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Miller, Broncos beat Panthers to win Super Bowl 50
Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller celebrates with head coach Gary Kubiak after defeating the the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium. (USA TODAY Sports)

If this was the final game of his magnificent career, what a Super way to go out for Peyton Manning.

He can thank Von Miller and the Broncos' swarming, big-play defense for his second NFL championship.

Adding that ring to his five MVP awards, Manning certainly can be satisfied and comfortable in retirement should Sunday's 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers be his finale. He wasn't the star - game MVP Miller seemingly was everywhere on every Carolina play - but Manning really hasn't been the headliner in this injury-shortened season.

Emulating his Broncos boss, John Elway, the 39-year-old Manning can ride off with the Lombardi Trophy after leading Denver to its third NFL title, first since 1999 - when Elway was the quarterback.

Denver's suffocating defense kept Cam Newton jittery all day. Despite wearing gold shoes in the golden Super Bowl, Newton couldn't finish off a dynamic season in which he was the league's MVP. Miller twice stripped him, once for a touchdown, the second time setting up a clinching TD. Denver's top-ranked defense, the one that ran roughshod over Tom Brady in the AFC championship, simply wouldn't let Newton get comfortable. >> Read more...



Looking back at the Senior Bowl
South squad quarterback Dak Prescott of Mississippi State avoids the pressure of defensive end Noah Spence of Eastern Kentucky during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (Glenn Andrews/USATSI)

In the wake of the Senior Bowl, here are some interesting notes for Jets fans who are turning their eyes from the regular season to the draft to enjoy. We will be releasing these in a series of installments over the next day or two so keep checking back for more Senior Bowl content with a Jets focus.

Mixed reviews on Noah Spence

No one seems to be in doubt of edge rusher Noah Spence's prowess on the field. He was the most explosive and dynamic player in Mobile at rushing the passer and looks to be on the border between the first and second rounds of the NFL Draft, but could go much higher according to NFL Media's Bucky Brooks. Spence was named to many lists of the Senior Bowl week winners and spent the week proving his mettle on the field and answering questions off of it about his issues with drug addiction, and maybe worse, the cover up he undertook while at Ohio State which saw him end up getting kicked off the team. 

But how convincing were Spence's answers? Walter Football's Charlie Campbell wrote in his Thursday rumor report that "teams weren't impressed with how Spence answered their questions" regarding his past troubles. If teams are dubious about Spence's ability to stay clean, those teams who are already skeptical will be very interested in the results of his Combine drug test. Randy Gregory was a potential top 15 pick, but failed his drug test last year in Indianapolis and it cost him dearly. 

As far as an on-field talent, Spence could be an incredible addition to the Jets roster, but teams will have to weigh his on-field heroics with whatever off-field antics might come along with it. Unless something drastic changes for Spence, I can't imagine the Jets using their 20th pick on a player like Spence who would be far too risky for the selection and unless another bombshell falls on him in the coming months there's not likely going to be a chance for the Jets to nab him in the second.

Kenneth Dixon bursting on the scene

Derrick Henry and Ezekiel Elliott are lauded as the top two running backs in this class, but with neither at the Senior Bowl, Louisiana Tech's Kenneth Dixon might be a name to keep an eye on over the next few months. Right now, Dixon is now garnering second- and third-round grades. TJB friend Josh Norris loves Dixon, and called him the only starting NFL caliber running back at the Senior Bowl this past week. ESPN's Dallas beat man Todd Archer thinks he'd be a great fit for the Cowboys. Dixon was voted the best RB in practice thanks to his speed, explosion and burst. PFF graded Dixon out well in terms of elusivity, route-running as a RB and breakaway plays. During his week in Mobile, Dixon was "getting open in one-on-one and team drills" and his "route-running appears to be very advanced for a running back." Rotoviz is slightly less optimistic about Dixon and the folks at RV will wait until they see Dixon's workout results in Indy; their concern is that Dixon might only be a brilliant mid-major player with backup potential in the pros.

Either way, if Dixon blows his Combine numbers out of the water, expect a jump on his draft status. Could the Jets use a player like Dixon? Absolutely and he might be a solid second or third round selection for the Jets. 

Is Carson Wentz a legit NFL QB or just a shiny new NFL Draft toy?

For Jets fans who wished Carson Wentz might last to the 20th pick, it seems best to put that false hope squarely out of mind. Wentz was the darling of Mobile all week, faring well in practices and demonstrating the charisma and chip that NFL teams love to see from their quarterbacks. A good sign is that Wentz is repped by QB-whisperer agent Ryan Tollner, but who is this unknown quarterback from a border state? Wentz was barely recruited to play college ball and who know is on the inside track to become a top ten pick in the NFL Draft? It is fair to have some skepticism about whether he can become what everyone seems to expect him to be. Actually, it has come out this week that there might be more doubt than thought just a week ago. Some NFL execs are now weighing in in a backlash, saying that they would not draft him in the first round … but is this just a ploy by savvy front offices to get him to drop?

Regardless, it sounds like NFL scouts have been hip to Wentz for a while now. From Andrew Garda of SoE: "A lot of teams feel he can definitely [play] and [they] have known that for some time. For the most part, it seems like NFL outsiders are playing catch-up. The buzz centers not around whether Wentz will be a first-round pick … but whether he will go in the top 10 or even top five during April's NFL Draft."

It's hard to say just how the Jets feel about Wentz, but one would have to think that he could get a first-round grade from the Jets when their board finally lays out. For the Jets to acquire Wentz through the draft, it would have to take an unlikely draft day tumble, or the Jets will need to trade up to snag him. Some teams think that the Browns at the second pick is a distinct possibility for Wentz. From a sheer capital creation or capital destruction perspective, for the Jets to get in play I have to imagine it would be a combination of Wentz slipping down to around the 10th pick combined with the Jets trading up. In other words … don't hold your breath.

Tags: Brian Bassett

Jets sign LB/DE Freddie Bishop and K Kyle Brindza
Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Kyle Brindza (2) attempts a field goal during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. (Troy Taormina)

The New York Jets have signed linebacker/defensive end Freddie Bishop and kicker Kyle Brindza, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Feb. 5).

Bishop, 25, has signed a two-year deal with the Jets after playing in the Canadian Football League since 2014. In 16 games last season, he recorded 11 sacks and had 44 tackles overall with the Calgary Stampedes. He was considered a CFL standout and visited with seven NFL teams before signing with New York.

Brindza, 23, signed a reserve/future contract with the Jets. He spent time with Tampa Bay last season where he missed six of his 12 field goal attempts and was released in October. 

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

My ears perked up when I saw that the Jets had signed Bishop. Bishop went undrafted in 2013 but saw some time with the Lions in their offseason program before playing well in the CFL. Bishop has garnered some attention from a number of NFL teams, notably the Patriots who worked him out in December. Bishop looks like a player who does a great job of recognizing the play develop and using his instinct and quickness, but not necessarily great speed, to get him in position to make plays. The Jets have to get extensively younger and cheaper in their linebacking corps this year and signing a player like Bishop is a great camp tryout at worst, in the middle he has a great chance at becoming a special teamer and depth option and at best and likely as a contributor to this defense.

To get a sense of how Bishop plays, watch some a highlight reel of Bishop from his 2015 CFL season

Tags: Tim Reilly

Q&A: SNY's Erik Coleman on Super Bowl 50 and the New York Jets

SNY's Erik Coleman is out in California for Super Bowl 50. In this Q&A, he talked about the Broncos vs. Panthers, playing while injured, what the Jets need to do with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Muhammad Wilkerson, the team's secondary and more...

On Super Bowl 50…

Everyone is talking about Peyton Manning -- is this going to be his last game? I think that Peyton is in a place where if he wins this Super Bowl, it's going to be his last game. But if he feels good, and loses, he's going to come back out again. One rumor is that the LA Rams want him, at least for one year. If they can have him start that franchise in Los Angeles, that would be huge for them.

They're also talking about Cam Newton, and a lot about the defenses. The two defenses have been playing very good football. How are they going to play? How are those matchups going to line up?

It's definitely going to be a defensive type of game. If Carolina's defense is able to stop the run of the Broncos, I think they'll have a lot of success against Denver. Peyton is not at the point in his career where he can dominate a game by throwing the ball 50 times. He needs the run game to help him out with the play-action game, with the roll-outs, to help him drive down the field.

Is Thomas Davis going to be able to stop the run with a broken arm? Is he going to be able to stop the run. He's playing tough and playing through the injury, but is going to be able to take on isolated coverage? Is he going to take on fullbacks? Lineman?

