BREAKING: New York Jets release Brian Winters Saving Cap Space

New York Jets, Brian Winters

Brian Winters has been a mainstay of the New York Jets’ offensive line for the past 7 years. From a third round pick out of Kent State in 2013, to being one of the most efficient lineman the Jets have had in the last few years, Winters has grown while in Green and White. Now, it unfortunately looks like his time donning the green and white colors has come to an end.

Why did the New York Jets release Winters?

Recently, I wrote a piece highlighting how Winters’ veteran presence could make him integral to the offensive line next season, now the Jets will continue to move forward with the offensive line overhaul. After signing Greg Van Roten in the offseason to play guard, and drafting Cameron Clark, it became apparent Winters was not in the long term plans. My initial thought process was he’d be a transitional piece for this season to allow the line to gel quicker, but now the Jets will count on offensive line coach, Frank Pollack to get the unit together in time to play Buffalo week one.

As for Winters, he will likely find a home elsewhere. He’s only 29 and despite battling injuries, he’s been somewhat efficient. As a fan, despite the $7 million freed up with his release, my heart breaks for Winters. He’s given his blood, sweat and tears to this organization. He’s grown from a rookie to a father with this team and it’s sad to see him go. With that said, he’s also a competitor and with so much football left in him I don’t think he would want to sit behind a new line and be slowly phased out. This gives him a chance to compete for a role elsewhere and hopefully find a new home. So, in the end, it’s a win-win for both sides.

Now, the Jets just built themselves an intriguing position battle. The team must figure out if Greg Van Roten, the former panthers mainstay, can hold the starting job, or if the feisty rookie, Cameron Clark can steal it away. 

New York Jets: Brian Winters could be an integral piece to a successful offense

New York Jets, Brian Winters

Brian Winters has been a veteran piece for the New York Jets for the longest time. This offseason has fogged up the future of Winters. With new additions across the board, the offensive line has undergone an extensive overhaul. As the offseason programs and now the preseason get hindered by COVID-19, continuity has become all the more imperative to success. With that said, all of a sudden, Brian Winters has just received a significant bump in his stock.

The Long Tenured Jet Is Efficient

Winters hasn’t been the most successful guard, but he’s been efficient at times. Despite battling injuries last season, he finished with a PFF rating of 62.4. That’s pretty underwhelming on the surface, but if you take a look back at his production from 2018, he was near the top half of offensive lineman in a few categories.

He allowed five sacks, which wasn’t great but could’ve been much worse over a 16 game span. He only had six penalties, which isn’t very bad. The very important stat, 1,001 snaps played, which was 17th best in all of football for linemen. Winters wasn’t spectacular. Nor has he ever been, but he’s efficient.

Why His Role Could Expand

With the lack of a preseason, Winters could make the roster and earn meaningful reps after all. Initially, it seemed as though Winters could be a cut candidate in the preseason. Now, with the lack of preseason, that eliminates the opportunity for the new pieces to gel in-game on the offensive line. With the lack of time to build chemistry, this could give Winters a leg up over his competitions, Greg Van Roten and Cameron Clark. Ultimately, Winters can provide a veteran leadership role for the rookies and new additions. As well as bring continuity on the overhauled line with the changing circumstances of the season. 

Did the New York Jets win the Jamal Adams trade?

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

Earlier today, I wrote a piece highlighting why New York Jets GM Joe Douglas held all the cards in the Jamal Adams negotiations. Then today, he did something I heavily doubted. He pulled the trigger. Jamal Adams is now a Seattle Seahawk. The Jets have acquired A 2021 1st Rounder, 3rd Rounder, a 2022 1st Rounder, and a temporary fill in with Bradley McDougald.

On the surface, Joe Douglas continued his masterful performance this offseason with the return. However, this deal is contingent on three things, and none of them concern Jamal Adams.

Why The Picks Will Decide The Deal

The Jets needed to get rid of Jamal Adams at some point. It’s something I didn’t want to admit and tried to deny. Despite that, the Jets were able to get a MASSIVE haul for a disgruntled safety.

