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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Jets As A Landing Spot For Kirk Cousins

Fans that think the Jets have a legitimate shot at landing Washington Redskin quarterback Kirk Cousins need to take a deep breath and be realistic. First off let’s look at the Redskins who supposedly want Cousins back.The Redskins placed the franchise tag on Cousins this year for the second straight year. A second year on the tag is unprecedented for a quarterback. In 2016, Cousins made nearly $20 million playing on the tag. In 2017,the figure went up to $24. The franchise tag for a third year in a row goes up to an exorbitant $34 million. I would expect the Redskins would try to work out a long term deal. If they don’t, what are the best landing spots for him? The Jets? They’ll have $100 million dollars in cap money to spend. Does Cousins really want to commit to a team coming off back to back 5-11 seasons? I would say the places that would seem logical would be Jacksonville (despite their great win over the Steelers), Buffalo and maybe Denver. The Jags and Bills are “shovel ready” only missing a quality QB to go to the next level. If the Jags lose to the Patriots this week and they try but can’t land Eli Manning, look for them to clear cap space and give Cousins an offer. The Bills went to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years and QB Tyrod Taylor looks like he is a goner. The Bills just got rid of offense coordinator Rick Dennison so a “Cousins Friendly” coordinator may be in the works. The Denver Broncos may be a sleeper team for Cousins. General Manager John Elway does not have the patience to draft another young quarterback to groom. He likes Cousins and if he makes him an offer there will be a big sell about committing to the Broncos offense to get back to the playoffs. The Jets selling point is their cap money but that may not be enough for a player who has had two years of big money with the franchise tag. If I were Cousins, I would not negotiate with the Redskins and force them to franchise him for the third straight year if they want him back. Jet fans can be hopeful but it may not be realistic for Cousins to wear the Green and White. My gut feeling is that if Eli Manning is Tom Coughlin’s first choice and doesn’t end up with the Jags, Kirk Cousins will. His wife Julie is from Atlanta which is only a hop from Jacksonville.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins 
A few weeks ago I wrote that the Jets should try and lock up ASJ during the season before he hits the open market. Jenkins had career highs in receptions (50) and yards (357) and had three touchdown catches. Despite his numbers tailing off in the second half of the season, the Jets got this talented player for virtually nothing. It was reported over the weekend by Calvin Watkins of Newsday that the Jets and Jenkins have been negotiating and the Jets offered him a two-year, $8-million deal that Jenkins rejected. ASJ should be a priority right now for the Jets. I’m told already there is interest out there from Seattle and New Orleans and don’t be surprised if the Patriots get into it also. The Jets can’t nickel and dime him. He is talented and the rest of the NFL knows this. 

Not Taking The Bait
The Jets think their quarterback coach Jeremy Bates is a diamond in the rough. The Jets put out feelers for Bates to take over the offense if John Morton decides to leave but apparently Bates wants to stay in the background and work with the quarterbacks. He is respected throughout the organization and when he speaks during the coaches meetings, he garners a ton of respect. He was the quarterbacks coach for the Chicago Bears in 2012 and previously served as the offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks and quarterbacks coach for the USC football team among other coaching jobs in the NFL. Bates is the son of former long-time collegiate and NFL coach Jim Bates. An interesting fact is that in 2008 he was the QB coach for Denver and worked closely with Jay Cutler who had his All-Pro season that year. He also called the plays for the Broncos and they had the #1 offense in the AFC. The Jets should do everything to keep Jeremy Bates on their coaching staff and get his take on the quarterbacks coming out of college.

Jets 49 Years Ago and the Curse of Bachelors III 
We’e been through this every year but next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Jets winning the Super Bowl. This past Friday marked the date of the famous game. It was the Jets win and the KC Chiefs win the following year against the Minnesota Vikings that were the impetus for the AFL merging with the NFL. Coincidently both teams have never been back to the Super Bowl. For the Jets I have called this the “Curse of Bachelor’s III.” This was a bar/restaurant that Joe Willie Namath had equity in. The following is an excerpt from an on line article a few years back by Dave Steidel:  

Running with reports that Namath’s new business establishment was a local watering hole for known mobsters and mafia personalities, Rozelle summoned the Jets quarterback to a meeting and issued a demand for Joe to sell off his interest in his Bachelors III Manhattan bar.  Located at 798 Lexington Avenue in NYC, the hot spot nightclub owned by singer Bobby Van, teammate Ray Abbruzzese and Namath had drawn the media’s attention when Bachelors III opened to rave reviews, while having to turn away overflow crowds.  With its overwhelming early success, plans were already in the making to open more places in Boston, Miami and New Orleans. It was not so much Namath’s ownership of the bar as it was for the unsavory Mafia types who frequented the place that was the real brunt of the issue.  Pro football’s security forces had observed known gamblers and mobsters in the bar for months.  Concerned about the public image of League players, Rozelle did not like the sort of people who frequented Bachelors III, specifically because the known undesirables had such easy access to Namath with the fear and possibility of being controlled by them or at the very least, the perception of it.  He informed Namath of what his investigators had found in Bachelors III and told Joe that he would be suspended unless he got out of the place.  Rozelle pointed out a section of his contract which stated that players must never “enter drinking or gambling establishments” or “associate with notorious persons.”  Namath staunchly refuted the claims and heartily declared that he was blameless.  By this time Namath had become irritated with the accusations and angrily wondered where Rozelle got the audacity to dictate what he did with his personal life.  Privately, the 26 year old night club owner told friends he was not going to give in to Rozelle’s ultimatum.  In spite of Namath’s claims, Rozelle had little reason to believe Joe would not comply.As time wore on Namath became more and more disillusioned and angry about the ultimatum and was digging in.  He was not going to back down, and on June 6 called a press conference in Bachelors III, where he tearfully announced that, instead of selling his interest in the night club, he would retire from football.  He emphatically maintained that he had done nothing wrong, and as a matter of principle was walking away from the game telling the press, “I’m not selling, I quit!”

Of course Namath did not quit and came back to play for the Jets. Nevertheless the Curse of Bachelors III lives on despite efforts by Green Rewind to have Priests, Rabbis and Exorcists all go to 798 Lexington Avenue to try and remove the demons that have infiltrated the New York Jets organization since Rozelle forced Namath to sell. For those of you Jet fans that may be interested, here is the box score of the game:

Free Agent QBs
Adam Schefter reported last week that the KC Chiefs would expect to get two #2 draft picks for Alex Smith. If this is true, and I were the Jets I would not go after Smith because of the asking price. The Jets have too many holes to fill on their roster. I’m even beginning to shy away from drafting a quarterback in the first round. Listening to the radio, it sounds like Jet fans want Baker Mayfield at #6. I’ve gone back and forth on him all year and I even wrote that all he does is win games and make plays. His height is of major concern and “in the know” circles tell me that Mike Maccagnan prefers the pocket prostyle QB 6’2" and above in height.

Nebraska QB Tanner Lee declares for 2018 NFL Draft
With Nebraska hiring Scott Frost as coach, QB Tanner Hill decided to turn pro. Interestingly Frost prefers quarterbacks that can both run and throw. Tanner Lee is more of a pro style pocket quarterback. He was a transfer from Tulane.

Here is the skinny on Lee from Walter Football:

Lee decided to enter the 2018 NFL Draft, and he projects as a potential third-day pick. In 2017, Lee completed 58 percent of his passes for 3,143 yards with 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Lee is a pro-style pocket passer who doesn't offer much mobility. Hence, he wasn't a good fit in newly hired coach  Scott Frost's offense and decided to move on. Lee started out his collegiate career at Tulane before transferring to Nebraska.
Height: 6-4. Weight: 220. 
Projected 40 Time: 4.74. 
Projected Round (2018): 4-6. 

CBS Mock Draft
Mock drafts are fun! We’ll all see thousands before the big three days in April. CBS Sports has been pretty good in the past with their mock drafts.
I have a few disagreements that I will address later on but here we go…….

1. Cleveland Browns,Sam Darnold, QB, USC
2. New York Giants, Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
3. Indianapolis Colts.Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
4. Cleveland Browns (from Texans),Minkah Fitzpatrick, FS, Alabama
5. Denver Broncos, Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
6. New York Jets, Arden Key, DE/LB, LSU
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
8. Chicago Bears,Christian Wilkins, DE, Clemson
9. San Francisco 49ers, Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
10. Oakland Raiders, Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
11. Miami Dolphins,Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson.
12. Cincinnati Bengals, Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
13. Washington Redskins,Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
14. Green Bay Packers, Derwin James, SS, Florida State
15. Arizona Cardinals, Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
16. Baltimore Ravens, Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
17. Los Angeles Chargers, Vita Vea, DT, Washington
18. Seattle Seahawks, Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
19. Dallas Cowboys, Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
20. Detroit Lions, Roquan Smith, OLB, Georgia
21. Buffalo Bills, Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
22. Buffalo Bills from Chiefs, Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
23. Los Angeles Rams, Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
24. Carolina Panthers, Courtland Sutton, WR, SM.
25. Tennessee Titans,Taven Bryan, DE, Florida
26. Jacksonville Jaguars,Connor Williams, OT, Texas
27. Atlanta Falcons, Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
28. New Orleans Saints, Malik Jefferson, OLB, Texas
29. Pittsburgh Steelers, Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama
30. Philadelphia Eagles,Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
31. New England Patriots, Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College
32. Minnesota Vikings, Billy Price, G, Ohio State

My Take
I don’t see the Jets taking Arden Key with the 6th pick. For an edge pass rusher, look for the Jets to look at the free agent market.
DeMarcus Lawrence, DE, Cowboys, 26 years old is the cream of the crop but the Cowboys will not let him walk. They will franchise him. The Jets may have a chance at the Lions DE Ezekiel Ansah who is 29 years old. The knock of him is his durability. He has only played 16 games in a season twice in his 5-year career. In 2015 he had 14.5 sacks and in 2017 he had 12 sacks (in 14 games). This player is worth a shot and the Jets should pursue him.

The CBS mock draft has Josh Allen going at 13 and Baker Mayfield going at 21. Both these players will be off the board in the first 10 picks. I don’t see Lamar Jackson going at 15 or even the first round. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley will not be picked ahead of Courtland Sutton the very talented receiver from SMU. Billy Price the G/C from OSU is seen as the last pick in the first round. I’m hoping he drops and the Jets can pick him up in the 2nd round.

What The Jet Scribes Are Saying:

Rich Cimini, ESPN
Alex Smith's season -- and probably his career in Kansas City -- ended on Saturday night with a devastating playoff loss. Even though he was one of the NFL's top passers this season, he likely will be traded because of too many empty Januarys and because his young understudy, Patrick Mahomes, is viewed as a budding star. The New York Jets, mulling several quarterback options as they attempt to fix a 40-year-old problem, could be one of his suitors. There are some things to like about Smith, who would be ideal in John Morton's short-passing scheme, but he'd be a bad fit for reasons beyond X's and O's. It would be a mistake if the Jets target him as their quarterback savior. Smith is a tweener, meaning he's better than your average Band-Aid but too old (34 next season) to be a long-term solution for a rebuilding franchise such as the Jets. Based on pure talent, yes, he'd be an upgrade, probably their best quarterback since Brett Favre in 2008 -- well, the pre-December Favre.

Brian Costello, NY Post
Todd Bowles is returning for a fourth year as Jets head coach despite missing the playoffs in his first three seasons with the team. One of the arguments for keeping Bowles is to provide stability in the organization. Jets CEO and chairman Christopher Johnson made it clear that his primary reason for extending Bowles’ contract was that he believes he is the right guy for the job, but he also mentioned the desire for stability.

“There’s an added part about wanting to have some stability on this team,” Johnson said last week. “You want to have the same coach working with the same players over the years. You don’t want to keep switching up systems on people, but that was a small aspect of it.”

But does the desire for stability translate into wins? The Post examined the instances in which an NFL team has kept its coach after beginning his tenure by missing the playoffs for three straight years to see how it worked out and if there is anything to glean from it. Since 1970, teams have kept coaches 37 times who missed the playoffs in their first three full seasons. Of those 37, nearly half (18) were fired during or after their fourth season. Only seven made the playoffs in that fourth season. Six others made the playoffs in subsequent seasons. Five of the coaches eventually took their team as far as the conference championship game and two made it all the way to the Super Bowl, losing both times.

Menish Mehta, NY Daily News
Less than two weeks after the Jets missed the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season, offensive coordinator John Morton's future with the team remains in doubt. The first-time play-caller is under contract for 2018, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he'll have a second chance to run Gang Green's offense, according to sources. The Daily News reported after the season that the Jets would let Morton join Jon Gruden's coaching staff in Oakland if the opportunity presented itself. The team hasn't changed its mind. The Jets wouldn't stand in the way of a Morton-Gruden reunion if the new Raiders leader offers any position to his former pupil. Gruden announced Greg Olsen as his offensive coordinator Tuesday. Morton's situation with the Jets, whose offense languished in the bottom third of the league in nearly every meaningful statistical category, remains unresolved.
Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo was the Jets' top choice to replace Chan Gailey last year, according to sources, before Philly blocked the interview request. DeFilippo, whose stock has soared in the wake of Carson Wentz's break-out season, interviewed for the Bears and Cardinals head coaching vacancies last week. He would be the Jets' top external choice again, according to team sources. Gang Green wouldn’t necessarily place any potential OC search on hold until the Eagles finished their playoff run though.



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