And when you look at Denver's defense? Are those two safeties healthy enough to stop Greg Olsen. He's a huge part of this offense. Olsen and cam Newton have a great bond. He's had an amazing year. There are some great matchups on defense.

On Davis and playing while injured…

I played though a broken hand. I had to play with a club on my hand. It's one thing to go out there and play, but there are a lot of times where you have to make arm tackles and guys just run through your tackles because you can't grab cloth. I see that being a problem for him. He's a great player, he's played through a lot of injuries and he's one of the toughest men in the league. If there's someone that can do it, it's Thomas Davis. I'm not going to say he's not going to preform well, but there may be instances where he struggles due to the cast.

Prediction for Super Bowl 50...

I'm leaning toward Carolina. They're hot right now, the confidence they're playing with, Cam Newton is throwing and running the ball wall. I think they have too many playmakers, and I think they're going to put up too many points for Denver, so I'm going with Carolina.


What should the Jets do with Ryan Fitzpatrick?

I think that the Jets should bring back Ryan Fitzpatrick. Give him another year or two, which will give Bryce Petty another year to watch. It comes down to how they feel about Petty, too. Do they see him as the quarterback of the future? If they do, sign Fitzpatrick back and let Petty develop a little bit. If not, I think they're going to need to make a move.

You hear about Colin Kaepernick talking about the possibility in going to the Jets. I don't know if the Jets are interested, but I know Colin is, and it doesn't really work out like that all the time.

I think the best move for the Jets would be to keep Fitzpatrick. He earned it. He had a great year, did a great job leading this team and he has the trust of all of his teammates. That's a big key to moving forward.

And Muhammad Wilkerson?

Obviously, both sides would probably like to get a long-term deal done. No player wants to be franchised, not because of the money, but because there's no security of longevity. God forbid something happens during that season while you're franchised. I think Muhammad would like to get a long-term deal done, and I think the Jets would, too, so they don't have to think about this anymore and it's not a distraction going forward.

At the same time, what are you going to do with Damon Harrison? He's arguable the best nose tackle in the game right now. He's playing great football and he's a free agent as well.

They're going to have some tough decisions to make. This is where Mike Maccagnan is going to be tested as a general manager.

How did the defensive backs fare in 2015? And how do they look going into 2016?

I think they did a great job in 2015. Darrelle Revis, he probably had one game where he gave up a couple plays, but other than that, he had a great season. Antonio Cromartie had an up-and-down season, but he played pretty good. Calvin Pryor was a bright spot, he played exceptionally well. He played well against the run, and was great in pass defense. He established himself as an enforcer out on the perimeter.

In the secondary, I think they're in good shape. They have some young guys who they're developing. Marcus Williams did a great job this year. He's a guy that's a bright spot. All these guys... they have a lot of talent in the secondary. It's going to be very competitive in the offseason and in training camp. The competition will breed success. You'll see the cream rise to the top. You're going to get the most out of all those guys in the secondary.

Tags: Antonio Cromartie , Damon Harrison , Darrelle Revis , Marcus Williams , Muhammad Wilkerson , Ryan Fitzpatrick

Jets expected to use franchise tag on Wilkerson
(Ed Mulholland)

The Jets are expected to use their franchise tag on DE Muhammad Wilkerson, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (Feb. 4).

The 26-year-old Wilkerson, who is otherwise eligible to become an unrestricted free agent, made $6.96 million this season with an identical cap hit.

The Raiders have interest in Wilkerson and would "pounce" if he isn't franchised, reports Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Feb. 4), who says the Raiders would also be open to working out a trade if Wilkerson is tagged.

Wilkerson had 64 tackles, 12 sacks, and two forced fumbles in 2015.

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter This would be an obvious move for the Jets to make since it would force any team that wanted to acquire Wilkerson to offer up considerable trade compensation to do so.

This would be like in 2006 where the Jets tagged and traded John Abraham and used the first round pick they acquired to select Nick Mangold. The difference here is that the Jets have enough payroll flexibility that keeping Wilkerson -- on the tag or on a longer term deal -- is a more viable option, whereas in 2006 they'd probably have had to rescind the tag and let Abraham go if they couldn't figure out a trade.

If Wilkerson does play out the 2015 season on the franchise tag, the Jets could theoretically tag him again next year, although they'd have to increase his salary by 20 percent over the current franchise tag amount (around $15 million) to do so. The franchise tag could also act as a placeholder while the team negotiates a longer-term deal, which is what the Jets did with both David Harris and Nick Folk in recent seasons.

It would be senseless to risk allowing Wilkerson to depart for nothing when the Jets have the ability to maintain control over his rights, so I'd imagine it's a no-brainer to tag him, unless a long-term deal or a trade can be worked out before then.

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

No surprise here. The Jets and Wilkerson have been a long ways off in terms of expectations for his new contract, and it seems there has been no change of heart on either side.

Wilkerson believes he deserves J.J. Watt type money and the Jets are interested in giving Wilkerson a new contract, but they might not be willing to do the level of deal Wilkerson want's just yet. Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has only been in New York a year, and tying up a massive amount of cap space to a defensive player might not happen until he sees another full season of excellent production from Wilkerson.

I believe Wilkerson deserves a fat contract and it's a shame the team hasn't yet come to terms on a new deal. However, there is still plenty of time for the sides to reach an accord ahead of the Jets being forced to use the franchise tag -- or even at some point between when Wilkerson is tagged and the start of the regular season.

Right now, the franchise tag for defensive ends is expected to be about $15.49 million. Should the Jets use the franchise tag on Wilkerson and sign Ryan Fitzpatrick, the they'll need to find salary cap space elsewhere to create some breathing room for other players they will want to acquire or retain.

Tags: Muhammad Wilkerson

Report: Kaepernick wants to leave 49ers for Jets
(Kelley L Cox)

49ers QB Colin Kaepernick wants out of San Francisco so he can join the Jets, according to Manish Mehta of the Daily News (Feb. 3).

The Jets are Kaepernick's "preferred" choice, according to Mehta, who says the team is aware of his interest and intrigued about the possibility of obtaining him.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has a different take than Mehta, noting that the Jets have never have and do not currently have interest in acquiring Kaepernick (Feb. 4).

Kaepernick, 28, was benched midway through this season before being placed on injured reserved. In eight starts, Kaepernick completed 144 of 244 passes for 1,615 yards while throwing six touchdowns and five interceptions.

Mehta notes that the 49ers have until April 1 to make a decision to keep, trade, or cut Kaepernick, whose cap hit this season is set to be $15.9 million. Kaepernick is owed roughly $100 million over the next five seasons.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, who served as the Jets' starting QB this season, is set to become a free agent.

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

It would make perfect sense that Colin Kaepernick might want to play with the Jets, but I would be shocked if the feeling is reciprocated by GM Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles.

New York is obviously one of the biggest markets in the country and after bottoming out two years ago, the Jets are in a much better place. For Kaepernick, New York would represent a soft landing spot with two excellent receivers in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. With a few smart acquisitions this offseason, this offense could easily get markedly better.

From his time in Arizona, Bowles knows what Kaepernick is -- a highly athletic playmaker at quarterback with plus wheels. But Bowles also knows what Kaepernnick isn't -- a quarterback who has progressed in any discernible way since his first year as a full-time starter.

Sure, there might be interest on the Jets' side, but Kaepernick has done nothing to disprove the sentiment that he was little more than a creation of a favorable offensive system (to which the NFL has caught up) and that he is a product of a QB whisperer/head coach who crossed power-obsessed Niners GM Trent Baalke and had enough. Once Jim Harbaugh left, the house of cards collapsed quickly.

While Chip Kelly's offensive philosophy might mesh well with Kaepernick's style of play, it would appear that Kelly's reputation of having an abrasive personality -- coupled with a dysfunctional front office -- has soured Kaepernick on staying put. And it's hard to blame him.

In many ways, Kaepernick's situation feels comparable to that of Mark Sanchez with the Jets just a few years ago. Once the team moved on from Sanchez (even though it was at least partly due to injury) it seemed impossible to walk that decision back. Sure, Kaepernick was injured in 2015, but to bench him in favor of Blaine Gabbert might have been a bit too far.

If we are to truly believe that shoving off to New York is Colin Kaepernick's idea and not some NFL offseason smokescreen or power play by others, then I know one thing: Kaepernick is not going to get the Jets to agree to such a deal on his current bloated contract. Mike Maccagnan is no fool. If Kaepernick is pining for the Big Apple, he will play on a pay-as-you-go affair and do so at a reduced rate.

