Monday, September 7, 2009

Jets Acquire QB O'Connell, 3 Others, Drop Woodhead

The Danny Woodhead era lasted just one day as the diminuitive fourth runningback was let go to make way for three waiver claims and a trade. Woodhead was a fan favorite because he was a real life Rudy: an undersized runningback from a no-name school who played his heart out. Plus, he was a white runningback in a league where there are very few.

In his place, as well as the places of Reggie Hodges, OT Michael Kracalik, and LB Brandon Renkart, are QB Kevin O'Connell, P A.J. Trapasso, TE Matthew Mulligan, and FB Jason Davis.

O'Connell (6-5, 230) was acquired from the Detroit Lions for undisclosed compensation, presumably a late draft pick. The 24-year old had been released from New England last week after being their 3rd round pick in 2008, and the Lions picked him up in waivers. The Jets made a claim for him as well, and now they'll acquire him at a slightly more expensive cost.

What does this mean? It's unclear as of now. The most obvious implication would be that Kellen Clemens is a goner after this year. Ainge and O'Connell would battle for the backup job. In the meantime Jets brass will pick his brain for any details about the Patriots playbook. That's right. The gamesmanship has begun.

Trapasso will be the most important signee for the 2009 season. If you remember, he's the guy who hit the jumbotron against the Cowboys. He's also the guy who ran the fake punt in for a touchdown during the Hall of Fame Game. Tennessee released him, and the Jets snatched him up and handed him the punting job. They had expressed interest in signing him to the practice squad after he averaged 40.5 yards per punt (39.0 net) in 16 preseason attempts. The 23-year old finally puts Hodges out of a job after the Jets tried to replace him all summer.

Mulligan (6-5, 256, 24 years old) fills a gaping hole at tight end, though he adds versatility as an H-Back. Mulligan was undrafted out of Maine last year and spend eight weeks on Miami's practice squad. In a 2008 interview, he cites fellow Maine player Mike DeVito as the best player he ever played against in college.

Davis (5-10, 245) replaces Woodhead as the fifth back on the roster, and as a fullback, he has more use to the Jets than a fourth halfback. He does a little bit of everything well, and offers good size. He could be groomed to replace Richardson, who won't be playing much longer.

***Marshall Update***
Okay, I don't know if this is a Marshall update or not, but Twitter is abuzz with Kerry Rhodes's tweets Sunday night. First, at around 7:30 PM.

jet fans expect a big announcement coming soon lol!

Now this would normally be brushed off as nothing, but given that it's so close to the start of the season and that Rhodes is supposedly friends with Brandon Marshall, you never really know.

About four hours later, he posted again.

Sorry 4 the hold up fans but this stuff sometime takes time but just stay tuned u will find out soon. Not trying to hold u guys in limbo ...

That's all we have from Rhodes. A message about a big surprise, and then pleas for patience. What do other Jets know? Very little. Jay Feely doesn't know, saying that he is "in the dark like you" on his Twitter.

So that brings us to Nick Mangold.

He wanted to find out from Rhodes what the secret is. Rhodes wouldn't post it on Mangold's Twitter for obvious reasons, so Mangold asked Rhodes to text him on Twitter. Yes, that's what sports journalism has come to, folks.

Here's Mangold's tweet after the text message (around 11:30 PM).

I must tell you all ignorance is bliss. Now I have to keep a secret that I'd love to share but I need to investigate futher. Good things tho

Soon after, he tweeted again.

Tho I have talked to @kerryrhodes I still know nothing real and have no details. I'm just as pumped to find out as the rest of you. G'night

So something is up. A few people know what's going on. The rest of us are in the dark. Why Kerry Rhodes would know before anyone else is anybody's guess, but a Marshall trade would make more sense than most theories. There is a mutual fit between the two sides, and both sides have expressed some interest. The question has always been how much Denver wants back in return.

That brings us back full circle to the beginning of the day and the acquisition of Kevin O'Connell. Denver has Kyle Orton and Chris Simms as its top two quarterbacks. Both have struggled at times, and both are already banged up. McDaniels coached O'Connell last year in New England and was part of the coaching staff that drafted him. Denver wants a player back in the trade who can help them now. O'Connell might not help them now, but he could give McDaniels a long-term answer at quarterback if he still likes him.

Why else would the Jets trade a draft pick for a fourth quarterback? O'Connell might be the backup next season, but keeping four quarterbacks on the team is never the best use of roster space (neither is seven cornerbacks for that matter). Something is up indeed. I have no idea what exactly, but I would not be surprised if Marshall is a Jet by Tuesday. This is purely based on information I posted above, from Twitter, from previous rumors and speculation, and the mutual fit that exists between the two teams.

But now, more than ever, it makes sense.

EDIT (4:10 AM): Why I'm still awake is a mystery to me, but I forgot to add the most intriguing part of Rhodes's Twitter. Someone named "ChrebetBoy1" tweeted at Kerry Rhodes the following.

Hey im tellin ya, Clemens is gone. Jets traded for K.O'Connell, watch, Jets are making trade move with denver as we speak.

Rhodes responded.

u may be right!!! (hint hint)

Stay tuned, ladies and gentlemen.

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