Opening Statement…..

How's it going?  Good to see all of you.  A lot of people here.  It's such an honor for me to be here.  I'm so excited about being a Jet.  Thank you all for coming.  First and foremost, I just want to thank the Broncos for my time in Denver.  It was an amazing tame.  I want to thank my teammates and fans for being such great teammates and such great fans.  I'm looking forward to my time in New York and my time as a Jet.  I'm so honored and humbled to be a Jet.  I'm so thankful that they wanted me.  I'm so excited about meeting my teammates.  I've had the pleasure to meet quite a few already.  I'm looking forward to my future as a Jet and I'm very, very excited about it. With that, I'd love to open it up for questions.

On the discrepancy between John Elway’s and his account on the trade to the Jets…

Well, I guess a little bit of the story was when I woke up Wednesday morning and talked to Coach Fox, they were very gracious the whole time.  Coach Fox, I specifically talked to him a lot throughout the process.  So he kind of told me some of the opportunities that were out there.  So I talked to him about it.  The next thing I know is I got a call from Mr. Tannenbaum and Mr. Ryan and they said I was a Jet.  I was really excited about it.  I’m like ‘All right, I'm excited.  When is the next flight out to New York?’  I was excited about it.  Then obviously the media circus happened and I found out a few minutes later there was a snag in the contract and I wasn't a Jet.  Then it was like five hours kind of waiting.  Coach Fox was keeping me updated on what was happening.  Then later on in the day, they said we have a few teams that are interested, similar deals.  He was very gracious to ask me what I thought.  So I talked to him very honestly about it.  I told him I would love to be a Jet.  I told him also the Jaguars are my hometown - whatever was best for them.  He said the same for me.

Ultimately, you know, they had my contract, they had all the power.  But he listened to me and what I had to say.  It was very gracious of them because they didn't have to do that.  They could have just done whatever.  But he listened to me and talked to me.  I told him I would love to be a Jet.  I love the coaches.  I had an opportunity to be with Coach Sparano at the Senior Bowl, I've had an opportunity to know Coach Ryan several times.

I also told him I would love to be a Jaguar, that was my hometown, so that would be exciting for me and whatever was best for them.  So I'm excited to be a Jet and I'm excited to be here.

On if he wants to be the starter…

I think everybody that puts on a uniform, you want to go out there and you want to play.  That's why you play the game of football.  I'm excited to be a Jet, to go out there and to help this team any way that I can.  Whatever my role is, however I can expand that role, I'm going to try to do that.  Every day in practice I'm going to go out there and compete and try to get better as a quarterback, try to figure out any ways possible to help this team any way that I can.

On how he feels that his presence on the team could create an issue…

I really don't pay too much attention to it.

I think the exciting thing is that me and Mark have a great relationship.  We have had a great relationship for the last three years I think.  We've been friends.  We've texted back and forth.  We've talked already.  We're going to have a great relationship and a great working relationship. I think we'll have a lot of fun together.

On if Coach Ryan has defined his role with the team…

I have had time to spend with Coach Ryan.  I think a lot of it has to do with how well it works, how it does in practice.  Obviously, you're not going to put something out there if it's not executed and not running well.  I think it matters how well we do, how well I can pick everything up, go out there and how well we're doing.  My goal is to go out there and try to execute as well as I possibly can and improve every single day and really feel comfortable with my role and expand that role by going out there and competing and playing well.  So I think it's just exciting that he's had faith in me and he believes in me as a football player and as a person to bring me here and make me a Jet.  I'm excited about the opportunity.

 

On how Sanchez was on the phone and how well they will work together…

Well, from my conversations with him, he was excited.  He was excited about working with me.  I'm excited about working with him.  I have a lot of respect for him as a football player, as a person.  He's always handled himself with so much class and integrity.  He's won a lot of games as a quarterback. I think we'll have a great working relationship.  We talked about that - just supporting one another in our roles.  I'm excited about that opportunity.  I think we'll have a great relationship and hopefully we'll be able to thrive together.

