a lifelong Jets fan, and he doesn't believe Belichick could have solved the team's problems back in 2000 when he was set to become the head coach before leaving last minute for the Patriots. 

Don't get Martin wrong, though. The Jets would have likely had more success, but five Super Bowl titles is a lot to predict. 

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Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates his touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) celebrates his touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Matt Forte doesn't want his time in New York to come to an end in 2018. 

The 32-year-old running back wants to stay with the Jets next season because he has some unfinished business. Forte finished 2017 on the IR in a season that saw his career lows in carries (103) and yards (381). 

If Forte is to retire, he wants it to be on a good note. 

Tags: Matt Forte
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Jan 23, 2018; Mobile, AL, USA; South Squad tight end Dallas Goedert of South Dakota St. (86) catches a pass against inside linebacker Dorian O'Daniel of Clemson (56) during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports (Glenn Andrews)
Jan 23, 2018; Mobile, AL, USA; South Squad tight end Dallas Goedert of South Dakota St. (86) catches a pass against inside linebacker Dorian O'Daniel of Clemson (56) during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports (Glenn Andrews)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: In the 2017 season, Jets tight ends combined to catch 68 passes for 598 yards and four touchdowns, led by Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That was a huge improvement on the previous two years, where Jets tight ends had combined for just 26 catches for 268 yards and one touchdown. However, the only tight end still under contract for 2018 is Jordan Leggett, who didn't play in his rookie year due to knee issues. Clearly the Jets will need to make some moves.

They've already reached out to Seferian-Jenkins, although he reportedly turned down a modest two-year deal. Blocking specialist Eric Tomlinson could also be someone they seek to retain. While Leggett has potential, who could the Jets target in the draft that could compete for time and develop into a long-term contributor?

According to draft experts, the top-rated prospects heading into the scouting combine at the end of February include Oklahoma's Mark Andrews, South Dakota State's Dallas Goedert and Wisconsin's Troy Fumagalli...

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jordan Leggett
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