New York Jets: Why Carolina is the perfect Sam Darnold trade partner

The quarterback trade market has mostly dried up, but if the New York Jets are looking to deal Sam Darnold, Charlotte is a prime destination.

The mythical hands of the football gods are ready to pull up the needle on their record player, ending a turn in the proverbial game of musical chairs played amongst the NFL’s quarterbacks. When the music stops, another turn awaits at the end of April through the NFL Draft in Cleveland.

The New York Jets have a chance to partially control who sits in their chair. But, when you’re a team whose offseason to-do list length rivals that of a CVS receipt, it’s a seat whose occupant you’d like to be aware of sooner rather than later.

As the league inches closer to a date with destiny in Cleveland, the pressure heightens when it comes to a decision on Sam Darnold. While many have penciled in several non-Trevor Lawerence names in the Jets’ slot at second overall, the Jets have stood their ground with Darnold for the time being.

But if they do intend to draft, say, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, or Trey Lance, trading the incumbent should be a priority. A case could be made that Darnold could be a safety net for a newcomer, but circumstances, as they are, wouldn’t let that work for anyone. The Jets are already a team whose smallest controversies are amplified by social media platforms that thrive on schadenfreude, especially when it happens in a New York market. When rare hope presents itself in this perpetual rebuild, the Jets need to work through that situation with as few questions as possible.

The question of where the Jets have been too patient can certainly be raised. Several of the aforementioned seats (such as those in Indianapolis, Washington, Chicago, and New Orleans) have been filled while others (Jacksonville) have clear plans to solve their quandaries at the draft.

But, if the Jets are still looking to send Darnold off to not-so-greener pastures, a prime opportunity awaits down south through the Carolina Panthers.

ESM explains…

Nothing to Lose

What Darnold needs for his NFL career to succeed is stability and relative peace and quiet. Carolina can offer the latter through somewhat macabre circumstances.

In short, no one is expecting the Panthers to contend for the NFC South in the immediate future. After all, the division lists the defending Super Bowl champions from Tampa Bay amongst its members. New Orleans maintains enough firepower to remain competitive with Jameis Winston while Atlanta seems to building toward one final run with Matt Ryan in tow. The Panthers, on the other hand, are engaged in a rebuild that’s now forced to take a detour after Curtis Samuel left for Washington.

But there’s no doubt that Carolina is a bit more quiet on the media spectrum that the New York metropolitan area. They have some pieces that can contribute to their potential future glory days but have fully acknowledged that they’re still several pieces away from contention…including quarterback. But a better setup than the Jets have ever offered him (Carolina franchise tagged blocker Taylor Moton and All-Pro rusher Christian McCaffrey is set to return) and relative, for lack of a better term, obscurity can help truly decide if Darnold is cut out for NFL endeavors.

Matt Rhules 

As he enters his fourth NFL season, Darnold, no matter where he goes, is set to work with his third different coaching regime. It’s not impossible to recover from this; the perfect case study in finding success after some brutal early-career turnover is Alex Smith, who has developed a lengthy, strong tenure despite entering in the midst of countless regime changes in San Francisco.

But for the personal reclamation project to officially begin, a strong, accomplished offensive mind must be at the helm. Enter Matt Rhule, who has dragged entire college football programs from the gridiron underworld through dazzling offensive antics.

When Rhule took over Temple, they were picking up the pieces after Al Golden left for Miami. After a two-win debut, Rhule had the team at .500 before consecutive 10-win seasons. That led to a Big 12 gig at Baylor, where he transformed a one-win team into a Sugar Bowl contender within three seasons. One of Rhule’s primary weapons, Denzel Mims, became a second-round pick of the Jets’.

A familiar face in a stocked arsenal

Despite an ugly five-win ledger, Carolina had a lot of things to be proud of last season. All but three of their losses came by a single possession as the team remained competitive in a year where McCaffrey was limited to three games. But their inability to close games and earn points on late possessions doomed them to be buried in the power NFC South, wasting a 3-2 start.

Manning the quarterback role was Teddy Bridgewater in his first full-time starting job since Minnesota’s star-crossed season in 2015. While Bridgewater’s story is one of the most inspiring in football…regaining a starting position after a non-contact training camp injury in 2016 threatened to derail his career…questions have been raised as to whether he can hold the responsibilities of a full-time franchise role. Rhule did not commit to Bridgewater under center in his year-end statements.

“Teddy is here. I have a lot of respect for him. I believe in what he can do. I’ve seen glimpses, flashes of us as an offense looking really good,” Rhule said, per ESPN’s David Newton. “With regards to the draft and players, we’ll look at every opportunity to have the best we can have at every position, and that includes the quarterback position.”

