The New York Jets spent money like drunken sailors on shore leave in Amsterdam this offseason. The organization clearly feels pressure to win, and win now. But will their acquisitions pay dividends? Historically, the answer is no. A large mix of free agents is not good for the continuity or stability of the team units.
LT is still D'Brickashaw Ferguson who hasn't been very good in his 2 seasons. He allowed 10 sacks last year. LG Adrien Clarke was cut and signed with Baltimore, he will be replaced by perennial Pro-Bowl Guard Alan Faneca. Nick Mangold and Brandon Moore will remain at Center and Right Guard respectively. At Right Tackle, Anthony Clement was cut in the offseason and Lions cast-off Damien Woody will take his place.
Overall this bunch has a lot of work to do. They averaged a sub-par 3.8 yards per rush and only managed 6 rushing touchdowns on the year. They were awful in pass protection allowing a brutal 53 sacks (4th worst in NFL) in 2007. Although Faneca is an upgrade, Woody is not. Just because they paid Woody like a high end tackle, that does not make him so. I don't think this group will be as bad as they were in 2007, but I also don't expect them to be all that much better. Faneca won't make that much of a difference. Even with him Pittsburgh only averaged 4.2 yards per rush, 9 total rushing touchdowns, and allowed 47 sacks. He doesn't single-handedly make a line great.
If you have 2 QB's you really have none. Chad is the better QB, despite the endless jokes about his noodle-arm. He is efficient and accurate, which is two categories he takes over Kellen Clemens. Clemens has youth...and that's about it. Given the way the Jets approached the offseason (win now), I expect them to give the reigns to the QB who is better now, rather than the one who may be better later. Whomever wins the job, they aren't very draftable. The winner will be on a short leash. Remember that Charlie Frye won the Browns starting job over Derek Anderson coming out of camp last year. Don't draft either, just keep an eye on the situation as the season progresses.
Thomas Jones had one of the quietest 1,000 yard seasons in NFL history. Although it was justifiably quiet as he accomplished the feat at a plodding 3.6 yards per carry and only scored 1 TD. He was a disappointment, but he could very easily improve in 2008 if the Offensive Line is able to improve at the goal line. It is a statistical anomaly for a player to get 310 carries and only get to the end zone once. That should correct itself next year. Jones is currently going as the number 25 RB, which seems a touch low to me.
Leon Washington is the very definition of a third down back. If Jones struggles or has to miss time Washington is a worthwhile add. If your league gives points for return yards Washington might be worth adding regardless.
Repeat after me. Laverneus Coles should not be drafted before Jerricho Cotchery. Jerricho Cotchery is becoming a perennial favorite of mine. The last two years he has been severely undervalued. Now he enters 2008 as the 31st drafted receiver despite posting 1,100 yards with rotating quarterbacks. No one would benefit from a stable QB situation more than Cotchery.
Coles is more likely to score TD's, but his production is going down whereas Cotchery's is increasing. Still, both of these wideouts make ideal WR3's.
Chris Baker tallied 400 yards and 3 TD's in 2007. That barely warrants consideration in the fantasy realm. Add to that the acquisition of Bubba Franks, First Round pick Dustin Keller, and Baker staying away from training camp because he doesn't like his contract and you have a Grade 1 toxic situation. Stay away. If someone starts playing well during the season they're worth a look, just don't draft them.
This bunch did not make a lot of big plays defensively in 2007. No one caused less fumbles, they were mediocre in Int's and had a downright pitiful pass rush.
A not-so-brief rundown of all the changes:
Nose Tackle: The Number 4 overall pick of 2003 Dewayne Robertson was traded to Denver after the Jets acquired Kris Jenkins from Carolina. This is a big upgrade as Robertson was playing out of position and Jenkins is a goliath of a human being (His weight is DOWN to 360 lbs at the moment).
ROLB: Vernon Gholston should take the job from Bryan Thomas. I'm skeptical the rookie will have a large impact.
ILB: Jonathan Vilma is a middle linebacker, not an inside linebacker. His departure for New Orleans is good for him and the team as David Harris was freakishly productive after taking the job from Vilma in 2007. Any leagues that use IDP's, grab Harris. The man is a monster.
LOLB: Victor Hobson left for New England, and will be replaced by Calvin Pace who received a gargantuan contract despite his meager track record. Hobson wasn't a good fit in the 3-4, but this isn't that big of an upgrade.
CB David Barret was benched for Hank Poteat last year. Both of them may be on the bench with Justin Miller returning from a knee injury.
S Abram Elam has lost his job to Eric Smith.
Now with all of this, is the Jets defense any better? The answer is a definite "maybe." I can see them improving, but I can also see them completely falling apart. It's impossible to know what to expect with this many changes. I'm keeping my distance from this group unless they start whomping people during the season.