Islanders’ Anthony Beauvillier proving once again the playoffs are his time

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Anthony Beauvillier is thriving in the playoffs for the Islanders.

In the Isles’ current first round series with the Penguins, Beauvillier has been one of the better forwards for an Islander team that has struggled to generate offense consistently. According to Natural Stat Trick, Beauvillier ranks fourth among Islander forwards in GF/60 (Goals For) at even strength and is second on the team in HDCF/60 (High Danger Chances For) in the postseason. The 23-year-old has registered a point in all but one contest — the 2-1 game two loss in Pittsburgh — going into the possible clincher tonight. His goal on Monday night was a thing of beauty and showed how much confidence he’s playing with again on the postseason stage.

Beauvillier’s ascension in the playoffs seems to becoming an annual ritual especially the last two years. Last summer in the bubble, the QC native was one of the talks of the league with his performance over the first three rounds. Beauvillier would finish the Isles’ run with 14 points in 22 games, good for fourth behind Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey. He cooled off a bit in Conference finals, but Beauvillier’s excellent play had his trajectory pointing upward and earned him a reputation as a speedy, relentless player.

Entering this season, Beauvillier was looked upon to take that next step as a consistent threat coming off that solid postseason. Getting hurt early in the season threw a wrench in those plans. And it wasn’t until the final few weeks of the regular season that playoff Beau began to come out again. He ended the season on a hot streak going 7-6-13 in the final 11 games. That strong finish has now transferred over to the first round, and the Islanders have reaped all the benefits from it. “When you have a big piece of the game, you have lots of confidence,” Head Coach Barry Trotz has said of Beauvillier. “When you have a big positive effect on any game, you feel good about your play.”

Beauvillier’s line too with Nelson and Bailey, whom was responsible for two of the team’s three goals in game five, has picked up the slack as the team’s first line has struggled during the series.

The playoffs seem to bring out a more focused, more intense Beauvillier. It even goes back to his days in the QMJHL with Shawinigan. The year after following the Isles drafting him 28th overall, Beauvillier recorded 30 points in 21 postseason games leading the Cataractes to the President’s Cup, where they were defeated by Rouyn-Noranda in five games.

Beauvillier continues to be one of most vital players for the Islanders to be successful in the postseason. Now with an opportunity to move on to the second round for a third consecutive years, the Isles will need him to keep playing the way he has. After all, he is showing once again why the playoffs are his time to shine.

Not since 28 years ago have the Islanders been able to clinch a postseason series on Nassau Coliseum ice. They will have that chance tonight in front of 9,000 screaming fans.

The Isles have won a series on home ice in the last five years, but that came at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center when John Tavares scored in double OT in game six against the Panthers.

Tonight might just be a little crazier than that evening. The atmosphere should be electric.

Yankees: Corey Kluber injury news positive as fans hold their breath

corey kluber, new york yankees

The moment that New York Yankees starting pitcher Corey Kluber felt shoulder tightness, everybody held their breath. Just a week ago, Kluber completed the first no-hitter of his career and the first since 1999 for the Yankees. Funny enough, David Cone was the last starter to complete the act donning the pinstripes, but now the Yankees are facing a potential problem in the starting rotation as their number two will likely be out for a period of time.

Kluber has dealt with a variety of injuries in the past, including a shoulder issue on that same arm last year that was more centralized. This season, he currently hosts a 3.04 ERA, but his pitches were deteriorating quickly against Toronto on Tuesday before he allowed two runs.

Luckily, Kluber feels confident that this injury is nothing too serious, indicating that he tried to work through it and get the adrenaline pumping, but he could feel discomfort in the area.

“Last year, it was more localized to one specific area,” Kluber said. “This just kind of feels more in general to me. I can’t really pinpoint one area where anything was painful or anything like that. I felt like I had trouble getting it going, a fatigued feeling.”

The Yankees are preparing to diagnose the issues through an MRI, but the team feels confident that the injury contains no structural damage and simply could be fatigue-related. After all, he did pitch an entire game last week at 35 years old, so he simply could’ve just needed a bit more time to rest and recuperate.

Nonetheless, Kluber has established himself as the partner in crime with Gerrit Cole as the ace, something the Yankees have lack significantly over the past few seasons. The team let Masahiro Tanaka go in free agency this past offseason, electing to go with Kluber on a one-year, $11 million deal. So far, that decision seems to be panning out for the better, but health continues to remain an issue for a team that is struggling at multiple positions.