Bridgewater is set to enter the second year of a three-year, $63 million deal inked last offseason. While Bridgewater has some experience with the Jets organization through the early stages of his comeback endeavors through the 2017 preseason, it’s unlikely the Jets would want to take on that price tag, unless they want to go with a stopgap option.

When it comes to a trade destination, Carolina is stocked with several offensive weapons, including Robby Anderson, with whom Darnold worked over his first two years in New York. Anderson mentioned that he “loved Sam” shortly before he hit the free market. Reuniting with a familiar face, as well as one of the most electrifying rushing talents in the league in McCaffrey, would help move Carolina in Darnold’s corner. Even with the loss of Samuel, the team seems well pleased with the emergence of DJ Moore as well, though they’ll likely look to upgrade their depth come draft weekend in Cleveland. While the blocking (which includes Anderson’s fellow former Jet Pat Elflein) leaves something to be desired, it’s unlikely that Darnold has had protection of Moton’s caliber…save for probably the one season he had with Mekhi Becton last season.

No matter what happens with Darnold, the Jets will be staring at questions that will take months, probably even years, to be answered. But if they’re opting to move on from Darnold, Carolina might be their best, and possibly only, option.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: The Sam Darnold trade partner power rankings

As the new NFL year officially gets underway, trade partners for New York Jets QB Sam Darnold are starting to dwindle.

To quote Evelyn Carnahan, Rachel Wiesz’s character from the beloved 1999 film The Mummy, patience is a virtue. Except, apparently, in the NFL.

The New York Jets have bided their time when it comes to their ongoing quarterback quandary. One guarantee remains, that all questions will be solved by the final hours of April 29, the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, where the Jets hold the second overall pick. All but one of the elite rookie names will likely be available to the Jets, who still have a Sam Darnold-sized question to answer: where will the third pick from 2018 take his snaps comes Week 1 of the 2021 campaign.

It’s hard to fully blame Darnold for the current, wayward state of the offense. But with the Jets holding the second overall pick and a new coach in tow, the temptation of starting fresh at football’s most vital position may be too much to resist.

But it’s possible the Jets have been too patient when it comes to Darnold’s future. Several starter-starving teams have settled their vital affairs and have found their solutions. Some took care of the matter early on (Indianapolis trading for Carson Wentz after Phillip Rivers’ retirement), while other solutions have presented themselves more recently (Andy Dalton in Chicago, New Orleans re-signing Jameis Winston after Drew Brees’ departure).

Others have remained stagnant, but at least there’s a clear plan in mind. The Jacksonville Jaguars have addressed other areas of need while actively shopping incumbent Gardner Minshew under the presumed assumption they’ll take Trevor Lawrence with the top overall pick come April. While the Jets have made some agreeable, if not downright underrated, signings this offseason, they’re no closer to solving their quarterback situation than they were in Week 17’s immediate aftermath.

Where else can the Jets turn and where will Darnold end up going? ESM ranks the remaining possibilities…

5. Washington Football Team

With Wild Card hero Taylor Heinicke and living football meme Ryan Fitzpatrick in tow, there’s no doubt that Washington’s passing endeavors will get social media clicks. But is it going to lead to wins? With Curtis Samuel joining college teammate Terry McLaurin, there’s a chance for offensive fireworks in Landover.

Washington does have a little extra draft capital that would be appropriate in a Darnold trade…they hold an extra third-round choice from the Trent Williams trade…but they’re probably set up with the pairing for the time being with their current, popular pair.

4. San Francisco 49ers

The status of incumbent Jimmy Garoppollo has been a hot topic in the Bay Area this winter, especially with the Warriors and Sharks mired in mediocrity. But, interestingly enough, Garoppollo’s future seems a bit more secure after the 49ers made Williams the highest-paid blocker in the history of football and re-upped with secret weapon Kyle Juszczyk.

The Jets have done something similar, adding Corey Davis after his career-best season, though their other offensive areas (particularly the blocking) still leave much to be desired.

3. Seattle Seahawks

The apparent displeasure of Russell Wilson in Seattle has been one of the most curious offseason sagas the NFL has had to offer. Such discontent has apparently had the Seahawks looking into trade possibilities. Wilson’s market is also a lot wider due to his status as an established star and Super Bowl champion. While Seattle has made some moves that will likely picque Wilson’s interest (adding Gerald Everett and Gabe Jackson), it’s likely nothing that’s going to make him fully buy into the Seahawks’ endeavors.

Seattle head coach Pete Carroll has reportedly expressed interest in his fellow USC football alum and the Jets’ previous dealing with the Seahawks through the closing chapters of the Jamal Adams saga. However, one has to think that Seattle, already sidelined in future capital (i.e. no first round picks for the next two years) would want to stop sending their assets out east to get a quarterback whose career has thus far defined mediocrity.

2. Denver Broncos

Denver’s in a bizarrely similar situation as the Jets in that they too are saddled with a young quarterback who has shown flashes of brilliance but not nearly enough to assure them that they don’t have to worry about their passing situation. Perhaps the arrival of another young talent would light a fire under either prospect.

The Broncos already solved one of their biggest offseason issues…exercising the $7 million option on Von Miller…and Darnold can help them solve another, the passing situation that has been in limbo since Peyton Manning retired.

1. Carolina Panthers

Robby Anderson’s time with the Jets didn’t end on a bright note, with the receiver declaring that he was “was losing (his) love for football while clad in a New York uniform. The Jets themselves made little effort to retain him, letting him walk to Carolina. But Anderson and Darnold, the closest thing the Jets have had to an explosive, big-play QB/WR combo in recent memory, still had some kind words for each other. Anderson made it clear that part of the reason he wanted to return to the Jets was because of his rapport with Darnold and the quarterback had nice things to say about Anderson even after his departure.

“Me and Robby had a really good connection over the years,” Darnold said of Anderson in May, per USA Today’s Tyler Greenawalt. “He had gotten a lot better at running routes, as time went on.”

Carolina’s quarterback situation is a questionable state at this point in time. Ex-Darnold mentor Teddy Bridgewater’s return is undoubtedly inspiring, but there are doubts he’s the long-term solution. The current backup plan is XFL star P.J. Walker, so the Panthers could stand to upgrade. Further working in Darnold’s favor is the prescience of offensive guru Matt Rhule as head coach. The NYC native has overseen collegiate offensive fireworks at Temple and Baylor and could be the perfect mind to help fulfill Darnold’s NFL potential.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets Head Coaching Candidates: Joe Brady

New York Jets, Joe Brady

With the New York Jets now sitting at an 0-11 record with only five games to go, it is apparent the team needs a change of pace. That is likely to come in the form of a. Full-scale rebuild, starting with the coaching staff. As the team will likely move quickly with their coaching search, I decided to take an individual deep dive into some of the guys who could lead the New York Jets into the next era. This begins with Carolina Panthers Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady.

Who is Joe Brady?

Joe Brady was born in 1989 in Miami Lakes, Florida. Brady played wide receiver in high school and earned an opportunity to play College Football at Willam & Mary. After a college playing career there, Brady begins his coaching career as a Linebackers coach before becoming a grad assistant at Penn State. Then, Brady got an opportunity of a lifetime to serve under Sean Payton as an Offensive Assistant. Payton saw a lot of potential with Brady, but when he took a gamble on heading to the college level under coach Ed Orgeron at LSU, Payton thought he was making a mistake.

Looking back, that chance Coach O took on Brady, and he took on a young and hungry LSU paid off immensely. When Coach O handed Brady the keys to the LSU offense, he revamped it and took it from the 38th ranked offense in the country to the 1st ranked offense in the country in just one season.

The offense was so explosive that they were able to roll over competition on the way to their National Championship. Along with that, he was crucial in the development of now Bengals starting quarterback Joe Burrow. In Burrow’s Heisman campaign, he had a 76.3 completion percentage that produced a line of 5,671 yds, 60 TDs, and 6 INTs. Not only was the passing attack spectacular, the rushing attack was spectacular. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 1,414 yards and 16 scores, which only led him to be a first-rounder.

While on the topic of talent, I would be remiss without mentioning all the NFL Draft picks that came from last year’s offense and have excelled at the next level. Arguably the top rookie QB, RB, and WR are all LSU products. Now, this begged the question of how would Brady translate to the NFL, and he has answered that with emphatic success.

Joe Brady in the NFL

When Matt Rhule, a guy the Jets were heavily interested in before Adam Gase jumped from the college ranks to Carolina, he brought rising star Joe Brady with him. Brady has not disappointed. Brady inherited an offense ranked 27th in all of football in 2019 and has brought them to the 7th best offense in the NFL in only 10 games. With 6 games to go along with the impending return of Christian McCaffery, that ranking can only improve.

With McCaffery out, though, the offense has still hummed along perfectly fine. Guys like Curtis Samuel and Mike Davis have stood out in a big way, along with an impressive season from former Jets receiver Robby Anderson. The offense is innovative and unique, and the success he received at LSU has absolutely translated seamlessly to the next level. With a talent group that isn’t even on par with what it could be, Brady has built a resume capable of being a head coach, and at 31 years old, he would be a fresh, innovative hire, but why the Jets?

Why would he be a good fit?

The Jets have tried everything in the past few years. Todd Bowles was a discipline heavy defensive coordinator who was supposed to carry over the hard work culture built under Rex Ryan. Bowles failed to get on the same page with the management and could not gain control over the locker room after a strong first season. Then the Jets hired Adam Gase. This was a hire that was not received well, but fans set out to give him the benefit of the doubt. He has been absolutely awful, and the coach who was supposed to bring a head coaching background has only brought incompetence.

Joe Brady would be the anti-Bowles/Gase hire. He is a fresh, innovative mind along the lines of Sean McVay and Kyle Shannahan and would immediately revitalize the franchise. Not only that, but with 98 million dollars in cap space, a renowned general manager in Joe Douglas, and a plethora of draft capital, the resources are there to build a competitive team that would work around Brady’s strengths. Not only that but pairing Trevor Lawerence and Joe Brady is the kind of tandem that excites everyone repping the Green and White.

Brady would be the best offensive-minded coach the Jets could grab, but is he a leader? Brady is 31 years old and inexperienced. If Brady can step up and show he is capable of being a leader in the interviews, he could be the easy favorite to be the coach. However, if he does not seem like a guy who could instill a winning culture in New York and mentor Trevor Lawerence, then maybe he is not the right hire. With that said, I firmly believe Brady deserves and should be the next head coach of the New York Jets.

Releasing Le’Veon Bell depicts everything wrong with the Jets’ Organization

New York Jets, Leveon Bell

When the Jets inked Le’Veon Bell to join the team, the consensus was that Gang Green may have just rejuvenated their offense. The team handed a big contract to a former All-Pro running back and expected him to contribute immediately. Now when you add that caliber of a talent to your team, you expect a certain level of production no matter what side of the ball.

Bell had 245 carries for 789 yards and 3 TDs. He also added 461 yards and a score on 66 receptions. Bell put up numbers that look impressive on paper and for other backs, but when looked at in the grand scheme of things. It was an abnormally abysmal year for him.

Looking at his numbers from Pittsburgh in contrast to his little over a season in the green and white, the drop off was eye-opening. With Pittsburgh, Bell had an average of 129.0 scrimmage yards per game in contrast to his 80.2 in New York. The other startling statistic was his 3.2 yards per attempt that stood as the lowest mark of his career. So, why did Bell have such a massive drop off in quality of play?

While the obvious culprit seemed to be Adam Gase.

You can make the case that the team failed to provide quality blockers for Gase, but Bell’s utilization was the biggest issue. Gase was adamant about this in his preseason pressers as he stated that one of his primary focuses of the offseason was on using Bell better. Bell received a high volume of reps, but they were not meaningful ones. With just 19 attempts this season for 74 yards, Bell had bumped his production up to 3.9 yards per attempt, but he had 3 receptions for 39 yards out of the backfield. Now, this was only in two games since he missed time with a shoulder injury, but one thing was different this year than last. Gase DID use Bell slightly more efficiently than last season, but the primary reason he was able to get those reps was because of how Gase used his 37-year-old back, Frank Gore.

It was obvious to even the casual observer that Gase and Bell had a tumultuous relationship, but it was only furthered based on Gore’s usage. Gore was used as the bell cow back in the offense while Bell was out and even given reps that would typically go to Bell when he returned. Here is the cold hard truth, Adam Gase and Le’Veon Bell were never on the same page. The “innovative mind” failed to realize the talent he had in his hands and instead failed to adapt his playbook to his best players. Gase instead remained stubborn and set in his ways by continuing to overuse basic halfback dives and receiver screens. See, the poor utilization of Bell by Gase that led to the rift is the utter depiction of the incompetence that has plagued this organization.

Le’Veon Bell now joins the list of so many other talents who were wasted whilst with an “offensive genius.” Some of those players include Jarvis Landry, Robby Anderson, Kenyan Drake, Ryan Tannehill, and DeVante Parker. All have had rejuvenated careers WITHOUT Adam Gase. If the blind eye could see that is the issue, why can’t the ownership? The fact is the Jets thrive off of their own self-destruction and incompetence beyond just the gridiron. Bell moving on and having success would just be the latest feather in the cap of the embarrassment: the Adam Gase era and the organization as a whole.

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.

New York Jets: UDFA Breakdowns, Lawerence Cager

New York Jets, C.J. Mosley

Over the coming weeks, I plan to breakdown the little known additions to the New York Jets, the UDFAs. The Jets added a couple of new players with varying levels of potential and talent at a few positions of need. The Jets have had UDFAs turn into key contributors in previous years like Robby Anderson, Damon Harrison, and even the legend, Wayne Cherbert. The first UDFA breakdown is Lawerence Cager, WR, Georgia.

Strengths

Lawerence Cager is a very unique player with his build. Similar to Quincy Enunwa, Cager is a speed threat with the body of a tight end. He’s dynamic with the ball in his hands and can be a good fit in quick throw and bubble screen packages that Adam Gase likes to run. Cager has got a lot of heart, if you look at his track record, Cager has been a leader and willed his way onto the field despite injuries in the past. Lawerence Cager has the physical and mental makeup to be a contributor at the next level. With good coaching, his talent could be harnessed into a formidable outside option or a depth receiver.

Weaknesses

Although I mentioned the dynamic aspect of Cager’s game, he also lacks a developed route tree. He’s got very good hands and he’s a crisp route runner, but at times he relies on his natural abilities to make up for lack of advancement in turns of his route tree. Natural ability may work in college, but at the next level, it won’t be as easy. Cager needs to develop more in that aspect. Cager also has a talented outside threat opposite him in George Pickens. That drew a lot of guys towards Pickens and freed Cager up more. This gave Cager more capability to succeed against lower-level corners. That’s a minor note that could be something to watch though. Lastly, injuries may have been something Cager could overcome at times, but he still missed the end of last season with a serious ankle injury. It may not be that much of an issue on the surface, but deeper damage could’ve hurt the dynamic aspect of his game and slowed him down a bit. That will remain to be seen.

Overall Outlook

Lawerence Cager was a worthwhile flyer in a free agency. There are definitely good reasons for Cager to not get drafted. The concerns in his game and injuries are justified. Ultimately, Cager is not going to be counted on to contribute right away. If Cager wins a spot on the roster, Hines Ward will likely be a key guy to watch in his development. If Ward sees potential in Cager or any other young receivers, his eye will be trusted. Cager could be a Quincy Enunwa prototype at best, but at worst this was just a camp body. 

New York Jets: The All-Time Undrafted Team

With the Easter season in full swing, the New York Jets have managed to find some hidden eggs after the NFL Draft’s final name.

255 names will be called during the process of the 2020 NFL Draft, which will begin on April 23 (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC/NFL Network). After the draft, however, many more will get a long-awaited phone call. Several of these players could wind up becoming hidden Easter eggs, players that become remarkable contributors to the active roster.

The New York Jets have had a good share of these spring surprises roll in from the ranks of the undrafted. ESM is proud to immortalize those names in a commemorative starting lineup….

QB: Bill Demory (1973-74)

Jets history is extremely shallow on undrafted quarterback success. 1999’s supersub Ray Lucas nearly made the list, but his career began during Bill Parcells’ New England years. Demory is the only undrafted quarterback originally signed by the Jets to win a start for the squad, riding a 132-yard day from John Riggins while he went 1-for-7 for 11 yards in a 9-7 win over New England in 1973.

RB: Clark Gaines (1976-80)

Gaines was a man of many talents with the Jets. Not only was he known for his rushing talents, but the 17 receptions he earned during a 1980 loss to San Francisco still stands as a Jets franchise record. His 55 receptions in 1977 were good for third in the NFL. On the ground, the 724 rushing yards earned during his rookie season allowed him to reach the NFL’s All-Rookie Team alongside linebacker teammate Greg Buttle and future legends Steve Largent and Harry Carson. Gaines wound up gaining 2,552 yards over five seasons with the Jets before injuries derailed his career.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d88_Tae7N4U

WR: Wayne Chrebet (1995-2005)

One of the renowned fan favorites in modern Jets history, Chrebet was the perfect tri-state area success story. Born in Garfield, New Jersey and graduating from Hofstra University on Long Island, Chrebet’s odds were stacked against him from the literal first moment he entered the Jets’ facility. The security guard on duty thought Chrebet was too small to partake in practice, but Chrebet defied all the odds by not only making the team but leaving a lasting impact. Currently, Chrebet ranks third in team history in receiving yardage (7,365) and touchdowns (41). He continues to be a regular prescience on Jet game days and was inducted into the team Ring of Honor in 2014.

WR: Robby Anderson (2016-19)

Anderson is by far the most prolific Jets receiver since his NFL entry. He put up 3,059 yards to accompany 20 touchdowns over four New York seasons. That’s not bad at all for a guy who entered his first Jets training camp ninth on the receiver’s depth chart. A prolific preseason (13 receptions, 264 yards) was only a sign of things to come. Anderson is currently 11th amongst active receivers with 14.8 yards per reception. Alas, the receiver has left for bluer pastures, rejoining former Temple head coach Matt Rhule and quarterback P.J. Walker in Carolina.

WR: Lou Piccone (1974-76)

As a Vineland native, Piccone’s green antics wasn’t the first time he brought a New Jersey crowd to its feet. He wound up leading the NFL in kick return yards during the 1974 season. His first professional touchdown came in two seasons later on a punt return during a shutout win over Tampa Bay. Piccone’s Jets career ended shortly after, as he shifted his New York allegiance over to Buffalo.

TE: Jeff Cumberland (2010-15)

It took a while for the Jets to unlock Cumberland’s true potential, but he became a favorite target no matter who was playing quarterback for the Jets between 2012 and 2014. Cumberland was one of two players to reach four digits in yardage in that span (the other being Jeremy Kerley) and no one scored more touchdowns (10) over that three-year range. His most notable tally, a one-yard fourth quarter grab from Greg McElroy, gave the Jets a 7-6 win over Arizona in December 2012.

C: John Schmitt (1964-73)

Another Hofstra alum, Schmitt was born in Brooklyn and first graduated from Seton Hall Preparatory School in West Orange. Schmitt was named to two All-AFL teams and was the Jets’ starting center for their victory in Super Bowl III. He would finish his career with another green team during his 1974 season with the Packers.

G: Brandon Moore (2002-12)

Moore’s lasting legacy will unfairly be the titular rear end mentioned in Mark Sanchez’s infamous “Butt Fumble”. After failing to make the team at the end of 2002 training camp, Moore partook in NFL Europe (Scottish Claymores) and the Arena Football League (Carolina Cobras) before making the most out of a second opportunity with the Jets. Curtis Martin led the league in rushing during his first full year as a starter (2004) and Moore would later be invited to the 2012 Pro Bowl.

G: Kerry Jenkins (1997-2001)

Jenkins is perhaps best-known for starting on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ championship offensive line in 2002, but, prior to that, he started all 48 games over the 1999-2001 seasons.

T: Matt Willig (1993-95)

Willig wound up playing 13 years in the NFL (and was a part of the St. Louis Rams’ 1999 championship squad) but the Rose Bowl champion is perhaps better known for his film career. He most recently appeared in the Warner Bros./DC Comics collaboration Birds of Prey, four years after he had a recurring role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe television entry Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Other popular films on his filmography include The Benchwarmers, We’re the Millers, and Stretch.

T: Brent Qvale (2014-19)

Qvale recently signed with the Houston Texans, but was a serviceable depth option over five seasons. His brother Brian currently partakes in Italian basketball and is the Big South Conference’s all-time leader in blocks.

DL: Damon Harrison (2012-15)

Affectionately known as “Snacks”, Harrison was an NAIA All-American at William Penn, but the small Iowa college hadn’t sent anyone to the NFL since 1987. He wound up making the team in 2012 and then permanently took over the Jets’ starting defensive tackle spot after injuries rocked the lineup in his sophomore season. His NFL introduction came in an October 2013 win over New England, where his first NFL sack victimized Tom Brady. Harrison would then play two-plus seasons with the Giants before a 2018 trade sent him to Detroit. He remains a fan favorite amongst metropolitan green and blue fans alike.

DL: Mike DeVito (2007-12)

DeVito probably could’ve filled several slots on this list, as the Atlantic 10 legend was known for appearing on both sides of the ball. He made his first NFL squad by beating out veterans Bobby Hamilton and Kimo Von Oelhoffen. NBC recently replayed the game that featured the biggest moment of DeVito’s career, the 2011 opener against the Dallas Cowboys. DeVito’s sack of Tony Romo (the first full QB takedown of his NFL career) forced a fumble deep in Jets territory that kept Dallas off the scoreboard and allowed a comeback to continue. The Jets won the game 27-24.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 13: Defensive Lineman Kyle Phillips #98 of the New York Jets makes a stop call against the Dallas Cowboys in the second half at MetLife Stadium on October 13, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)

DL: Kyle Phillips (2019-present)

When injuries rocked the Jets’ defense, Phillips wound up being a serviceable replacement. His first full NFL sack came in a big situation, helping New York secure a December win over playoff contenders from Pittsburgh with a sack of Devlin Hodges late in the fourth quarter. He finished the season with 39 tackles overall.

LB: Chad Cascadden (1995-99)

Cascadden was mostly used as a depth option during his five seasons in green, but contributed to the Jets’ 1998 magic in a memorable way. He helped the Jets continue a six-game winning streak to end the regular season with the 23-yard return of a Dan Marino fumble that served as the de facto game-winning touchdown in a 21-16 win in Miami. Cascadden would also tally the only multi-sack game of his career during the 1999 AFC Championship Game against Denver.

LB: Paul Crane (1966-72)

Another Super Bowl III participant, Crane’s most notable moment came in the Jets’ first game after their ultimate triumph in Miami. He intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, in the Jets’ 33-19 win over Buffalo to open up their 1969 campaign.

LB: Kevin McArthur (1986-89)

A Lamar alum, McArthur had two interceptions over a four-year Jets career. One of them came during the 1986 AFC playoffs. His 21-yard swipe of a Todd Blackledge pass went for a touchdown and was among the last of 28 unanswered points as the Jets rolled to a 35-15 win over Kansas City.

LB: Jamaal Westerman (2009-11)

A decade-plus career that spanned ten teams and two countries began collegiately at Rutgers and professionally with the Jets. Westerman immediately impressed then-head coach Rex Ryan, who predicted that Westerman would make the team in June minicamp. He immediately vindicated Ryan’s confidence with a sack in his debut, a 24-7 win over Houston to open the 2009 campaign. Another career highlight for Westerman was a two-sack output against Brady and the Patriots during a 2011 visit to Foxboro.

