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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Jets Free Agent Signings: The Good, Bad & Ugly!

It is an amazing time in the sports world with tons happening. The NCAA basketball playoffs are in full swing,baseball is a few days away, an SAT cheating scandal involving the rich and famous sprinkled in with some NCAA coaches is in the news and of course the NFL free agent period. With all the money the Jets had, I would have pursued or prioritized a different game plan. The Jets started off making a splash and as the signing period went on, more and more players bypassed the Jets for other teams. Did Mike Maccagnan save his job? Maybe. Did the Jets give Sam Darnold the protection they wanted? I don’t think so. Let’s look at their picks and see how it helps or hinders the upcoming 2019 Jet season. 

The Good
C.J. Mosley, linebacker
This is a four-time Pro Bowl player who will bring effort and attitude to Gregg Williams’ defense. Don’t let his five-year, $85 million contract that includes $51 million in guarantees scare you Jet fans. He is still only 26-years old and is the type of player who will put on a uniform tonight and is ready to play. He has only missed 3 games in the last five years and will make other players around him better. This number one draft pick (17th overall) from Alabama finished the season as the Baltimore Ravens leading tackler with 105 combined tackles. In fact in his 5 years in the NFL in 77 games, Mosley has 579 tackles and assists which averages out to 7 1/2 per game. For an interior linebacker who does not sack the QB a lot, these numbers are stunning. A real good pick though the Jets probably over paid.

Jamison Crowder, wide receiver
At the time I would have preferred Adam Humphries but Crowder is a good one. He missed some games last year with injuries but with the QB situation in Washington in 2018, it may have been a blessing. He is a slot receiver who had 67 receptions in 2016 and 66 in 2017. He has 14 career TDs in 4 season and returns punts and can return kickoffs which may be a reason the Jets let last year’s All-Pro Andre Roberts walk. Jamison Crowder is a very good route runner with deceptive speed who should do well in Adam Gase’s offense with Sam Darnold. Another good pick.

Josh Bellamy, wide receiver
Here is a player who will not knock your socks off with gaudy statistics. What this 30-year old un-drafted free agent from Louisville is, is the consummate professional. He excels as a Special Teams player and can do a good job as a wide receiver. Adam Gase knew him from his days with the Chicago Bears and thinks very highly of him. His best year catching the ball was in 2017 when he had 24 receptions for 376 yards. This is a player who was very popular in Chicago and will be a positive influence with the younger players. A good pick.

Trevor Siemian, QB
Always liked him. Let’s face it after Sam Darnold went down those 4 games, it was obvious Josh McCown cannot play quarterback anymore. He was awful. Trevor Siemian is no Johnny Unitas but this Northwestern grad can spin it. This 26-year old has started 24 NFL games and has thrown 30 TDs and 24 INTs. He is more than serviceable and I only wish his contract was for more than 1 year.

                              T-Ball Skills & Drills

The Bad
Le'Veon Bell
In a Wild Card playoff game a few years ago when the Adam Gase Dolphins lost to the Steelers 30-12, it was Le'Veon Bell who ripped through the Fish all day rushing for 167 yards and 2 touchdowns. I know I am in the minority here but I really don’t like this signing. Le'Veon Bell seems to me like Odell Beckham Junior 2.0. I want players who love football and that is their first priority. Minutes before it was reported his signing with the Jets Le'Veon Bell released his rap album "Life's A Gamble" at midnight. I hope I am wrong but looking ahead, even after taking a year off, this guy may be a diva out of control. The good news is with a locker room of Jamal Adams, Avery Williamson, and CJ Mosley, the Jets have a chance to get production out of Bell. Make no mistake Le'Veon Bell is one of the most talented athletes you will ever see but I want to win. And I want Le'Veon Bell want to win also.

Year Games Started Rushing  Receiving   TDS     
2013        13                  860         399           8
2014        16                1,361        854          11
2015         6                   556         136           3
2016        12                1,268         616          9
2017        15                1,291         655        11
2018            Did not play

Brian Poole, CB 
Don’t understand the thinking here. Poole had a good rookie year but has slipped the last two seasons. I’m holding my nose saying this but it might have been just as good to keep Buster Skrine. Look for Poole to play the same role as a nickel corner. Let’s hope Gregg Williams will get more out of him than the Falcons did. 

The Ugly
Anthony Barr, Linebacker
I’m an old school type of guy that still thinks a man’s word is his bond. This is the second year in a row (Kirk Cousins last year) a Minnesota Viking used the Jets to get more money and in this case, Anthony Barr went back on his word and lied to the Jets. I hope he has a horrible (injury free) season. By the way, Adam Humphires signed with the Titans after giving his word even when BB and the "dark side" offered him more money (alot more) to come to New England. Good job Adam!

Other Transactions
Kelechi Osemele, LG 
The Jets swapped late-round picks with Oakland to land the former Pro Bowler with two non-guaranteed years left on his contract before the start of free agency. This is a good low risk move. And no, Osemele is not another Ryan Clady. By all accounts he has dropped weight and is ready to play. This guy is a mauler. 

Chandler Catanzaro, Kicker
I know Jason Myers had an all pro year. But remember the Jets picked him up off the waiver wire. To me kickers are like baseball relief pitchers. It was not worth bring Myers back at those numbers- four year, $15.45 million. 

Henry Anderson, DE
There were some questions if Anderson was made for Gregg Williams defense. His 7 sacks were all meaningful and his PFF (Pro Football Focus) ranking was above average. If the Jets draft a solid DL, both Henry Anderson and Leonard Williams will benefit.

Darryl Roberts, CB
Thank god Gregg Williams and his staff have watched all the game films. Roberts played well and the three-year, $18 million deal is only guaranteed for one year. He was rated (by PFF) as playing above average and he will get better with the new coaching staff.

Steve McClendon, NT
Would they have signed McClendon (a former teammate of Bell’s) if the Jets didn’t sign Le'Veon Bell? Nevertheless, Steve McClendon is a great locker room leader who despite his play slipping last year should be effective providing 18-25 defensive snaps per game.  

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I’m very upset that the Jets missed out on signing center Mitch Morse who the Bills signed. He signed a 4 year, $44,500,000 contract including a $11,000,000 signing bonus, $26,175,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $11,125,000. Mike Maccagnan should have been more aggressive chasing this 26 year old from Missouri. The Jets could have potentially locked up the center position for the next 8-10 years. A shame! 

I would also have signed guard Rodger Saffold. He signed for a lot and despite his age (31), with Scaffold, Morse and Osemele up front, this would have had the making of a great offensive line. But the Jets went in a different direction spending the money on Bell. I hope this works! 

Jets Might Dip Into AAF For Center
J.C. Hassenauer plays center for the Birmingham Iron. Hassenauer graded as the league's best offensive lineman and didn't allow a quarterback pressure during the opening weekend, according to Pro Football Focus. He only started three games for Alabama so he should see steady improvement with extra reps. The 6'3", 305-pound blocker spent half of the 2018 campaign on the Atlanta Falcons practice squad. He also has experience playing guard. Go get this guy Mac!

NFL News And Rumors
…..Rob Gronkowski announces his retirement.  "Rob Gronkowski is going out on top. The New England Patriots tight end announced on Sunday that he is retiring. After making the biggest play of Super Bowl LIII to help the New England Patriots win another championship, Gronkowski is calling it a career…..The Pittsburgh Steelers and veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger are holding contract extension talks, according to Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network…..The Pittsburgh Steelers are armed with lots of draft picks and sound ready to use them. Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said Sunday that the team could either take ten players, or would be happy to entertain trading up using those picks as ammo…..Even though there are mouths to feed, Jeremy Maclin is finished with football. According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, veteran wide receiver Jeremy Maclin announced his retirement today — while at his wife’s baby shower…..Quarterback Tom Brady was not present for much of the New England Patriots’ voluntary offseason program last year, and it appears the six-time Super Bowl champion is planning to take the same approach in 2019….With Patriots owner Robert Kraft facing multiple criminal charges, thousands of people around the country are now asking Proctor and Gamble to pull the Gillette name off of the Patriots' stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts….Tickets to the highly-anticipated preseason game at Aloha Stadium between the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys are sold out, stadium officials announced Friday morning. The Cowboys-Rams game on Aug. 17 will be the first preseason NFL game in Hawaii since 1976…..

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