Breaking the Bank: Here’s My New York Jets Free Agency Wish List

With the NFL’s tampering period beginning at noon ET on Monday, look for the Jets to be active with an excess of $80 million in cap space to spend on prized free agents. Remember, nothing can become official until the new league year begins on Wednesday at 4 pm ET.

Jets fans have been waiting for this day for a long time, really since the roster purge began two winters ago, ridding the team of veteran staples like Brandon Marshall, Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, and David Harris.

Expect general manager Mike Maccagnan to be very busy, as I assume we’ll hear about the Jets being “connected to” many of the big names free agents, especially in positions with a major need that should be addressed.

The Jets got off to the right foot on Sunday, acquiring former All-Pro guard Kelechi Osemele from the Raiders. Gang Green hasn’t had a mauler like that inside since bringing over Alan Faneca back in 2008. Without further ado, here is who I’d like to see NYJ sign this week.

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LeVeon Bell: The 26-year-old made the polarizing decision to sit out the entire 2018 season unless the Steelers met his steep long-term contract demands. Pittsburgh decided to pass with John Conner in the wings. The Jets should be major players for Bell along with the Ravens and Colts, as the former Michigan State Spartan would immediately revolutionize a Jet offense with a dual threat playmaker we haven’t seen since the days of Curtis Martin. I’d expect his contract numbers to be in the ball park of Todd Gurley’s 4/$60 million extension. Other options: Tevin Coleman, Mark Ingram

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Golden Tate: It’s no secret slot receiver is a huge void on the Jets’ depth chart, along with not having a true No. 1 on the outside. This crop of free agents at WR should allow the Jets to fill the need in the slot and get by with a core of Enunwa, Anderson, and Herndon at TE. Golden Tate fits the bill perfectly, as a veteran who knows how to move the chains efficiently. I could also see the Jets going with a cheaper, younger option as well with Tate turning 31, like Adam Humphries, Cole Beasley, or Jamison Crowder.

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Trey Flowers: Maccagnan better do whatever he can to plug the gaping hole at edge rusher, which the Jets have been without really ever since dealing John Abraham to Atlanta over a decade ago. Trey Flowers had an awesome year up in New England, who fittingly opted not to pay the 25-year-old. Flowers became an analytics darling and should earn himself one of the most lucrative contracts cut this week. Other options on the Jets board should include the recently released Justin Houston and Anthony Barr. 

Matt Paradis/Mitch Morse: The Jets quickly realized their grave mistake of signing Spencer Long to play center last free agency, who was eventually benched by the mid-point of the year, as he seemed to botch multiple snaps to Darnold just about every game.

As Jets fans, admittedly, we’ve been a spoiled bunch with Nick Mangold and Kevin Mawae captaining the ship for the better part of my childhood. Maccagnan can right his wrong by going out and paying either of the top centers on the market with the Broncos moving on from Matt Paradis or ex-Chief Mitch Morse.

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Bryce Callahan: Bryce Callahan might not have been the most well-known player on the vaunted Bears defense, but opposing quarterbacks always had him in mind. Callahan posted one of the best grades as a corner, according to PFF in 2018. With Skrine (thank god) and Claiborne’s departures looking likely, Callahan would fill the void left at slot corner quite nicely, especially with Trumaine Johnson’s struggles on the outside last year. Other options: LaMarcus Joyner, Kevin Johnson, Jason Verrett, Ronald Darby.

 

Could LeBron James Turn Los Angeles Into L.A.Bron This Summer?

LeBron James could be headed to Los Angeles. A shift in the betting odds for LeBron’s future team now has the Lakers at minus money. That means you would have to risk more than you would win. RJ Bell in Vegas tweeted updated prices on Thursday. The Lakers were -110. Philadelphia and Cleveland tied for the second-best odds at +450.

This week there was a rumor that LeBron “doesn’t like Houston as a city.” There was also news that LeBron’s son had committed to play high school basketball at Sierra Canyon High School near Los Angeles, but that was quickly shot down by the school.

Los Angeles makes sense for a number of reasons. None more than LeBron’s opportunity to go there and bring in another superstar based on cap space. Perhaps Paul George or CP3. LeBron, however, does not need to go as a free agent. James was dealt to Miami following the 2010 playoffs. This summer could also feature a sign and trade. Cleveland could once again get something in return for losing LeBron. The Lakers would have a chance to deal anybody who did not seem to fit in with LeBron (or somebody who James did not want to play with).

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In an age of Internet rumors, the line shift could be our best indication yet. Gamblers often live by odds movement. They say lines tell a story. Vegas knows. Although it is far from a done deal, we may be on our way to unlocking the summer’s big mystery. Then we will just need to figure out how his announcement is made. Recently Bill Simmons threw out a theory that LeBron is filming a documentary which will announce his decision. Sports betting is now legal in New Jersey. Maybe somebody can get me odds on how his decision will be revealed.

Even in 2010 we saw the choice leak out. It will be interesting to see if this drags on for weeks. That would increase the chances of somebody else breaking the news. It’s hard to believe that intrigue and excitement in the NBA often comes after the season these days, but times have changed. Enjoy the drama.

New York Jets Free Agency Wishlist: Crafting the Perfect Off-Season

With the “legal tampering” period beginning yesterday in the NFL, I’m sure it was a busy 24 hours for Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan working the phones, as NYJ boasts by far the most cap space in the league with an excess of $94 million at his disposal.

Last week, I laid out every plan Gang Green should have at quarterback going into 2018 with the obvious first domino to fall in Kirk Cousins. I’m sure the Jets will make a hard run at the 29-year-old QB and hopefully can lock him up to a four or five-year deal with over $100 million in guarantees. It all comes down to the structure of the contract and getting him into the building. If NYJ can lock down a visit I like our chances.