DB: Randy Beverly (1967-69)

One could argue that it should’ve been Beverly walking away with Super Bowl III MVP honors. The Baltimore Colts planned to pick on the inexperienced and undersized defender, but he instead haunted them with two interceptions, one of which came on the opening drive. Both interceptions also stifled Baltimore scoring chances, each occurring in the end zone. Beverly’s later career included an appearance with another New York football team, the Stars of the World Football League.

DB: Bill Baird (1963-69)

Yet another Super Bowl champ, Baird played his college ball at San Francisco State. He would go on to earn 34 interceptions over his seven NFL seasons, including eight alone during the 1964 trek. Together with Beverly and Johnny Sample, Baird would unite to allow only 181 yards between Earl Morrall and Johnny Unitas, also forcing four interceptions on the fateful evening.

DB: Dainard Paulson (1961-66)

A legacy member of the New York Titans, Paulson’s magnum opus was the 1964 season, where he put up a franchise-record 12 interceptions, which is also good for third-best in AFL/NFL history. He would follow it up with seven more a year later, reaching the AFL Pro Bowl in both years. 

OCTOBER 9, 1983 CLEVELAND, OH: Cornerback Jerry Holmes #47 of the New York Jets returns an interception during a game against the Cleveland Browns on October 9, 1983 at the Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Cleveland won 10-7. (Photo by: Ron Kuntz Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

DB: Jerry Holmes (1980-83, 86-87)

After serving as a depth option during his rookie campaign, Holmes worked his way into the Jets’ starting lineup and wound up posting 14 interceptions over five seasons as a regular. His best season (six interceptions in 1986) came after a two-year sabbatical in the United States Football League. One of those years featured three more Jersey picks as a member of the Generals. In fact, the USFL negotiated his NFL release the year before, but that did nothing to slow Nelson down. In a de facto lame duck situation (before spending his first USFL season with the Pittsburgh Maulers), Nelson helped seal an upset win over the 49ers by taking a Joe Montana pass back for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

K: John Hall (1997-2002)

Despite a successful kicking career at Wisconsin, Hall went unclaimed until the Jets came calling. He would go on to establish himself as a clutch NFL kicker. For example, he booted the famous winner in the Monday Night Miracle against Miami). Four AFC Special Teams Player of the Week Awards also awaited him throughout his career, as did a surprising 18 tackles over six Jets seasons. In a rather obscure stat, the Jets were 3-1 in the four games where Hall had multiple tackles.

P: Ben Graham (2005-08)

In 2005, Graham, formerly of Australian Rules Football, became the oldest rookie to appear on an NFL roster at 31. He also made history in New York as the first Australian player to captain an American football team. Further football history awaited him beyond his green endeavors, as he became player to partake in both an AFL Grand Final and a Super Bowl as a member of the Arizona Cardinals.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: What WRs Could Jets Draft?

The New York Jets lost their best receiver this week to Carolina. With Anderson gone, the Jets brought in Breshard Perriman on a one year deal. With him on a prove-it deal, Quincy Enunwa with injury question marks galore and Jamison Crowder best suited in the slot, the Jets need to add to their receiving corps in the draft.

Day 1

The Jets have pick 11. I’m a firm believer that they should take and offensive lineman with that pick. If they went receiver though, it’s between 3 guys. Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs are the top 3 guys in this LOADED class.

Jeudy stands out to me above the other two. Jeudy is versatile and can play in a lot or on the outside. Jeudy is one of the crispest route runners I’ve ever seen and he’s a future number 1 receiver.

Lamb is a deep threat who can high point the ball like nobody’s business he’d fit Sam Darnold’s play style the best of the three and would give him that deep threat he had in Anderson and then some.

Ruggs is the most electric of the 3. He lit up the 40-yard dash and has flashed his in-game speed as well. If he developed as a route runner he’d have the most upside of the 3. They’re all phenomenal talents and would immediately bolster the Jets receiving corps now and in the future.

Day 2 & 3

This receiving class is loaded. That’s why I’d prefer the Jets to wait till day 2 & 3 to pick a weapon or two for the same. Rather than go through all the incredible talent I highlighted 4 guys I think would be the best fits or are my favorite receivers.

Justin Jefferson is one of my favorite prospects in this draft. He’s a receiver’s best friend and if he slips to day 2 and the Jets pick, the New York Jets should take him. He’s got a great mix of size and speed and would immediately become Darnold’s favorite target.

Chase Claypool is a unique guy. He’s a lot like Evan Engram. Engram is a good tight end but sometimes he’s more like a receiver. Claypool is a good receiver but sometimes he’s more like a tight end. He’s a unique hybrid that is faster than most tight ends and could be both a great threat in space and a beast in the red zone.