Luckily, they have plenty of depth in the starting rotation, as they could ask young Dominican Republic native Deivi Garcia to make the jump and fill a spot at the back end of the rotation. Hopefully, Kluber won’t be out for too much time; they have the players necessary to supplement his loss while he rehabilitates.

Mets: Noah Syndergaard suffers setback in his most recent rehab start

New York Mets, Noah Syndergaard, yankees

New York Mets’ starter Noah Syndergaard underwent Tommy John surgery last March, so the team expected him to be ready to contribute in MLB around June or July if everything went according to the plan.

That was the case, until last night. Thor, one of the best starters on the Mets’ roster, had to leave his second rehab start for Class A St. Lucie after just one inning because of right elbow soreness, which is never a good sign for Tommy John surgery patients.

The right-hander had his first rehab start last week and reported no issues whatsoever after throwing four innings and hitting 97 miles per hour in the radar gun. The Mets wanted him to pitch around five innings yesterday and were counting on him to serve as a rotation reinforcement.

Reports from Port St. Lucie, Fla. yesterday indicated that his velocity dipped from the mid-90s to mid-80s during the inning. Mets’ manager Luis Rojas downplayed the severity of Syndergaard’s setback and said to the team official site that the issue is “more like a discomfort” than “soreness.”

“No one’s overly concerned,” Rojas said. “It was more preventative than anything, taking him out after throwing one inning because of the discomfort he had. He just didn’t feel right.”

The Mets could use Syndergaard amid injury crisis

The last season in which Syndergaard pitched for the Mets in an MLB uniform was in 2019, when he had a 4.28 ERA in 32 starts.

For his career, Syndergaard is 47-30 with a very good 3.31 ERA, numbers that will sure help the Mets if/when he makes it back from the elbow reconstruction surgery.

Soreness after throwing following Tommy John surgery aren’t precisely uncommon, but they are considered setbacks.

“You expect there may be a speed bump in the road when you have a rehab assignment like this,” Rojas said of Syndergaard. “This is one of them.”

The Mets have an injury crisis that has extended to the rotation, as Carlos Carrasco, Syndergaard, Taijuan Walker, and Jordan Yamamoto are all on the injured list. Jacob deGrom came off it to win the game for the Mets on Tuesday.

After a solid win at UFC Vegas 27, what’s next for Jack Hermansson?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 27, Jack Hermansson (22-6) took on Edmen Shahbazyan (11-2) to kick off the main card. Hermansson was coming off of a December loss to Marvin Vettori.

Had Hermansson won that fight, he might’ve been in the UFC title conversation. However, Vettori got the win and Vettori is fighting for the title at UFC 263. Hermansson took a step back to take on the top prospect Edmen Shahbazyan.

In this matchup, it was all going to come down to where the fight took place. On the feet, you would think that the young Shahbazyan would have the advantage. On the ground is where Hermansson expected to dominate.

In the first round at UFC Vegas 27, Shahbazyan dominated with his standup. It was a great opening round for the prospect, but you could tell that he would be in some trouble should Hermansson get this fight down.

Over the next two rounds, Hermansson was able to do just that. Hermansson was able to get Shahbazyan down and completely dominated the final two rounds at UFC Vegas 27. Ultimately, Hermansson walked away with a unanimous decision victory.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 27?

This was a really good win for Hermansson to get him back on track. Overall, Hermansson is 6-2 in his last eight UFC appearances. However, the two losses came when he was knocking on the door of a title shot.

Hermansson appears to be a very good middleweight, but when he gets to the top of the division, that’s when he falters. However, with his skill set and being ranked sixth, he needs a good opponent with a good name.

Most of the middleweight division is booked, but there is one opponent that comes to mind for me. I think a perfect matchup would be pairing Hermansson against former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold (16-5).

Rockhold has been trying to get a fight booked at 185, but there hasn’t been any takers. The former champion wants a top guy to get right back in the mix and Hermansson fits the bill. It would be a big fight for both men and it honestly makes a lot of sense.

New York Knicks: 3 keys to beating the Atlanta Hawks in game 2

new york knicks, immanuel quickley, obi toppin

The New York Knicks are preparing to take on the Atlanta Hawks in the second game of their opening post-season series. In game one, the Knicks, unfortunately, fell at home by just two points, thanks to Trae Young and a couple of free shooting lanes.

The Knicks’ methodology to shut down Young simply did not work; his shiftiness and ability to get to the hoop were simply too much to handle. Even with Frank Ntilikina marking Young on the game’s final play, they clearly weren’t able to stop him and give themselves a better chance of extracting a victory.

