The TJB Hall of Fame Inductees roll on with today's entrant, Al Toon.

Not everything we remember fondly from our childhood was actually that good. TV shows, records, certain types of candy, all seem less than appealing when revisited at a more learned age. Jets wide receiver Al Toon retired when I was 16, but was unquestionably one of my favorite players of the first few years of my Jet fandom.

In essence, it doesn't really matter how good he was. The reason he goes into the TJB Hall of Fame is because he was a fan favorite, as evidenced by the number of people that were calling for him to be inducted on that basis when the notion of a new class of inductees was floated a few weeks ago. That's one of the central tenets of this hall of fame idea. We, the fans, can honor whoever we like for whatever reason we like. However, a look back on his career shows that, without question, Toon deserves to be there on merit.

Standing 6'4", the graceful, yet explosive Toon was described as "Majestic" by writer Ken Thomas in 1992 and I don't think there is a better adjective to describe him. Leaping above defensive backs, snaring catches, shrugging off tacklers and running away from cornerbacks in the open field, Toon stood out from the moment he first put on the Kelly Green and White. Simply put, to young children and adult fans alike, Toon was cool….bigger. faster, stronger.

Even before he came to the NFL, Toon was involved in one of the coolest trick plays in college football history. Although his Wisconsin Badgers would ultimately lose to Illinois in 1982, the game will forever be remembered for "the bounce pass". The quarterback (having tipped off the officials to the fact that this play would be coming so that they didn't blow the play dead), threw a sideways lateral to Toon in the flat, but so that it came up just short. Toon had to do his best acting job, as he was disappointed that the "forward pass" had fallen "incomplete", so he casually scooped the ball up as if he was going to just hand it back to the official, then suddenly turned and fired a forty yard touchdown pass to an open receiver deep downfield. Genius.

Toon was a world-class athlete, who excelled at the triple jump, where he had competed in the Olympic trials and almost went to LA in 1984. When he was selected 10th by the Jets in the 1985 draft, some critics said it was a mistake, as the Jets had been burned when they drafted an athlete to play wide receiver just a few years before.

However, unlike Johnny "Lam" Jones, who Toon would effectively replace on the Jets roster, Al was more than just an occasional deep threat. With his size, Toon was able to go over the middle and make yardage after the catch. His excellent hands made him a reliable possession option. Toon maintained that the strict nuances and intricacies of perfecting his technique for the triple jump had prepared him perfectly for the co-ordination required to twist or adjust in mid-air and still make and hold onto a tough catch.

In his rookie year (1985), Toon replaced Kurt Sohn in the starting line-up halfway through the season and ultimately caught 46 passes, more than Jones had managed in any of his five years in the league. He scored his first NFL touchdown in a week nine win over the Colts on a 17 yard pass from Ken O’Brien to open the scoring and then two weeks later, added a 78 yard score (for the longest catch of his career) in an incredible 62-28 demolition of the Bucs. He would finish the year with 3 TD catches.

He was a perfect compliment to Wesley Walker, a bona fide deep threat, and Mickey Shuler, one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the league. With Freeman McNeil spearheading the running game, the immobile but strong-armed QB Ken O'Brien had plenty of options at his disposal, as the Jets offense for the next few years would be a force to be reckoned with.

Predictably, given the promise he showed at the end of the previous season, 1986 was a breakout year for Toon. He caught 85 passes, surpassed the 1,000 yard barrier for the first time and landed in the Pro Bowl for the first of three consecutive appearances in Hawaii. He also caught a career high 8 TD passes and was a big part of the Jets nine game winning streak that took them to a league best 10-1 record. Injuries would hamper the Jets at the end of the year, as they limped into the wildcard game at 10-6. However, Toon’s sliding 22 yard TD catch keyed their win over the Chiefs and then the Jets would come within a Pat Leahy chip shot of an AFC Title Game against the Broncos (who they had already beaten that year), as they lost a double overtime heartbreaker in Cleveland.

Toon had several big games over the course of the season, breaking out with 119 yards and a TD on six catches in the opener against Buffalo and then adding seven catches for 111 yards in the memorable 51-45 overtime win over Miami two weeks later. He really exploded in weeks nine and ten, catching 15 passes for 296 yards and five TDs.

One of the most exciting plays I can recall from my childhood, came as the Jets were eight ninths of the way through their nine game winning streak in 1986 and playing in Seattle. The gamebook may just show a 36 yard TD pass from O'Brien to Toon, but what actually happened was that O'Brien threw a high bomb down the right sideline, for Toon to leap up over the defensive back and snare. As the two fought for the ball, Toon was upended in midair and eventually landed on his back on top of the defensive player, as the ball had slid down between his legs. Smoothly and effortlessly, as if performing part of a choreographed breakdance routine, Toon rolled over the defender onto his feet and then, realizing the ball was still between his legs, coolly reached behind his legs, tapped it up into the air and grabbed it for the touchdown.

It happened so fast, that you couldn't appreciate exactly what happened until you saw it in slow motion. David Tyree might have made the helmet catch, but he has nothing on the unflappable Toon.