On if he is comfortable playing a position other than quarterback…

I think, first and foremost, I'm a football player first and then a quarterback, although that is my dream, that's what I want to be.  That's what I believe I am, is a quarterback. But however I can help the team, however I can make a difference, however they can use me, I'll be open to it and work as hard as I can every time I step on that field.  I would give my whole heart to be the best Jet I possibly can be and help this team win football games.

On why he is so excited to be a Jet…

First and foremost, it was my relationship with the coaches.  It was having football coaches that believed in you, having football coaches that saw ability in me, and having coaches that I really respected for how they coach the game, for who they were.  I've always had a great relationship with Coach Ryan.  (I have a) relationship with Coach Sparano.  (I’m) also excited about working with Coach Cavanaugh.  Also you have so much support from Mr. Johnson, from Mr. Tannenbaum.  Look at these facilities.  They don't get much better.  There's a lot of pros here, not many cons.  I'm excited about that.

On how he can make sure he does not allow his popularity become a distraction to the team…

It's an honor for all you to show up to hear me say a few words today.  I really don't feel like it will be too much of a distraction because I honestly will try not to pay too much attention to it.  The reason we're doing this today is because I have bosses, too, and they wanted me to stand up and talk to all of you.  I can blame it on them because they made me do it, so...  (Smiling).

On he thinks Sanchez will respond to the pressure of having a player so popular as his backup…

I think Mark is very secure as a football player and a person,  and who he is.  I don't think he's going to let outsiders affect how he goes about his preparation or how he plays.  I think, you know, I'm excited about my role here, too, and my opportunity, my opportunity to compete.  I think working together we'll be able to encourage one another and be stronger together than we would be apart.

On if the criticism of him as a passer is fair…

I think I'm improving every single day.  I've been working very hard in L.A. with Coach Mazzone, who is a former Jets coach, working extremely hard to improve in every area of my game.  I'm excited about my future and just improving as a quarterback, as a football player, understanding defenses, understanding the schemes, how we go about it, how we take advantage of defenses, reads, fundamentals, all those things.  I'm excited about the opportunity.  I'm excited about my future.

On his relationship with Sanchez…

When was the first time we met?  I think it might have been at the ESPYs a few years ago.  I know we had to do one appearance at a Super Bowl a few years ago where we were throwing to fans and other people.  We had a good time with that.  We had to do a question and answer at one of those Super Bowl appearances as well where we got to hang out backstage for a while and then go out and have to answer some questions.

But we've always had a great relationship every time we've been together and hung out.  He's a very classy person with a lot of integrity.  He's also fun to hang around.  I think our quarterback room will be a lot of fun.

On how much pressure he is feeling from joining the Jets…

None actually.  I don't really feel too much pressure.  Just enjoying this opportunity, how exciting it is.  I'm excited to be a Jet.  I’ve got a long way to go before OTAs or training camp.  (I’ve got to) just continue to prepare and just continue to try to improve.  I'm sure there will be some pressure leading up to it.  But, you know, I've always enjoyed pressure.  Before every time I get up and give a speech, before every practice, before every football game I play, I always get a little bit nervous.  That's something that excites me.  I think that's something that I play better when I have more on the line.  That's something that I've always tried to thrive on.  When that feeling goes away, that will probably be the time when I stop playing football.  So I'm excited about just the support that we have as a Jet, the fans, how passionate they are.

I've been very blessed in my past to have passionate fans when I was at the University of Florida.  You know, Gator Nation is very powerful and it’s everywhere.  So that was a lot of fun.  Being a Bronco, they have extremely passionate fans, which I was very blessed to have support me.  Now being a Jet, it's awesome because you have so many fans that support us as Jets and they're so passionate.  I realized that when we played the Jets last year and we were playing them at our home field, and they had a lot of fans there.  They were cheering pretty loud.  That was exciting to see.  Now being a Jet, I'm looking extremely forward to our first game to see what the atmosphere is really like.