Moving forward, the Knicks have an opportunity to bounce back, and there’s no question they can win a game two as long as Julius Randle is competing at a high level.

Three keys to beating the Atlanta Hawks for the New York Knicks:

1.) Julius Randle must return with a vengeance

Randle struggled considerably in game one, scoring just 15 points and recording four assists. Both of those categories were below average for his season, shooting just 6-of-23 from the field and 2-of-6 from three-point. If the Knicks want to walk away with a victory before heading to Atlanta, Randle must step up and play better. It was clear that the postseason jitters were taking hold, but we’ve seen him rise to the occasion in the past, and I fully expect him to shake off the nerves on Wednesday evening.

2.) 3-PT shooting must be better

The past few months have seen the Knicks take a stratospheric leap in three-point percentage, but they shot just 33.3% in game one. If not for Alec Burks and Immanuel Quickley, the Knicks’ three-point percentage would’ve been embarrassingly low. They combined for 37 points, leading the offense off the bench.

Reggie Bullock missed all of his five attempts from beyond the arc, as just one of them would’ve been enough to secure the victory, so it was clear that a few Knick players simply couldn’t handle the bright lights of MSG and the energy flowing through the stadium.

3.) Cannot allow Trae Young open lanes to the rim

The most obvious factor in this game is stopping Trae Young, who scored 32 points on 11-of-23 shooting from the field. He hit all nine of his free throws, so refraining from fouling Trae is a priority. He also spread the ball around tremendously well, recording 10 assists, including two offensive rebounds, which is unacceptable.

The Knicks wanted to stop Young from shooting primarily, giving him open lanes to test his floater, which he did not frequently miss with. In fact, whether that was their strategy or simply a miscommunication on defense, Young took full advantage of that flaw. Clogging the interior must be a priority, which means whoever is defending Young must understand that he’s trying to maneuver his way to the rim — better communication is needed.

Yankees: Corey Kluber explains his right shoulder injury, will he miss too much time?

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

From the start of his outing yesterday against the Toronto Blue Jays, it was evident that New York Yankees’ pitcher Corey Kluber wasn’t quite as dominant as last week, when he threw a no-hit, no-run. He just wasn’t able to get loose in warmups or on the mound.

As a result, he allowed a couple of runs, walked a bunch of hitters, and ended up departing his start after just 58 pitches. Moments later, his injury was deemed as right shoulder tightness.

Eager to calm down Yankees fans that are already fearing the worst, Kluber told the team official site that the injury doesn’t resemble the pain he felt after tearing a major muscle in the back of his right shoulder last season. His exit is seen as more of a precautionary one.

“As soon as I got the arm going, it felt kind of heavy, not painful or anything,” Kluber said. “I tried to throw a few innings in hopes that the adrenaline would get it going. I just wasn’t quite able to. I felt like it was compromising my quality of pitches, combined with trying to be smart and not risk injuring something else.”

The Yankees will send him for an MRI

The Yankees will send Kluber for tests on Wednesday, including an MRI they hope shows nothing structural.

Last season, when he was with the Texas Rangers, Kluber only threw one inning because of a Grade 2 tear of the teres major muscle in his right shoulder.

“Last year, it was more localized to one specific area,” Kluber said. “This just kind of feels more in general to me. I can’t really pinpoint one area where anything was painful or anything like that. I felt like I had trouble getting it going, a fatigued feeling.”

“In the second and third innings, his stuff deteriorated a little bit and I could tell he was struggling through something,” catcher Kyle Higashioka said. “I won’t lie, it had me rattled a little bit when he came out. For the next couple of innings, I was kind of thinking, ‘Well, I hope he’s OK.'”

The MRI will allow the Yankees to have a better idea of how much time Kluber is going to miss. Expect the team to recall Deivi Garcia to take his rotation spot in the meantime.

New York Yankees: 3 Major takeaways from the broken winning streak

Last night the New York Yankees met the East division Toronto Blue Jays in the first game of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium. Game one was not kind to the Yankees as they lost the contest 6-2 while not figuring out Jay’s pitcher Steven Matz. Although the loss broke their winning streak, it might be the least of their concerns. Cy Young award winner and recent no-hitter Corey Kluber left the game with a shoulder injury.

New York Yankees winning steak broken

As we all know, the New York Yankees started the season slowly, going 5-10 in their first 15 games for a team that was expected to explode upon the scene and sure bet to go the postseason. With such a slow start to the season, that projection was shattered.