The Jets will have four 1sts in the next two years and now an extra 3rd. They also picked up a safety with 52 tackles, .5 sacks, and 5 INTs over the last 3 years. He’s a 29-year-old Safety in the final year of his contract. The Jets needed to right the ship in terms of the floundering culture. By adding new picks, they will have the opportunity to add four blue-chip pieces to the organization in the next few years.

This will give the team the opportunity to establish a new identity. Part of that identity may include a new head coach in the future as well, but that remains to be seen.

At this point in time, the picks sound GREAT. Unless the Jets hit on them though, this trade will be useless. If they hit on all of those picks, that’d be the biggest way the Jets could stick it in Jamal Adams’ face. Jamal will undoubtedly have success elsewhere and likely get handed a rich deal for his contributions.

That’s all great for him, but for the Jets, this now represents a true new era. It’s time for the Jets to rebuild this team in the identity that Joe Douglas wants, and Jamal Adams was holding that back. So, farewell Jamal, you’ll be greatly missed, but now it’s a fresh start. 

Opinion: Jamal Adams will remain a New York Jet

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

Today, the New York Daily News dropped a rare exclusive with a player on the outs with the New York Jets’ organization. The entire premise of landing an interview with a player who holds any level of animosity towards his respective team is few and far between.

Despite that, Manish Mehta detailed his sit down with Jamal Adams in his latest article. Manish did an eloquent job on the piece, yet, the answers given by Adams did not live up to that same precedent. For that very reason, Jamal Adams will be a New York Jet at the start of the 2020 season.

Why Adams Will Stay In New York

Judging by the answers, it’s evident (as if it wasn’t already) Jamal wants out. Most players resort to public outcry after outcry in order to tarnish the organization and become a distraction in order to get off the team. Jamal is in desperation mode. Unlike when the Jaguars ownership broke down and resorted to public rebuttal of Yannick Ngakoue, or when the Steelers organization and their players began to turn against Lev Bell, the Jets have not budged.

Jamal and his camp are nervous, so this exclusive is an evident last-ditch effort to force a reaction or a trade out of the Jets. Yet, they are still yet to budge. Jamal’s dismay did nothing to get them to talk. So now, Jamal is taking shots at the basic organizational integrity. Within the piece, he takes shots at Adam Gase. He calls him the wrong leader for the organization, takes aim at his reluctance to face the team or make adjustments (which is apparent).  He also fires off against Joe Douglas for giving off mixed signals.

So, with all that said, why is Jamal going to remain a Jet? The Jets control his rights. As much as Jamal wants out and is trying everything and anything to get off the team, ultimately, it’s the Jets decision. Joe Douglas doesn’t want him gone. He made it clear to the team that the initial goal was to put pieces around Jamal and resign him next year. Then, the plans got altered by financial shifts and the COVID-19 pandemic. From Jamal’s perspective, plans should not have changed, and since his demands have not been met yet, in terms of more “dawgs” or a new deal.

The disconnect is, no doubt, massive. Despite that, Jamal is making a concession. He WILL attend training camp. Why this is important is because it’s evident that he is doing this because he is nearing his end of moves. Jamal wants out, and he will do whatever it takes to get out, even temporarily, please the organization. Ultimately, Jamal is tied to the Jets for the long haul with his rookie deal, then potential franchise tags. No matter what Jamal wants people to believe, he can’t get out of his deal. Jamal can kick and scream, but Joe Douglas will be the one who either seals his fate and buys him a ticket out of New York or makes him a “Jet for Life.” I don’t see either happening, and the only middle road is the “Prez” continuing his term during an election year.

New York Jets Who Could Be Two Sport Stars: Le’Veon Bell

New York Jets, LeVeon Bell

LeVeon Bell joined the New York Jets prior to last season on a four-year, $52.5 million deal. Rumors have swirled about what his future may look like in the Green and White, however, heading into next season he is a Jet.

The former All-Pro back will have a much-improved line blocking for him next season and looks to recreate some of his old magic from Pittsburgh. With that said, what if there was no magic in Pittsburgh, or what if Bell wasn’t a football player. What if Bell was a high jumper instead.

Le’Veon Bell: High Jumper

Bell was an All Ohio Capital Conference First Team running back his senior year. Despite having over 1,300 yards and 21 TDs, he was still a two-star recruit out of high school. Despite that, Bell eventually found a home at Michigan State, where he tore it up for the Spartans.

Bell still played other sports in high school and did very well. At 6-foot-1 and 225 lbs, Bell was a very good basketball player. Bell’s stats were unavailable, but he was a second-team All Ohio Capital Conference member for his senior season.

So you may think, why didn’t I say Bell should play basketball? Well, because his size and stature would be a poor fit in basketball, and his stats were unavailable for the sake of this piece. With that said, high jumping was where Bell really impressed.

He was recognized as one of the best high jumpers in all of Ohio. His best was 2.03 meters, which is incredibly impressive. The athleticism and hops he had and further developed in basketball, paired with the lateral quickness he has developed throughout his football career, would make for the makeup of a scary good jumper.

Matched with the level of skill you have to have to succeed in one of the best athlete breeding states in Ohio, that shows how much potential was truly there with his high jumping abilities. Although Bell is an incredible back with a distinguished resume, what if he held out entirely and went out for the Olympics in 2018, or better yet, what if Bell was a high jumper out of high school rather than chasing his dreams of football? Would we be talking about Lev Bell, the olympian instead?

Would a shortened preseason hurt the New York Jets?

Shortening the NFL preseason has been discussed, even before COVID-19, but an exhibition quartet might help the 2020 New York Jets.

As COVID-19 stubbornly refuses to depart, professional American sports are attempting to inch their way back in. The powers that be at Major League Baseball finally agreed to a 60-game season that might never happen, while the NBA, NHL, WNBA, and MLS are all set to attempt “bubble” settings to either resume to start their respective 2020 campaigns. NASCAR and the PGA Tour, among others, have been able to operate in reduced settings, if only for their natural ability to adhere to social distancing.

Then there’s the National Football League.

The NFL has acknowledged the ongoing health crisis, though one look at their calendar hints that they’re at least trying to operate with some sort of semblance of business as usual. Minicamp proceedings have been shut down, but the annual draft lived on in virtual settings and players have met on their own to work out. Quarterback Sam Darnold is among them, having joined rival quarterbacks in California and his New York Jets offensive teammates in Florida as the league’s constituents bide their time before team facilities can officially open for gridiron business.

Reality perhaps finally hit the NFL on Thursday morning. The league announced that August’s annual Pro Football Football Hall of Fame Game would not be played, canceling the season’s first unofficial game. Accompanying induction ceremonies have been postponed to 2021.

While some see the game’s cancellation as merely a precaution, ensuring that the game’s combatants from Dallas and Pittsburgh wouldn’t have to report to training camp any earlier than they had to. But other observers see it as the first football domino to fall to the hand of COVID-19, with the preseason schedule seen as next in line.

Even in the best of times, the NFL preseason is often seen as athletic drivel, a mere excuse for the league’s 32 teams to charge full ticket, parking, and concession prices for what basically amounts to future practice squad/XFL participants going at it. While it does serve a purpose…allowing new teammates to develop chemistry, help new coaches create a rhythm…trimming the current standard quartet has been discussed for several years. COVID-19 could finally make that a perhaps overdue reality, finishing what the 2018-19 Los Angeles Rams started. Back then, L.A. boss Sean McVay sat his starters for the summer before embarking on a run to the Super Bowl.

But would such a long-overdue idea come back to haunt the New York Jets?

The preseason was made for teams like the 2020 Jets. To put the New York turnover into perspective, the only listed receiver leftover from a roster as recent as 2018 (Darnold’s rookie season) is Quincy Enunwa…and he’ll more likely than not never play another down in a Jets uniform. If Brian Winters leaves before Week 1, then Darnold’s offensive line will have (rightfully so) completely turned over by the time his third year begins.