Toon returned to the Pro Bowl after the strike shortened 1987 season, but the season as a whole was a disappointment for the Jets. With all five teams in the AFC East (back then, the Colts were also in the division) tied at 5-5 in week 11, the Jets got a big win over the Bengals on Rich Miano’s last gasp blocked field goal return. Toon, who ended the year with 68 catches for 976 yards and 5 TDs, exploded with 23 catches for 378 yards and 3 TDs over the next three games, but the Jets lost all of them, and their last one, to miss the playoffs at 6-9.

In 1988, the Jets ended the season on a positive note, as Toon’s last minute TD catch eliminated the Giants from playoff contention and gave the Jets a winning record. However, they were already out of contention themselves, having blown several tight games. Toon enjoyed a career year, leading the NFL in receptions with 93 and finding his way onto several all-Pro teams. His accomplishments included three double-digit catch games, including 13 against the Colts and a career-best 14 against Miami and he became the first Jet since Joe Namath to win three straight team MVP awards.

In 1989, Toon only played in 6 full games and parts of five others as the Jets slumped to 4-12. He still managed to catch 63 passes though, including ten for 159 yards and a TD in a memorable 40-33 win in Miami.

Throughout his career, Toon would be inextricably linked with Jerry Rice. Drafted ahead of Rice, many thought he was the greater talent, but while Rice went on to become the consensus greatest wide receiver in NFL history, Toon's career, though spectacular while it lasted, would ultimately be limited to just 7 seasons due to injuries. Maybe if Toon had been on a team with more weapons, he would have lasted longer. Although the Jets attempted to surround him with other playmakers, injuries to those guys would leave Toon, whose toughness would lead him to play through pain, as the only threat for the Jets, so he was a marked man.

The Jets recognised this as his yards per catch average had fallen to a (then) career low 11 yards in 1988 and 1989, coinciding with injuries to the likes of Walker, McNeil and Shuler. The additions of high draft picks Rob Moore and Reggie Rembert did give him a little more freedom, although neither lived up to expectations in their own right, and Toon was a more dangerous threat again over the next two seasons. He would still miss several games, however, but continued to be a quiet leader.

Over in San Francisco, Rice stayed healthy and won several Superbowls and set many records for the 49ers. However, over the first five years of their respective careers, Toon actually had 9 more receptions than Rice. To be fair to Rice, his overall numbers were still far better than Toon’s (he had 70 TDs in that period, to Al’s 23 and more yards in every season) but this does give some indication as to Toon’s potential had he been in the right situation. Make no mistake, Al was an outstanding player and when he was healthy, the Jets usually won more than they lost.

In 1990, Bruce Coslet took over as head coach. Early in the season, it was revealed that Toon had played four games with a broken back and injuries continued to be a problem, causing him to miss four starts. As the Jets went 6-10, Toon caught 57 passes for 757 yards and six TDs. The season had started promisingly for Toon with an eight catch, 118 yard and 2 TD performance against the Bengals, but he would only post two further 100 yard games that year.

Al Toon was refreshingly different from the modern breed of trash-talking, give me the damn ball, me-first, endzone-extravaganza executing wide receivers. Quiet, humble and classy, he represented the Jets in a manner befitting one of the league's top role models. In an era when NWA and Public Enemy were the flavor of the month, Toon listed his favorite musical act as Luther Vandross. In 1990, when he signed a contract extension, he said that he didn't want to be the highest paid player on the team and therefore accepted a $1.25m a year contract, $50,000 less than the then highest-paid player, Ken O'Brien.

"I didn't want to create any animosity between myself and any player who typically gets paid more…it gets to the point where a few thousand here and a few thousand there isn't worth it to affect team unity." he said. Why can't today's stars (and guys not worthy of being called a star), deal with their situations with the same level of class and decorum?

1991 was a renaissance of sorts, as Toon only missed one game and fell just short of his third thousand-yard season, with big games in wins over Green Bay and New England helping to lead the Jets to a wild card berth that they clinched with a winner-takes-all overtime victory in Miami on the final day of the season. Although he didn’t score a TD all season, he delivered with a diving ten yard TD catch in the wild card game against the Oilers, but the Jets came away with just three points from four trips inside the ten (including two fourth downs stuffed at the one and an O’Brien interception) and ultimately lost 17-10.

Toon’s final season saw him start just eight games and make a career low 31 catches for 311 yards as the concussions that had plagued him throughout his career really started to take their toll. He eventually would announce his retirement after what was initially reported as his fifth career concussion, but then officially reported as his ninth. Toon would later estimate that the final concussion of his career was his thirteenth.

Here at TJB, we have discussed the dangers associated with concussion at length. Expert Chris Nowinski even described the Jets franchise as "ground zero" for the concussion problems that persist today, with Toon and Wayne Chrebet the two most high-profile victims. Sadly for Toon, his battle with post concussion syndrome has been particularly harsh. He said that he was unable to watch his kids on a merry-go-round without feeling dizzy and expected to have to deal with issues such as headaches, nausea and disorientation for the rest of his life. At one stage, there was even media reports of Toon suffering from amnesia and constant confusion.

