QB QB Jets No. 8, RB Chris Johnson, WR Eric Decker, WR/KR Jacoby Ford, OT Breno Giacomini, CB Dimitri Patterson.
S Calvin Pryor, TE Jace Amaro, CB Dexter McDougle, WR Jalen Saunders, WR Shaq Evans, G Dakota Dozier. Jets Rookie Forecast Offseason Losses:
QB Mark Sanchez, WR Santonio Holmes, OT Austin Howard, G Vladimir Ducasse, CB Antonio Cromartie.
2014 New York Jets Offense:
The Jets have made some upgrades on offense in the public eye. Philadelphia's former starting quarterback, Chris Johnson and Eric Decker are all big names and will undoubtedly prompt the media to suggest that New York has a shot at the playoffs this year. In reality, however, two of these signings have actually made the team worse.
Philadelphia's former signal-caller will start at some point. The coaching staff is insisting that Geno Smith will get the nod, but they're protesting too much. Smith proved to be inconsistent and incompetent last year, so he won't last very long as the starter if he even gets the job. The other quarterback will step in, but not for very long. He's a turnover machine who gets injured too frequently. He also has a history of quitting on his teams (2005 Falcons, 2011-12 Eagles) when things aren't going well. That could be the case again this upcoming season, as the Jets will need a miracle to compete for the divisional crown.
As for Johnson, he's been one of the most overrated players in the NFL for quite some time now. He's a terribly inefficient runner who has lost most of his burst because of his career workload. Johnson is also coming off a torn meniscus and sat out OTAs as a consequence, so he'll be even worse than usual. He'll split work with Chris Ivory, who averaged 4.6 yards per carry in 2013. However, neither Ivory nor Johnson plays well on third down, so Bilal Powell will have to be used then.
Meanwhile, the Decker signing won't ruin the team like the other two acquisitions, but it won't help the Jets at all. Decker has been an obvious byproduct of Peyton Manning; he managed just 50 receptions in two seasons without the future Hall of Famer. Previously known for his inconsistent hands, Decker will prove to be yet another receiver who takes the money and runs to an inferior franchise, failing to live up to expectations. Decker proved that he doesn't care about his football career whatsoever because he'll struggle mightily in New York.
The Jets will regret giving Decker $36.25 million over five years, though it's understandable why they did so; they have zero proven receiving talent outside of him. David Nelson is a poor No. 2. Jeremy Kerley is an average slot player. Shaq Evans and Jalen Saunders are rookies, but inept general manager John Idzik reached for them. Jace Amaro, a second-round rookie, probably won't be productive in the near future because he reportedly "looked lost" at OTAs.
New York's offensive line will once again be the strength of the scoring attack. It's led by left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, who has started all 16 games for eight consecutive seasons. However, Ferguson is coming off a down year. He'll turn 31 in December, but there's a chance he'll be able to rebound. He'll start across from the newly acquired Breno Giacomini, who had a solid 2013 campaign for the Seahawks. He won't be as good as the departed Austin Howard, but he's not much of a downgrade.
The one liability on the front is left guard Brian Winters, who surrendered a ridiculous 10 sacks in 2013. Fourth-round rookie Dakota Dozier has a legitimate chance to beat him out. Whoever wins the job will be joined by right guard Willie Colon and center Nick Mangold on the interior. There aren't any issues with Mangold, one of the top centers in the NFL, but Colon is a concern. He has endured four surgeries over the past four years, so his durability is questionable.
2014 New York Jets Defense:
Rex Ryan's elite defense was able to carry Mark Sanchez to the AFC Championship on a couple of occasions. Ryan, however, no longer possesses anything close to resembling an elite defense. In fact, outside of the line, the Jets' defense is one of the weaker units in the NFL.
The secondary is especially brutal. The Jets revealed that they agree with that mindset, given how frustrated and irate Ryan was when his team whiffed on all of the free agent cornerbacks. New York wanted Darrelle Revis, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Antonio Cromartie, but Idzik failed to obtain all three. As a consequence, the Jets will have to start Dee Milliner and Dimitri Patterson at corner. Milliner was chosen No. 9 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, but struggled immensely last year. Patterson, meanwhile, is completely unreliable. He has played in only 15 games the past two seasons because of various injuries. Kyle Wilson will be an ineffective nickel, while third-rounder Dexter McDougle isn't expected to make much of a contribution this year because he was a major reach.
The safety position isn't much better. Calvin Pryor was obtained with the 18th-overall selection in May, but as the Jets learned with Milliner, rookie defensive backs don't always pan out right away (if at all). Pryor will start next to either Antonio Allen or Dawan Landry, both of whom disappointed in 2013.
The linebacking corps is a mess as well. Quinton Coples, one of the edge rushers, was supposed to take a big step in his second NFL campaign, but he got off to a sluggish start. He finished the year well, but the criticism with Coples has always been his lethargy. It's unlikely that the Jets will get him to play hard for 16 games. They'll need him to because they don't have any other competent pass-rushers on the exterior. Calvin Pace registered 10 sacks in 2013, but most of that was a product of the defensive line. He'll turn 34 in October, so he probably won't be as productive this upcoming season.
Inside linebackers David Harris and Demario Davis will also need to perform on a higher level. Both were inept in coverage this past season. Harris has completely fallen off after a promising start to his career, while Davis has proven to be a bust as a 2012 third-rounder. The Jets spent a fifth-round selection on Iowa State's Jeremiah George, but it's difficult to see him contributing on defense as a rookie.
As mentioned, New York has a terrific defensive line. In fact, it's arguably the best three-man front in the NFL. Excluding J.J. Watt and perhaps Calais Campbell, there may not be a better five-technique in the NFL than Muhammad Wilkerson, who tallied 10.5 sacks in 2013. He and Sheldon Richardson, the No. 13 overall choice in the 2013 NFL Draft, form a fantastic tandem. Richardson was a dominant run-stuffer as a rookie. He wasn't as good of a pass-rusher, but he should be able to develop those skills as he matures. Meanwhile, nose tackle Damon "Snacks" Harrison was an even greater run-stuffing force on the interior.
2014 New York Jets Schedule and Intangibles:
Nick Folk had struggled for years - he failed to hit 80 percent of his attempts in 2010-2012 - but the Jets stuck with him, and it paid off. Folk went 33-of-36 this past season, including 3-of-3 from 50-plus.
Ryan Quigley was one of the league's worst punters in 2013, ranking 23rd in net average and barely getting any attempts inside the 20.
There weren't any touchdowns scored for or against the Jets on special teams, but they were badly outgained on punt returns.
The Jets' season could be over quickly. Following an easy game against the Raiders, they have to deal with the Packers, Bears, Lions, Chargers (road), Broncos and Patriots in consecutive weeks.
2014 New York Jets Rookies:
Go here for the Jets Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.
2014 New York Jets Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
2014 New York Jets Analysis: The Jets have one of the least-talented rosters in the NFL. They were able to finish 8-8 last season because they had young, enthusiastic players whom Rex Ryan was able to coach up. That's not the case this season, as John Idzik added some overpriced and/or lethargic pieces to the roster who will fail to live up to expectations. Combine this with a lack of depth and a tough schedule in the first half of the season, and it's very likely that the Jets will quit in the second half of 2014, much like the Texans did last year. On the bright side, there's a good chance New York will able to obtain Marcus Mariota, as seen here in the 2015 NFL Mock Draft.
Goals Entering the 2014 NFL Draft: The Jets have the least-talented roster in the NFL. Excluding the defensive and offensive lines, every group on their roster is sub par at best. This is why I have them picking No. 1 in my 2015 NFL Mock Draft. New York will have to enjoy a masterful draft in order to avoid owning the NFL's worst record in 2014. Unfortunately, it simply has too many holes to fill, so taking the best player available each time is probably the way to go.
2014 NFL Draft Accomplishments: It's safe to say that the Jets did not take the best player on the board each time. The only occasion in which that may have been the case was in the second round when they snagged Jace Amaro. The Texas Tech tight end was in first-round consideration at one point, and he'll give the starting quarterback a potent intermediate weapon. The first-round choice, Calvin Pryor, could have been picked a bit later, but he fits Rex Ryan's defensive scheme very well.
The Jets' downfall began at No. 80 when they chose seventh-round prospect Dexter McDougle. They could have obtained him much later. The same could be said for Jalen Saunders, Shaq Evans, Jeremiah George and other selections. In fact, the Jets did not obtain appropriate value with any of the receivers they took, meaning their quarterbacks won't have any reliable wideouts to throw to besides Eric Decker.
It doesn't appear as though the Jets understand the value aspect of the draft. They see players they like, and they take them, completely ignoring the fact that they can obtain better prospects at earlier picks all while still securing the players they covet much later.
NFL Draft Individual Grades:
18. Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville: B Grade
This is a solid pick for the Jets. I'm not sure if many expected this, given the need for receivers and corners, but I had Calvin Pryor to New York in my mock because he was such a perfect fit for Rex Ryan's defense. Jet fans will love Pryor's hard hitting, and I'm sure they'll be relieved that the huge need at safety has been filled. The Jets won't be signing Ed Reed during the middle of this upcoming season, that's for sure.
49. Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech: A Grade
This is a great pick. It just makes so much sense. Jace Amaro could have gone much earlier than this, so he obviously fits the range. He also fills a huge need because the Jets didn't have anything at tight end. Geno Smith needs a safety valve to help him develop, and Amaro should be a great weapon for him.
80. Dexter McDougle, CB, Maryland: D Grade
I thought something Mel Kiper said was very telling: "Great job by Rex Ryan finding a player no one else liked." If no one else liked Dexter McDougle, why pick him so early? I actually had the Jets picking McDougle in my mock draft - at Pick No. 233! New York could have chosen the Maryland product much later and found another, better player here.
104. Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma: C Grade
The Jets needed a receiver very badly, so this pick makes at least some sense. The thing is that there were better receivers available. Jalen Saunders was viewed as a Round 5-6 prospect, so New York is reaching once again.
115. Shaq Evans, WR, UCLA: C- Grade
Oh, Jets... Another receiver reach. Shaq Evans was a consensus Round 6-7 prospect, so it's becoming clear that New York's front office doesn't understand how value works in the draft. The team has done nothing to make me change my mind about having them draft first next year (see my 2015 NFL Mock Draft here).
137. Dakota Dozier, G, Furman: B Grade
It's nice to see the Jets not reaching for a change. Dakota Dozier was projected as a fourth-round prospect, and he happens to fill a need with guard being so thin. I haven't said this much about New York's selections, but this is a solid move.
154. Jeremiah George, ILB, Iowa State: D Grade
Remember when I said that the Jets don't understand how value works in the NFL Draft? This is yet another example. Jeremiah George was not a draftable prospect, and there were so many better inside linebackers available like Shayne Skov and Yawin Smallwood. Inside linebacker was a need, but this is a mega reach.
195. Brandon Dixon, CB, NW Missouri State: C+ Grade
The Jets can't reach very much in the middle of the sixth round. I had Brandon Dixon as a Round 7-UDFA player, so this spot is fine. Another cornerback makes sense though.
209. Quincy Enunwa, WR, Nebraska: C Grade
Another reciever reach? Why not? On the bright side, this doesn't matter as much because we're at the end of the sixth round. It's just a shame that the Jets haven't really improved their receiving corps.
210. IK Enemkpali, DE, Louisana Tech: B Grade
It's a bit surprising that the Jets hadn't drafted an edge rusher yet. The position should have been addressed earlier. Ik Enemkpali fits the range at the bottom of the sixth round, so it's nice to see New York not reach.
213. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson: A Grade
Remember when Tajh Boyd was viewed as a potential first-round prospect? Good times. I love this pick. Boyd's stock dropped over the past year, but he should still have been chosen in Rounds 3-4. The Jets are desperate for a franchise quarterback, so perhaps Boyd can develop into one. He might be better than Geno Smith right now.
233. Trevor Reilly, DE/OLB, Utah: A+ Grade
The Jets have made some hideous reaches in this draft. This pick is the complete opposite. I have no idea how Trevor Reilly lasted this late, but he's one of the top players available. He could eventually start for the Jets at outside linebacker.
Most pegged the Jets as one of the worst teams in the NFL entering the 2013 season, so in a sense, an 8-8 finish can be considered somewhat of a success. On the other hand, they were 5-4 at one point, but fell apart because Geno Smith went into a tailspin. This offseason has to be all about providing weapons for Smith or whomever New York opts to start at quarterback in 2014.
Jets sign RB Chris Johnson
Jets re-sign DE/OLB Garrett McIntyre
Jets sign CB Dimitri Patterson
Jets sign WR/KR Jacoby Ford
Eagles sign QB Mark Sanchez
Vikings sign G Vladimir Ducasse
Jets sign QB QBDK
Jets cut QB Mark Sanchez
Cardinals sign CB Antonio Cromartie
Jets re-sign G Willie Colon
Jets re-sign DE/OLB Calvin Pace
Jets sign WR Eric Decker
Jets sign OT Breno Giacomini
Raiders sign OT Austin Howard
Jets cut WR Santonio Holmes
Jets tender ILB Nick Bellore
Jets cut CB Antonio Cromartie
Jets re-sign TE Jeff Cumberland
Jets re-sign CB Darrin Walls
Jets re-sign CB Ellis Lankster
Jets franchise K Nick Folk
Jets re-sign DE/OLB Jermaine Cunningham
Two Wide Receivers: Santonio Holmes is unreliable, while Stephen Hill has been a total bust. Two brand new receivers are needed. One of New York's first two draft picks figures to be used on a wideout. Signed Eric Decker
Safety: Ed Reed was signed as a desperation move during the 2013 season, but that didn't work out. The Jets need to upgrade the anemic Antonio Allen.
Two Guards: New York fans will be hoping that Brian Winters won't be coming because he was totally inept this past season at left guard. The other guard, Willie Colon, happens to be a free agent. Re-signed Willie Colon
Tight End: Kellen Winslow played better than expected last year, but he wasn't a quality replacement for Dustin Keller. The Jets may pick a stud tight end with the No. 18 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Re-signed Jeff Cumberland
Inside Linebacker: Demario Davis was a huge liability in coverage, while even David Harris looked slow at times. New York must properly replace Bart Scott.
Outside Linebacker: The Jets put great pressure on opposing quarterbacks with their interior rush. They need an upgrade at the outside linebacker position, however. Re-signed Calvin Pace
Cornerback: Antonio Cromartie will be a cap casualty this offseason, so the Jets will somehow have to find a new cornerback, all while hoping Dee Milliner improves his play. Signed Dimitri Patterson
Right Tackle: Austin Howard is another offensive line free agent who will need to be retained. Signed Breno Giacomini
Quarterback: Geno Smith can look very good sometimes, but he's played more ineptly than the likes of Brodie Croyle and Jeff Tuel in other games. Smith's supporting cast has been awful, so he deserves another chance with better weapons. Still, the Jets should think about bringing in another quarterback. Signed QBDK
Kicker: Nick Folk's contract has expired. Franchised by Jets
Running Back: Chris Ivory is just a mediocre talent. The Jets could use a better running back, but they have many more pressing needs. Signed Chris Johnson
Eric Decker, WR, Broncos. Age: 27. Signed with Jets
For those who say Eric Decker is just a product of Peyton Manning, Decker can just point to the eight touchdowns he caught with Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. Decker does have an issue with drops sometimes, however.
Breno Giacomini, OT, Seahawks. Age: 28. Signed with Jets
Breno Giacomini was missed when he was out for half the year with a knee injury, but only because his backup was so much worse. He's not a bad starter, but the Seahawks could stand to upgrade him.
Chris Johnson, RB, Titans. Age: 28. Signed with Jets (2 years)
One of the most overrated players in the NFL, Chris Johnson hasn't been good for years. He's a poor runner because he's way too indecisive, resulting in lots of negative runs. This was acceptable when he used to break 50-yard runs quite frequently, but those days - along with his elite speed - are long gone. Johnson turns 29 in September, so he's going to just get it worse, and to top it off, he stinks in pass protection, so he can't really be used on third downs. He would probably be an overrated commodity if the demand for running backs wasn't so low.
Dimitri Patterson, CB, Dolphins. Age: 31. Signed with Jets (1 year, $3 million)
Dimitri Patterson has missed 17 games in the past two seasons. He's effective when on the field, but that has been rare.
QB Eagles No. 7, QB, Eagles. Age: 34. Signed with Jets (1 year, $5 million)
QBDK is a turnover machine incapable of reading defenses or recognizing blitzes. He still has some athletic ability, but that's diminishing every single season.
Jacoby Ford, WR/KR, Raiders. Age: 27. -- Signed with Jets
New York Jets Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
Antonio Cromartie, CB, Jets. Age: 30. Signed with Cardinals (1 year)
Antonio Cromartie might be ranked higher than where most would project him, given that he's coming off a horrific 2013 campaign. However, Cromartie's struggles could be blamed on a nagging hip injury as well as a knee problem he sustained in October. Cromartie, who doesn't need surgery for his hip, figures to be much better in 2014, provided he can stay healthy.
Austin Howard, OT, Jets. Age: 27. Signed with Raiders
The once-beleaguered Austin Howard has improved every single season and is now viewed as a solid right tackle. He did a great job of improving his pass-protection skills this past year.
Nick Folk, K, Jets. Age: 29. Franchised by Jets
Nick Folk was perfect on field goals this past season until a fierce wind blew an attempt wide of the uprights in Week 11.
Willie Colon did a good job as the Jets' starting right guard this season, outside of his penalties. He pass protected very well. Unfortunately, he tore his biceps in the season finale.
Calvin Pace, DE/OLB, Jets. Age: 33. Re-signed with Jets (2 years, $5 million)
Calvin Pace registered 10 sacks this season, but that number is inflated because the opposition focused so much on the interior rushers. Pace is not playing as well as he used to because of his age.
Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets. Age: 30.
Remember when Santonio Holmes tallied 1,248 yards back in 2009? Well, he hasn't eclipsed 746 yards in any season since. Part of that is poor quarterback play, but Holmes is now both injury-prone and lethargic. There's still time for him to turn things around, but his career is probably wrapping up.
Kellen Winslow Jr., TE, Jets. Age: 31.
Kellen Winslow played much better than expected this season - despite missing a handful of games - but he's still a shell of his former self.
Ed Reed, S, Jets. Age: 35.
Ed Reed should be a 1.5-star player, but I'm giving him two starts so I can post a write-up for him. Reed is done. He can't cover anymore. He should retire.
Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets. Age: 27. Signed with Eagles
Mark Sanchez is a 1.5-star player, but I'm giving him a write-up because he's a big name. Sanchez, of course, is a former top-five pick in the NFL Draft, but he's not a starting-caliber quarterback; nor is he a capable backup. Sanchez, who happens to be coming off shoulder surgery, is a turnover machine. He's also never maintained a completion percentage higher than 56.7 or a YPA greater than 6.7. Some will incorrectly praise him for leading the Jets to a pair of AFC Championships in his first two seasons, but it was his defense that carried him there. Sanchez has since lost his confidence and endured a shoulder injury, so he's not even the mediocre quarterback that we saw back in 2009 and 2010.
Jeff Cumberland, TE, Jets. Age: 27. -- Re-signed with Jets (3 years)
Vladimir Ducasse, G, Jets. Age: 26. -- Signed with Vikings (1 year)
Darrin Walls, CB, Jets. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Jets
Lex Hilliard, FB, Jets. Age: 30.
Garrett McIntyre, DE/OLB, Jets. Age: 29. -- Re-signed with Jets
Nick Bellore, ILB, Jets. Age: 25. -- Tendered by Jets