2015 NFL Offseason: New York Jets

New York Jets (Last Year: 4-12)

2015 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, RB Stevan Ridley, WR Brandon Marshall, OT Corey Hilliard, OT James Brewer, G James Carpenter, DE/DT Stephen Bowen, DE/DT Kevin Vickerson, ILB Erin Henderson, ILB Jamari Lattimore, ILB Joe Mays, CB Darrelle Revis, CB Antonio Cromarite, CB Buster Skrine, S Marcus Gilchrist.
Draft Picks:
DE/DT Leonard Williams, WR Devin Smith, DE/OLB Lorenzo Mauldin, QB Bryce Petty, G Jarvis Harrison. Jets Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
QB QB Jets No. 8, FB John Conner, WR Percy Harvin, WR Greg Salas, NT Kenrick Ellis, ILB Nick Bellore, CB Kyle Wilson, CB Phillip Adams, S Dawan Landry.

2015 New York Jets Offense:
The Jets may have a new coaching staff and front office, but they still have the same problem: They lack a starting-caliber quarterback, just as they did under Rex Ryan.

New York obtained Ryan Fitzpatrick this offseason, but reports indicate that the team is still going with Geno Smith as the starter. There’s no denying Smith’s physical talent, but the mental part of his game just isn’t there. He struggles to make reads and is often guilty of poor decision-making, leading to countless turnovers. His accuracy is also woeful; he has failed to complete at least 60 percent of his passes in either season. The Jets are stuck with him, however, as Fitzpatrick obviously isn’t the answer either. The front office did spend a fourth-round pick on Bryce Petty, but he’s likely just a long-term backup at best; many teams had rated him as an undrafted free agent.

Smith will at least have a superior supporting cast at his disposal. The Jets managed to accomplish addition by subtraction twice, jettisoning Chris Johnson and Percy Harvin. Both players were awful to have in the locker room, constantly poisoning the team with their negative attitudes. Harvin was replaced by Brandon Marshall, who was acquired in a trade from the Bears for a mere fifth-round pick. Marshall, who just turned 31, is clearly on the decline – his yardage dropped from 1,295 to 721 last year – but he’ll still be a capable possession receiver. The same can be said for Eric Decker, who wasn’t 100 percent this past season when he caught 74 balls for 962 yards.

The Jets will be hoping that some of their young players step up. This includes second-year tight end Jace Amaro, who struggled in his rookie campaign. There’s hope for Amaro, however, as Chan Gailey’s offense will suit his strengths more rather than Marty Mornhinweg’s traditional scheme. Meanwhile, the front office used a second-round choice on wide receiver Devin Smith, a blazing-fast receiver who could start as early as next year. Smith won’t be asked to contribute much as the potential third wideout, but having him catch one or two deep passes each week would be a nice bonus.

As for Chris Johnson’s replacement, the Jets brought in two new running backs: Stevan Ridley and Zac Stacy. Neither is very good, however; the fumble-prone Ridley is dealing with a knee injury right now, which actually prompted New York to trade for Stacy. The former Ram was woeful this past season. This all doesn’t matter all that much though, as long as Chris Ivory stays healthy. The Jets were at their best when they gave Ivory touches instead of Johnson in 2014. Ivory gained 820 yards on just 198 carries – a number that definitely has to rise this year.

Unfortunately for both Ivory and Smith, they won’t be getting much help from their offensive line, which is an aging unit that features several players who are no longer as effective as they once were. Left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson and right guard Willie Colon are the primary offenders of this dynamic. Colon struggled immensely this past season, and given that he just turned 32, he doesn’t figure to bounce back. Ferguson, who will also be 32 come December, didn’t perform poorly in 2014, but he was far from the elite blocker he once was.

The rest of the front also appears to be in shambles, save for center Nick Mangold, who is still a dominant lineman. Breno Giacomini, a substandard player, will reprise his role as the team’s starting right tackle. Meanwhile, James Carpenter was brought in from Seattle to be the new left guard. Carpenter has always had problems with conditioning and injuries throughout his career. He played well early in 2014, but had some issues toward the end because of an ankle injury.

2015 New York Jets Defense:
Rex Ryan begged and pleaded for a talented cornerback last offseason, but the incompetent front office couldn’t provide him with one. It figures that the new regime would manage to bolster the position now that Ryan is no longer the coach.

The Jets made a big splash in free agency, landing both Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. Both will obviously provide massive upgrades for a secondary that was in shambles last year. Revis is probably the second-best cornerback in the NFL, while Cromartie managed to outplay Patrick Peterson this past season in Arizona. Cromartie struggled back in 2013 with the Jets, but that was because he was dealing with a nagging injury. He’ll be an outstanding No. 2 corner for New York going forward.

The rest of the secondary is comprised of safeties Calvin Pryor and Marcus Gilchrist, as well as nickel Buster Skrine. Pryor is coming off an up-and-down rookie campaign, but could improve in his sophomore season. Gilchrist, signed over from San Diego, figures to struggle, however. He did not play well for the Chargers, and he’ll definitely be a downgrade from Dawan Landry. Skrine is also a big question mark. He’s a marginal player at best, whom the front office overpaid for.

New York has a tremendous defensive line to assist the strengthened secondary. Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson will return as the starting defensive ends after dominating in 2014, though the latter has been suspended for four games after violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. The pair combined for 14 sacks this past season, which is a high number for two players at their positions. The Jets are now even better there after spending the No. 6 overall pick on Leonard Williams. The USC product was expected by some to go second overall, but issues with his consistency caused him to drop. Still, he provided great value for the Jets at the sixth spot, especially for the future if Wilkerson leaves. Meanwhile, the nose tackle position still belongs to Damon “Snacks” Harrison, who is stout versus the run.

It was speculated that the Jets would use their No. 6 overall selection on an edge rusher, perhaps Vic Beasley. They manage to pick one in the third round, where they obtained Lorenzo Mauldin. It would be ideal if the Louisville product showed enough to emerge into the starting lineup. Otherwise, New York will once again have to go with the underwhelming duo of Quinton Coples and Calvin Pace. Coples has loads of talent – he’s a former first-round pick, after all – but he has never lived up to his potential. Pace, meanwhile, turns 35 in October and has already shown major signs of decline; his sack total dropped from 10 to 4.5 last year.

The inside linebacker group also needed some work, but unlike the corps of edge rushers, no real help was added. David Harris and Demario Davis will once again start there. Harris was given a 3-year, $21.5 million contract this offseason for some strange reason even though he’s yet another declining player in his 30s. Davis is at least young and pretty strong in run support.

2015 New York Jets Schedule and Intangibles:
Nick Folk drilled nearly 92 percent of his field goals in 2013. That figured dropped last year, but was still a decent 82.1 (32-of-39).

Ryan Quigley was one of the league’s worst punters in 2013, but improved to 13th in net yardage.

New York was even with teams on kickoff returns last year because of Percy Harvin, but was outgained by a wide margin on punts.

The Jets seem to have a balanced schedule. They have to deal with the Patriots (twice), Colts, Cowboys and Eagles, but they also get the luxury of playing the likes of Cleveland, Jacksonville, Oakland, Tennessee and Washington.

2015 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.

2015 New York Jets Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2015 New York Jets Analysis: The Jets overachieved last year, winning four games when they were projected to have just two victories. They had one of the least-talented rosters in recent memory, but Rex Ryan was able to get the most out of his team. Ryan is now gone, so that will no longer happen, but New York’s roster is at least better right now. Still, the Jets are the only team in the AFC East that doesn’t have a chance to win the division this year.

Projection: 5-11 (4th in AFC East)

NFL Draft Team Grade: B- Grade

Goals Entering the 2015 NFL Draft: The Jets should be targeting a trade up for Marcus Mariota because they desperately need a quarterback. If they fail to do so, adding play-makers and pass-rushers should be their priority.

2015 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Like every other team that needed to move up for Marcus Mariota and failed to do so, the Jets will be downgraded accordingly. They ultimately found a quarterback in the fourth round in Bryce Petty, but that was a wasted pick. Petty does not have starting-caliber talent and will only be a backup, at best. The silver lining is that the Jets didn’t use a second-rounder on him.

The Jets did manage to use their first three picks on play-makers and pass-rushers. They were almost forced into picking Leonard Williams at No. 6, but that’s not a bad thing because he was the best player available. Lorenzo Mauldin was a decent edge rusher found in the third, while Devin Smith was coveted by several teams in the middle of the second frame. He’ll be a solid deep threat for whomever the Jets have at quarterback in 2016 and beyond.

New York didn’t draft a running back, but managed to trade for Zac Stacy, surrendering a seventh-round selection. The Jets barely gave anything up, so the swap was effectively pointless; I said “Yikes!” plenty of times while watching how poorly Stacy ran in 2014. He’s not exactly the upgrade Geno Smith needed in the backfield, but that shouldn’t spoil what was a fairly mediocre class.

NFL Draft Individual Grades:

6. Leonard Williams, DE/DT, USC: A- Grade
Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson… and Leonard Williams!? Crazy. I can’t blame the Jets for this, and I don’t think it’s a bad pick. On the contrary, I like it a lot. The Jets are taking the best player available, so there isn’t much to complain about. Besides, there have been rumors floating around regarding New York trading Wilkerson. That may not happen now, but the Jets could deal him down the road. If they do, they won’t have to worry about addressing a need on the defensive line. In the meantime, Williams can provide solid depth up front.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

37. Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State: B+ Grade
I had the wrong receiver going to the Jets, but I thought they’d address the position. They added Brandon Marshall this offseason to complement Eric Decker, but the aging former Bear will probably be on the team for just one year. The Jets wanted to find a receiver for the future for whomever they plan on playing at quarterback, and the speedy Smith should serve as a strong option.

82. Lorenzo Mauldin, DE/OLB, Louisville: B Grade
This pick definitely makes sense. The Jets had to find an edge rusher – they were projected to take one at No. 6 overall before Leonard Williams dropped to them – and Lorenzo Mauldin fits the range as a third-round prospect. This is a solid choice.

103. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor: C Grade
I’m not going to bash the Jets too much for trying to find a franchise quarterback at some point, but Bryce Petty isn’t an NFL starting talent. Teams we spoke to were shocked that Petty was getting late first-round buzz; one franchise told us that they didn’t even view him as draftable. Petty could develop into a backup, but that’s about it.

152. Jarvis Harrison, G, Texas A&M: B Grade
Jarvis Harrison is a very athletic lineman. Unfortunately, he’s not a good football player. It’s going to take a ton of time for him to develop, so perhaps the Jets can stash him and get him ready to play by 2017. He makes sense in the middle of the fifth round because of his upside, so it’s a solid choice.

223. Deon Simon, NT, Northwestern State: B Grade
This pick makes sense, as Deon Simon was a seventh-round prospect coming into the draft. If he makes the roster, he’ll provide some depth behind Snacks Harrison.

Season Summary:
The Jets went 4-12, but actually exceeded expectations, as they were projected to go 2-14 here last summer. Rex Ryan did what he could with the worst roster in the NFL, yet New York foolishly fired him. Now, the Jets will have to find someone who can coach up the defense as well as he did, all while dealing with an offense that has absolutely no promise.

Offseason Moves:
  • Bills sign FB John Conner
  • Lions sign WR Greg Salas
  • Jets sign ILB Joe Mays
  • Jets re-sign DE/DT Leger Douzable
  • Jets sign RB Stevan Ridley
  • Jets sign ILB Erin Henderson
  • 49ers sign ILB Nick Bellore
  • Jets sign ILB Jamari Lattimore
  • Jets re-sign G Ben Ijalana
  • Saints sign CB Kyle Wilson
  • Jets sign DE/DT Stephen Bowen
  • Jets sign OT Corey Hilliard
  • Jets sign DE/DT Kevin Vickerson
  • Jets sign OT James Brewer
  • Giants sign NT Kenrick Ellis
  • Bills sign WR Percy Harvin
  • Jets sign S Marcus Gilchrist
  • Jets sign CB Antonio Cromartie
  • Falcons sign CB Phillip Adams
  • Jets acquire QB Ryan Fitzpatrick from Texans for conditional pick
  • Jets sign CB Darrelle Revis
  • Jets signed CB Buster Skrine
  • Jets re-sign RB Bilal Powell
  • Jets sign G James Carpenter
  • Jets cut WR Percy Harvin
  • Jets re-sign ILB David Harris
  • Jets acquire WR Brandon Marshall from Bears for draft pick

    Team Needs:
    1. Quarterback: The Jets are desperate for a quarterback, but they likely won’t be able to get Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston at No. 6 overall. They’ll probably have to settle for Brett Hundley in Round 2, which will probably prove to be disastrous. Traded for Ryan Fitzpatrick

    2. Two Cornerbacks: Rex Ryan begged and pleaded John Idzik to give him some talented cornerbacks this offseason, but Idzik failed. New York still has to find a couple of upgrades at this position. Unfortunately, there aren’t any corners worth taking at No. 6 overall. Signed Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Buster Skrine

    3. Two Guards: The Jets’ offensive line wasn’t very good this past season. The two guards, in particular, were brutal. This is an area that can be addressed on the second day of the draft. Signed James Carpenter

    4. Running Back: Chris Johnson was a predictable bust signing. Chris Ivory is OK, but the Jets can definitely do better. There will be plenty of running back options on Day 2 of the 2015 NFL Draft. Signed Stevan Ridley

    5. Wide Receiver: Percy Harvin is owed more than $10 million in 2015, which is absurdly high for him, given that he’s injury-prone, unreliable and disruptive in the locker room. If he’s released, this need will move up this chart. Amari Cooper is in play for the Jets at No. 6 overall. Traded for Brandon Marshall

    6. Inside Linebacker: David Harris isn’t a huge liability, but he’s a 31-year-old impending free agent. The problem is that there aren’t many options out there. Re-signed David Harris; signed Erin Henderson, Joe Mays and Jamari Lattimore

    7. Rush Linebacker: The Jets have needed an edge rusher for the longest time, but they’ve always avoided the position. Perhaps that’ll change with Rex Ryan gone.

    8. Safety: Dawan Landry is a free agent who will need to be retained. Some young talent should be added here though, as Landry is now 32. Signed Marcus Gilchrist

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2015 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Darrelle Revis, CB, Patriots. Age: 30.
      Signed with Jets

      New England declined to pick up Darrelle Revis’ $20 million option, making him a free agent. Revis now becomes the top player available, though it sounds like he’s deciding only between the Patriots, Jets and Bills. Revis was absolutely dominant in 2014, rebounding from a relatively down season in Tampa in which he was asked to play a scheme that didn’t suit his skills. He turns 30 in July, but he’s still capable of shutting down any receiver he goes up against.

    2. Antonio Cromartie, CB, Cardinals. Age: 31.
      Signed with Jets

      Antonio Cromartie was banged up in 2013, so he had to take a 1-year “prove it” deal with the Cardinals. He definitely showcased how good he was, playing as one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL until a late-season ankle injury slowed him down.

    3. James Carpenter, G, Seahawks. Age: 26.
      Signed with Jets

      James Carpenter has always had problems with conditioning and injuries throughout his career. He played well early in 2014, but had some issues toward the end because of an ankle injury.

    4. Buster Skrine, CB, Browns. Age: 26. — Signed with Jets (4 years, $25 million)
    5. Marcus Gilchrist, S, Chargers. Age: 26. — Signed with Jets (4 years)
    6. Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots. Age: 26. — Signed with Jets
    7. Stephen Bowen, DE/DT, Redskins. Age: 31. — Signed with Jets
    8. Jamari Lattimore, ILB, Packers. Age: 26. — Signed with Jets
    9. Corey Hilliard, OT, Lions. Age: 30. — Signed with Jets
    10. Kevin Vickerson, DE/DT, Chiefs. Age: 27. — Signed with Jets
    11. Joe Mays, ILB, Chiefs. Age: 30. — Signed with Jets
    12. James Brewer, OT, Giants. Age: 27. — Signed with Jets

    New York Jets Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Damon Harrison (RFA), NT, Jets. Age: 26.
      Tendered by Jets

      Damon “Snacks” Harrison is one of the top run-stuffing nose tackles in the NFL. He doesn’t get any sort of pass rush going, but he’s a major reason why New York is so excellent against ground attacks. He won’t be 27 until November.

    2. Percy Harvin, WR, Jets. Age: 27.
      Signed with Bills (1 year)

      Percy Harvin has loads of talent, but it’s no coincidence that when he signs with someone, he’ll be on four teams since 2012. Harvin is not a team player, as he often causes major problems in the locker room. On the bright side, he’s just 27 (in May), so perhaps he’ll be able to mature and become a better teammate soon.

    3. Dawan Landry, S, Jets. Age: 32.
      Dawan Landry struggled for years with the Jaguars and Jets, yet he was able to put together a strong 2014 campaign. Unfortunately for Landry, he just turned 32, so he could begin to regress soon.

    4. David Harris, ILB, Jets. Age: 31.
      Re-signed with Jets

      Though David Harris is now 31, he’s still a capable starting inside linebacker who thrives in run support. He tends to have issues in coverage, so he would be best used as a two-down specialist.

    5. Jaiquawn Jarrett (RFA), S, Jets. Age: 25.
      It’s hard to believe after his stint in Philadelphia, but Jaiquawn Jarrett actually filled in admirably for the inept Antonio Allen, who was benched in the middle of the season. He’s only 25, so maybe the former second-round pick has turned things around.

    6. Leger Douzable, DE/DT, Jets. Age: 29. — Re-signed with Jets
    7. Kenrick Ellis, NT, Jets. Age: 27. — Signed with Giants (1 year)
    8. Nick Bellore, ILB/ST, Jets. Age: 26. — Signed with 49ers
    9. Chris Johnson, RB, Jets. Age: 29.
    10. Kyle Wilson, CB, Jets. Age: 27. — Signed with Saints
    11. Phillip Adams, CB, Jets. Age: 27. — Signed with Falcons
    12. Bilal Powell, RB, Jets. Age: 26. — Re-signed with Jets
    13. John Conner, FB, Jets. Age: 28. — Signed with Bills
    14. Jermaine Cunningham, DE/OLB, Jets. Age: 27.
    15. Former Jets/Eagles/Falcons QB, QB, Jets. Age: 35.
    16. Greg Salas, WR, Jets. Age: 27. — Signed with Lions
    17. Ben Ijalana, G, Jets. Age: 26. — Re-signed with Jets


    2024 NFL Mock Draft - April 22

    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

    Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19

    NFL Picks - Feb. 12