Happily, recent reports on Toon's health have been more positive. He even completed a triathlon in 2004, which included a marathon run. He is now involved in mentoring his son, Nick, who - after red-shirting the 2007 season - is now 6'3", 220 pounds and looks set to push for playing time as a wide receiver and kick returner for the Badgers at his Father's alma mater. Just last month, Toon also was appointed to the board of directors for the Green Bay Packers. He can now add a place in the TJB hall of fame to his list of achievements.

Since Toon has retired, he has been seriously missed. It may feel like forever since you saw #88 making a spectacular catch or running away from defenders. That may, in part, be due to the "curse of the number 88 jersey". Since Toon retired, everyone who has worn the jersey has suffered from an unfortunate inability to hold onto the football. Anthony Becht, Doug Jolley, Stevie Anderson, Chas Gessner, Sean Ryan, Curtis Caeser, Kyle Brady, Quinn Early. Good luck, Bubba Franks. Perhaps this is a sign they should have retired his number. He deserves it.

Tooooooooon!!!

Tags: Main Page, Bent Double

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 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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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. 

 


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, too.

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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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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 (Matt Kartozian)
(Matt Kartozian)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV: 

The Jets still haven't ruled out bringing Geno Smith back to compete for their starting quarterback job next season. But the Giants may be taking a shot at him first.

Smith, the former Jets second-round pick, is making a free agent visit across town to the Giants on Saturday afternoon, an NFL source confirmed. The Giants are in the market for a backup to Eli Manning, with both Josh Johnson and Ryan Nassib currently unrestricted free agents.

A big part of the visit, according to one source, is so the Giants can get a sense for where the 26-year-old Smith is in his recovery from the torn ACL he suffered last October in his lone start last season with the Jets. In a recent interview with NFL Network, Smith said he was on track to be ready for the start of training camp in July, but likely wouldn't be ready for football activities before that.

Tags: Geno Smith, Ralph Vacchiano
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Kelvin Beachum started 15 games last season for Jacksonville (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)
Kelvin Beachum started 15 games last season for Jacksonville (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY: The Jets are still searching for a quarterback, but now they have someone who can protect his blindside.

Taking their first dip in this year's free-agent pool, the Jets signed former Jaguars left tackle Kelvin Beachum on Friday night. He figures to immediately become the starter on the left side, taking the place of the Ryan Clady/Ben Ijalana combo the Jets used last season.

The Jets also filled two other key vacancies on Friday night when they signed former Arizona Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro, who replaces the recently released Nick Folk, and they re-signed long-snapper Tanner Purdum.

Beachum (6 foot 3, 308 pounds) was the big get for the Jets. A former seventh-round pick of the Steelers, he was on his way to becoming one of the best left tackles in the NFL before he tore his ACL during the 2015 season. He proved his recovery, though, by starting 15 games at left tackle for the Jaguars last year.

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Jets outlook for 2017 00:03:24
The Daily News Live panel wonders if the Jets have already given up on the 2017 season given the current makeup of the team.

Maccagnan's seat warming up? 00:02:42
Jon Hein and Dan Graca discuss if Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan should be on the hot seat as the Jets enter free agency.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV

The first few hours of the NFL's free-agent frenzy didn't clear up the Jets' quarterback question, but the landscape changed a bit and may have increased their options. Jay Cutler, as expected, is now available. And Brock Osweiler, unexpectedly, is available too.

So what are the Jets doing and who are they looking at, and do they have any idea who their quarterback will be in 2017?

Here's a look at their current options, just a few hours after the market opened with the Jets standing relatively still:

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Jets lack of free agent activity 00:03:06
Jon Hein and Dan Graca debate just how depressing the first day of free agency has been for the New York Jets and their fan base.

Free agent RB Benny Cunningham  met with the Jets on Friday, SNY's Ralph Vacchiano reports.

The 26-year-old appeared in 11 games last season with the Rams, rushing 21 times for 101 yards.

Cunningham signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2013 and has spent his entire career with the St. Louis/Los Angeles franchise.

Since debuting in 2013, he's carried the ball 171 times for 748 yards and four touchdowns in 57 career games with the Rams.

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Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) fumbles the ball after being sacked by New York Jets linebacker Corey Lemonier (44) and New York Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) fumbles the ball after being sacked by New York Jets linebacker Corey Lemonier (44) and New York Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins (48) during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Jets have re-signed LB Corey Lemonier, the team announced Thursday night.

The 25-year-old was claimed off waivers from the Lions on Dec. 26 and appeared in New York's Week 17 game against the Bills.

Lemonier has appeared in 51 career games since he was selected by the 49ers in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft.

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Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Jets linebacker Josh Martin (95) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports (Mark J. Rebilas)
Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Jets linebacker Josh Martin (95) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports (Mark J. Rebilas)

The Jets have re-signed LB/ST Josh Martin to a two-year, $4.3 million deal, the team announced Thursday night.

The fourth-year pro played in a career-high 15 games for New York last season, primarily on special teams.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV

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