On his relationship with Coach Ryan…

Well, my relationship with him has always been great.  We've continued to build a relationship throughout the last few years.  Just in our conversations -- he actually has the same agent I have in Jimmy Sexton.  Gosh, I'm trying to remember the first place we met. (It) might have been at a Pro Day where we met.  I know we spent some time together at the Super Bowl this year.  We got to have a great conversation there. I've always watched him.  I got to see 'Hard Knocks', see how he coached, and that was fun.  From our conversations that we've had the last few days, I think he's just excited that I'm here.  I think it's a day-by-day process to see what happens and how well the Wildcat is working.

On what his role will be…

I think it's a day-by-day process, figuring out what works, how I can fit into this team and try to make this team a little bit better.  And that's my goal, by being on this team, be a great teammate, hopefully a good asset, and someone that can help us try to win a few football games.

On if he feels the wild cat can still work in the NFL…

I think one misconception is people think that the Wildcat is just a direct snap to a running back and you fake it and you run power or outside zone or inside zone.  I think that's a big misconception because I think when you have the ability to have 11 people touch the ball -- not 11 people, but you have five or six people that have the opportunity to touch the ball on every single play, I think it can be confusing.  I think it can make defenses play slow.  I think when you have a great offensive coordinator like Coach Sparano that can put together packages and plays, not necessarily have tendencies, then I think it can be effective.

On if he takes offense to the notion that this trade is a publicity stunt…

I really don't take offense to that.  I don't think it's true because I think the Jets get a lot of support as it is and have a lot of great fans.  I don't think it has much to do with that. I think it has more to do with just some coaches believing in me and hopefully thinking that I'm an okay football player.  I'm just excited I have the opportunity to be a Jet and hopefully I can add something to this great franchise and organization.

On how he feels that he is embraced because of his faith…

Well, obviously I'm someone that is very outspoken about my faith.  I've never been ashamed of it.  Anytime I get the opportunity, I always thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, because that is the most important thing to me.  But I don't think all the attention is just because of my faith.  I think sometimes it adds a little bit to it.  I'm pretty sure I'm not the first athlete that has gotten on a knee and prayed.  Somehow it's known as Tebowing, and I'm not sure why.  It probably has a little bit to do with the hype.  But, you know, I think it's not all a bad thing.  If people are still somehow talking about prayer or talking about my faith, then I think that's pretty cool.

On what advice Sanchez has given him about dealing with New York…

He did say to get ready for y'all (the media) (smiling).

It's fun.  We have a great relationship.  He just said it would be fun working together.  You spend so much time watching film in the QB room, it's so important to have people in there that you like, that you can get along with, that you can joke around with, that you can make fun of, that you can have a great time.  Just as far as that goes, we'll have a great relationship.  Also you'll have McElroy in there, Alabama guy, so that will be tough, but it should be okay.

 

On if he plans on establishing a foundation in the New Jersey area…

Absolutely.  I'm looking forward to doing things here in New Jersey and in New York, figuring out a way to just try to make a difference and to try to help.  My foundation is something that is extremely important to me, something that I'm very proud of.  I'm so proud of the 650 orphans that we support, or the 18 Timmy’s  playrooms that we're building, or the hospital in the Phillipines that we're building because ultimately I know that's more important than anything I do on the football field, the ability to brighten a kid's day, the ability to make someone smile.  We're put on a pedestal as a football player which makes us no more important or no more special than anybody else.  You have an opportunity, I believe more than that, it's a responsibility to be a good role model, to set a good example and to make a difference in kids' lives, especially kids that are looking up to you because you play football.  I can still remember when I was eight years old and Danny Wuerffel came to my church as a Florida Gators quarterback.  I was probably the 120th kid in line and I waited an hour.  But he signed all the autographs and waited until I got to him and I still remember how that made me feel as a little boy.  I still have that autograph in my parents' house in Jacksonville, Florida, because I know how it made me feel.  Sometimes we can get so busy and caught up in the hustle and bustle, forget about being a role model, setting a good example and making a difference in people's lives that are looking up to us.  Ultimately I know that my biggest goal in being here and being a football player, is to set a great example, and I'm excited about this opportunity.

