The former Clevelander didn’t have to wait long for another NFL call, as the New York Jets seek to rework their depleted receiving corps.
The New York Jets have turned to the waiver wire to restock their dwindling receiving unit, claiming D.J. Montgomery. This move comes after the trade for Kalen Ballage was voided after the Miami Dolphins running back failed his physical.
Montgomery, 23, entered the league last season as an undrafted free agent out of Austin Peay. In his final year with the Governors, Montgomery led the Ohio Valley Conference with 18.9 yards per reception. Notable APSU alumni to make it to the NFL include linebacker Jeff Gooch, defensive lineman Bonnie Sloan (the first deaf player in league history), and Percy Howard (whose one career reception was a 34-yard touchdown for the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl X).
He got off to a strong start during the NFL preseason, earning 124 yards on five receptions over Cleveland’s first two games and even scored a touchdown in their 30-10 win over Washington. However, a hamstring injury sidelined Montgomery for the rest of the season, and he did not appear in any regular season games. The Browns waived him on Saturday, but the Jets came calling after losing Jeff Smith to a shoulder injury.
New York’s early struggles with injuries have been well-documented. Smith had an opportunity with the Jets’ premier units after ailments befell top targets Breshad Perriman (knee) and Denzel Mims (hamstring). The newly acquired pair has been unable to partake in most of the training camp proceedings thus far. Another knee injury befell undrafted standout Lawrence Cager. Experienced veteran help has been called upon to pacify the issue, with the Jets signing Chris Hogan and Donte Moncrief.
The Jets’ regular season opens on September 13 against the Buffalo Bills.
Set to assist the New York Jets’ depleted receiving corps, the veteran Moncrief spent last season with Pittsburgh and Carolina.
The #Jets are planning to sign veteran FA WR Donte Moncrief, source said, once he passes through his COVID-19 protocols. The former #Colts starter spent time with the #Panthers and #Steelers last year and recently worked out for NYJ, as well. He’ll provide depth.
Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the New York Jets are set to add veteran receiver Donte Moncrief. The receiver must first pass COVID-19 protocols before joining his new squad. Financial terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.
Moncrief, who turned 27 earlier this month, entered the league as an early entry, third-round pick (90th overall) of the Indianapolis Colts in 2014. After four years in Indianapolis, he spent a year with the Jacksonville Jaguars before spending last season between Pittsburgh and Carolina. Overall, he has earned 2,561 yards on 204 receptions, good for 21 touchdowns, over six seasons so far.
Notably, Moncrief scored seven touchdowns in only nine games during the 2016 season while dealing with both a shoulder and hamstring issue. As a rookie, he earned a postseason touchdown with a 36-yard score from Andrew Luck in the Colts’ 26-10 win over Cincinnati in the wild-card round.
Fans of Moncrief’s new employers may remember him for a 67-yard touchdown against the Jets in a September 2018 get-together in Duval. Moncrief had a season-best 109 receiving yards in Jacksonville’s 31-12 win. To date, it’s his last 100-yard game.
Upon his arrival to camp, Moncrief, who also worked out with San Francisco, should help a depleted New York receiving corps that has been befallen by injury during their training camp proceedings. Potential top targets Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims have been dealing with injuries, as has undrafted standout Lawrence Cager. Head coach Adam Gase did mention that he expected Perriman to return to practice this weekend. Moncrief was one of several veteran receivers who auditioned to fill the gap. Kevin White was also in that group but the former first-round pick recently inked a deal with the aforementioned 49ers.
The Jets welcome back veteran slot man Jamison Crowder and also signed two-time Super Bowl champion Chris Hogan earlier this month. But beyond that, there is little experience, the rest of the roster populated by inexperienced veterans and undrafted free agents. Moncrief is expected to shore up that spot on the depth chart and add reliable hands to a developing offense.
Bradley McDougald has yet to play a down with the New York Jets, but he’s already trying to make a big play.
The newly acquired safety, thus far the only named acquisition from the Jamal Adams trade, is apparently trying to make sure he’s not the only former Seattle Seahawk to suit up for the Jets this season. A Monday night Twitter post featured a screenshot of a FaceTime conversation between him and former fellow Seattle defender Jadeveon Clowney. According to McDougald, Clowney is interested in a reunion, this one in a new shade of green.
“Spoke to my boy (Clowney) today, told me to the tell the (Jets) to come get him!!” McDougald happily declares in the caption accompanying the photo. “Let’s make it happen.”
Clowney and the Seahawks have been unable to come to terms on a long-term deal. He is currently listed as a free agent.