Another thought that occurs to me is that this is the Jets' way of creating urgency in their contract negotiations with Ryan Fitzpatrick. If there is too great a gap between player and team, maybe the threat of a trade for another (albeit worse) player might hustle Fitzpatrick back to the table. No one is pretending that Fitzpatrick is Mr. Right for this team, but in my estimation he is a much better Mr. Right Now for the Jets than Colin Kaepernick.

Tags: Brian Bassett , Danny Abriano

The New York Jets have signed speedy running back-kick returner Dri Archer to a reserve/future contract.

The versatile Archer, who has also played wide receiver, was a third-round draft pick by Pittsburgh out of Kent State in 2014. He was waived by the Steelers last November.

Archer had 10 rushes for 40 yards, seven catches for 23 yards and returned 23 kickoffs for a 22.4-yard average in 20 games with the Steelers. His deal with the Jets takes effect in March, when the NFL begins 2016 business.

Jets coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan recently said they want the team to be faster next season, and Archer fills the bill. He ran a 4.26-second 40-yard dash at the 2014 NFL combine, second-fastest in the last 10 years to Chris Johnson (4.24 in 2008).


Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press


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Archer is a player who was mentioned along with DeAnthony Thomas as one of the best kick return prospects in the 2014 draft and was also thought of as someone who could develop into a multi-faceted offensive weapon in the vein of a Thomas or Dexter McCluster.

He's fast, but diminutive, and never really made much of an impact with the Steelers, who released the former third-round pick last November. In his first season, Archer saw some action on offense but generated just 63 yards from scrimmage and was basically a full-time return specialist last season. In two seasons, Archer only returned one kick-off past the 40-yard line, although he did average a respectable 25.3 yards per return last year. He also fielded just one punt.

However, the Jets' return game was poor in 2015, so bringing in someone who might have some untapped potential in that area could be a good move. I'll be scouting Archer in more detail - along with the rest of the reserve/futures signings the team has made since the end of the season - throughout February and March.


Marshall doesn't want Kaepernick, Fitz is his guy
New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) runs a pass route during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) (Bill Wippert/AP)

New York Jets WR Brandon Marshall appeared as a guest on ESPN's First Take on Wednesday. While there he expressed his support of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and said had no interest in 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick joining the Jets.

"Fitzpatrick's second half of his career is going to be an amazing," Marshall said on ESPN's First Take on Wednesday. "He's with his guy Chan Gailey, he's comfortable and he really owns this offense and that's what you really want out of the quarterback position."

It was reported on Tuesday that Kaepernick wants out of San Francisco and that his "preferred" destination would be the Jets, according to Manish Mehta of the Daily News (Feb. 2)

The Jets are aware of his interest and intrigued about the possibility of obtaining him.

"I don't want Kaepernick," Marshall said regarding those reports. "I think he's good, but my guy is Fitz."

Fitzpatrick, who threw for 3,905 yards and 31 touchdowns last season, is set to become a free agent this offseason. Though the Jets have made it publicly known they intend on talking with him about a return to New York.

Marshall had 1,502 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns last season. 

Tags: Brandon Marshall , Ryan Fitzpatrick , Tim Reilly

Jets to hire Brant Boyer as special teams coach
(Charles LeClaire)

The Jets will hire Brant Boyer to be their new special teams coach, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN (Feb. 2).

Boyer, 44, worked as the assistant special teams coach for the Colts for the past four seasons.

A former LB, Boyer spent 10 seasons in the NFL split with the Dolphins, Jaguars, and Browns from 1994-2003.

The Jets fired special teams coach Bobby April last month.

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

There was talk last month that Atlanta Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong might have been on the Jets' short list. Head coach Todd Bowles knows Armstrong from their time together at Temple, but in the end the Jets might not have been able to pry Armstrong away. 

At this time I am unsure of Boyer's connections to the Jets' current staff, but my hope is that anything is better than what we saw last year from Bobby April.

Tags: Brian Bassett

Poll: Should the Jets go after Johnny Manziel?
Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) celebrates his first career NFL touchdown pass during the first half of their game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland)

The Browns are about to throw Johnny Football away.

The team issued a strong statement Tuesday, condemning quarterback Johnny Manziel's actions and pointing to his release in March, a move that has seemed inevitable for months.

The conduct by the 23-year-old player - rampant partying, two domestic incidents and a general lack of commitment - have been a major problem almost from the day Cleveland drafted the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner in the first round two years ago.

Last weekend, Manziel was involved in a disturbance with his ex-girlfriend in Dallas that is being investigated by police and the NFL.

"We've been clear about expectations for our players on and off the field," said Sashi Brown, the team's vice president of football operations. "Johnny's continual involvement in incidents that run counter to those expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organization. His status with our team will be addressed when permitted by league rules." >> Read more…


Tags: Cleveland Browns

Bart Scott critical of the Jets' use of Darrelle Revis
New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) knocks Buffalo Bills running back Karlos Williams (29) out of bounds after a run during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Timothy T. Ludwig)

Former New York Jets LB Bart Scott was critical of the Jets use of CB Darrelle Revis this season (Cosentino, Feb. 2).

Scott, now working as an analyst with CBS Sports, said the Jets didn't do Revis any favors with their coverage schemes.

"It's one thing to leave a guy on an island," Scott said, according to Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday. "But they didn't even leave him on an island-they left him in orbit."

Revis, 30, signed a five-year deal to return to New York last offseason. In his first year back, he had 30 tackles and five interceptions.

A big factor in the added pressure put on the Jets secondary this season was due to the lack of a pass rush, which is a major target for New York this offseason.

"Nobody is undefeated when it comes to Father Time. But I think the Jets were too predictable," Scott said. "Everybody knew that he was going to be on an island. Everybody needs helps sometimes, everybody needs just safety presence sometimes."

While his return season was considered a success, and the Jets ranked among the league's top-defenses, Revis struggled against some of the games top receivers. Most notably Sammy Watkins in the Jets season-finale loss to Buffalo that ultimately cost them a postseason berth. 

Tags: Darrelle Revis , Tim Reilly

Jets Draft Notes: Dadi Nicolas, Braxton Miller and Kenyan Drake
Virginia Tech Hokies defensive linemen Dadi Lhomme Nicolas (90) looks on during the game against the East Carolina Pirates at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. (James Guillory)

In the wake of Saturday's Senior Bowl, here's some interesting notes which I thought Jets fans who are turning their eyes from the regular season to the draft might enjoy. We will be releasing these in a series of installments over the next day or two so keep checking back for more Senior Bowl content with a Jets focus!

Who's your Dadi?

According to WalterFootball, the Jets had a meeting in Mobile set up Tuesday night with Virginia Tech outside linebacker Dadi Nicolas. Nicolas is nimble, has a relentless motor and at his size (6'3" 235 lbs) is best suited as an OLB in a 4-3 or as a situational pass rusher. Nicolas had 18.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks as a junior in 2014 before deciding to stay for coach Frank Beamer's final season in an attempt to become the top edge rusher in the country. His senior season turned into a disappointing affair and his low point probably came in November after he unintentionally struck an official (see it here) and was suspended half a game by his coach, which might have sunk his draft stock even further.

Many expect the Jets (dating back to 2010) to use a first round pick on an edge rusher, but with an blitz confident head coach and stellar talent along the defensive front finding a discount-bin player seems a smarter method to me. Nicolas is more the sort of arbitrage edge-rusher who could complement the team and scheme and which I could easily see the Jets pursue on Day Two of the NFL Draft. In the right system, Nicolas could platoon on passing situations with Lorenzo Mauldin for a devastating one-two punch and would allow the Jets flexibility to find other impact players at offensive line or elsewhere with their first pick.

Can Braxton Miller make the leap?

For those in attendance in Mobile, no one garnered more oohs and aahs (here, here and here) in practice than Braxton Miller. Miller didn't have the most productive season as a first-year receiver, but he might have made the play of the year with his "B-Button Spin Move" against Virginia Tech. 

With a QB logjam at Ohio State, Miller was stuck in an impossible situation under Urban Meyer and he's made the most of it by converting to before heading into the NFL Draft process. There's not a lot of instant success stories for converted quarterbacks in the NFL, but there is enough precedent among players like Denard Robinson, Brad Smith, Julian Edelman and Antwan Randle-El that some enterprising NFL team will give it a try. What makes it more feasible is that Miller has incredible athleticism - we'll know just how athletic come the NFL Combine - that using his 2015 season as a means to accelerate his transition to receiver will make it more palatable for an interested NFL team.