On how he will handle the demand of being in New York…

You know, I feel being at the University of Florida, you have a pretty big platform there.  Then just being a quarterback for two years in the NFL gives you a pretty big platform.  Ultimately I'm just going to be myself and just have fun with it and honestly not worry about what I can't control.  It's something I learned early on at Florida is if you can't control it, don't worry about it.  Honestly, I'm just going to try to be the best teammate, try to be the best football player that I can be and try to set a good example.  Besides that, I'm not really going to worry about too much else.

On if he felt the Jets were a better fit for him than the Jaguars…

I can tell you this, I had a better relationship with the Jets coaches.  I knew them.  I know that Coach Mularkey and the coaches they have are great coaches, but I never met any of them.  I haven't had an opportunity to get to know them.  It would have been exciting.  It would have been fun to be home.  But this is exciting.  I'm so proud to be a Jet.  I think it's going to be a lot of fun.

This is a blessing for me and it's going to be a great opportunity.

On if he has to be careful in spreading his faith in New York and in the locker room…

Well, I think first and foremost it doesn't matter what market I was in, I don't think that necessarily played a big part in it. I just want to be myself.  When I'm asked about it, I won't be ashamed of saying that I serve my Lord and savior Jesus Christ.  In the locker room, it's not something that I'm super outspoken about.  It's just that's who I am and that's how I live.  I don't try to share it with a lot of guys.  I don't try to approach a lot of guys with it because I think the greatest way to share the gospel is by acting it and by them seeing who you are as a person.  That's how I approach it.  It's not by what I say, it's more about how I act and who I am as a person.  I think it is the greatest way you can have an impact on people's lives is your integrity, character and how you go about handling yourself.

On if he learned anything about himself from this process…

That's a very good question.

You know, I think I learned a lot of things about myself.  I think what also came to mind was you can't worry about what you can't control.  That was something that was reemphasized.  I think also something is you can't worry about sometimes how people can take something so little and make it big.  As far as like Tebowing goes, I've been doing that same routine for the last seven years, since my senior year in high school.  All of a sudden this last year it became a big deal that I was going to the end zone and getting on a knee before a game and praying.  I'll get up and do a few jumps and sprint down the sideline.  It's funny because all of a sudden it became a big story, but it's something I've done the last seven years.  For me it's not about changing anything, it's not about being anyone different, it's about being who I am and who I've always been and just trying to be the same person, continuing to work hard, continuing to treat people like I want to be treated, continue to do what's right and do my best.  Other than that, I really won't worry about too much else.

On if he is concerned that one of his sponsors (Jockey) placed a billboard outside of Lincoln Tunnel…

I don't think so.  Hopefully they know that I have nothing to do with that.  I don't think that it will really have an effect on the people in the locker room because there's not much I can do to control that (laughter).

On if he has an issue with discussing what his religious beliefs…

Not really.  We are at a press conference for a football team.  It's not exactly the platform to get up here and share everything you believe.  I have no problems ever sharing what I believe.  You know, I'm a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ.  That is first and foremost the most important thing in my life.  For me, it's about having a relationship with Christ, and that's pretty much it.  That's the basis of what I believe.  It's exciting for me to get opportunities to share that. But at the same time this is a press conference for the New York Jets football team.  So I feel like it's an opportunity to answer questions about my opportunity to be here as a Jet, and I'm excited about that.  Anytime I get an opportunity, I'm always going to talk about Jesus Christ and what He's done in my life.

