New York Jets: Four Late Free Agents That Should Be Brought Back

The free agent frenzy has mollified, but the New York Jets would be smart to handle matters with a handful of their own unsigned players.

Professional football discussions are currently centered on the draft. The free agency period thus feels like a distant memory, but, for several recent New York Jets, it remains an all-too-current reality.

Entering Thursday, the Jets still have 14 players in the free agency pool. The team has made plenty of moves on the transaction front, but a few more could truly solidify them for the 2020 season…

P Lac Edwards

We spoke about the Jets’ holes in the special teams department earlier this week. Edwards’ lingering free agency is only exacerbating the tenuous situation. Former Steelers summer leg Ian Berryman is currently destined to take the role as the only punter on the roster.

Edwards endured a heavy workload last season (an NFL-high yardage of 3,991 on an equally-high 87 punts), but he tied for eighth in punts inside the 20 (28). It seems like a trivial matter, but a reliable punter is a must-have accessory for an offense that struggles to consistently score. Having built a rapport with long snapper Thomas Hennessy and drawn the praises of special teams coordinator Brant Boyer, Edwards could be an under-the-radar signing that puts both the offense and defense at ease.

S Rontez Miles

Miles is one of the NFL’s most undersung success stories. A California alum…not the Golden Bears of Berkeley, but the California University of Pennsylvania on the Division II level…that entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2013, Miles has built himself a respectable NFL career primarily through special teams exploits. His efforts with the team were rewarded last season with a team captaincy.

Assisting Miles’ case is the Jets’ failed signing of former Los Angeles Ram Marqui Christian. The veteran safety was set to sign with the Jets before a salary dispute caused the deal to fall through. For a team in desperate need of veteran leadership, Miles’ experience could be indispensable.

RB Bilal Powell

Another longtime Jet that has yet to be invited back is Powell, the longest-tenured guy in green at nine seasons. During the Jets’ endless stream of starts on the offensive line, Powell was able to lead the team with a 3.9 rushing average. A decent average has been part of Powell’s repertoire since his 2011 entry. Over the past nine seasons, Powell’s 4.32 ranks 12th in the NFL amongst rushers with at least 800 attempts.

The Jets upgraded their offensive line this offseason, which should allow Bell to at least reach a closer version of Pittsburgh self. Spell options, however, remain slim in the form of Josh Adams, Kenneth Dixon, and Trenton Cannon. With fellow free agent Ty Montgomery failing to find a true spot in the rushing rotation, bringing back the reliable Powell makes a lot of sense.

WR Demaryius Thomas

Renovations on the blocking front have provided a long-sought sense of hope for the Jets’ offense. But there’s no denying that the loss of Robby Anderson was a big blow. For example, whereas Anderson scored 20 touchdowns for the Jets since his 2016 entry, no other Jets receiver reached double-digits. Sam Darnold’s current top target is destined to be Breshad Perriman after a stellar season wrap-up with Tampa Bay. Jamison Crowder returns in the slot, but a whole bunch of uncertainty lies behind him.

Thomas probably isn’t at a level where he can be a reliable top target. But the Jets could his experience and veteran leadership on a roster in desperate need of older help. It may be a lot to ask Thomas to duplicate his stellar numbers from Denver, but a young quarterback like Darnold needs a seasoned veteran to help him out. He recently told Denver radio station 104.3 The Fan (KKFN-FM) that he was very willing to return for an eleventh season.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Debate: Should the New York Giants take a WR at 4?

New York Giants, DeAndre Baker

As the NFL season comes to a close, fans of the New York Giants have already begun speculating moves that their beloved team should do this offseason.  Something that has become all too familiar over the last few seasons.

One position of intrigue and debate is wide receiver.  After trading away Odell Beckham Jr. and being thin at the position, many wonders if the Giants will take an elite receiver at the top of this April’s NFL Draft.  Others, on the other hand, believe this would be a mistake. Which side are you on?

Making the case for a WR in Round 1

With the 4th overall pick in hand and considering the needs of Washington and Detroit in front of them, the New York Giants very likely could miss out on a premier defensive talent yet again.  Chase Young seems bound for Washington. Isaiah Simmons’ performance has made him a strong candidate to go 3rd overall. So, what does that mean for the Giants?

Popular options include trading back to a quarterback hungry team, taking a young offensive tackle or grabbing another cornerback.  However, many others think the New York Giants should be taking a wide receiver. 

Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb have been considered by some to be ideal selections for the Giants.  Jeudy has been compared to the Cowboys’ Amari Cooper and can be the outside receiver New York covets. His speed and agility make him a threat at all levels.  

Then there is CeeDee Lamb.  Lamb has incredible ball skills and control of his 6’2” frame.  Many compare Lamb to Houston’s Deandre Hopkins or even 6-time Pro Bowler, Reggie Wayne.  How could the New York Giants pass on that?

Even if the Giants were to trade down, the talent in this draft class at the receiver is very deep.  Clemon’s Tee Higgins, Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III, LSU’s Justin Jefferson, and Colorado’s Laviska Shenault Jr. are just some of the names that could be called in the 1st round.

Making the case against a WR in Round 1

The depth of this receiving class may be the strongest case against taking a receiver in the first round.  It is no secret that the New York Giants have needed all over, especially on the defense and offensive line.  Is taking a receiver in the Top 5 really the best use of draft capital?

Without trading out, the Giants are sitting in a great position to address many needs with premier talent.  Isaiah Simmons is an ideal fit, but may not be available. Ohio State CB Jeffrey Okudah is another top prospect that will be available with the 4th pick.  The tackle position is very top-heavy, with Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, Alabama’s Jedrick Wills and Georgia’s Andrew Thomas all being considered as the best tackle prospect in the class. 

The Giants have a talented group of receivers already, but they are thin at the position.  With the injuries they suffered last season, having depth is critical. Taking a wide receiver later in the draft may be their best option.  Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk, Southern Cal’s Michael Pittman Jr. and Ohio State’s K.J.Hill are just some of the names the Giants could call at any point in the later rounds.  Temple wide receiver Isaiah Wright has been impressing scouts this week at the Shrine Bowl and could very well be a breakout player in the NFL.

What about the free-agent market?

The New York Giants are going to have a ton of money available for free agency.  If they prioritize the offensive line and defense in the NFL Draft, they have some options in free agency in order to build out the depth at wide receiver.

New York can definitely bring back guys that WR Coach Tyke Tolbert is familiar with.  Cody Latimer, Cody Core, and even Da’Mari Scott would all be unsurprising returns to the Giants.  If the G-Men dip elsewhere in free agency, they do have options. They could look to add a veteran with a one year deal, much like Randall Cobb, Demaryius Thomas or Danny Amendola.  The veteran option giving them depth, talent, and experience as a stop-gap for the season.

What about a younger option that could be signed for a longer deal?  WR Amari Cooper hasn’t be resigned by Dallas… yet. The Jets Robby Anderson looks to be headed to the open market and will be sought after.  There are also options like Rashard Higgins, who showed flashes with his time in Cleveland before the Browns brought in Landry and Odell.

Whatever the case may be, the New York Giants will have to address the lack of depth at wide receiver.  The talent is there, especially with the emergence of Darius Slayton, but there is a longevity concern that will need to be taken into consideration.  

New York Jets: Trevor Siemian To Start In Wake Of Darnold’s Absence

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

Mono, is a tough illness. It makes you heavily contagious and it’s a butt-kicker. It now has taken out the franchise quarterback, Sam Darnold. Darnold was reportedly very sick and dropping weight excessively, this resulted in him being sent home on Wednesday with “strep throat”. Symptoms progressed and Donald was diagnosed with mono. This will take him out of action for at least a few weeks. So now, in the week of his absence with a stretch of huge games coming up, Trevor Siemian must be trusted to step up and fill in for Darnold.

Trevor Siemian Has Experience

This is not Trevor Siemian’s first rodeo as a starting quarterback. When Peyton Manning retired and Brock Osweiler left Siemian became the QB 1 in Denver. Siemian inherited a defending super bowl championship squad and put up really solid first starting season numbers. Siemian finished the season with 3,401 yards, 18 TDs, and 10 INTs. Then with the job his to lose he started 10/16 games and finished his year with 2,285 yards, 12 TDs, and 14 INTs. Siemian struggled and ultimately lost his starting job because of it. Siemian went to Minnesota briefly but found a home for this season with the New York Jets as the backup to Sam Darnold. Coach Gase reportedly felt Siemian could be a capable short term starter. Now, Siemian will have to prove his coach right.

Trevor Siemian Could See Success

Unlike other analysts I’m not writing off the games Siemian starts. As I dove deeper into it, Siemian is very good at allowing the ball to be put into playmakers hands. He also will have a bunch of big playmakers who are perfect for check-downs and screen passes in Robby Anderson, Ty Montgomery, Le’Veon Bell, and Jamison Crowder. If those 4 are used to be his security blankets and allow him to dump it off to them, it could really help. The most familiar weapon he will have is new WR Demaryius Thomas. Thomas played some of his best ball with Adam Gase as his coordinator and if Gase can take advantage of his skill set in the absence of Enunwa it could look like a really good trade for the Jets. Thomas will be able to be eased in especially because his QB for the next few games already has a rhythm with him. Siemian and Thomas have been teammates since Siemian came into the league. They built a solid connection and Gase would be wise to use that to their advantage. The only major concern is the setup of the offense around Siemian. Darnold is mobile and with an offensive line that is still not cohesive, that is essential. Siemian is a pure pocket passer who may struggle in this situation. If he can utilize the Jets playmakers as I previously mentioned in check down situations that could ease the pressure slightly.

In The End, It’s Only Temporary

Sam Darnold will be back soon. However, the Jets face a huge stretch of games with some being must win. The New York Jets need to pull off a win against a few of these squads while Darnold is absent or the Jets can kiss their hopes goodbye. If they walk into the Bye Week at 0-3 they already will be in deep trouble. Quite frankly the pressure is on Siemian and if he can’t deliver the Jets are screwed.

New York Jets: What Can We Expect from Demaryius Thomas?

For the first time since 2000, the New York Jets and New England Patriots agreed to a trade, resulting in Demaryius Thomas suiting up for Gang Green. What type of impact can we expect from the 31-year-old veteran receiver?

Looks like Adam Gase was a man of his word after calling out the receiving corps following the New York Jets’ disappointing collapse against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. If Gase’s words rang loud and clear, then his actions surely followed it up. As a result of adding Antonio Brown, the New England Patriots followed by trading away Demaryius Thomas to the New York Jets.

After seven straight seasons with the Denver Broncos (four of which were Pro Bowl seasons), Thomas has now found himself on four different teams in the past two seasons. (ProFootballReference).

After being traded midway last year from the Broncos to the Houston Texans, Demaryius Thomas suffered a ruptured Achilles that ended his season. After being signed, released, then re-signed with the Patriots this preseason, Thomas now finds himself as a New York Jet.

What type of production and impact can the Jets’ expect from the veteran wideout?

Prime Years Are in the Past

Demaryius Thomas accounted for five straight seasons of 1,000+ receiving yards from 2012-2016. He also accounted for double-digit touchdowns in three of the aforementioned five seasons. No surprise here, the Jets aren’t expecting to turn back the clock and revive the Demaryius Thomas of NFL past. Thomas wasn’t brought in to be the de facto number one wideout.

Even when he was racking up yardage and finding the endzone, Demaryius Thomas didn’t carry the reputation of having the most reliable hands. He averaged nearly 11 drops per season from 2012-2017, and his average career catch percentage is a mere 61%. Safe to say, the Jets are getting a Demaryius Thomas that his a shade of his former self.

Help Open Opportunities for Others

So the general consensus is that Thomas wasn’t going to be relied upon to suddenly handle the receiving load and lead the wideouts. But you don’t trade for him to ride the bench either. With the recent news of Quincy Enunwa likely to miss the remainder of the season with a neck injury, it is clear Demaryius Thomas will be up for filling the void.

So while Thomas won’t command double teams from opposing defensive backs, that doesn’t mean he can’t open opportunities for others. If he can prove to be reliable across the middle and with passes underneath, he can help keep defenses honest, possibly opening up Robby Anderson over the top as a deep threat.

Better yet, if he can prove reliable on the outside, it should give prized free-agent acquisition, Jamison Crowder, even more, room to work in the slot. Crowder had a whopping 17 targets and hauled in 14 of them for 99 yards receiving. The caveat: not a single touchdown reception. If there’s any way for Thomas to contribute, its to prove to be a reliable option, keeping defensive backs honest and allowing the other offensive threats the chance to exploit coverages.

 

New York Giants News, 9/2 – Former Pro Bowl wide receiver available

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

The Giants seem to be confident in their wide receiver corps heading into the regular season next Sunday, but a new development has offered them another option, former Pro Bowler, Demaryius Thomas.

The current group consists of Golden Tate (suspended for first four games), Sterling Shepard, Cody Core, Rusell Shepard, Cody Latimer, and Darius Slayton. Thomas could fit in perfectly while Tate misses time, but the Giants might be unwilling to give up any of their players to take a flier on a player coming off a torn Achilles.

However, in the preseason finale against the Giants, Thomas put up in impressive stat-line — seven catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns. He’s a veteran body that is still capable of being a productive player. He likely wouldn’t be an overly costly addition to the team and can act as another quality wideout for the offense.

Additionally, he could be a trustworthy mentor for Darius Slayton and provide the team with added production while Tate serves his suspension.

The Giants also added former Bengals WR Cody Core on Sunday through waivers. Core earned 130-yards and a score in his third season in the NFL last year. It seems to be a better salary cap move given Core is likely on a veteran deal. In my opinion, though, releasing T.J. Jones for Core doesn’t make much sense.

Nonetheless–

Matt Lombardo (NJ.com) – NFL rumors: 10 players Giants can target after roster cuts | Demaryius Thomas, Brandon Marshall, more

John Fennelly (Giants Wire) – 5 surprises from Giants’ roster cutdown day 

Alexander Wilson (Empire Sports Media) – New York Giants could claim hard-hitting safety Mailk Jefferson