Miller might have put on a show in Mobile, Matt Waldman preached patience on his site saying that "even if [Miller is] beating everyone here at least once, he often didn't do it twice with the more patient defenders. Although he's not ready to make his mark immediately as a full-time NFL starter, it might not take him long at this rate of his development." Braxton Miller might have put on a show in Mobile, but he needs to demonstrate improvement on his route-running skills on his Pro Day or any private workouts to cement a second round grade. 

It would be interesting to see how the Jets could find a spot for Miller, but depending on how well his agility scores are at the Combine he might well get some team to reach for him in the late first round.

If the Jets were to get a crack at drafting him I would imagine it would be in the second round, and they still might have to move up to earlier in the round to grab him. Miller will be a curious player to watch throughout the draft, but I just don't see the Jets getting the chance to use one of their first three picks on him. 

Kenyan Drake, the Human Rorshach Blot

There seems to be a lot of buzz, but also a lot of mixed sentiment on Alabama RB Kenyan Drake. Drake played in a complementary role behind The Mountain (AKA Derrick Henry) in a change of pace role for Nick Saban with the Crimson Tide to both TJ Yeldon in 2014 and Derrick Henry again this past year. There's very few secondary talents in a collegiate backfield who go onto great things in the NFL, but can the changing way that the NFL uses running backs allow Drake do just that? Apparently NFL teams in Moblie used Reggie Bush as a comparable, which means I'm, at the very least, paying attention to Drake. But maybe that's comp is not meant in a purely complementary fashion when it comes to Bush's skills as a blocker? Bush was never much of a pass blocker and according to Rob Rang Drake was routinely "getting blown up" in pass protection drills during practice at the Senior Bowl. 

Even if Drake is a pocket rocket, NFL teams are going to be hard pressed to manufacture touches for a player who has zero versatility when needed to block. Unless Drake's eminence as a blocker can improve, opposing edge-rushers will quickly get the signal that they can have a free shot at the quarterback any play in which Drake is on the field. The Jets could use an explosive pass catcher like Drake, but not at the cost of getting their quarterback leveled. Maybe Drake can stick in the league as a Theo Riddick type, but for Drake to carve out a larger role and justify a second day draft pick he must get significantly stronger as a pass protector first. Teams will be watching him closely and putting him through as many pass protection drills as they can between now and April.

Tags: Brian Bassett

Ivory, Mangold represent Jets in Pro Bowl
General view of a flyover during the playing of the national anthem with the United States flag on the field before the 2016 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Running back Chris Ivory and center Nick Mangold represented the Jets in Sunday's Pro Bowl.

Ivory had one 16-yard run and three catches for 55 yards for Team Rice, which lost to Team Irvin, 49-27. Mangold also played for Team Rice.

Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, wide receiver Brandon Marshall and cornerback Darrelle Revis were all selected to the Pro Bowl, but did not play due to injuries.

Tags: Chris Ivory , Nick Mangold

GEICO SportsNite: Jets 00:01:54
GEICO SportsNite attends the third-annual Jets House on Saturday, as fans enjoyed meeting current and former players.

Johnson: First season under Bowles, Maccagnan a good start
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson gestures to the fans on the sidelines before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USATSI)

(AP) -- Woody Johnson is pleased with the progress the New York Jets made under a new coach and general manager. The team's owner is far from satisfied, though.

The franchise's only Super Bowl trophy, on display a few feet away, served as a shiny, silver reminder that there's plenty more winning that needs to happen.

"That's the Super Bowl right out there," Johnson said Friday night. "We haven't won one now - this is Super Bowl 50 and that was Super Bowl 3 - so, it's been a while. Until we get there, we're going to work as hard as we can. And then after we get there, we're going to work doubly hard after that." >> Read more...


Jets Keep 'em or Dump 'em: Tight Ends
New York Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland reaches for a pass against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USATSI)

Over the next few weeks we will be looking at each position on the New York Jets roster and seeking your input on who you think should stay and who you think should go. Up next, the Jets' tight ends.

Overview: One of the most interesting departures from previous iterations of the Jets offense was the almost willful neglect of the tight end position in the passing game. In 2015, Jets tight ends Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Davis were targeted a total of 25 times (14 and 11, respectively) compared to 107 targets for tight ends Jace Amaro (53), Cumberland (47) and Zach Sudfeld (seven) just a year ago. It's true Amaro was shut down for the season due to a preseason shoulder injury, but would his presence have been the missing piece in the offense?

Expected to Return (4)

Jace Amaro, age 23
Wes Saxton, age 22 (futures contract)
Brandon Bostick, age 26 (futures contract)
Adrien Robinson, age 27 (futures contract)

Reaction:

Amaro had a solid rookie campaign in 2014, but he is not a superb, irreeplaceable starter for the Jets. I look at the three players on this list with Amaro. All have "move" tight end characteristics: Saxton was a receiver who transitioned to an athletic tight end in college before being selected by the Jets as a priority undrafted free agent last summer; Bostick was a core special teamer transitioning to tight end in Green Bay before an ill-fated onside kick recovery in the playoffs; and Robinson, a former Giant, profiled as a large and explosive (check his spider graph) prospect before being cut due to lack of contribution as a blocker or on special teams.

It appears to me that the Jets are looking for answers at the tight end position and are unconvinced on just how helpful Amaro could be to this team. GM Mike Maccagnan recently described Amaro as a "wild card" for the Jets offense in 2016, but for Amaro, most of his 2014 contributions can be chalked up to plays in which he was split out, made a move behind the linebackers for a short catch (not always a clean one, by the way) and turned upfield for yardage. The point is, what does he offer as a receiver in the slot that Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker or even Bilal Powell (when lined up as a receiver) don't already? Amaro could contribute as an H-Back, but I don't get that Amaro is the sort that Chan Gailey will build an offense around either. The Jets seem to be experimenting with a number similar profiled players to Amaro, so don't be surprised to see them draft a tight end should one fall in their lap in the middle rounds.

On the bubble (3)

Jeff Cumberland, age 28 (potential cap cut)
Kellen Davis, age 30 (pending free agent)
Zach Sudfeld, age 26 (pending free agent)

Reaction: The Jets could save $1.9 million off their salary cap by cutting Cumberland, so don't be surprised if he released in the lead-up to March's free agency period. Sudfeld has height, but hasn't done much beyond training camp and preseason games to warrant much further investment by a new front office. Davis might be the most useful player thanks to his blocking as the Jets will need a player with that skill-set as they (presumably) rebuild their offensive line in 2016.

Tags: Jace Amaro , Jeff Cumberland , Kellen Davis , Wes Saxton , Zach Sudfeld , Brian Bassett

GEICO SportsNite: Woody Johnson 00:01:29
Jets owner Woody Johnson speaks about the first year of Todd Bowles' coaching tenure with Gang Green and the team's free agents.

Cap space will determine if Jets bring back Ivory
New York Jets running back Chris Ivory runs for first down during the first quarter against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. (Jim O'Connor/USATSI)

Jets running back Chris Ivory said he would like to return to New York, but knows the team's tight cap space will make things difficult, he said at the Pro Bowl.

"I was able to speak with them," said Ivory, who made it to the Pro Bowl for the first time this year. "They want to bring me back but like I said, I think it's about the cap space. That's going to be the biggest factor as to whether I'm back or not."

The 27-year-old running back ran for 1,070 yards, recorded 217 receiving yards and totaled eight total touchdowns. He earned $2.75 million last season.

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Maybe I'm being cynical, but this makes it sound like the Jets are preparing Ivory for the fact that they're going to give him a lowball offer. Hiding behind their cap situation is an effective way of insulating themselves from accusations that they're disrespecting a loyal servant, but it most likely boils down to the fact that there's a discrepancy between what Ivory thinks he's worth and what the Jets would be prepared to pay him.

Ultimately, if the Jets felt he was worth his asking price, they could find a way to retain him. Equally, even if they had plenty of cap flexibility -- and with the cap rising at a rate of about $10 million per season at the moment, they arguably do -- the Jets likely wouldn't pay much more than their own valuation anyway.

Ivory had some great moments in his three years with the Jets and improved immeasurably as a pass catcher. This provided the Jets with a great return on their investment, both in terms of his salary and the pick they gave up to acquire him. However, he still had issues with consistency and durability, which would be of particular concern given that he'll be into his 30s toward the tail end of his next contract.

Tags: Chris Ivory

NFL says concussions way up; no release of full injury data
Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron (84) is looked at after suffering a concussion (Ken Blaze)

The NFL says reported concussions rose 58 percent in regular-season games to the highest number in any of the past four years.

The league issued its concussion data for 2015 on Friday, a little more than a week before the Super Bowl, but did not release any data about total injuries.

According to the NFL, there were 182 reported concussions from 2015 regular-season games, reversing a recent downward trend. There were 115 in 2014, 148 in 2013, and 173 in 2012.

A year ago, the league touted those decreases as a reflection of players changing the way they play football.

NFL Senior Vice President of Health and Safety Policy Jeff Miller says Friday the league is trying to figure out why concussion numbers rose so much this season.


Check out SNY's coverage of the NFL's concussion issue with Head Games: The Concussion Crisis in the NFL


Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press


Keep 'em Dump 'em: Inside Linebackers
New York Jets inside linebacker David Harris (52) sacks Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) in the second half at Sun Life Stadium. (Brad Barr)

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

Over the next few weeks we will be looking at each position on the New York Jets roster and seeking your input on who you think should stay and who you think should go. Up next, the Jets inside linebackers.

Overview: This is a unit where a partial reboot is likely coming this offseason. David Harris should remain thanks to decent play in 2015 and a contract which doesn't lend itself to cutting Harris. Meanwhile, Demario Davis' 865 snaps in 2015 (sixth most for the Jets defense) could be walking out the door since it appears the Jets current coaching staff and front office aren't as impressed with his play as Rex Ryan was. Behind Harris and Davis, there's no obvious player waiting to step into a larger role … or is there?

Expected to Return (3)

David Harris, age 32
Taiwan Jones, age 22
Julian Stanford, age 25

Reaction: If ever there was a year to find interior linebacker talent on the cheap through free agency and/or via the NFL Draft, then this is the year to do it. Harris played passably in 2015 and there's no lock on the roster or heading into free agency that represents a starting Jets interior linebacker for the next three-to-five years. Jones has that old-school thumper vibe and is best used against the run. Stanford has seen time over three seasons in the NFL almost strictly on special teams. I fully expect the Jets to use a draft pick early on the third day of the NFL Draft to find an interior linebacker who can play in coverage. 

On the bubble (3)

Demario Davis, age 27 (pending free agent)
Erin Henderson, age 29 (pening free agent)
Jamari Lattimore, age 27 (pending free agent)

Reaction: Davis is the most recognizable name of the group to Jets fans, but he might not be the player who is asked to return. Davis graded out poorly through Week 11 and saw his snaps dwindle into the teens on a per-game basis at the end of the season. The expectation is that Davis might see a healthy deal in free agency from another team, but would the Jets be willing to match a deal for Davis when they already have more pressing defensive contracts with which to attend? The Jets will look to the draft for long-term help, but that will not be the team's only solution. While Davis's snaps were reduced in December it was Henderson who saw his time on the field increased and he played well enough during December to likely earn himself another contract with the Jets, one which is reportedly already under negotiation.

Tags: David Harris , Erin Henderson , Taiwan Jones , Brian Bassett

Jets have opened contract negotiations with Erin Henderson
(Ed Mulholland)

The Jets have opened contract negotiations with LB Erin Henderson, according to Dom Cosentino of the Star-Ledger (Jan. 28).

Henderson is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in March, but Cosentino cites a source who says the two sides should be able to come to terms before then.

Henderson, 29, played all 16 games for the Jets this past season after missing the entire 2014 season due to two drunken driving arrests. 

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

Besides this being good news for Henderson, this might signal bad news for Demario Davis's future with the team, as I wrote about last week. Expect the Jets to try and inject youth into the ILB group through the draft, but a player like Henderson is a perfect bridge solution.

Beyond Henderson grading out better than Davis according to ProFootball Focus, Henderson also saw a large increase in snaps while Davis' tailed off drastically in December. Add in that Henderson would likely come on a team-friendlier deal than Davis and Henderson's succession of Davis might already be a done deal.

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter An interesting point regarding Henderson. which I discussed with Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com, is that since Henderson was a minimum salaried vested veteran in 2015, the only contract the Jets can sign him to right now is another one-year, minimum salary deal.

If the Jets want to sign him to a longer deal or pay him more than the minimum, they will have to wait until the first day of the 2016 league year in March.

Tags: Erin Henderson , Brian Bassett

Jets Keep 'em or Dump 'em: Running Backs
New York Jets running back Chris Ivory runs with the ball while avoiding a tackle attempt by New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower during the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland/USATSI)

Over the next few weeks we will be looking at each position on the New York Jets roster and seeking your input on who you think should stay and who you think should go. Up next, the Jets' running backs.

Overview: Where to go from here? In some ways I am at war with myself. I know the current NFL to be one where running backs are mostly considered disposable commodities. Yes, the best running backs do add value to a team, though proportionally so much less than 15 years ago. I also know that the Jets' backups who are signed through 2016 are not even close to as good as the team's top two runners. Letting Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell simply hand over their duties to Stevan Ridley and Zac Stacy could grind the Jets 2016 offense to a screeching halt. Should Powell and Ivory both walk, this group has the potential to be an unholy alliance of the 1995 and 2006 Jets backfields.

Expected to Return (3)

HB Zac Stacy, age 24
FB Tommy Bohanon, age 25
FB/LB Julian Howsare, age 23

Reaction: In short, this group needs more additions, through free agency or through the draft. With three halfbacks walking out the door, there's not going to be enough talent on the roster without some series of acquisitions. While Ridley and Stacy have seen extended time as feature players on other teams, their work in their first year with the Jets was not enough for me to want to see more feature work for them. Both graded out poorly in Pro Football Reference and below replacement level in efficiency on Football Outsiders. From a cap perspective these guys cost almost nothing to keep, but from a talent perspective the team desperately need to upgrade.

As far as the fullbacks, Bohanon again struggled in his work with the team and I expect they will bring in competition. One man who might get a chance at that is Howsare, who has a shot to become a special teamer but might also get an offseason to try his hand at fullback to see if he can find a place on the team.

On the bubble (3)

HB Chris Ivory, age 27 (pending free agent)
HB Bilal Powell, age 27 (pending free agent)
HB Stevan Ridley, age 27 (pending free agent)

Reaction: The Jets might only be able to bring back one player from this group and I think it might be Powell. Ivory played well during the season, but fell apart in the last month. While his running style is punishing, his history with injuries makes me wary of giving him another contract, especially in a year when cap space will be at a premium. It's likely that the Jets can retain Powell at a cheaper rate than they might with Ivory, and Powell's ability to run between the tackles or be used as a pass-catcher was a major part of the Jets' offense during the last six weeks of the season. Unless the Jets saw something different in practice than we saw in his time on Sundays, don't expect the Jets to bring back Ridley aside from on a minimum-level deal.

Tags: Bilal Powell , Chris Ivory , Stevan Ridley , Tommy Bohanon , Zac Stacy , Brian Bassett

Jets Keep 'em or Dump 'em: Wide Receivers
New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall points towards the sideline during a timeout against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. (Cary Edmondson/USATSI)

Over the next few weeks we will be looking at each position on the New York Jets roster and seeking your input on who you think should stay and who you think should go. Up next, the Jets' wide receivers.

Overview: On the whole, this group is in good order for the 2016 season, but needs some added pieces to maintain the level of effectiveness that we saw out of the Jets passing game in 2015. The team will need to find a third receiver to take some of the pressure (and some of the burden) off of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Will that player come from within or someone they pick up through free agency or the draft?

Expected to Return (6)

Eric Decker, age 28
Quincy Enunwa, age 23
Brandon Marshall, age 31
Devin Smith, age 23
Joe Anderson, age 27 (futures contract)
Chandler Worthy, age 22 (futures contract)

Reaction: First, if Todd Bowles wants to attempt to keep Decker and Marshall healthy for much of the season as possible, the team shouldn't expect to rely so heavily on the duo for the bulk of targets on offense. That means finding a third reliable receiver is a priority. Enunwa had some limited success as a pass catcher, but was much more efficient as a downfield blocker. Smith, last year's second-round pick, might see a larger role next year if he can stay healthy. We will have to see what Anderson and Worthy bring to the team in camp, but look for the Jets to find a player from outside the organization to compete for that third job.

On the bubble (3)

Jeremy Kerley, age 27 (potential cut)
Chris Owusu, age 26 (pending free agent)
Kenbrell Thompkins, age 27 (pending free agent)

Reaction: After the way the offense barely utilized him in 2015, Kerley sure seems like a goner. A viable slot receiver who could slide to the outside for this team just a year ago, the Jets will part ways with Kerley and his salary savings by cutting him some time before the start of free agency. Owusu flashed during the preseason so much that the team offered him a contract on the active roster just shortly thereafter. He is incredibly talented, but unfortunately he struggled to stay healthy and might walk away from the game due to his concern over mounting concussions. Thompkins had a solid late December for the Jets and well fully expect the Jets will offer Thompkins a cheap contract this offseason to see if he will return.

Tags: Brandon Marshall , Chris Owusu , Devin Smith , Eric Decker , Jeremy Kerley , Quincy Enunwa , Brian Bassett

Ivory and Mangold will play for Team Rice during Pro Bowl
(Kirby Lee)

During the Pro Bowl Draft on Wednesday night, Jets RB Chris Ivory and C Nick Mangold were selcted by Team Rice.

For this year's Pro Bowl, the NFL All-Stars will be broken up in an unconferenced format and will play for teams captained by former NFL stars Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin.

The Pro Bowl takes place on Jan. 31 at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii.

Tags: Chris Ivory , Nick Mangold

Bowles does not consider his first season a success, despite 10-wins
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles before the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch)

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles would not call his first season a success, despite a 10-6, but did say positive strides were made, according to Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News (Jan. 26).

The Jets were eliminated from the playoffs after losing their regular season finale against the Buffalo Bills. Although a 10-6 record is typically good enough to reach the postseason, unfortunately the Jets were on the losing end of a tiebreaker with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the final AFC Wild Card spot.

"It's not a success because you didn't win a Super Bowl," Bowles said of his first season as a head coach. "It's the first year. We made some mistakes. We know. I have to grow as a coach. We have to grow as a team. … For the first year, we made some positive strides and we got to build on it."

With the constant overturn in NFL rosters, Bowles says the Jets must continue to reinvent themselves and evolve as a team in order to succeed.

"You got to reinvent your team and re-create your team, because you're going to have some different pieces," Bowles said. "You try to always get to the playoffs. Your goal is get to the Super Bowl. Any time you don't win it - and 31 teams don't - it's a disappointment, but … you can grow to a certain point even if you don't win it. ... You don't look at it as a boom or a bust, but you're not trying to be .500, either."

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

Nothing out of the ordinary for Bowles. The now second year head coach knows that his success will be measured by winning a Super Bowl and he's not willing to say anything short of such is a good ending.

Some of the more interesting pieces came in the form of the comments Bowles made on how he deployed Darrelle Revis in the Week 17 game against Sammy Watkins and on Damon Harrisons' future with the team. According to the article, Bowles doubled-down on his usage of Revis in off coverage against Watkins because of Revis' health and the game conditions (wet and windy). It's understandable that the Jets were constrained by circumstance ... but shouldn't the plan have changed at half-time? Or at least tried for a series or two before reverting?

To me, the most interesting part of the piece is when Bowles discusses what it would take for the Jets to bring Harrison back as a free agent. It would seem that money will be the gating factor for Harrison as he heads to the free agent market. He seems inclined to not sign a deal until he truly knows what he's worth and he seems likely to accept the best offer. The Jets like Harrison and want to bring him back, but they might have a value assigned to what they are willing to pay him and unfortunately I get the sense that there might be a sizable gap.

Tags: Tim Reilly

Jets settle lawsuit over wages with cheerleaders
New York Jets flight crew cheerleaders pose at the Super Bowl XLVIII media party at Chelsea Piers. (Kirby Lee)

The New York Jets have settled a lawsuit over a wages dispute with their cheerleaders, according to John Ensslin of NorthJersey.com.

The cheerleaders, better known as "The Flight Crew," brought about the class-action lawsuit after they claimed to be cheated out of wages, were unpaid for practices and forced to pay for work-related expenses (makeup, hair treatment and transportation) during the 2012 and 2013 season.  

The Jets agreed to pay $324,000 in the settlement, which will be distributed among the 52 current and former cheerleaders involved in the suit.

New York joins Oakland, Buffalo and Cincinnati as organizations who have recently settled with their cheerleading squads in similar lawsuits.  

Tags: Tim Reilly

Jets' Richardson avoids jail time in Missouri police chase
(Brad Penner)

New York Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson will avoid jail time after pleading guilty to reduced charges connected to a high-speed police chase in suburban St. Louis.

A St. Charles County judge sentenced the former University of Missouri star Tuesday to two years of probation and community service after his July arrest for driving a Bentley Silver Spur at 143 mph on an interstate highway near his offseason home. The five misdemeanor charges included one for resisting arrest.

Richardson's guilty plea to the most serious offense will be expunged if he successfully completes probation.

He served a four-game, early season suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. His defense attorney said he doesn't expect Richardson to face more NFL discipline related to the Missouri case.

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

Per multiple reports, Richardson won't see any time in jail but will serve two years of probation. Richardson will have to stay out of trouble over the next two years the incident will be expunged from his record.

As far as the NFL? Richardson might not be out of the woods just yet. The NFL can still discipline Richardson under the league's personal conduct policy as he wasn't found innocent but plead out his charges in court. While this was a big hurdle in Richardson's playing status for 2016, I fully expect this could drag out over the next few months as the NFL is usually wont to do in the offseason.


Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press

Tags: Sheldon Richardson

Schrager predicts Jets will select RB Ezekiel Elliott
Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) rushes in the third quarter against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. (Tim Fuller)

In his first Mock Draft, Peter Schrager of Fox Sports predicts the Jets will select RB Ezekiel Elliott from Ohio State (Jan. 26).

Elliott is Schrager's No. 1 rated RB in the draft and is the first RB he has coming off the board to New York with the 20th overall pick.

Last season he ran for 1,821 yards and scored 23 touchdowns for the Buckeyes.

Elliott was named the Offensive MVP in Ohio State's National Championship victory in 2015. 

Tags: Tim Reilly

Jets might have to consider drafting a QB in the first-round
North Dakota State Bison quarterback Carson Wentz (11) throws a pass in the third quarter against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks in the FCS Championship college football game at Toyota Stadium. North Dakota State won the championship 37-10. (Tim Heitman)

The New York Jets might have to consider selecting a QB with the 20th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, according ESPN's Rich Cimini (Jan. 26).

GM Mike Maccagnan recently said that the Jets plan on beginning discussions with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick about a return to New York (Jan. 22).

With the possibility of the Jets retaining the veteran to stabilize themselves at QB, they could look to draft for their future at the position.

Carson Wentz, of North Dakota State, and Paxton Lynch, of Memphis, are both projected first-round picks. Early indications from mock drafts have one of, if not both, Wentz and Lynch available at No. 20 when New York is on the clock.

"I think every NFL team probably goes into the draft, with maybe a few exceptions of people who have really well-established quarterbacks, looking at that position as a position of interest," Maccagnan said regarding the Jets draft strategy. "We'll be no different than them. I don't want to sit there and say, with the 20th pick were going to be targeting a quarterback. Two things: one is you don't want to tell the 31 other teams what you're going to do, but I also think that's kind of a flawed approach to a certain degree."

Last season the Jets drafted QB Bryce Petty in the fourth-round. Although the Jets have not given up on the young QB, they could be hard-pressed to pass up the talents of Wentz and Lynch, if either is still available. 

Tags: Bryce Petty , Ryan Fitzpatrick , Tim Reilly

Super Bowl set: Broncos and Panthers will meet for title
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning celebrates after defeating the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

The Denver Broncos defense stopped Tom Brady on a potential game-tying two-point conversion after his four-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski brought the New England Patriots within two points, as the Broncos won the AFC Championship Game, 20-18, and head to their second Super Bowl in three years. 

Denver's defense sacked Brady four times and intercepted him twice, excluding Bradley Roby's pick on the two-point attempt. Quarterback Peyton Manning threw two touchdowns to tight end Owen Daniels. >> Read more on the Broncos win...

Quarterback Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more as the Carolina Panthers blew out the Arizona Cardinals, 49-15, Sunday in the NFC Championship Game. Newton threw an 86-yard pass to Corey Brown and a five-yard touchdown pass to Devin Funchess, and had touchdown runs of one yard and 12 yards. Carson Palmer lost two fumbles and threw four interceptions, including a pick-six to Luke Kuechly in the fourth quarter. >> Read more on the Panthers win...