On if he feels he needs to win over the locker room…

I don't think I'm necessarily trying to win over the locker room.  I'm trying to, every day in my actions, earn a little bit of respect from the guys in the locker room, by showing up, working hard, trying to be a great teammate, trying to improve on my skills, trying to make the Jets a little bit better because I'm on this team.  Whether that is by on the field or being a great teammate or encouraging other guys, I just want to make this team a little bit better because I'm here and earn their respect a little bit at a time by how I work and who I am as a person.

On if his marketing partners are excited about him being in a larger market…

I guess.  I haven't talked to anybody about that.  It's been a little bit of a whirlwind.  It was: I was traded, I wasn't traded, I was back as a Jet, then I was on a plane here.  My whole time here has been meeting with the coaches, getting to know them, getting all the physicals, getting the paperwork done.  That's pretty much what I've been doing.  I haven't had too much time to talk to any of them.  But I guess they are pretty excited, so....

On how far he thinks the Jets can go this season…

I'm blessed to be on a very good football team, a great defense, great offensive line, great skilled athletes.  It was a great game when we played each other last year.  I'm excited to be on a football team that's a tough football team, that's a physical football team, a football team that has won a lot of games over the last few years.

Hopefully by me being here, we can be a little bit better and I can add something to this team.  That is my hope and prayer.  I'm excited to be on this football team, excited to have the support that we have.

It truly is a blessing to be on this team, to be on a team that has won so many football games.  When you watch the New York Jets play, you see a team that is physical, that wants to win, and that's exciting.  It's always a lot of fun to be on the tough team and the physical team.  I believe that's what you have when you're on the New York Jets.

On if he understands people anger about him being traded from Denver after helping the Broncos win a playoff game…

It was a special season last year, that I was able to be a part of just a little bit of, with some great teammates, some great coaches.  Will have a lot of great memories a long time from last season, some of the comebacks, some of the wins, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs.  That will always be part of my career and special memories.  They went away that they thought was best for the organization.  I'll never blame them for that.  I'm excited about being a Jet, excited about the support I have here.  I wish the Broncos nothing but the best.  They got one of the best quarterbacks to ever play this game in Peyton Manning.  He's always been extremely classy and very supportive of me.  I wish him nothing but the best.

There's no ill will towards the Broncos, Peyton Manning or anybody.  I wish them nothing but the best.  It will be a lot of fun when we get to play each other.  I wish them nothing but the best.  I know they're going to have a great team and win a lot of games this next season.  I'll always have a lot of friends on that team.  I'm always going to root for those guys 'cause we went through a lot together.

It will be exciting to watch and see how they do.  But I'm worried about being a Jet and I'm excited about being a Jet.  This is where I want to be.

On if he has a message for Giants fans…

Not really.  I'll leave that talk to other people.  I'm not qualified to get in that argument.  I'm excited to be here.  You have to congratulate the Giants on winning a Super Bowl and having a great team.  I wish them nothing but the best as well.

On how he will deal with the locker room…

Honestly it really doesn't bother me at all.  I think it's my job to come in here and try to earn guys' respect by how I work.  I want them to respect me by me coming in here and working hard, proving myself in the weight room, in sprints, when we're running, on the practice field.  I can't control doing this press conference.  You can blame the guys upstairs.  They wanted me to do that, so I have no say over that at all either.  I'm just having fun with it, make the best of whatever situation I'm dealt.

I'm so honored to be here.  It's such a blessing for me.  I'm excited about getting to know those teammates, building a relationship.  I have been able to know quite a few of them already.  I'm excited about it.

It truly is an honor to be a Jet and I'm so grateful to be here.

Thank you all.  God bless.

Tags: Main Page, Brian Bassett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

READ KIPER'S ANALYSIS BELOW

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

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

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

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

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

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

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

However, none of these players stepped up as hoped.

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

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

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

Simply put: Mayfield loves the spotlight...

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

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

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

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

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 (Jeremy Brevard)
(Jeremy Brevard)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

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

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

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

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

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

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 (Glenn Andrews)
(Glenn Andrews)

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

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

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

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 (Chuck Cook)
(Chuck Cook)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

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

Can the 50th time be their charm?

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