But more recently, the team has made those projections closer to reality. Over the last month, they have won several series and most recently swept the best team in the AL Central, the Chicago White Sox. But last night, their 6 game winning streak ended when the Toronto Blue Jays beat them. The two teams that have given the Yankees the most trouble this season are the Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees have losing records against both teams.

The Yankees have two more games against the Jays before they move on to play the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees are now 28-20, just one game out of first place in the East. The Tampa Bay Rays have overtaken the Boston Red Sox for first place in the division.

Yankees suffer the loss of Corey Kluber

After Corey Kluber’s no-hitter, fans waited with bated breath to see how Kluber would pitch after the Yankees’ 12th no-hitter in its history. Little did those fans know what Kluber knew; he started the first inning with shoulder tightness that he tough might be resolved with the “adrenaline” of the game. Such was not the case, as the pitcher had to leave the game after the third inning. Before he left, he gave up two earned runs while walking three.

If this is a significant injury, it will be a huge blow to the Yankees and Kluber. At the moment, it appears after an exam that the problem may not be a huge problem. Manager Aaron Boone said after the game that we will have to see after tomorrow’s MRI to determine how serious the injury is. It appears he will miss at least one start. One thing is for sure; the Yankees will be cautious bringing him back into the rotation. If the Yankees make the postseason, they will be counting on their number two starter to be at his best.

Yankee’s defense improves

The New York Yankee pitching has, for the most part, been stellar. The hitting and defense haven’t been up to par. The hitting has improved somewhat recently, but the Yankees defense has really stepped up.

The much-maligned Gleyber Torres has greatly improved at short; DJ LeMahieu has been what he always is, just fine. Clint Frazier, although not hitting great, has been making flying catches that dazzle. But the defensive show-off has been Gio Urshela. He has initiated 13 double plays and one triple play to lead baseball in those categories.

Notes:

The New York Yankees will again face the Toronto Blue Jays in game two of the set at 7:05 pm EDT at the Stadium in the Bronx. The Yankees’ Domingo German is scheduled to face the Jays’ Alek Manoah in his major league debut. The weather at the time of this writing is questionable for the entire game. There is a 50% chance of rain with scattered thunderstorms in the area.

 

3 factors that could hold back the New York Giants’ offense in 2021

New York Giants, Jason Garrett, Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley

There’s plenty of reason for optimism regarding the New York Giants’ offense in 2021, but they must overcome a variety of issues that plagued them in 2020. Quarterback Daniel Jones had his fair share of issues, ranging from pocket awareness to trouble progressing through his reads in the passing game. Ultimately, Jones saw a stretch of growth and momentum before suffering a hamstring injury against the Cincinnati Bengals in week 11, but there’s no question he has the tangible traits and characteristics to be a quality quarterback at the NFL level.

I would argue that the Giants have given Jones little to work with over the past few seasons, which has stunted his growth and physically stopped him from maximizing his potential. Finally, they added a few weapons in free agency, and the NFL draft this offseason, including wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney.

The success of this team simply revolves around Jones, as the NFL has been redefined as an offensive league that focuses on points on the board, as we’ve seen with teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers. At times, you can supplement weaknesses on your defense with a quality offense, but the Giants are trying to enjoy the best of both worlds.

There are a few factors that could hold them back in 2021, so let’s take a look at the Giants, and what could hold them back on offense.

Three factors that could hold the New York Giants’ offense back in 2021:

1.) The offensive line

Once upon a time, general manager Dave Gettleman promised that he would solve the offensive line issues, but he has yet to fulfill that goal. The Giants remain optimistic with their group, as they will have in-person training and a pre-season to utilize, which should help tremendously. However, they must overcome the loss of Kevin Zeitler at right guard and develop a more downfield-oriented offense, which is expected. After all, Golladay did say he loved the “vision” of the offense for 2021, so we have to imagine he will be maximized downfield in man coverage.

Ultimately, Daniel Jones will only go as far as the offensive line takes him, as providing more time in the pocket is essential for route development and downfield prowess. If they can hold the line and give Jones a bit more protection, he can take advantage of the best passer rating when targeting receivers 20+ yards down field in 2020.

2.) Play-calling

Last season, former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett took over offensive coordinator duties for the New York Giants. We saw plenty of inadequacies, ranging from poor route concepts to a lack of creativity. The occasional end-around simply didn’t get the job done, but with gadget-style players like Toney, John Ross, and Sterling Shepard, his offense is bound to take a massive step forward. As long as the scheme can catch up with the talent, the Giants could make a significant jump from the 31st ranked offense in points scored per game last year.