The 27-year-old defensive end didn’t secure a long-term deal with his original employers in Houston, having been franchise tagged last offseason. Houston dealt him to the Seahawks eight days before their opening week contest in exchange for Jacob Martin, Barkevious Mingo, and a third-round draft pick (which they later dealt to the Raiders). Clowney picked up 31 tackles, including three sacks, last season in Seattle to accompany four forced fumbles and his first career interception. He has earned 27.5 sacks over the last four seasons between his time with the Texans and Seahawks. In comparison, Jordan Jenkins is the current Jets’ leader in sacks in that span with 20.5.
Clowney is reportedly seeking a deal in the circa $20 million range, a landmark only three active defensive linemen (Aaron Donald, DeForest Buckner, Chris Jones) have reached. The Jets currently have just over $21 million in cap space with training camp set to open this week.
Deep into the offseason, Demaryius Thomas remains a free agent. A return to the New York Jets would be beneficial for all sides.
Legends of NFL lore have borne the green of the New York Jets…albeit too late in their careers to make an impact.
The uniforms have hosted a plethora of superstars making a stop in the metropolitan area, looking as out of place as Vince Vaughn did in that Psycho remake. You could, in fact, form a whole that would probably win 10-12 games in their prime with the out-of-place gridiron gods that have passed through Jets camp. Brett Favre could be throwing passes to Art Monk while Jason Taylor and Ty Law handled things on defense (Law, to his credit, put up 10 interceptions in 2005).
Demaryius Thomas could be the next name on that list. A recent slew of injuries and perhaps sheer bad luck has caused many to forget just how explosive and game-changing a receiver Thomas can be. Between the 2012 and 2017 seasons, only Antonio Brown and Julio Jones acquired more receiving yardage than Thomas. Some could say those numbers were inflated with Peyton Manning throwing him the ball in Denver, but Thomas managed to make the most of situations where journeymen like Tim Tebow and Trevor Siemian. During his final full season with the Broncos (2017), Thomas still appeared in the top 20 in receiving yards (949) and receptions (83) with a terrifying throwing hydra of Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and Paxton Lynch reigning in Denver.
Embracing a rebuild, Denver traded Thomas to Houston where he suffered a torn Achilles. The Texans released him soon after and a comeback effort with the Patriots that ensuing summer went for naught. A rare trade between AFC East rivals sent Thomas the Jets’ way, where pedestrian numbers awaited (433 yards on 36 receptions and a score over 11 games).
Today’s NFL is one of instant gratification and memory spans shorter than a New York minute. Cam Newton, an MVP as little as five seasons ago, was a free agent into June. Thomas, 32, remains on the pickup list awaiting an opportunity as the NFL offseason reaches its twilight stages and an uncertain future.
A New York Jets reunion would not only benefit Thomas but help Gang Green solve some immediate problems of their own.
The idea of a Thomas return was ignited by a report from Connor Hughes of The Athletic earlier this month, who mentioned that the two sides “are talking” about 2020. It’s foolhardy to assume that his rearrival makes the Jets an instant contender but he’s the exact type of player the Jets need right now.
It’s admirable to see that the latest stage of the Jets’ perpetual rebuild has gone with a youth-oriented approach. Only six players on the squad are at least 30 and three of them are newcomers Frank Gore, Joe Flacco, and Brett Maher. But every rebuilding young squad needs some sort of veteran anchor, a veteran mentor to keep things rolling. A veteran anchor is a player that has been there before, someone who has seen the trials and tribulations a professional league has to offer, one that can make a transition of power all the more smooth.
Josh McCown perhaps fulfilled that role for the Jets before his brief retirement. Their metropolitan athletic brethren have employed similar concepts in their own rebuilds, as Henrik Lundqvist has taken on a similar role with the New York Rangers. The Brooklyn Nets took on two in the forms of DeAndre Jordan and Wilson Chandler.
Thomas would could help a receivers room in desperate need of some guidance. Slot man Jamison Crowder is currently the most experienced option, sharing the honor with Breshad Perriman. The latter is expected to be the top receiving option alongside second-round pick Denzel Mims. Thomas can be a reassuring veteran prescience that can help Perriman expand on the career-best stretch we saw at the end of last season, as well as a strong instant teacher for Mims.
His influence on the youth has been perfectly documented by the case of 24-year-old Vyncint Smith. The pair worked together during their brief time in Houston and Thomas convinced Jets management to take a waiver on the undrafted veteran from Division II Limestone College. Reunited with Thomas, Smith made in an impact in the Jets’ starting lineup, making four starts and tallying 277 yards from scrimmage.
“He’s a big help. He’s the reason I came over to the Jets when they were scouting my film,” Smith said to Olivia Landis of NewYorkJets.com. “They asked him about me, and he said, ‘Yeah bring him in, he’s going to be big.’ He helped me out in Houston and I helped him a little bit with the plays, and he helped me with everything else. Things like being a professional on and off the field, he’s helped out a lot.”
Thomas’ leadership was rewarded through captaincy honors in November.
“It’s because everybody respects the man, the young guys and the older guys,” fellow captain Steve McLendon told Peter Botte of the New York Post. “Demaryius is a man of few words, but when he does say something, you take it to heart. Plus, he has gone and been to where we all desire to go and be.”
McLendon was perhaps indirectly referring to the Super Bowl, which Thomas has visited twice. His Super Bowl touchdown, in fact, came at MetLife Stadium, the lone bright mark for Denver in their 43-8 loss to Seattle in the game’s 48th edition. It was one of a Super Bowl-record 13 receptions for Thomas in that game. He’d eventually get his long-sought-after ring in the return trip two years later, when the Broncos topped Carolina 24-10 in Santa Clara.
Set to turn 33 this Christmas, it’s possible that Thomas might never be the same after the injury in Houston ended his 2018 season. But a chance to leave a lasting legacy could await him in New York. It’s no guarantee that he would be around to truly reap the fruits of his potential veteran labor, but a simple one-year signing, so common in this offseason, could pay big dividends in the long run.
Images of Favre, Law, etc. wearing Jets green may be viewed as sacrilegious by the football faithful. They’ll more than likely lump Thomas in the same view, but the modern Jets could look back on such an image fondly if the leadership returns in this crucial year.
The New York Jets unveiled the numerals that their newcomers’ uniforms will bear for the 2020 season on Tuesday.
A majority of New York Jets newcomers unveiled their jersey numbers for the 2020 season.
Offensive line proceedings headlined the new numerals, with first-round pick Mekhi Becton donning No. 77. Becton’s number from Louisville, 73, has been retired by the Jets, putting him in need of a new jersey in more ways than one.
“I wanted to try something new because I didn’t feel right in 70. That’s my high school number and then 73 is retired,” Becton said in a statement to Eric Allen of the Jets’ website. “I feel like 77 is just a different journey, a new journey to start.”
Below, we have the new digits and your jersey planning guide for the Jets’ free agency and draft class.
No. 2: K Brett Maher
Competing with Sam Ficken for the kicker’s slot, Maher maintains his number from Dallas. A previous former Cowboy, Nick Folk, wore the number for the Jets and went on to hold the position for seven seasons.
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 2: K Nick Folk, K Jason Myers
No. 4: QB James Morgan
With his Florida International numerals taken by a certain Hall of Fame quarterback, Morgan has opted for single digits this time around. For all you math majors, if you subtract his original number at Bowling Green (16) from his numerals at FIU, you get his new Jets symbol.
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 4: QB Brett Favre, P Lac Edwards
No. 5: QB Joe Flacco
Flacco retains the single-digit he wore en route to the Super Bowl in Baltimore. He also donned the number during his cameo in Denver last season.
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 5: K Pat Leahy
No. 7: P Braden Mann
The No. 34 Mann wore at Texas A&M was not only taken by cornerback Brian Poole but also barred from NFL usage by a specialist. Thus, he dons a number previously worn by a pair of prior Jets punters.
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 7: QB Ken O’Brien, QB Boomer Esiason, QB Geno Smith, P/QB Tom Tupa, P Ben Graham
No. 11: WR Denzel Mims
Those who went out and purchased new Robby Anderson jerseys last season and panicked when the latter went to Carolina need only a mere roll of duct tape and a Sharpie to make things right thanks to Mims. The second-round pick previously owned Flacco’s numeral at Baylor
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 11: WR Robby Anderson, K Jim Turner, WR Jeremy Kerley
No. 18: WR Josh Doctson
Retaining his number from Washington, Doctson is certainly hoping for some longevity with it. Three consecutive receivers have spent single-year stints with No. 18 (ArDarius Stewart, Deontay Brunett, Demaryius Thomas)
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 18: QB Al Woodall
No. 19: WR Breshard Perriman
Keyshawn Johnson took his Jets number to Tampa Bay, and now it appears Perriman will do the same as he makes the reverse trip up north. The number was left behind by Trevor Siemian’s departure.
