Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Trails, Thomas Jones

Multiple sources are reporting that the Jets are letting go of RB Thomas Jones. The 31 year old runningback (32 opening day next season) broke his own franchise record for touchdowns with 14 this past season and was 3rd in the NFL in rushing with 1402 yards, but it is a cruel business he is in.

Jones was owed a $3 million dollar roster bonus soon, and on top of a $2.8 million dollar salary for next season, the Jets decided that was too much. Even with an uncapped year in 2010, the Jets have decided to move forward with a backfield presumably led by second year back Shonn Greene and Leon Washington. Greene all but took over the job late in the season into the playoffs. He was a big reason the Jets made the AFC Championship game, and his absence in the 2nd half all but killed the Jets' offense.

With the Jets virtually unable to sign unrestricted free agents without a new collective bargaining agreement, it's a mild surprise they would let go of Jones. There are some other big name runningbacks available like Brian Westbrook and LaDainian Tomlinson who the Jets could sign because they were released by their former teams and not simply free agents, but Jones was considered a leader in the locker room and Rex Ryan trusted him.

Greene and Washington sounds like a great tandem, a power back and a speed back, but Greene wasn't particularly durable last season and Washington is coming off a broken leg of his own, so counting on both of them to last all season is risky. Chauncey Washington is now the 3rd runningback on the depth chart. Perhaps the Jets think he could step in and handle part of the load in case of injury. Maybe even Danny Woodhead could be part of the answer.

This move could go either way for Mike Tannenbaum. It's hard to grade this move right now without knowing what he's planning to do to replace Jones. If the Jets go into next season with just Greene, Leon Washington, Chauncey Washington, and Woodhead, it would be a mistake, unless the lesser-known Washington is a hidden gem.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jets sign K Nick Folk

In a surprising first bit of real news this offseason, the Jets have signed K Nick Folk to a one-year deal. Last year's kicker Jay Feely seemed to do a good job and was well liked in the locker room, but he's a free agent, so the Jets opted to replace him. Folk is coming off a bad year which got him released late in the season from Dallas, but he was one of the top kickers in the league the previous two seasons.

It's a risk, perhaps even an unnecessary risk, but if it works out, the Jets will have just as good a kicker with a bigger leg. Feely has missed 10 kicks in two seasons with the Jets. Folk missed 7 kicks in his first two seasons in the NFL, but he missed 10 kicks last season leading to his eventual release.

Folk was a 6th round pick in 2007 and a Pro Bowl selection that season. In 2008, he had an even better season, making 90.9% of his field goal attempts. The Jets are hoping the 25-year old reverts back to form, if not, they may regret letting the reliable Feely go.

Jets fans loved Feely because he was willing to make tackles on special teams and he was quite personable for a kicker. He also mentioned how much he wanted to play for Rex Ryan, so this move is a bit of a surprise, but if Folk proves last year was a fluke, nobody will care come October.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sanchez Opts for Surgery, Jets Hire New DL Coach

Today, the Jets filled the defensive line coach position, made vacant by Kerry Locklin's dismissal in November. Mark Carrier, the former NFL defensive back and most recently the Baltimore Ravens' defensive backs coach gets the job. He's familiar with Ryan, but it's unclear his expertise with linemen. Carrier is hoping to expand his resume to get a defensive coordinator job in the future. Ryan's familiar with him, so there's no reason not to trust him, but it's a tad curious.

Also, Mark Sanchez will have surgery to repair a knee injury that he has had since college and aggravated late November against Carolina. It will sideline him for a few months, so he won't be around for OTA's. You never like to see a young quarterback miss valuable learning time, but it's something that has to be done. This has nothing to do with his injury suffered against Buffalo on his right knee, though that will need to be rehabbed this offseason.