New York is in a spot where they have a quarterback on their roster that they envision to be their starter in 3-5 years. It sounds like a basic requirement of NFL membership, but that just goes to show how traumatic the last decade was for the Jets. As another famous young New Yorker once learned, however, with great power comes great responsibility. Work must be done to develop some chemistry within the group, and the preseason offers four consequence-free opportunities to do that against another NFL opponent.

Offensive chemistry isn’t the only area that could’ve used a tune-up quartet. Starters and depth options alike can use some work on defense, especially with a plethora of new talent auditioning on one-year deals. If Jamal Adams is gone, that could eliminate rep opportunities for, say, Ashtyn Davis. Those returning from injury, like linebacker C.J. Mosley would lose an opportunity to get back into the swing of things. Even on special teams, that Jets have competitions that need solving, particularly in discovering who their primary returner will be and who will win the Sam Ficken/Brett Maher boot battle.

Even in “normal” times, Jets head coach Adam Gase was against the idea of slicing the summer slate.

“I like the fact that it gives a chance to evaluate,” Gase remarked last summer, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “That fourth preseason game, all those guys that get to play, we get value out of that. We’re not trying to see if we can shorten the game up. We’ll probably try to throw it like 60 times.”

True to Gase’s word, the Jets indeed aired out in their yearly preseason finale against the Philadelphia Eagles. Darnold didn’t play, but Trevor Siemian, Luke Falk, and Davis Webb united for 46 throws in a 6-0 win. One year prior, in Gase’s final Miami adventure, Brock Osweiler and current Jets backup candidate David Fales threw 45 in the preseason closer in Atlanta.

Gase even outlined why a McVay-like approach to the preseason wouldn’t work in East Rutherford.

“Last year, I remember having a conversation with [McVay] about his starters not playing and they had an older team,” Gase remarked in Mehta’s report. “They had a lot of guys that had played a lot of football. That’s kind of how they went about it. We have a young team and this is our first year in the program, so we need to play a little bit.”

There are obviously merits to chopping down on the preseason slate, especially in a year where factors beyond football are making their prescience felt. An endless list of costly preseason injuries (Michael Vick in 2003, Osi Umenyiora in 2008, just to name two) is just yet another reason to move from the concept. The NFL themselves would probably love to see a preseason reduction if only because it be a solid stepping stone toward their long-sought-after goal of a regular-season beyond 16 games.

The time will come when the Jets are ready to outgrow the preseason, when they’re comfortable enough with themselves that they don’t have to rely on meaningless summer action to feel hopeful. But they’re not at that point yet, and those opportunities and chances to experiment and develop could be disappearing at the worst possible time, even if their absence comes for the most understandable reasons.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Keeping Jamal Adams on the Jets: The right move is not making one

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

New York Jets safety Jamal Adams doesn’t have any leverage. That should be the headline every time he says something or somebody posts their trade fantasies about him. No matter what Jamal Adams says, no matter what things he subliminally posts online and regardless of what he’s DM’ing Instagram fan pages, Adams is under team control for the foreseeable future.

Sure he’s been vocal, but in this case, vocal doesn’t force the team into making a transaction. He’s under control for the next two years, and if they want, as Connor Hughes has been saying on his Jets podcast for the Athletic “Can’t Wait,” they can hit him with the franchise tag for 2022 as well as 2023. Right now, this situation rests solely on the hands of Joe Douglas, who, while he helped build that championship team in Philly, has little experience in contract situations – let alone a situation of this magnitude.

Despite that, staying quiet combined with not speaking out against Adams in the press looks like the right move so far. (Maybe Joe Douglas and the Jets brass should run public relations for MLB and the MLBPA?) In fact, any leaks coming out of Jets camp hasn’t even been anti-Jamal. It’s been anti-Gase. Look what Manish Mehta posted this week.

There is no reason to get into a war of words between the team and their most important piece, not named Sam Darnold. (Destroying Gase in the press though? Whatever we can deal with that.) There’s no reason to make this worse, no matter what he says. If Jamal Adams wants to sit out, he’d be fined for missing every game and every practice for the next two years. That in itself should be the deciding factor in getting him to play.