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 19: WR Keyshawn Johnson, DB/PR Chris Farasopoulos, WR/KR Andre Roberts
No 22: RB Lamical Perine
The No. 2 he wore in Gainesville was outlawed for running backs by NFL standards, so Perine opted to simply double up in East Rutherford. Jets fans certainly hope he fares better than the previous bearer, the recently departed Trumaine Johnson.
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 22: DB Jim Hudson, DB Burgess Owens, DB Erik McMillan
No. 32: CB Ashtyn Davis
Rushers have previously worn Davis’ new number, but it now takes on a defensive tone. Davis previously wore No. 27 in college at Cal.
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 32: RB Emerson Boozer, RB Blair Thomas, RB Leon Johnson
No. 35: CB Pierre Desir
No. 35 is a relatively quiet numeral in the grand scheme of Jets history, but Desir is looking to change that. He won’t have to change his repertoire too much, having worn it in Indianapolis.
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 35: RB Mike Augustyniak, FB BJ Askew
No. 43: TE Ross Travis
You might expect the former Penn State basketball participants to suit up for the Knicks, but Travis instead joins up with the Jets from Indianapolis. He previously also wore No. 88 in Kansas City.
Notable Jets Who Wore No.43: DB Michael Brim
No. 51: LB Patrick Onwuasor
The newest Jets interior option moves up three digits from his number in Baltimore. It has held a strong history in the Jets’ linebacking corps.
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 51: LB Ralph Baker, LB Jonathan Vilma, LB Greg Buttle, LB Bryan Cox
No. 60: C Connor McGovern
McGovern has a lot to live up to in bringing his Denver number over to New York. It has previously been worn by several notable names on both offense and defense, including a Super Bowl champion linebacker (original bearer Larry Grantham).
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 60: LB Larry Grantham, G/T Dan Alexander, T D’Brickshaw Ferguson
No. 62: G Greg Van Roten
Van Roten’s No. 73 from Carolina will never be worn in New York again, retired for Joe Klecko. Instead, he’ll be the first Jet to wear No. 62 since Vlad Ducasse in 2013.
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 62: LB Al Atkinson, G/C Roger Duffy
No. 68: G Josh Andrews
It was in a No. 68 jersey in which Andrews was noticed by general manager Joe Douglas during their shared time in Philadelphia. He’ll redon the number upon their reunion in New York.
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 68: G Kevin Mawae, G/T Reggie McElroy, T Kelvin Beachum
No. 72: T Cameron Clark
Alex Lewis had his Charlotte number, so Clark moves one digit up for his new green jersey. There’s a somber hint upon the awarding of this number, previously worn by Super Bowl champion Paul Rochester, who passed away earlier this month.
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 72: T Chris Ward, DL Jason Ferguson, DT Paul Rochester
No. 76: T George Fant
No one holds Fant’s old No. 74 from Seattle, but he’s nonetheless moving up a couple of spots. Much like fellow bearer Jumbo Elliott, Fant has been known to go out for a pass a time or two.
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 76: T Jumbo Elliott
No. 77: T Mekhi Becton
A new era begins for Becton, who, Van Roten before him, previously wore Klecko’s famous digits while repping the ACC’s Cardinals. It was briefly wrong by Tom Compton last season.
No. 92: DE Jabari Zuniga
Zuniga was able to retain his college numerals from Florida. The spot was previously left open by the trade of Leonard Williams.
Notable Jets Who Wore No. 92: DE Shaun Ellis, DE Leonard Williams
When looking at the New York Knicks, their obvious issues pertain to having no reliable sharpshooters from deep and defensively being a trainwreck. They have struggled to nail picks in the draft and free agents, as when they do, they usually end up trading them away, (Marcus Morris or Kristaps Porzingas).
While Julius Randle may seem like a solid signing, he is usually ball-dominant and has, in my opinion, stunted the growth of RJ Barrett as he cannot shoot threes adequately. He is also a slouch defensively, which puts an even more significant burden on a kid like Barrett, who needs someone to help him either offensively with sharpshooting or can be lockdown defensively to relieve him from tough matchups.
With their offseason starting now in terms of no basketball, the Knicks need to ponder what to do for their team’s improvements and what direction to go.
Who Comes Back?
If I’m the Knicks, I don’t resign any of their players with expiring contracts, and I let Bobby Portis go as well, meaning the Knicks would have nine roster spots and six available for the draft or any signings.
Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves though, let’s start off with who the Knicks should acquire in the NBA draft.
Shooting and Guards Galore For Knicks Draft Night
If the Knicks end up with a top 5 pick, I think they can land either LaMelo Ball or Killian Hayes, who are rated as two of the best point guards in the upcoming draft. Ball has issues with his percentages, but with NBA coaching, he can be able to drain threes, and on top of that, he’s a solid defender. His best attribute, in my opinion, is his unbelievable playmaking, and with RJ Barrett, he could easily see himself with 8-9, assists a game. For Killian, Hayes has talent and can be solid in the NBA, but his playmaking ability can be inconsistent.
Is Hayes a bad prospect? Not at all, and if the Knicks get him, I think they’ll be fine as he is promising, but again he shouldn’t be picked by the Knicks if LaMelo is on the board.
For their second 1st round pick, I see the Knicks getting Killian Tille as he’s a big man shooting 40% from three this season. The Knicks could get an upgrade at their Forward position and have a really solid 3 and D player for their future. He isn’t the most talented player in college basketball, but the Knicks would be getting better if they were able to snag him.
With their 2nd rounder, I see the Knicks going for Mason Jones who’s a reliable scorer and shooter at the guard position as the Knicks look to add depth at that position and try to get better offensively from deep, with the kid averaging 22 points on 35% from 3 and 45% overall, which aren’t great but could improve in the NBA.
These picks would make the Knicks a lot better for the future and would give the Knicks only 3 more spots to fill out as I see the Knicks moving one player in their active roster like an Ignas Brazdeikis down to the G-League. These guys aren’t superstars, but they will make the Knicks a whole lot better.
Rounding Out A Roster In Free Agency
The Knicks active roster in these hypothetical looks like this currently:
RJ Barrett G/F
Julius Randle F
Mitchell Robinson F/C
LaMelo Ball G
Killian Tille F
Mason Jones G
Taj Gibson F/C
Kevin Knox F
Dennis Smith Jr. G
Frank Ntilikina G
Reggie Bullock G
Wayne Ellington G
Elfrid Peyton G
Now let us try to make some cuts, with Dennis Smith Jr, Wayne Ellington, and Elfrid Peyton being part of my waives.In return, the Knicks now can add three free agents, and since my cuts were guards, I think adding one guard, and two forwards would be ideal here.
My first addition to the roster would be the Wizards’ sharpshooter Dāvis Bertāns who’s known as the Latvian Laser, as he’s a 27-year-old 41.1% shooter from deep. While he’s a below-average defender, he is 6-10 and can be the Knicks 6th man and play Forward or play for Julius Randle and have Randle fill in for Barrett one the second team.
The second addition to this team for me would be Orlando Magic’s guard Evan Fournier, who is shooting 40.6% from 3 this season and is a career 37.6% shooter from three. He is averaging 18.8 points per game with 3.2 assists and 2.6 rebounds. He’s 6-7 and can play shooting guard, which could be an excellent addition for the Knicks as a perimeter threat. I know his defense isn’t great, but with the next guy, there’s defensive upside.
The final addition to this team would be Serge Ibaka, who is a 7-foot monster who can play center or forward, and on 3.3 attempts per game is shooting 39.8% from three. With a 104 Defensive Rating, he’s okay defensively at Center, but as a forward, it’s at 103 with a positive defensive box plus-minus. If playing Forward, he can be a lockdown defender that the Knicks need right now. On top of all of this, he’s giving the Raptors 16 and 8 on 27.5 minutes and could be a force for the Knicks in the paint with Mitchell Robinson.
What Would the Lineup Look Like?
Well, the amount of new pieces means the lineup needs to be restructured and here’s how I’d do so:
LaMelo Ball G
Evan Fournier G
RJ Barrett F
Dāvis Bertāns F
Serge Ibaka F
This starting lineup provides at least 3 high-level shooters from 3 and Serge Ibaka being a solid shooter. This means RJ Barrett also has a chance to show off his slashing abilities and develop as a shooter and also have options to pass to when he’s doubled. For the second team, this is where, in my opinion, the Knicks show their real improvement:
Frank Ntilikina G
Mason Jones G
Julius Randle F
Killian Tille F
Mitchell Robinson F
This second team is more flourished and has a better chance of competing against a good team’s second squad as well. The depth of the Knicks is improved, and they get a really young and good second team with decent shooting from their two draft picks and a good scorer in Randle.
Does this offseason make them a Finals contender? No, not at all, but it gives them the chance to develop stars in LaMelo Ball and RJ Barrett.
The New York Jets’ transaction log, including the latest add Joe Flacco, demonstrates just why a new Adams deal isn’t instantly feasible.
After Friday’s reported signing of quarterback Joe Flacco, the New York Jets have added 15 new players during this 2020 NFL offseason.
Notably absent among the transactions is a long-term deal for Jamal Adams.
The roller-coaster saga between the star defender and his New York employers went for another spin last week, as reports emerged that Adams and his camp were miffed that a long-term deal had not been completed yet. This reopened trade rumors that initially ignited last fall, ones that saw the Dallas Cowboys emerge as the top Adams suitors, ones that caused some hurt feelings between the two sides.
One of general manager Joe Douglas’ primary duties since a rocky 1-7 has been rehabilitating the relationship between management and Adams. Cooler heads have mostly since prevailed, the most prominent example being Douglas’ declaration that he wanted to make Adams “a Jet for life” at the NFL Scouting Combine.
In the midst of the supposed drama, Adams has voiced little, if any, concerns about a potential future with the Jets. After a weekend of possibly sleepless nights, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport granted Jets fans a Memorial Day gift by declaring that there “isn’t any traction” between New York and Dallas vis a vis an Adams deal.
The Jets want an extension. Adams, by all indications, wants it. The fans obviously want it.
But it’s not in the cards right now from a franchise standpoint.
Adams’ performance has nothing to do with it. The safety has established himself as the face of New York football, a practitioner of the hard-hitting finesse that metropolitan fans have come to adore and expect from their defensive stars. His status as a New York legend, at least until he plays a playoff game in green, was perhaps solidified during the 2019 Pro Bowl proceedings. Adams pranced around Orlando like a kid at Christmas, taking out years of tri-state frustration on Pat Patriot before winning game MVP honors alongside future Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes.
But that’s exactly the “issue”: Adams has established himself as a premiere, long-term NFL talent. His comrades in green have not.
Of the Jets’ free agents signings, a combined 15 new contracts bestowed to newcomers and returnees alike, all but one (the three-year, $27 million deal earned by Connor McGovern) is either a one-year deal or armed with an out after the upcoming season (McGovern’s comes after two). This is an apparent indication that the Jets are zooming in the short-term aspirations of their star-crossed franchise.
Going all in on the immediate future is a luxury often afforded solely to teams that are in Super Bowl contention or are at most the proverbial “one more away”. No one’s arguing that the Jets have reached that point. Even with the uncertainty looming in New England and extra playoff capital granted, asking the Jets to end their playoff drought is going to be a tall task.
If and when we get a 2020 season, it should be almost like a tryout for the next phase of the Jets’ reboot. Numbering the steps would be an exercise in futility, but the Jets feel like they’re closer than ever to the one that finally yields profit. Adams leads a developing defense alongside fellow veteran and All-Pro C.J. Mosley. Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell provide a rare instance of having two backfield saviors.
Last season proved that this group consisted of mere star athletes, not miracle workers. If the Jets were truly going to contend and take over the post-Tom Brady AFC, they needed to have consistent options available at every slot in the depth chart.
The Jets thus wisely used their offseason capital on finding such solutions, primarily ones that were going to make the jobs of a long-suffering offense a lot easier. McGovern was added alongside single-year men and fellow blockers Greg Van Roten and George Fant. Accomplished veteran insurance came in the form of Joe Flacco and Frank Gore. December’s breakout receiver Breshad Perriman can be a veteran target for Darnold.
Such options even revealed themselves at home. Bless Austin was a sixth-round steal from Rutgers. Jordan Jenkins, Neville Hewitt, James Burgess, Brian Poole, and Arthur Maulet each earned invitations to stay for another year.
Thus, the 2020 season will be a test, one of strength and mettle. With these one-year deals, Douglas has told those who signed them that there is a chance that they can be the ones to finally put the Jets back in football’s more refined residencies. But, if they want to do that, they’re going to have to prove it.
Adams is far beyond that stage.
If the Jets need to convince Adams that a long-term deal isn’t feasible right now, they should tell him that his spot in New York is secure and that there’s a plan. That plan will go through some lean times, but it’s a plan nonetheless, one where those invited on one-year deals will have to prove themselves worthy of suiting up alongside Adams for the new decade.
The Jets might not even be done assembling this team of tryouts as is. After all, they’re still armed with just below $15 million in cap space (not counting the newest deal for Flacco). They reportedly brought in the backup quarterback less than a week ago and would be wise to peruse the remaining veteran market on receivers (Demaryius Thomas, Taylor Gabriel, Paul Richardson) and linebackers (Markus Golden, Nigel Bradham).
Simply put the Jets could be in a better position to succeed, perhaps even this season, if they keep on building. Doing so would conflict with Adams’ apparent goal of being the NFL’s top-paid safety. Barring any cap slashes, it would hard to deal a majority of the remaining cap space solely to Adams right now while continuing to prepare for more immediate endeavors.
Barring anything truly disastrous, things seem to continually trend in the direction of an Adams extension. There have been bumps in the road, but no uncontrollable fires thus far. The fact of the matter is that, right now, the Jets have the leverage in this situation, and it would be silly for either side to truly challenge or exploit that. Jamal Adams is far beyond the current New York plan of one-year “prove it” deals. There’s a time and place for an extension…it simply isn’t this very moment.
With long-term contract discussions reportedly at an impasse, the New York Jets might be seeking a deal for the All-Pro defender.
The Jamal Adams roller-coaster saga has reportedly taken another turn.
According to longtime NFL reporter Gary Myers, Adams and the New York Jets could be reaching a point of no return when it comes to a long-term deal for the defender. Myers claims that the Jets have no plans to give Adams such a deal this offseason and ESPN’s Rich Cimini confirmed that the timing has Adams and his group feeling sour. Both Myers and Cimini reported that a trade is possible and that timing, not money, has been the biggest issue of the proceedings thus far.
Adams, 24, is entering the final year of his rookie contract inked in 2017, though the Jets picked up his fifth-year option last month. Jets general manager Joe Douglas has repeatedly stated this offseason that he hopes to keep Adams for the long-term.
While eventful, the 2020 offseason has been one that has seen little traction in terms of long-term deals for the Jets. Of the 14 veterans signed this offseason, only one has a guaranteed contract beyond this season (offensive lineman Connor McGovern, who signed a three-year, $27 million deal that has a potential out after two seasons). All others were either one-year deals or good for two seasons with a potential out after one. The Jets currently hold just under $15 million in cap space after their splurging. Adams is due to make $3.5 million in guaranteed money in 2020.
The defender is seeking a long-term deal that would likely make him the highest-paid safety in the league. Chicago’s Eddie Jackson currently holds the honor at $14.6 million per year. Adams’ name surfaced in trade talks at last season’s deadline, with the Dallas Cowboys emerging as the most prominent contenders. Any potential trade for Adams would have to include the caveat of the desired long-term contract.
Gore, who turns 37 on Thursday, joins a list of illustrious rushers that have spent their twilight years with the New York Jets. Others notables that have taken the green plunge include Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, and LaDanian Tomlinson. Aging legends of the game be found all over such a lineup, one whose depth chart includes Brett Favre, Derrick Mason, Jason Taylor, and Ronnie Lott.
While some names wind up hitting the blooper reels of NFL lore, others can wind becoming solid contributors to the New York cause. Law, for example, earned a career-best 10 interceptions during the 2005 season. A decade later, Brandon Marshall had the most illustrious season in franchise history with team-bests 1,502 yards on 109 receptions, 14 of which went for touchdowns.
Here’s why Gore can potentially lean toward ending up in the latter, more hopeful, category…
He’s Still Got What the Jets Are Looking For
Jets head coach Adam Gase took some heat for his usage of Le’Veon Bell last season. Comments to ESPN’s Rich Cimini earlier this offseason only seemed to further freeze the icy relationship Bell and Gase have reportedly had so far.
“I do think we have some guys that can help maybe lessen the load on (Bell) to where it’s not all on him,” Gase told Cimini on May 4, two days before Gore’s arrival. “Hopefully, we can get some of the younger backs to where we can make a good one-two punch to where we can really excel instead of feeling like it’s just all on him all the time.”
But Gase may have a point.
While Bell’s tally of 311 touches didn’t sniff the league-best 406 he had with Pittsburgh in 2017, it still ranked eighth in the NFL last season. It quickly became clear that Bell wasn’t the one-size-fits-all solution to the Jets’ offense some envisioned him to be. Things could get a little easier after the expansive offensive line renovations, The Jets had to find a spell option for Bell, a process that became all the more imperative with Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery on the free agency block.
They began to address the role when they took Florida’s Lamical Perine in the fourth round of last month’s draft and continued with Gore. No one’s expecting Gore to be the dominant rusher he was during his glory days in San Francisco, but he has spent the past few seasons fulfilling similar roles across the AFC East. Gore has earned 1,321 over the last two seasons with Miami and Buffalo. He would serve as a passable starting option when Devin Singletary went down with an injury. Among his notable efforts with the Bills last season was an 83-total yard performance at MetLife Stadium (also scoring a touchdown in a 28-14 win over the Giants) and a 109-yard ground output on 17 carries against New England. For what the Jets are looking for, Gore was a perfect fit.
Over the last seasons, Gore’s 1,321 rushing yards are good for second amongst running backs in their 30s (behind only Washington’s Adrian Peterson).
He Knows the Staff
If and when we get a 2020 season, it will undoubtedly be one of reckoning for Gase and his staff. He and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains will be under particular scrutiny for how the offense flows with Sam Darnold entering the telling third year as the franchise quarterback, now armed with a revamped offensive line and a potential big-play receiver in Denzel Mims in tow.
It’s only natural for the staff to surround themselves with talent that has worked to their advantage before. Gore was brought into Gase and Loggains’ Miami squad in 2018. His duties were shared with youngsters Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage, but he still led the team with 722 yards. The 2018 season also served as a mini-revitalization, as Gore averaged 4.6 yards per carry, the first time he put over four yards since his final San Francisco season in 2014.
Gase has spoken highly of their brief shared tour of Miami. He referred to the Gore experience as “unbelievable” in the lead-up to the Jets’ Week 1 matchup with the rusher’s then-employers from Buffalo.
“If you watched him work day-in and day-out, it wouldn’t surprise you,” Gase said, per Brian Costello of the New York Post. “We would always say, ‘Hey, we think you should take today off,’ and he’s like, ‘Wednesdays, I’m practicing,’ and he wants every rep. You’re in full pads and he’s going at it like it’s Sunday. That’s just how he looks. That’s how he’s always been. He loves football. There’s no other place he’d rather be than the practice field, game day. Everything about football, he loves.”
Good Country For Old Men
A lot has been made about the Jets signing yet another veteran past his prime. But that might be exactly what they need at this stage of the game.
The Jets’ perpetual rebuild is in perhaps its most hopeful stage yet, but it’s one stocked with youth. On the team’s current roster, only four other veterans are at least 30. When it comes to building a winning culture, a veteran that has done the dance of victory before is an essential ingredient. One can do far worse in a helpful veteran than a college football national champion, a five-time Pro Bowler, the rusher named to the 2010s All-Decade Team by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the third-leading rusher in NFL history.
An example at another position came in the form of Mark Brunell’s brief tenure as Mark Sanchez’s backup during the 2010 and 2011 campaigns. Brunell’s resume wasn’t as polished as Gore’s, but he was the quarterback that led the Jacksonville Jaguars to their earliest glory days and later won a Super Bowl as the understudy in New Orleans.
The aged Brunell, who was entering his 40s, had a calming effect on Sanchez, who posted the best numbers of his career with the ex-Jaguar in the room.
“He has a calming presence when everything is spinning out of control,” Sanchez told Cimini during the 2011 preseason. “When you’re not having a good game or practice is going too fast and you’re just not right, he’s got this way about him.”
A prominent rushing example came from Thomas Jones at the turn of the last decade. Jones’ was a solid contributor during his twilight years (he’s still seventh in franchise history with 3,833 rushing yards despite spending only three years in green), but he had a calming effect on the lineup as a whole. In another Cimini piece, Sanchez called Jones “one of the best teammates I’ve ever had”, even though their New York paths only merged for a single season.
The New York Jets have been searching for cornerback stability for a long time now. Realistically, they haven’t had real stability since Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie manned the secondary. They gambled on Ohio State cornerback Dee Milliner in the 2013 draft and lost. They signed Trumaine Johnson to a big five-year, $72.5 million contract in 2018. We know how that turned out. Now, Gang Green finds themselves in another situation with a so-so cornerback group. Veteran Logan Ryan could provide some much-needed stability, leadership and experience on a short-term deal.
Ryan totaled 113 total tackles, 4 interceptions and 4.5 sacks last season with the Tennessee Titans en route to the AFC Championship game. He has played in 15 playoff games and has missed just three games over his seven-year career thus far with the Titans and Patriots. Also, he has won two Super Bowls with the Patriots. There’s the experience and stability in a nutshell. His experience could be a game-changer in the Jets’ secondary. The experience across their current players is far less. Let’s take a look at the cornerbacks currently on the team:
These names may change and we don’t know what the depth chart is going to look like as of yet. Regardless, there isn’t much stability in that group. Logan Ryan would not only slide in as a starter, but he would also prevent younger, less experienced players from being placed into big-time situations when they shouldn’t be. Ryan is one of the top remaining free agents and would immediately bolster a Jets secondary that desperately needs cornerback help.