Michael Pittman is a former teammate of Sam Darnold. His catch radius is off the charts. He’s dynamic and he’s got that connection to Sam. Pittman would become a great piece of this offense and he’s a good personality on and off the field.

Antonio Gandy Golden is a guy who’s going to be available later in this draft. Golden reminds me of a slightly shorter and at this timeless talented Megatron He’s physical, lengthy and can make plays happen. Golden can develop and become a key piece of any offense.

Other guys like Denzel Mims, Tee Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Brandon Aiyuk, and KJ Hamler are all beasts and guys I like as well. The point is with all this talent, the Jets have no excuse not to upgrade their receiving corps.

Report: New York Jets land talented WR Breshad Perriman on prove it deal

New York Jets, Breshad Perriman

Just as New York Jets nation pondered where Joe Douglas and the front office would go next at wide receiver, Douglas made a move. The Jets have signed wide receiver Breshad Perriman. Perriman had a phenomenal end to the season last year and now receives a one-year, $8 million dollar deal with $6 million guaranteed from Gang Green.

How Does Perriman Fit?

Quincy Enunwa is expected to be back next year, but with the injury question marks, he can’t be counted on right now. Jamison Crowder is a slot guy who had 833 yards and 6 TDs last season, but he’s not the outside deep threat. The Jets lost their number one receiver and key outside deep threat to the Panthers earlier today.

Now, that role will be filled by a former first-rounder in Perriman. Perriman was a first-rounder with the Ravens and was drafted while Douglas was there. At 26, he’s hitting his prime. He’s struggled in the past and ended up joining the Browns before finding a home in Tampa last year.

He had a really strong end to the season and now looks to build on that with the Jets. Perriman statistically produced similar numbers to Robby Anderson last season in 2 fewer games. Anderson had 52 receptions for 779 yards and five scores and played 91 percent of snaps. Perriman had 36 catches for 645 yards and six scores but played 56 percent of snaps. Perriman received a higher volume of targets than Anderson and still produced well.

What’s Next?

Well, Perriman must now be counted on to build off the strong finish he had to last season if he can then the Jets will have got a good player on a cheaper deal than Robby Anderson. Douglas said he wanted playmakers, and Perriman can fit that mold.

The Jets can now continue with their plan to target an offensive lineman with their first-rounder, but they need to grab one of the talented receivers in this class in the first three rounds. If the Jets can do that, then they will have a solid receiving corps.

As for other sides of the ball, the Jets finally have the answer to the Anderson question and can now try to add a complimentary piece or two to Jordan Jenkins on the edge. They can add some depth at other spots like corner and running back. They also should look to add a backup quarterback to ensure if Sam misses time they have a quality backup. Matt Moore could be a target.

New York Jets WR Robby Anderson headed to Carolina (Report)

robby anderson running a touchdown against the carolina panthers

The New York Jets’ top receiver over the last four seasons will reunite with new Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule.

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Robby Anderson will depart the New York Jets for a two-year, $20 million payday with the Carolina Panthers.

Thus ends the Anderson era in New York, one that saw him earn 3,059 yards on 207 receptions, 20 of which went for touchdowns. Each of those marks is good for the best in Jets history since 2016, when Anderson joined the team as an undrafted free agent out of Temple. That yardage and reception tallies are good for 14th in overall franchise history.

Anderson’s best New York season came in 2017, when he earned 914 yards on 63 receptions with seven touchdowns. His best individual performance came ironically came that season in a loss to the Panthers. Anderson put up 146 yards on six grabs for two touchdowns in a 35-27 defeat.

Last season, Anderson hooked up with Sam Darnold for a 92-yard touchdown pass in the Jets’ October win over Dallas. It was the second-longest passing play in the NFL last season. Anderson wrapped up his Jets career with 779 yards and five scores on 52 catches.

Anderson, a native of Fair Lawn, NJ, quickly made a name for himself after joining the Jets as an undrafted signee in the spring of 2016. He would earn a roster spot over several veterans by leading the team in receiving during the ensuing preseason (264 yards on 13 receptions).

With his move to Carolina, Anderson reunites with two key names from his college football career. The Panthers hired former Owls boss Matt Rhule to be the head coach and the team recently signed his college quarterback PJ Walker from the Houston Roughnecks of the XFL. After going 2-10 in their 2013 freshman year in Philadelphia, the triumvirate guided the Owls to the American Athletic Conference East Division title two years later. Temple also won 10 games for the first time since 1979.

With Anderson’s departure, the Jets may be forced to take a wide receiver with the 11th overall pick of the upcoming NFL Draft. Current veteran receivers on the roster include Jamison Crowder, Quincy Enunwa, and newcomer Josh Doctson.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags