Report: Deshaun Watson’s top choice is the New York Jets

A report from the Miami Herald has indicated that the outgoing Texan’s destination of choice would be the New York Jets.

According to a report from Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Deshaun Watson’s seeking an AFC East destination when his move from the Houston Texans inevitably comes. Watson’s first choice is reportedly the New York Jets, with the Miami Dolphins appearing in the runner-up slot.

Salguero’s report claims that Watson prefers New York over Miami because of the hiring of Robert Saleh as head coach. A separate report from Mike Florio of ProFootbalTalk claimed that Watson wanted the Texans to interview Saleh for their own head coaching vacancy but that Houston management wasn’t interested. Jim Caldwell and former Jets quarterback Josh McCown have been more recently linked to the search for Bill O’Brien’s replacement, but the refusal to bring Saleh in has only made the relationship between Watson and the Texans even icier. Noted Saleh celebrant Richard Sherman encouraged Watson to go to the Jets on Cris Collinsworth’s podcast, advising him to get out of Houston “as quickly as possible”. Watson has a no-trade clause in his contract.

Both the Jets and Dolphins own high picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. The Jets will choose second and Miami selects immediately after. Miami’s slot was originally held by the Texans, but they sent it to Miami in exchange for Kenny Stills, Laremy Tunsil, and a pair of day three picks. The Jets, however, may have more trade ammunition, as they own two first-round picks in each of the next two drafts thanks to a summer trade with Seattle that involved Jamal Adams. New York will also begin the offseason with the second-most cap space at over $65 million, behind only Jacksonville.

Watson is looking for new surroundings after the relationship between him and the Texans soured after a 4-12 season, one notably marked by the absence of top receiving topic DeAndre Hopkins, who traded to Arizona for rusher David Johnson and two picks beyond the first round. Despite the raw feelings, Watson posted a career-best 33 touchdown passes and 4,823 yards, the latter mark leading the league.

Notably, each of Watson’s preferred destinations has an established franchise quarterback option. The Jets will have Sam Darnold in the final year of his rookie contract, while the Dolphins’ offense struggled in Tua Tagovailoa’s rookie campaign last season. Saleh was noncommital when addressing Darnold’s future with the organization during his introductory statements earlier this week, but mentioned that was “premature” to call Darnold his top thrower entering training camp.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: The case against Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson, New York Giants

The idea of Deshaun Watson moving to the New York Jets sounds too good to be true. That’s because, frankly…it is.

Somehow, someway, the Houston Texans…a team blessed with the talents of one of the most recognizable names in football on each side of the ball, winners of four of the last six AFC South titles…managed to become a more toxic gridiron wasteland than the New York Jets.

To paraphrase the great Ron Burgundy, one can’t even be mad. It’s amazing.

The biggest story outside of the NFL playoff picture by far is the fate of Watson, the beleaguered franchise quarterback. No playoff games await Watson, but he is apparently nonetheless on a mission this postseason: to get out of Houston as fast as possible. It’s a liberation that has been brewing for some time and the rumbling has only intensified upon the end of the Texans’ 4-12 season. Adam Schefter of ESPN brought things to a fever pitch through a report that strongly indicated that Watson “has played his last snap for the team”.

Despite the lack of a formal trade request (and the prescience of the no-trade clause in his contract), Watson has been linked to several of his non-playoff brethren, including the Jets. The sleuths of Instagram took notice of one of Watson’s recent “likes”, one featuring potentially the first of many punny headlines from the New York Post. Richard Sherman, a noted fan of new Jets boss Robert Saleh, advised Watson to “head to New York” on Cris Collinsworth’s podcast. Video has surfaced of Watson purchasing a car his associates wanting it painted “jet green”.

From a Jets standpoint, all the pieces appear to align in their favor. The light at the end of their two-win tunnel was the second overall pick in April’s draft, a pick the Texans desperately need after shipping their own first rounder (which became the pick right after New York’s) to Miami. That more than likely won’t be enough to satisfy the Texans (who likely won’t be appearing in Wid Card Saturday’s afternoon slot anytime soon), but the Jets have the picks to atone for it, including guaranteed first-rounders from Seattle via the Jamal Adams trade. Assets beyond picks could include contributors under contract that might become salary cap casualties anyway…talented names like Jamison Crowder and Henry Anderson that could potentially save the Jets a pick. Thier cap space is already pretty attractive as is; entering the 2021 offseason, the Jets have just over $65 million to spend, behind only Jacksonville ($73 million).

The Jets have been looking for a lasting franchise quarterback after since Joe Namath took his final green snaps in 1976. False prophets have come and gone, but a name like Watson, only starting to tap into his true potential and power, could give the Jets long-term assurance and stability at arguably the most important position in all of sports.

If all of this sounds too good to be true…especially when it comes to a franchise as star-crossed as the Jets…that’s because, frankly, it probably is. A union between Watson and the Jets wouldn’t be fair to either side, tantalizing as it may be.

For Watson, a New York collaboration wouldn’t be much different from his current situation in Houston…except it would be a lot colder. From a Jets’ standpoint, there would little separate a potential era of Watson from the Sam Darnold saga. The way the team is constructed now, there would be plenty of instances of Watson running for his life, and this would be after he led the league in passing yardage despite being brought down 49 times with the Texans (third-worst in football). Watson’s mobile talents would perhaps spare him some of the carnage, but likely nothing where he would be able to make a meaningful difference in the Jets’ offense, one that finished at or near the bottom of most major statistical categories.

To the Jets’ credit, namely general manager Joe Douglas’, they’re starting to making sensible, rational, if not conservative, decisions with their offensive roster. In his first draft last spring, Douglas bypassed the name-brand receiving talent to take tackle Mekhi Becton. Not only did Becton turn out to be one of the brightest emergences of the 2020 rookie class, but Douglas was also able to earn a big-play receiver in Denzel Mims in the second round. There’s also plenty of time between now and Week 1 of a hopefully normal 2021 season…heck, there’s plenty of time even before the draft…for Douglas, Saleh, and the Jets to stock up and become more attractive to a new franchise quarterback, whether it’s Watson, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields. There’s no guarantee they’ll even move on from Darnold, who has reportedly caught the eye of both Saleh and his reported new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.

Unfortunately for Douglas, however, his debut veteran acquisition class left much to be desired, riddled with names that were plagued by injuries (Bradley McDougald, Greg Van Roten), inconsistency (Connor McGovern, Pierre Desir), or both (Breshad Perriman). Adding Watson is the type of move a team makes when they’re the proverbial “one move away” from the Super Bowl. If the Adam Gase era proved anything, it’s that the Jets are many, many moves away from a mere playoff berth, much less the Big Game.

The Jets needed to use every asset, every piece of roster capital they have to end this cycle of rebuilding. Dedicating a majority of those resources, be it picks, be it cap space, to Watson and his contract (which includes a $40 million cap hit next year) would be reckless spending, using excess fund to plug one hole when there are many, many, many holes to be filled. Bringing Watson in would sell jerseys, but it wouldn’t necessarily lead to wins.

Modern NFL endeavors have provided countless examples of such irresponsible spending. The Jets’ MetLife Stadium co-tenants, for example, were on the verge of something at least entertaining at the end of the 2016-17 season. In the first year of their post-Tom Coughlin endeavors, the New York Giants won 11 games and showcased six All-Pro men on their roster. Their season ended in a listless 38-13 Wild Card playoff loss in Green Bay, but hope was on the horizon, manifested in several high-profile transactions. Big Blue welcomed in receiver Brandon Marshall to work alongside Odell Beckham Jr. They used their first-round pick on tight end Evan Engram, an Ole Miss alum to gear up fellow former Rebel Eli Manning for one last run to glory. Later in the draft, the Giants took Davis Webb in the third round, perhaps the most serious they had come to seeking an heir to the Manning throne. The team also re-upped with fan favorite pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul to the tune of a four-year contract with $40 million guaranteed.

But in their marquee spending, the Giants failed to account for some of more dour problems hidden on their roster, namely the offensive line. The Giants did little, if anything, to upgrade their line, letting reliable veterans like Andrew Whitworth fall by the wayside. Cursed with little to no blocking help, the Giants sputtered to a brutal 3-13 season and fell down a hole they have yet to emerge from. Beckham has since been traded, and there is little left from the promising 2016 campaign.

The story of the modern Giants and so many other “offseason champions” in the NFL serve as cautionary tales to active Super Bowl seekers. A house renovation could serve as a strong parable to what the Jets are going through at this moment. Bringing in Watson would be a high-profile purchase, immediately spending a windfall on, say, a luxury vehicle or swimming pool. However, doing so would ignore more grimy, subtle problems in the house that could bring the entire structure down…mold damage in the basement, perhaps. Even if the Jets admit that Darnold isn’t the answer, there are still situations to resolve, such as their porous blocking, uncertain rungame situation, and lack of offensive weapons and defensive depth. Filling every blank with Watson isn’t going to work, no matter how hard the Jets try. The Texans have tried doing that with Watson and J.J. Watt…chaos has enused.

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It seems hard for Jets fans to believe, but that’s the cruelly funny thing about life in the NFL: there’s no situation, no matter how dire, where things can’t actively get worse. The Jets have been blessed with a plethora of offseason capital through multiple draft picks and excess cap space. To cash it all in on one big-ticket player would be reckless.

Another reason why Watson’s potential New York arrival sounds so promising is because not only has he made an impact on the field, but he continues to be a vital prescience off of it as well. Watson has made it clear he wants to use his voice for good as Americans seek an end to systemic racism and he has also come through for Houston medical staffers fighting the ongoing health crisis. Bringing in a high-character superstar would be the perfect way to open a new Jets era, one that could allow them to shatter the losing status quo that New York football has become far-too-accustomed to. Watson’s rumored eagerness to join a two-win team bearing what’s by far the longest playoff drought in the NFL (10 seasons) speaks volumes as well, signifying a welcome counter to the concept of “ring-chasing” that has spread throughout the major professional sports leagues.

But to ask Watson to come to New York and become a lone, instant fixer-upper…which is essentially what he would be if the Jets bestow all of their offseason funding unto him…when he’s on the precipice of entering his prime is a little too much to ask for. A more established contender, a Miami, an Indianapolis, would be better for a player of his talents. If the Jets truly want to make a change at quarterback, they would be far better off using their cap space to create a more attractive environment for a rookie quarterback, or even build around Darnold if Saleh and LaFleur are impressed enough to keep him around.

This is a new, exciting time to take an interest in the New York Jets…it’s so rare to say that. While there’s a chance that Douglas could make the Watson revolution work, it’s best, for the time being, to avoid temptation. It’s never good to use an “all for one” mentality…the assets, an “all for all” situation, would be better spent on many helpers, never mind just one, showstopping as he may be.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

BREAKING: New York Jets S Jamal Adams requests a trade (Report)

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

Adams once again voiced his displeasure with his current contract situation and now has reportedly requested a trade from the New York Jets.

Per ESPN’s Rich Cimini, New York Jets safety Jamal Adams has requested a trade, reportedly doing so on Thursday.

This marks yet another turn in the roller-coaster saga between Adams and the Jets, one that was spinning on Thursday even before reports of the safety’s request emerged.

Adams returned to an Instagram post released by Bleacher Report’s NFL page (@brgridiron) that featured the concept of Cleveland Browns defender and fellow 2017 draftee Myles Garrett receiving a long-term deal this offseason. Last week, Adams commented on the post, remarking that Garrett’s potential big deal was “well deserved” and added “I can’t even get my first proposal that they said they would send over in January…I was called ‘selfish’ tho [sic]! Lol A lot of talk no action #StayWoke.”

In his Thursday return to the post, Adams made his intentions clear in a response to a fan, who indicated that not even defending Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, another 2017 draft pick, has received a long-term deal from the Kansas City Chiefs yet.

“I deserve to be paid but when I ask to be taking [sic] care of I’m ‘BEING THAT GUY’ huh?” Adams said.

Only pick from 2017’s first round, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, has earned a new deal beyond his rookie contract, having inked a four-year, $64 million extension in April. Such a deal made him the highest-paid running back in NFL history.

Adams referenced both Mahomes and McCaffrey in his Thursday discourse.

“Pat is about to get 40 to 60 (million) a year. Well deserved. But don’t compare me to QB’s if you aren’t paying me QB money. (Expletive), if I was about to get 40 plus u [sic] wouldn’t hear a damn word from me,” he said. “CM22 got paid not too long ago. Well deserved. Great friend of mine.”

“Ima [sic] protect myself just like an organization will look out for themselves at the end of the day & if you guys don’t respect that, cool.”

“It’s all luv [sic]. Maybe it’s time to move on!”

Jets management has been quiet about getting Adams a long-term deal, save for general manager Joe Douglas declaring back at February’s NFL Scouting Combine that preliminary talks had been held and that the goal was to make Adams “a Jet for life”. Cimini indicated that the Jets currently have no plans to give in to Adams’ request, but hints Adams could hold out of training camp.

It has been theorized that Adams wishes to become the highest-paid safety in football. The label currently belongs to Chicago’s Eddie Jackson ($14.6 million a year).

[UPDATE: 6:15 p.m. ET] Adam Schefter, also of ESPN, has revealed seven destinations on Adams’ wish list. The Dallas Cowboys, per Schefter, have reentered the fold after being involved in rumors around last season’s trade deadline. With the exception of the Cowboys, each of the teams on Adams’ list reached the 2019-20 NFL playoffs.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: A Jamal Adams contract defeats this offseason’s purpose

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

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.

New York Jets, Jamal Adams
Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

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.

New York Jets, Jamal Adams
Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets: S Jamal Adams long-term contract talks stall (Report)

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

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.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Report: New York Jets have had trade discussions about Marcus Maye

New York Jets, Marcus Maye

The New York Jets could in a bit of a bind when it comes to their top free safety, who is set to be a free agent in 2021.

Per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the New York Jets have engaged in trade talks centered around starting free safety Marcus Maye.

Maye has been a solid contributor to the Jets since joining the team a second-round draft pick (39th overall) in 2017. The Florida alum has earned 178 tackles, 11 pass breakups, and four interceptions over the last three seasons. He has formed a strong relationship with fellow starting safety and SEC alum Jamal Adams, with the two forming a formidable duo in the secondary.

But with both defenders set to enter the final year of their rookie contracts and a big payday potentially coming Adams’ way, it appears that the Jets will at least try to get something for Maye before he potentially leaves for nothing in free agency. Mehta’s report said that both head coach Adam Gase and general manager Joe Douglas engaged in trade talks involving Maye, but no such deals were made. Maye would recover from an injury-riddled 2018 campaign to pick up 65 tackles, seven breakups, and an interception last year.

Adding to the case in trading for Maye is the fact the Jets bolstered their secondary depth this offseason. During the third round of last month’s draft, New York chose versatile safety Ashtyn Davis from Cal-Berkeley (68th overall). Davis earned all-Pac-12 honors over his last two seasons with the Golden Bears and also doubled as the team’s returner. The Jets also added cornerbacks in both the draft (fifth-rounder Bryce Hall) and free agency (Pierre Desir, Brian Poole).

Adams’ fifth-year option would set the Jets back $9.8 million if they choose to pick it up in 2021. Preliminary discussions have been held about a long-term extension or the franchise tag could be used (at the risk of an Adams holdout).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Brooklyn Nets: Why the Media Continues to Breakdown KD to Nets Decision

Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

If you are a Brooklyn Nets fan in the Tri-state area, you are most likely in the minority. The majority of people in Manhattan are Knicks fans. Even the majority of people in their 20s in New Jersey are Knicks fans since many of their parents were Knicks fans, and many former NJ Nets fans swore off the franchise after their move to Brooklyn. It is 100% a fact that MSG is the Mecca of basketball and the Knicks are a more popular franchise, both now and historically than the Brooklyn/NJ Nets. These facts make it extremely difficult for Knicks fans and the NYC media to fully accept Durant’s choice to play for the Nets over the Knicks.

It has been close to 10 months since Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s announcement to sign with the Brooklyn Nets. While this shocked the entire NBA community, it had a lasting effect on New York Knicks fans and the local NYC sports media. Reasons were spun as to why KD chose the lesser popular franchise of the two; Durant and Irving couldn’t handle the spotlight at MSG, they didn’t want to take on the Knicks challenge, Kevin Durant is too sensitive, the list goes on. At the time, this was all conjecture as to why the Knicks whiffed on superstars (again). With all the information we know now, let’s break down the practical reasons as to why Durant might have chosen Brooklyn over NYC.

3 Reasons Justifying Durant’s Decision to Sign with Nets

The Ineptitude of the New York Knicks

In a recent interview with The Athletic, former Brooklyn Net Jared Dudley said that “if the Knicks are run halfway decent, they get KD and Kyrie. Like, (the Nets) literally had to do everything right and they got them.” (full article here) Dudley’s simplistic explanation makes perfect sense on the surface; the Nets, in the past 2-3 years, have been a better run organization than the Knicks. Coming off a surprising 2018-19 playoff appearance, the Nets appeared to be on the rise and growing a winning culture. The Knicks were coming off one of their worst seasons in franchise history, with no real leadership, both on the court and in the front office. Many Knicks fans will argue that no matter how messed up the front office is, the aura of the Knicks is still greater than 95% of other franchises in the NBA, but this decision proved that just being “the Knicks” will not bring in superstar level talent.

Kyrie Made the Decision (for KD) To Play in Brooklyn

Weeks before the decision, a report came out that James Dolan and the Knicks would not be interested in just retaining the services of Kyrie Irving, but would only want to bring him in if Durant joined. There were never any reports from the Nets claiming to be unhappy if they just signed Kyrie. Many feel this led to Irving’s dismissal of the Knicks and ultimately persuaded him to sign with Brooklyn. The media also felt that, because of Durant’s quiet disposition in the off-season, that Kyrie was the real decision-maker in the process. This assumption seems misguided since Durant is the more accomplished player out of the two. I believe he had had just as much of a desire to play in Brooklyn as Irving did, and he wouldn’t allow another player to make such a significant decision for him.

Durant’s Achilles Injury in 2018/19 Finals

According to Ian Begley of SNY, “some people in touch with the Knicks said members of the organization expressed confidence that Durant would have signed with New York if he hadn’t suffered the Achilles injury in the NBA Finals.” (full article here) What has never been explained, is how did the injury completely change his decision on where to sign? The Nets have boasted one of the better training and medical staffs in the league, so obviously from that standpoint, it makes sense a player coming off a serious Achilles injury would choose Brooklyn. But as to why members in the Knicks organization felt so confident Durant would have signed with NYK barring his injury, my question is why? How did they know that? The Nets had a roster that was much closer to championship aspirations than the Knicks did.

Final Verdict

There are several other reasons one can list to justify Durant’s decision, including Deandre Jordan’s negative experience with the Knicks, and eventual signing with Brooklyn shortly after KD and Kyrie made their announcement. Durant has expressed publicly that he did not give the Knicks much consideration in free agency and I find this to be the toughest pill for the New York media and Knicks fans to swallow, as stories continue to arise that support the contrary. At the end of the day, only Kevin Durant knows the real reasons as to why he chose to play for the Nets fans instead of the Knicks. And if you are Leon Rose and the Knicks, you have to ask yourself, how do we prevent this from happening again in the future?

Follow @firesidenets on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your latest Brooklyn Nets news and listen to the Fireside Nets w/ Spen & Nick podcast!

New York Jets: Three Trade Proposals for Trent Williams

Landing the veteran blocker would situate the New York Jets’ offense in an enviable spot. How can they pull it off?

The New York Jets have gotten a lot done this NFL offseason. But their work isn’t over yet.

Floating rumors continue to propose that the Jets may seek a trade with the Washington Redskins to acquire offensive tackle Trent Williams. Improvements have been made on the offensive line to the tune of adding Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, and George Fant. But adding someone like Williams, a seven-time Pro Bowler, could be a move that truly revolutionizes a Jets offense seeking traction for backfield saviors Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell.

How can they bring Williams in? ESM explores three possibilities…

Proposal 1: 3rd round pick (79th overall) for OT Trent Williams 

Washington is in need of a second day two draft pick, having traded their second-round choice in a pick swap with Indianapolis last year. The Jets are blessed with a miniature surplus, earning extra draft capital from the New York Giants at the 2019 trade deadline (from the Leonard Williams deal). There’s still plenty to work on when it comes to the Jets’ roster, but the solidification of the offensive line ensures that they don’t technically need as many draft picks as first envisioned. Essentially “drafting” Trent Williams in the third round with a pick obtained from the Redskins’ NFC East rival would a surprise to be sure, but one the Jets would hardly argue about.

Proposal 2: LB Avery Williamson, 6th round pick (211th overall) for OT Trent Williams

The Jets still have several names that could be let go in the name of cap savings. Brian Winters’ ousting would save them just over $7.2 million, but his starting experience and potential for depth might sway the team to let him stick around. More tenuous is the situation of linebacker Avery Williamson, who would add $6.5 million to the cap if bid farewell by June 1.

Matching savings would come to the Jets if they deal Williamson (entering the final year of a three-year, $22.5 million contract) in a trade. The Jets have done a decent job in bolstering their linebacker depth this offseason. They convinced Jordan Jenkins (career-high 8 sacks) to come back on a one-year deal (worth an astonishingly affordable $5 million), brought in C.J. Mosley’s Baltimore teammate Patrick Onwuasor, and welcomed back solid depth men Neville Hewitt and James Burgess. Thus, Williamson is a bit more expendable than he was a week or two ago. If that caveat helps the Jets give up a less valuable draft pick for Williams (the 191st was acquired from Kansas City for Darron Lee), that could play into their favor.

Proposal 3: 3rd round pick (79th overall), and/or 6th round pick (179th overall)/a player for OT Trent Williams and WR Trey Quinn

With the offensive line relatively bolstered, or at least in a far better position than it ever was in the Mike Maccagnan era, the Jets have other areas of their offensive to worry about. They’re in desperate need of receivers now that Robby Anderson has left for Charlotte. Le’Veon Bell may need depth behind him with both Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery up for free agency. The Jets can perhaps use a trade with the Redskins, provided they’re willing to give up a little more, to bolster these spots.

Quinn would be an intriguing developmental prospect that could flourish in an expanded role. 2018’s Mr. Irrelevant has dealt with injuries, but has shown potential in his brief time (35 receptions, 273 yards, 2 touchdowns). The Jets previously took on Washington system receivers Josh Doctson and Jehu Chesson. Further veteran secondary help on the Redskins’ depth chart includes cornerback Fabian Moreau.

As for who the Jets would give up in such a trade, it’s possible they could part ways with a veteran blocker (i.e. Jonotthan Harrison) or defender (John Franklin-Myers?). If it saves them valuable draft capital, that might be the way to go.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Should The New York Giants Explore A Trade For Darius Slay?

The NFL offseason is in full swing with trade and free agent rumors beginning to heat up. Players and teams are preparing to part ways via trades and free agency, and a couple of big names are on the trade block already. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Detroit Lions have been shopping star cornerback Darius Slay.

Darius Slay has been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL for the past few years. The Giants have had a weak secondary recently and have been making an effort to upgrade (such as drafting three defensive backs in the 2020 NFL Draft). Should the New York Giants get involved in trade talks for Darius Slay?

Darius Slay Trade Rumors

The Detroit Lions have to pay Darius Slay $13,368,750 in 2020 according to Spotrac. Slay is 29 years old and has one year left on his contract. Detroit seems ready to move on from Slay but wants to get something in return before he walks away fr nothing as a free agent in 2021.

The Giants could get in no the Darius Slay trade rumors, however, there will be a lot of competition. The Lions have already discussed a trade with “multiple teams” according to Adam Schefter. Whatever team trades for Darius Slay will have to be ready to pay him. He only has one year left on his current deal and desires a contract extension. The Giants have the money to pay him, but do they have the assets to trade for him?

Darius Slay Stats And Highlights

Darius “Big Play” Slay has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons. He was selected to be a First-Team All-Pro in 2017. In that 2017 season, Slay had a phenomenal performance recording 8 interceptions and 26 passes defended. He has not been quite on that level over the past two seasons, but he has still been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.

In 2018, Slay recorded 3 interceptions and 17 passes defended. This season, Darius took a step back as he was dealing with injuries. He played in 14 games, totaling 2 interceptions and 13 passes defended.

Darius Slay was targeted in coverage 93 times in 2018 and 94 times in 2019. In 2018, he allowed a completion percentage of 46.8% for 520 yards and 6 touchdowns. In 2019, Slay allowed a completion percentage of 55.9% for 694 yards and 3 touchdowns. This step backward could signal that age is getting to Darius. But either way, he is still a highly efficient cornerback and would be a major upgrade in the secondary for most teams in the league.

The New York Yankees Aren’t Worried About Their Left Handed Hitters, So Why Are Their Fans?

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

If Brian Cashman made decisions about the New York Yankees based on fan’s social media imprint, the team would be focused on 3 things right now. First is resigning Dellin Betances and signing Martin Maldonado. The New York Yankees are trying to move JA Happ to make room for Gerrit Cole’s contract. Betances would be expecting more than the $7.1 million he made last year, and Maldonado’s agent will be getting him more than $5 million, bringing the combined salary total to over $12 million. Plus, the team is all in on Kyle Higashioka, so neither is going to happen (while I think letting Betances walk is a mistake).

The last is signing/trading for left-handed hitters. The team is not worried about it, why are the fans?

The Yankees Don’t Need Left Handed Hitters

When I was in little league, I was a pure lefty. With the Yankees projected lineup for next year, we’ll be just fine with just Gardner in the lineup. Torres, DJ, Stanton, Judge, and Luke Voit all have the regular capability of going deep to the right field. Also, it’s only 314 to the left field. It’s the same distance to the right. So we have 6 guys in the lineup with the capability of going deep to right field. 5 of them are right-handed hitters.

Where Would We Play Them?

Kyle Shwarber is a left fielder/first baseman who’s a defensive liability. Voit and Stanton are better defensively than Shwarber, so where would you play him? Josh Bell is the first baseman. You got Voit, DJ, and Ford at first. Why would you trade for Bell? Yankees fans want to sign Jason Kipnis. He’s a second baseman/outfielder. He’s not going to play over DJ, Gardy, Judge or Stanton. So why waste money on him?

We Gotta Be Smarter Than This

Getting left-handed bats just for the sake of having left-handed bats means you have to sacrifice. It will mean giving up all our best prospects in January for someone who can bust as a Yankee before spring training starts. Yes, we haven’t won since 2009, but our team as constructed can win 5 championships in the next 7 years. Don’t screw it up because you’re scared there aren’t too many lefties in the lineup. Just calm down everyone. Pitchers and catchers haven’t even reported yet.