Of course, if you’re going to keep him that long the Jets should eventually pay him because, no matter how many draft picks you could get for Jamal Adams, the likelihood of picking somebody of his caliber is slim. The likelihood of picking somebody half as good as him is still rare.

We’ve all heard about prospects who were considered “can’t miss.” Then it turns out that come game day they hold more value on the bench or practice squad than on the field. Trading Adams and then finding yourself with a bust is a disaster. It’s an even bigger disaster than the one we’re in now. While Adams has been forward about wanting to be traded, at the end of the day, all that matters is winning on the field. It’s worth going through this if it means avoiding the disaster of bringing aboard bust while Adams crushes it for the Cowboys. If that happens, then we’re all in the position of saying “Same old Jets.”

The fact is this. Adams is a difference-maker. He led the league among safeties in the following categories.

QB hits – 13.

Tackle For Loss – 10

Sacks – 6.5

Here is where he ranks around the league among safeties since being drafted:

1st in QB Hits – 23 (Second is Von Bell with 13.)

1st in sacks – 12.0 (2nd is Von Bell with 7.0.)

1st in Tackle for Loss – 28 (2nd is Von Bell with 18.)

On top of all of this look at this breakdown of Adams from PFF:

“After struggling a bit in coverage as a rookie (allowing six touchdowns), he broke up 10 passes and intercepted two more over the past two years while allowing only 44 completions into his coverage during that time. Receivers catching passes against Adams in 2019 gained just 4.5 yards per target, and Adams’ 0.31 yards per coverage snap is in the top fourth of the league at his position.”

Adams was also one of 6 safeties in the NFL with a touchdown in 2019. This, of course, came against the Giants, where he physically took the ball out of Daniel Jones’ hands. The stats tell you he’s good and his ability to make cartoonish plays like that just solidify it.

This wouldn’t be the first time a player was unhappy with their team, and it definitely won’t be the last. Hell, it’s not even the first time in recent memory that an elite athlete in New York held the mantra of “Pay me or trade me.” Don’t forget in 2018 Jacob deGrom said the same thing with the Mets. He wanted his payday after outplaying his rookie contract in the midst of it. In the end, the Mets waited – probably to the chagrin of deGrom – and ended up paying him right before the start of 2019.

Would Adams be happy if the Jets did what the Mets did? Probably not until the day the money is deposited. Does it matter? No, because he’s under control by the team just like deGrom was. The Jets hold all the leverage here. Whether that is fair or not is another debate for another day.

 

One New York Jets Receiver Enters A Make Or Break Season

New York Jets, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold

The New York Jets lost Robby Anderson this past offseason. The loss was one that set the Jets back at wide receiver. Anderson was the go-to target for Sam Darnold. He was a deep threat who could stretch the field and add another layer to the Jets passing game. The Jets return Jamison Crowder, a safety net for Darnold and a dynamic slot piece. They also added a presumed steal in rookie Denzel Mims. Mims brings a big red zone presence with his size and catch radius. Although he brings speed, he will be trusted to grow with Darnold and be groomed into a do it all number one receiver. The Jet receiver trusted to bring the deep threat presence and fill the void of Robby Anderson is Breshard Perriman.

Perriman Needs A Big Year

When Perriman signed with the New York Jets, just hours after Anderson inked a deal to defect to Carolina, I broke the news here at ESM. I touched on his inconsistencies in his past, but one thing I harped on was his recent successes. In 3 years, Perriman had 55 receptions for 916 yards and 5 TDs. Last season, he had 36 receptions for 645 yards and 6 TDs. In the final quarter of the season, Perriman didn’t have a game with less than 70 yards. Perriman was on fire and flashed the potential that got him picked by the Ravens with the 26th pick in the 2015 draft. Perriman parlayed those flashes into a 1 year deal with Gang Green. The Jets will give him the opportunity to start and earn meaningful reps. If Perriman can put up solid numbers, he could revitalize his career.

Perriman fits into the model Douglas is trying to build “prove it deals”. Perriman must put up a quality season in order to become a true fixture in this league. With all the speed in the world, if Perriman can continue to develop his route tree this offseason, similarly to what Anderson did last season. At 26, the best could be ahead for the Breshard Perriman.

Can the New York Jets extract the best from former CFL star Anthony Cioffi?

New York Jets, Anthony Cioffi

Can the New York Jets find gold in CFL standout Anthony Cioffi?

Anthony Cioffi was just your typical Jersey boy. Except he’s a freak athlete. Oh, and he was a 2012 state champion in the 100-meter dash, excelled at football, and earned honors there. Ultimately, he ended up at Rutgers and, you guessed it — excelled there with 122 tackles, eight interceptions, and 2.5 sacks in 122 games. Surprisingly, he went undrafted and signed with the Raiders following the 2017 draft. Cioffi didn’t make the team out of training camp and ended up in the CFL. While there, he made a name for himself.

Cioffi Controlled the CFL

In 33 games, Cioffi had 97 tackles, 4.0 sacks, 3 FFs, and 2 INTs. Cioffi was a hybrid defensive back and was used all over the field. His impressive speed allowed him to be used just about anywhere on the field.

Cioffi built a reputation as one of the best defensive players in Canada. He succeeded in a hybrid role, as a linebacker, he had great sideline to sideline ability. As a safety, he was dominant in coverage and tackling. Cioffi projects as a safety with Gang Green mainly because he’s undersized to be a linebacker at the pro level.

Cioffi’s Fit With the Jets

Cioffi could play a few roles for the Jets. The Jets could use more special teams depth, and his speed would make him an immediate asset. As a gunner, he could use his speed to make the tackles which he’s also good at. As a safety, he could make the roster because of his upside. With the Jets’ current safety issues in regards to Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye needing a new deal soon, if a trade occurs or a surprise move, Cioffi could gain some playing time.

The more reps Cioffi gains, the more he could shine. Looking at his playstyle, Cioffi could be an attractive scheme fit under Gregg Williams’s defense. However, his fit within special teams will likely be his best selling point to make the roster.

Did the New York Jets get an offensive line steal in UDFA Jared Hilbers?

New York Jets, Jared Hilbers

The New York Jets invested money into a lot of positions during free agency. Their biggest investment in the offseason was on the offensive line. They also spent two picks on the line as well. As they enter 2020 with a revamped line, they added another piece who was not drafted, and he may have the most potential of any UDFA. Jared Hilbers is that guy.

Strengths

The athletic tackle from Washington has a lot of potential. He caught the eyes of a lot of scouts at the East-West Shrine game and earned a lot of respect from scouts league-wide. Although he stood out, he didn’t earn a combine invite. The 6 foot 6, 270-pound swing tackle has a basketball background, which further depicts his overall athleticism. Hilbers is a moldable talent at tackle who has the ability to play anywhere on the line. If Hilbers continues to develop, he could provide immense versatility on the line. At Washington, he sat and developed behind two draft picks, Kaleb McGary and Trey Adams. He was able to shift all over the line wherever need be, and he played really well whenever he was on the field. His athleticism makes him a valuable piece to mold on the line.

Weaknesses

Lack of significant on the field reps is the only real qualm I have with Hilbers. Hilbers is a raw prospect as well who will need to be molded at the next level. The Jets depth at offensive line is plentiful as well. With Cameron Clark and Mekhi Becton also joining the Jets as rookies, Hilbers is going to have to compete for every rep. If he has one bad game, that could be it. Overall though, there aren’t a ton of flaws in Hilbers game, just need to see more reps to identify true issues, and that could be the reason the Jets don’t keep him.

General Outlook

Overall Hilbers projects as a swing tackle at the next level. Adam Gase loves his athletic linemen, and Hilbers fits the bill. If he excels in his opportunities on the field, expect him to stay as a depth lineman. He was a draftable prospect, and the Jets knew that. He got the second biggest bonus with 62,000 dollars. Hilbers is obviously someone the Jets staff likes, and if given the opportunity, he could be a steal.