3.) Daniel Jones’ pocket-awareness

Quarterback Daniel Jones saw his fumbles drop from 18 to 11 in 2021, but that number is still a bit scary. With more protection in the pocket, Jones will feel more confident in his offensive line, which is essential for success. Daniel Jones is currently undergoing something similar to what Eli Manning faced toward the end of his career with happy feet, feeling pressured when there was nobody there and making silly mistakes out of habit.

However, Jones needs to improve his ball security and awareness from his blindside, and I do expect those factors to advance. Jones did see improvement toward the end of the 2020 season, fumbling just once over the final three games of the year. He did enjoy a stretch in the middle of the season against Tampa Bay, Washington, and Philadelphia, where he didn’t lose a fumble, showing that he can improve in that category.

Yankees: Good news and bad news after Corey Kluber injury in loss to Toronto

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

The New York Yankees snapped their six-game winning streak with a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday evening. Unfortunately, the Yankees’ pitching finally crumbled due to injury, as Corey Kluber felt tightness in his right shoulder, which forced Michael King to take over.

The pitching failed to supplement the offense’s inadequacies in the loss, as they gave up 13 hits and six runs over 40 at-bats. The Yankees, on the other hand, tallied seven hits and struck out 13 times, with Rougned Odor tallying three and Brett Gardner the same.

The only Yankees to record more than one hit were Clint Frazier and Kyle Higashioka. Frazier has been playing far better as of late, driving in one of the Yankees’ two runs, elevating his average to .183.

Good news and bad news for the Yankees:

Of course, the biggest negative of the evening was the injury to Kluber, but luckily it doesn’t seem to be as significant as the issues he’s dealt with in the past regarding his shoulder.

“The physical exam (Tuesday night) was pretty good,” Aaron Boone said. “Now we’ll see what comes up (Wednesday).”

The Yankees will run more tests on Wednesday to determine the severity of the injury and how long he will stay out. Ultimately, the Yankees are still working back Luis Severino but have solid depth in the starting rotation to supplement injuries.

“It doesn’t feel at all with what I dealt with last year,” he said.

“I tried to throw a few innings in hopes that the adrenaline and all that stuff would get it going, but i wasn’t quite able to,” Kluber said.

I imagine the Yankees will call upon young Dominican Republic starter Deivi Garcia to fill the loss at the bottom of the rotation. This should move up Jameson Taillon, Jordan Montgomery, and Domingo German one spot each while Kluber rehabilitates.
Given the fact that Corey is 35 years old, the Yankees will likely take this far more seriously and ease him back into action. He has been stellar for the Yankees this season, sitting with a 2.86 ERA and his highest ground ball rate since 2014 at 47%.

New York Jets: The case for (and against) Julio Jones

New York Giants, Julio Jones

Accoladed receiver Julio Jones wants out of Atlanta; should the New York Jets inquire for his services? ESM investigates…

Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones is ready to recolor his wings. A shade of green could well be in the cards.

Jones declared he was “out of” Atlanta during a candid, impromptu phone call shared by Fox Sports host Shannon Sharpe during Monday’s edition of Undisputed on FS1. There’s been no confirmation over whether Jones knew he was on air but, in perhaps an attempt to interrupt the rare lull on the NFL calendar, hypothetical trades involving the fantasy football godsend have resurfaced. Jones

The accoladed receiver’s de facto trade request serves to end his decade-long tenure in Atlanta. Several teams will undoubtedly embark on a full assault for his services and the crowded resume that comes with it.

Should the New York Jets be among them? ESM investigates…

For: Fantasy Football

Jones has been a staple of the early portions of fantasy football drafts for years. When’s the last time Jets fans were able to choose their favorite players with legitimate dreams of a fantasy title in mind. The last realistic options were probably Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker prior to the star-crossed 2015 campaign.

Now, the Jets shouldn’t base their entire lineup around who wins fantasy football championships; if that were the case, they might as well made a move for Derek Carr. But the fact they haven’t had any fantasy stars in recent years is rather telling about where they are as a franchise. Where are the reliable big play targets? Who does the rookie quarterback turn to in the clutch? Who will teams double cover on the last drive of the game?

This offseason, the Jets used the free agency process to stock up on weaponry for the new franchise quarterback, who turned out to be Zach Wilson. The current depth chart-toppers (Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, Keelan Cole, and rookie Elijah Moore) are undoubtedly upgrades from last season, but they have yet to prove themselves as consistent, reliable top options. Bringing in Jones would make him one of the Jets’ top playmakers of the past decade, and he might not even have to play a single down to prove that. Plus, the confidence Wilson would have with Jones there to greet him could prove invaluable not only in 2021 but for years to come.

Against: Julio’s Woes

The sophomoric nature of the internet and social media have perhaps made the Jets unwilling to take risks or make high-profile moves. Any move they make is going to be accompanied by satirical scrutiny that’s threatens everything they’re trying to work with in the latest stage of their perpetual rebuild.

Jones, through almost entirely no fault of his own, is going to bring some baggage with him. He’s no doubt keen to stick it to a Falcons that has apparently given up on him, and the Jets do have a high-profile matchup with the Dirty Birds that apparently did him dirty (Atlanta will “host” the Jets in London in October). Jones is also trying to emerge from one of the NFL’s most unfair stigmas: returning from an injury. Hamstring issues limited him to nine games in 2020, but he still managed to tally a respectable 771 yards.

These factors make Jones a perfect candidate, perhaps even the favorite, for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award. Alas, that’s a quest the Jets truly can’t concern themselves with at this point. They have their own comeback/redemption story to write. It’s part of the reason Sam Darnold was let go. Sure, it was entirely possible that a green-clad Darnold could’ve benefitted from the coaching staff shake-up, but the Jets were at a point where they couldn’t base their immediate future on that “if”. The same could apply to Jones and his current endeavors.

For: They Can Help

Coming off three straight losing seasons (including a brutal 4-12 campaign that cost long-tenured Dan Quinn his job), the Falcons need a de facto bailout. As it stands, they’re currently of three teams with under $1 million in cap space (joining Chicago and New Orleans). Even so, they’re obviously going to want a decent return if they’re sending away one of the most prolific names in team history. Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports projects that any potential suitor would have to send at least a second-round pick.

The Jets have expendable assets to help the Falcons out. They own five picks in the first three rounds of next spring’s draft and could even include someone like Crowder (who becomes over $10 million in cap savings upon his departure). If the Falcons are going to trade Jones, something has to capture their fancy, make the deal truly worth their while. The Jets are one of the rare teams with both present and future assets Atlanta potentially covets.

Against: Anything But One Move Away

The Jets have improved by leaps and bounds this offseason, if only because there was little room to plummet further after 2020. Even so, making the playoffs is still going to be a tough ask. They’re trapped in a division with the defending AFC finalists and the other sections are packed with established contenders.

There’s no doubt that Jones can carry the load of a top receiver on a contender. He’s been part of a fairly consistent Atlanta team, but his prescience alone isn’t enough to secure a playoff berth. If he’s serious about moving, he’s likely going to choose a more established destination, not one where a majority of the starting lineup is undergoing a makeover.

Additionally, whoever trades for Jones is going to literally pay a hefty price. His 2021 cap hit exceeds $23 million, with $15 million guaranteed (per Over The Cap). The Jets are one of 11 teams that can handle Jones’ guaranteed salary with their current cap space, but there are other needs that need to be fulfilled before Week 1 kicks off. They’re in desperate need of a backup quarterback (preferably one that can double as a mentor for Wilson) and could certainly use another upgrade in their blocking and secondary areas. Jones, a 32-year-old due over $37 million over the next three seasons, is a luxurious acquisition that doesn’t fit the Jets’ current landscape.

The Verdict: Stay the Course 

If this was a year or two into the Robert Saleh era, adding Jones would be a lot more feasible. There would be time to showcase what Saleh and his staff are building, a few contests to develop momentum in what the Jets hope is their last extensive renovation for a long time.

Recent history suggests that maybe the Jets would be a bit better off in bypassing redemption-seeking superstars, at least for the time being. New York is still picking at the wounds left behind in the wake of the Le’Veon Bell era. The ghost of Bell shouldn’t haunt the Jets forever, but things are still a bit too fresh to justify and work through the growing pains of a superstar seeking to prove to himself and the football world that he’s still capable of an NFL workload.

If the Jets were on the cusp of the contention red zone, they would be right to go all out. But, right now, they’ve picked up a few first downs, but probably haven’t even reached midfield in the stadium of NFL fortune. If they were closer to the Super Bowl, investing a substantial sum into a 32-year-old receiver…one who has taken quite the pen to the NFL record books…would be a relative risk worth taking. But when progress would be possibly defined as an appearance in the “In the Hunt” column seen on the networks’ playoff charts come the holidays, adding Jones is not something you can do and would be an endeavor that would merely leave everyone bitter.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags