Sunday notes: Revis Watch begins
March, 10, 2013
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty ImagesDarrelle Revis is due to receive a $1 million roster bonus if he's still a Jet next Saturday.A look at the Jets and around the NFL:
1. Cornering the market: I think the Darrelle Revis camp is pushing for a resolution ASAP -- i.e. a trade -- because it's concerned about the cornerback market drying up. There are a handful of good free-agent corners out there, namely Sean Smith (Dolphins) and Aqib Talib (Patriots). Dunta Robinson, released by the Falcons, was gobbled up by the Chiefs. Teams such as the Bucs, Cards, Patriots and Broncos are shopping for a cornerback, and it's highly unlikely they'd be interested in dealing for Revis if they spend $8 million-a-year on someone else.
This could be part of the Jets' strategy, but it's a double-edged strategy. They could wait out Revis until, say, the summer, figuring the cornerback market will be depressed and they'd be able to re-sign him to a team-friendly deal. Of course, if they wait that long, they risk losing the most aggressive suitors, the teams desperate for help at the position -- if they opt for the trade route.
For those of you on Revis Watch, pay attention to the cornerback signings, starting Tuesday. That could tell us where Revis might be headed. The Broncos have expressed interest, according to a source. The Bucs have more than $30 million in cap room and could be a dark horse.
2. Time for the bonus, baby: The first artificial deadline in the Revis situation is next Saturday -- a $1 million roster bonus if he's on the team. Once he earns the bonus, he doesn't have to return it if he gets traded and it counts toward the salary cap. If you're thinking of cutting ties with a player, it makes sense to do it before committing $1 million to him. Because of the magnitude of the Revis situation, the bonus probably won't have an impact on the Jets' thinking, a league source told me.
Al Pereira/New York Jets/Getty ImagesAntonio Cromartie finished last season with three interceptions and 35 tackles.
Other Jets roster bonuses: C Nick Mangold -- $3 million on Tuesday; CB Antonio Cromartie -- $2.3 million on Tuesday.
3. Scheme change?: There have been some rumblings around the league that the Jets, predominantly a 3-4 team under Rex Ryan, may use more 4-3 fronts than in the past. It makes sense, considering the personnel. After cutting Calvin Pace and Bart Scott, they're thin on linebackers, but they could put David Harris in the middle and Demario Davis on the weak side. Actually, Davis probably is better suited to a 4-3. At the scouting combine, Rex Ryan mentioned how DT Quinton Coples will be used more on the edge than inside, perhaps another 4-3 hint. Also, they're trying hard to re-sign DT Mike DeVito, which would give them four starting-caliber linemen. Food for thought.
4. One year ago ... : Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of: 1.) the Jets getting blown off by Peyton Manning, 2.) the Jets signing QB Mark Sanchez to a three-year contract extension, basically a new five-year contract for $58 million. Ah, memories. On the night it was announced, this is what I wrote: "This move is so stunning, so confounding, so impulsive, so typical of the Jets...It means Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum are all in with Sanchez. He'll either make them famous or get them fired." And now Tannenbaum is a guest analyst for the NFL Network. Unfortunately for him, there are no mulligans in the GM business.
5. Nick the kick: The best thing that happened to Nick Novak was getting cut by the Jets during the 2011 preseason. Novak, who lost out to Nick Folk, landed with the Chargers. On Saturday, he reportedly signed a four-year, $6.6 million contract, including a $1.5 million signing bonus. The Jets liked Novak, but they felt more comfortable with Folk. Novak actually was cut by the Chargers last summer, but he was re-signed when incumbent Nate Kaeding got hurt. Kaeding got Wally Pipped, as Novak made 18 of 20 FG attempts.
Meanwhile, it'll be interesting to see what the Jets do with Folk, an unrestricted free agent. He's probably looking for Novak money, and then some. Can the Jets afford him? Can they afford to lose a reliable kicker?
6. On the quarterback trail: Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg reportedly had dinner last week with Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib after his pro day. He's an interesting prospect. Scouts are divided on him, their opinions ranging from future star to career backup. Nassib doesn't have a big arm, but he's smart with a quick release, attributes that would fit nicely in Mornhinweg's West Coast system. The Jets are very interested in drafting a quarterback. The draft looks like a realistic option because, let's face it, the free-agent market stinks.
Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY SportsRyan Nassib led Syracuse to an 8-5 record last season as a senior. He recorded 3,749 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
7. Buy cheap, get cheap: Anybody remember the Jets' free-agent class from a year ago? Okay, I'll tell: S LaRon Landry, WR Chaz Schilens, QB Drew Stanton (traded), and S Yeremiah Bell. There's a very good chance none of these players will be on the 2013 roster, as they all signed one-year contracts. Ironically, the player whose impact could be felt the longest is Stanton, who was dealt away to the Colts a week after the Jets acquired Tim Tebow -- a $500,000 mistake because Stanton got to keep his signing bonus. They received a sixth-round pick, which they used to select S Josh Bush, who saw limited action. His role could expand this season.
8. Like old times?: The Jets need a pass rusher. Former Jet John Abraham, cut by the Falcons, needs a team. Could they ... possibly ... maybe ... you know, reunite? No chance, according to a source. Abraham wants to sign with a contender. Don't they all?
9. Fear the Fish: With more than $30 million in cap room and five draft picks in the first three rounds, the Dolphins have positioned themselves to make a nice turnaround. They re-signed WR Brian Hartline and backup QB Matt Moore, and my money is on them to land coveted free-agent WR Mike Wallace. But, you know what? It doesn't matter much unless second-year QB Ryan Tannehill takes a big step. It's always about the quarterback in the NFL. If you've got one, you're good to go. If not, you're picking in the top 10 every year.
10. Go Wes, young man: Quite understandably, the status of Patriots WR Wes Welker is a huge story in New England. If they don't sign him by Tuesday, he hits the open market. Folks in Beantown will yell and scream, ripping Bill Belichick for letting him Welker walk. Make no mistake, Belichick is as cold as they come when it comes to making tough personnel decisions. But here's the thing: He's almost always right. If he thinks they can survive without Welker, they will.