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. 

What the New York Jets need to do to piece together an elite defense

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

The New York Jets’ defense ranked among the top half of the league and was ranked as one of the top rushing defenses in all of football last season. The defense was good but not great. With the defensive line figured out and filled with depth, C.J. Mosley returning, Avery Williamson potentially returning if he is not cut, the defense can be great. They just need to fill 2 vital holes.

Cornerback

Main Options

The Jets ideal route for filling the holes at corner would be to resign Brian Poole so the slot role is filled and then go about grabbing a lead corner in free agency. The biggest issue for the Jets is avoiding tying themselves to a contract resembling the headache they just freed themselves of in Trumaine Johnson.

The free agency class is top-heavy at corner but there is depth within the lower levels. James Bradberry and Byron Jones are reportedly being targeted by the Jets. Both guys would immediately become the Jets lead corner and fill a huge hole.

Bradberry is very underrated and has been Carolina’s top corner for the past few years. The Jets reportedly believe he is the better of the two and are willing to splurge on him. I believe Bradberry would be great but he wants to be a part of resetting the cornerback market and his contract may be too pricey.

Other Options

If the Jets miss out on the top two guys, Ronald Darby, Prince Amukamara, Jalen Mills, Chris Harris Jr., and Trae Waynes are among the guys the Jets could target. Even if the Jets get one of these guys to be their lead corner, the Jets need to grab a corner in the draft as well. By doing that the Jets would have two veteran CBs and two younger options, a draft pick and Bless Austin. This would drastically change the Jets secondary and potentially make it elite depending on the additions.

Pass Rush

John Abraham was the last elite pass rusher the Jets had. Mo Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson were both great defensive linemen but not capable of being pass rushers. The Jets drafted Jordan Jenkins a few years ago and he’s developed into a consistently good pass rusher, but he should be re-signed and used as a complementary pass rusher to a better pass rusher.

The Jets can go about filling that hole in a few ways. Free agency is an option, Dante Fowler Jr. and Markus Golden are two guys the Jets have been tied to and both would be great additions. In the draft, there are a few guys I have grown fond of in the pre-draft process. Bradlee Anae, Josh Uche, Kenny Wilekes, Curtis Weaver and Jonathan Greenard are all very talented pass rushers who could be available for the Jets on Days 2 and 3. Any of those guys would be great additions to the Jets and could be capable of becoming elite pass rushers. The Jets need to form an elite pass-rushing tandem, maybe even a trio. The overall goal needs to be an establishment of pass rush and finally getting playmakers at the edge.

The Jets need to get a few more “dawgs” and if they do that then the Jets will have an elite defense that can help lead this team to playoff contention.

New York Jets: Aldon Smith Is Worth A Flier

New York Jets

Aldon Smith was the 7th overall selection of the 2011 NFL Draft. He was a prolific pass rusher for the early part of his career. After troubles with the law and suspension from the NFL, Aldon Smith has disappeared from the football world. According to Jay Glazer, Smith is preparing for a comeback and he is sober. Barring reinstatement, Aldon Smith could be worth a shot for the New York Jets. 

Aldon Smith Was REALLY Good

Aldon Smith was a prolific pass rusher for the bulk of his shortened career. In his rookie season, Aldon put up BIG numbers. Smith had 37 tackles, 13 TFLs, 14.0 Sacks, 4 PDs, 2 FF & 1 FR. His game wrecking ability was prominent early and high expectations were exceeded in year 2. Aldon Smith was both an All-Star and a member of the First All-Pro Team in 2012. Smith had 66 tackles, 19.5 Sacks, 18 TFLs, 1 PD, 3 FF, & 1 INT. Smith lit up the stat sheet and was a top defensive player in all of football. However his off the field issues began to be an issue in 2013. After 4.5 sacks in his first 3 games, Smith was arrested for driving under the influence and marijuana possession. Smith went through rehabilitation and returned after missing 5 games. He was in a limited role and ultimately finished the season strong when his role grew back to regular size. He finished the season with 34 tackles, 11 TFLs, 8.5 Sacks, 1 FF & 1 FR. Despite the limited time, his performance was impressive especially after battling back from drug issues. He seemed like a success story but issues worsened. Smith has suspended nine games for substance abuse policy violations. Upon reinstatement, he had 2.0 Sacks, 15 tackles and 4 TFLs. He had a limited role and after more legal issues in the offseason, he was released. After a short and unimpressive run with Oakland, his run came to an end when he has suspended again and at this time has not received reinstatement.

The Jets Could Use Him

According to Jay Glazer Smith is clean and ready to return. The New York Jets are in a situation where they should take as many fliers on inexpensive pass rush solutions as possible. Smith would fit into a Gregg Williams defense and likely have a lot of success. Having only played a few seasons and only being 30, Smith is still in his athletic prime. The Jets could get him on a solid deal and pair him with a free agent acquisition and Tarell Basham and begin to build a solid edge rush. This could be a pipe dream but Aldon Smith would be a great flier for the Jets to take.