Tags: Carolina Panthers , Denver Broncos

Keep 'em Dump 'em: Outside Linebackers
Nov 29, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin (55) hits Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) In the 2nd half at MetLife Stadium.The Jets defeated the Dolphins 38-20. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports (William Hauser)

Over the next few weeks we will be looking at each position on the New York Jets roster and seeking your input on who you think should stay and who you think should go. Up next, the Jets outside linebackers.

Overview: When Sheldon Richardson is the best rushing edge player for the New York Jets in 2015, you know that there are some roster concerns that must be addressed before next season. While the Jets have a young group of players who are expected to be back, the answers for starting outside linebacker help and edge rusher are not currently on the roster. The team will need to see what bargains they can find in free agency come March but more importantly they must consider how to addressed the problem in finding an edge player to pair with Lorenzo Mauldin through April's upcoming NFL Draft.   

Expected to Return (4)

Lorenzo Mauldin, age 23
Trevor Reilly, age 28
Mike Catapano, age 25
Deion Barnes, age 23

Reaction: This group does not jump out at you. Mauldin saw the most action of the group and played well as the season wore on. Reilly did see some defensive package work but was mostly a core special teamer for the Jets in 2015. Barnes was a nice find for the Jets and showed up well in training camp and some of his preseason work, but as a rookie, improvement is necessary to stay with the team. Mike Catapano came over from the Chiefs after washing out of their 3-4 scheme and saw limited work when Sheldon Richardson was injured in November. Catapano wound up on the team's injured reserve, marking the second straight season that Catapano ended up on the injured reserve after a mysterious illness in 2014 with the Chiefs.

On the bubble (1)

Calvin Pace, age 35 (pending free agent)

Reaction: It's a testament to Calvin Pace that he has lasted with the Jets since 2008 when he joined the team as a major free agent signing from Arizona. Pace has been an important part of the team's edge play and stuffing of the rush dating back to his days with Eric Mangini. Should Pace want to continue to want to play the Jets might offer him a (likely) veteran minimum deal in May, June or even right on the verge of training camp. I could see Pace coming back again next year, but likely in a reduced role based on how free agency and the NFL Draft plays out.


Jets, Fitzpatrick will talk in the near future
New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) drops back to pass at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

The Jets and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will begin discussions about a possible return to New York soon, said GM Mike Maccagnan in an interview on WFAN on Friday (Cosentino, Jan. 22).

"We're going to talk to Ryan's people here in the very near future," Maccagnan said while on the "Boomer and Carton Show." "We have time, obviously, before free agency, and we really would like to get Ryan back in the fold. [Head coach] Todd [Bowles] has said that. Obviously, myself and the rest of the organization feel very strongly about this."

Fitzpatrick, 33, led the Jets to a 10-6 record and their most prolific offensive season in franchise history.

He threw for 3,905 yards and had 31 touchdown passes last season.

"I think it's a good situation for all of us, and we just have to go through this process, and hopefully we can come to an agreement where it's fair and everybody's happy with it going forward," Maccagnan added.

Fitzpatrick is scheduled to become a free agent. 

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

This doesn't come as much of a surprise to anyone that the Jets and Fitzpatrick would work on a deal, but maybe the when of it is more of the news here. With free agency not set to begin until almost the middle of March the Jets have plenty of time -- two months in fact -- to work on a deal with Fitz. Starting negotiations now shows a sign of good faith by both sides to get a deal done that works for both the player and the team ... so I take this as a good sign.

 If I had to guess what the salary cap numbers will look like -- I think he could see as much as $10-12 million dollars per year on a three-year deal where the Jets can pay-as-they-go but inflate the third year to make it look bigger, but I could be wrong. In fact, I'll defer to Jason at OverTheCap.com, who suggested on Twitter before New Year's that Fitzpatrick could get a deal in the neighborhood of "$6-8" million per year. Should Fitzy see half to three quarters of what I am suggesting, that could give the Jets a lot of cap space to swing some other interesting deals in free agency.

Tags: Ryan Fitzpatrick , Tim Reilly

Raiders' Cooper replaces Jets' Marshall in Pro Bowl
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper catches a pass before the start of the game against the New York Jets at O.co Coliseum. (Cary Edmondson/USATSI)

(AP) -- Oakland Raiders rookie receiver Amari Cooper was added to the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement.

The NFL announced Thursday that Cooper would take the place of New York Jets wideout Brandon Marshall.

Cooper is the fifth Raiders player to get the honor, joining injury replacement quarterback Derek Carr, safety Charles Woodson, pass rusher Khalil Mack and fullback Marcel Reece. Reece will not play because of a suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Cooper led all rookies with 72 catches for 1,070 yards this season. He is the sixth Raiders rookie to make the Pro Bowl, joining Woodson, Tim Brown, Marcus Allen, Ray Guy and Raymond Chester.

Tags: Brandon Marshall , Oakland Raiders

Maccagnan named PFWA Executive of the Year
(AP)

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has been named the PFWA Executive of the Year, it was announced on Thursday.

Among the players Maccagnan brought in prior to the 2015 season were QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and WR Brandon Marshall.

In what was his first season with the Jets, Maccagnan oversaw a 10-6 season, though the team missed out on the playoffs.

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

I am thrilled that Mike Maccagnan was given this award. It was well-deserved for a first-year GM who came into a cratered organization and used the talent in place, spent money in the right places, drafted well and got excellent results through trading for Marshall and Fitzpatrick.

It's also obvious this year's award was given using a one-year window, for which I have mixed feelings. There are plenty of other worthy front offices that have either built sustained success (Packers, Patriots, Seahawks) or have taken multi-year endeavors in turning around bad organizations (Panthers, Cardinals) which are now on the verge of the Superbowl. It can be argued that those GMs are just as worthy as Maccagnan and this also sets up some overly high expectations for Maccagnan as he enters his second year as GM.

Personally, I think it's the job that Maccagnan did in rebuilding this team, but it's also his deep and well-respected roots as a scout right alongside his affable manner and willingness to engage on a very human level with the players, fans, and (most importantly given who voted) the media.

Congratulations to Mike Maccagnan for a well-deserved award. We look forward to the ways he'll look to improve the team in 2016.

Tags: Brian Bassett

Jets made offer to CFL WR Rogers, who signed with 49ers
(Jim Brown)

The Jets made an offer to former CFL wide receiver Eric Rogers, who has since signed with the 49ers, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN (Jan. 20)..

Rogers' deal with the 49ers will guarantee him $300,000 over two years.

Last season in the CFL, Rogers had 1,448 receiving yards.

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The most noteworthy thing about this is that it clues us in to the fact that the Jets are seeking to upgrade at the wide receiver position. While you might think Rogers would be a project, he led the CFL in receiving and has a nice combination of size and athleticism that make him attractive as a potential immediate contributor at the NFL level.

Rogers enters the league with a more impressive track record than former Toronto Argonauts receiver Dontrelle Inman, who caught 35 passes for just under 500 yards and three scores in 2015, in his second season with the San Diego Chargers. If the Jets can pick up a cheap receiver who can put up that kind of production it will provide a boost for a passing game that was often overly reliant on Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.

Speaking of the Argonauts, former Jets receiver Vidal Hazelton caught 70 passes for them this year for over 800 yards, but didn't do his prospects of an NFL return any favors with some disciplinary issues. Hazelton had a chance to make the Jets roster a couple of years ago, but suffered a season-ending injury in camp. Rogers was much more productive than Hazelton last year, though, suggesting that he could go one step further toward being a contributor at the NFL level.


Keep 'em Dump 'em: Safeties
New York Jets strong safety Calvin Pryor (25) in his game against the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium. The Jets won, 34-20. (Vincent Carchietta)

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

Over the next few weeks we will be looking at each position on the New York Jets roster and seeking your input on who you think should stay and who you think should go. Up next, the Jets safeties.

Overview: The safety battery for the Jets benefitted from an overhaul to not only its unit, but to that of the closely associated cornerback position. Overall, the two groups played excellent opportunistic football, fairing with far better numbers than they posted in 2014. In 2015, the Jets corralled 18 interceptions, eclipsing the New York Jets team total of 13 total turnovers (only seven INTs) in 2014. 

Calvin Pryor played a strong season alongside Marcus Gilchrist, a free agent who came over from the Chargers on a contract that was structured as a year-by-year deal. Despite numerous injuries to the Jets at the safety spot, the group soldiered on thanks to solid play from Pryor and Gilchrist. 

Expected to Return (5)

Pryor, age 23
Gilchrist, age 27
Dion Bailey, age 23
Rontez Miles, age 27
Ronald Martin, age 22

Reaction: Overall this is a very young group, but one which could benefit from improvement in personnel who excel at covering the pass. Pryor impressed in his sophomore season after a rough rookie year under Rex Ryan. Coach Bowles put Pryor more in a position to succeed than Ryan had and the difference was notable. I expect that Gilchrist will return, but he does have a juicy salary cap savings ($3.75M for a pre-June 1 cut, $5.0M for a post-June 1 cut) that the Jets might want to avail themselves of should they get their back to the salary cap wall. With Miles and Martin under contract, there's little reason to let them do anything but compete for jobs in camp. Bailey could be the dark horse of this group as a potential starter should the team actually cut Gilchrist. Bailey played a limited role in 2015 but graded out well in coverage against Miami in Week 4 and Jacksonville in Week 9. Bailey has good agility and average speed as demonstrated by his Mockdraftable spider graph.

On the bubble (2)

Jaiquawn Jarrett, age 26 (pending free agent)
Antonio Allen, age 27 (pending free agent)

Reaction: As noted above, Gilchrist could be argued to be placed into this group along with Jarrett and Allen, but based on the former Charger's play in 2015, the Jets might have the luxury to extend his pay-as-you-go contract through 2016. Allen injured his Achilles tendon during training camp and was placed on IR before the Jets even cleared training camp. Jarrett went to injured reserve in October but only had played 13 defensive snaps before he did.

Tags: Calvin Pryor , Marcus Gilchrist , Brian Bassett

QB coach Kevin Patullo was a big reason for offensive success
New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws a pass during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22 to 17. (Timothy T. Ludwig)

New York Jets QB coach Kevin Patullo might not receive much public praise, but he was the man behind the scenes in the Jets most successful offensive season in franchise history (Mehta, Jan. 20).

Patullo joined the Jets offensive staff with ties to offensive coordinator Chan Gailey and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Prior to joining New York, he worked with the two in Buffalo for three seasons.

Fitzpatrick credited Patullo with being the middle man in weekly game plan designs.

"Kevin's got a great feel for what I like, what I'm comfortable with and what I'm not comfortable with," Fitzpatrick said. "He serves as a good buffer… So, Kevin will do the dirty work and try to get the play put in. He's kind of the go-between of what I like and Chan's vision. He brings it all together."

Rookie QB Bryce Petty, who served as the Jets second and third string option this season, also praised the work Patullo did with him this year.

"Aside from being supportive of my growth and learning from Day One," Petty said, "He and I have had significant one-on-one talks. Some of it might be me venting. He's always been real positive of the things that I am doing well and the fact that it takes time."

Jets players have clearly not overlooked Patullo's contributions this season as a reason for their offensive success.  

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

This piece is nicely done by Mehta; it's an interesting dynamic that the Daily News explores between the players and coaches and one which I was unaware of before reading this article. As the position coach, Patullo is in a great spot to act as the intermediary between the game-planner and the man who pulls the trigger on Sundays. You get the sense that Fitzpatrick and Gailey both have strong senses of what they want to see out of the game plan and Patullo's familiarity with Gailey and Fitz from their days together in Buffalo allows for respect and trust between all parties in the decision making process. If it ain't broke ... don't fix it!!

Tags: Bryce Petty , Ryan Fitzpatrick , Tim Reilly

Jets sign two more players to reserve/future contracts
(Mark Konezny)

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

Williams attended Wagner and is slightly on the small side but might make be most useful as a potential special teamer for the Jets. As an undrafted player in 2015, Hickey spent time last year with the Saints as a second-team guard before winding up on the Patriots practice squad in October. Hickey is said to be smart, intuitive and could be a center cut out of the Chris Myers cloth, but that his physical talent might limit his work as an exterior player on the line.


DNL: Willie Colon 00:05:01
Jets guard Willie Colon joins the program to preview this weekend's NFL Championship games, including Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

Maccagnan turns focus to offseason, free agency
New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) celebrates his game winning touchdown pass from New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick during overtime at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland)

Mike Maccagnan hasn't had much time to judge his performance in his first year as the New York Jets' general manager.

There are too many other things to do - such as focus on next season.

"I probably won't catch my breath until after the draft," Maccagnan said Thursday while meeting with reporters for the first time since November.

The Jets went 10-6 in Todd Bowles' first season as coach, but missed the playoffs after losing the regular-season finale at Buffalo.

"We're happy with the progress we made," Maccagnan said. "I think in a perfect world, you're hoping to be a team that competes for the playoffs and we came one game short, and that was disappointing."

New York started 4-1, but then hit a tough stretch in which it lost four of five to sit at .500.

Then, things turned around, with the Jets winning five straight to put themselves right back into the postseason picture. Huge seasons from Ryan FitzpatrickBrandon MarshallEric DeckerChris Ivory and Muhammad Wilkerson were all contributors.

But now comes the hard part: Trying to build off that and actually reach the playoffs next season.

"One nice thing about our season, I thought, was watching the team kind of come together in the locker room, and that's some of the stuff - those intangible things - that are hard to judge," Maccagnan said.

"I thought at the end of the season, we came together and did some nice things and statistically, we did good things, but I felt good that we got closer to maybe being a team that could go in there and compete for a playoff spot every year." >> Read more…

Tags: Brandon Marshall , Chris Ivory , Eric Decker , Muhammad Wilkerson , Ryan Fitzpatrick

Jets' keep 'em or dump 'em: Cornerbacks
Nov 29, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Dexter McDougle (23) and New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) celebrate In the 2nd half at MetLife Stadium.The Jets defeated the Dolphins 38-20. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports (William Hauser)

Keep 'em/Dump 'em: Cornerbacks

Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at each position on the Jets and seeking your input on who should stay and who should go. First up is one of the units that saw the biggest improvement between the 2014 and 2015 seasons. With the additions of Buster Skrine, Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, the group was quickly re-tooled to the benefit of Todd Bowles' new defense, but what was also clear was that this was not likely going to be a long-term reunion between Revis and Cromartie. 

Expected to Return (4)

Darrelle Revis, age 30
Buster Skrine, age 26
Marcus Williams, age 24
Dexter McDougle, age 24

Reaction: I don't expect Revis and Skrine will be satisfied with their level of play during the 2015 season, but they were still integral parts of the larger scheme that held their own against opposing receivers. Two players still under restricted contracts are Williams and McDougle. Williams has been the most impressive of the two in replacement and package work, but the two offer plus depth for the Jets as necessary.

On the bubble (3)

Antonio Cromartie, age 31 (potential cap casualty)
Dee Milliner, age 24 (tradable asset)
Darrin Walls, age 27 (free agent)

Reaction: With needs at other positions, the Jets are going to have to tighten their belt at cornerback. Expect the Jets to re-allocate the 2016 money destined for Cromartie elsewhere. Milliner is a player who accelerates money off the Jets' cap in the most efficient fashion if he is traded. Assuming the Jets have no plans for Milliner moving forward, then trading him for whatever they can get -- even if it is just a bag of footballs -- would be better compared to cutting him. Walls played just 125 of the more than 1000 defensive snaps available. I don't expect the Jets would bring him back.

Tags: Brian Bassett

Maccagnan believes Petty has No. 2 QB potential
New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty throws a pass at practice at the Hazelwood in advance of the NFL International Series game against the Miami Dolphins. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Despite not playing a snap in the regular season, Jets rookie quarterback Bryce Petty has potential to be the team's No. 2 quarterback next season, according to GM Mike Maccagnan (Jan. 15).

"We feel, ability-wise, he can definitely be a quality No. 2," Maccagnan said. "The rest is kind of up to him. He has the physical ability to potentially be a starting-caliber quarterback, but he still has to do it on the field and in the preseason, so we can kind of see where he's at. We're excited to work with him."

Petty, 24, was the Jets' fourth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Baylor, where he went 21-4 in two years as a starter and threw for 3,855 yards, 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2014.

In three preseason games, Petty threw for 260 yards on 27-of-45 passing with one touchdown and no interceptions. He spent the entire season third on the Jets' depth chart behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith.

Brian Bassett, theJetsBlog.com Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TJB Posts

More than anything, I read this as an allowance for the idea of Petty as the team's backup in 2016, but not a guarantee. If they think Petty has that ability, they've already demonstrated a willingness to test that theory early in the season when they only retained Petty behind Fitzpatrick while Smith recovered from his jaw injury.

It will be interesting to see how the next few months unfold, but outside the team trading Smith, I cannot imagine him being anywhere but part of this team through training camp.

Tags: Bryce Petty
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