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Obviously, a lot of the off-season plans revolve around Kirk’s future first and this wishlist is dependent on the direction the Jets go at quarterback. With Cousins under center, I would draft Quenton Nelson out of Notre Dame and sure up the offensive line. The Jets allowed the sixth-most sacks in the league and this unit needs to be revamped.

As the league year officially begins on Wednesday at 4 P.M. here are who I believe Mike Maccagnan and the Jets should target in the coming days outside of the quarterback position.

Jets Free Agent Wishlist:

Malcolm Butler, 28, Cornerback – New England Patriots

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Why It Makes Sense: The Patriots to Jets pipeline continues as Butler could follow great DBs such as Ty Law and Darrelle Revis to suit up for both New England and NYJ. After an ugly ending that still hasn’t been explained in Foxborough, Malcolm should be eager to get back at the Pats twice a year and the Jets give him that opportunity. The West Alabama product can still play as he was tied for 13th in the league in pass breakups. We also boast a huge hole at the cornerback position that hasn’t been filled since Revis departed or his skills really departed him. Other big name CB targets could include Trumaine Johnson and Rashaan Melvin.

Possible Contract: 3 years/ $36 million ($20 million guaranteed)

Allen Robinson, 24, Wide Receiver – Jacksonville Jaguars

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Why It Makes Sense: A return for Robinson to Duval has been all but ruled out making him an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday. Allen should have numerous suitors vying for his services even though he is coming off a torn ACL. At such a young age his best football could still be ahead after a dominant 2015 season. I’ll be interested to see if he lands the long-term deal from a desperate team like the Niners or Bears or chooses to take a “prove it” one-year contract of sorts and do this all again next year.

Possible Contract: 1 year/ $14 million 

**Signed With Chicago Bears – 3 years/ $42 million**

Terrelle Pryor, 28, Wide Receiver – Washington Redskins

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Why It Makes Sense: After notching a 1,000-yard season in Cleveland, Pryor took one of those “prove it” type deals which we mentioned above and putting it kindly, it didn’t work out up in Washington. I’m not jumping ship and a talented player could come in on a low risk move for NYJ. Maybe a change of scenery is all it takes for the 28-year-old and Cousins to connect?

Possible Contract: 2 years/ $13 million 

Weston Richburg, 26, Center – New York Giants

Why It Makes Sense: Newsday is already reporting the Jets are expected to pursue the former Giant early on in free agency. Richburg only turns 27 this year so a multi-year deal to sure up the center position makes sense. There are a plethora of linemen available at the top (Andrew Norwell) of free agency for the Jets to throw money at and it would be stupid to not sign at least one. Weston would come in as an immediate upgrade to Wesley Johnson, who dealt with the impossible task of Nick Mangold last year.

Possible Contract: 3 years/ $17 million

**Signed 5-year deal with San Francisco 49ers**

Dion Lewis, 27, Running back – New England Patriots

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Why It Makes Sense: Lewis had a great season for the Pats as he was a real difference maker on that offense so taking him away from NE would be a huge get for the Jets. NYJ hasn’t had a home-run hitting RB since Leon Washington broke his leg in 2009. We are in desperate need of one and I’m definitely open to taking Sony Michel, Derrius Guice or Ronald Jones in the earlier part of the draft. If the Jets go the free agency route look for them to consider Lewis, Jerrick McKinnon and Orleans Darkwa.

Possible Contract: 2 years, $9 million

E.J. Gaines, 26, Cornerback – Buffalo Bills

Why It Makes Sense: The Bills did a great job retooling their back end and Tre’Davious White has all the makings of a potential stud. The lesser-known Gaines quietly had an efficient season (13th rated CB on PFF) and could come at a safer price than the big-name corners. Would also look at bringing in former Ram/Bill Nickell Robey-Coleman to play some slot corner as I’m just sick of seeing Buster Skrine committing penalty after penalty.

Possible Contract: 3 years, $22 million

Alex Okafor, 27, Defensive End – New Orleans Saints

Why It Makes Sense: The Jets haven’t had a true pass rusher since John Abraham left over a decade ago. They have tried to plug in veterans such as Jason Taylor and Calvin Pace over the years, but NYJ hasn’t been able to find the guy who is supposed to strike fear into opposing offenses (see Vernon Gholston and Quinton Coples). Okafor definitely has some potential, as he recorded 30 QB pressures in just 10 games in 2017 before his season was ended by an Achilles injury. Aaron Lynch from San Francisco could be an option here at just 25-years-old but hasn’t had a productive full-season since 2015.

Possible Contract: 2 years, $8 million 

Donte Moncrief, 24, Wide Receiver – Indianapolis Colts

Why It Makes Sense: Moncrief makes for a very polarizing prospect and I’m interested to see the type of market he garners. Everyone knows the talent is there, but his numbers haven’t the last couple season just notching 300+ yards in each. If he gets in the right situation he could prove to be a bargain at just 24-years-old. I’m open to rolling the dice on someone like this or Jordan Matthews who is also just 25.

Possible Contract: 2 years, $10 million

Potential UFA Players to Resign:

DeMario Davis, 28, Linebacker 

Why It Makes Sense: DeMario made his return to NYJ in a deal with the Browns and looked to be a completely new player from his first time around. He exuded leadership qualities, while being surrounded by a young defense. PFF has the former third-rounder as the top-graded linebacker available. The Jets should be open to bringing back the high-character Christian man.

Possible Contract: 3 years/ $21 million (13$ million guaranteed)

Morris Claiborne, 28, Cornerback

Why It Makes Sense: The 28-year-old enjoyed a solid first campaign, which had its ups and downs for the Jets as the leader of a secondary full of youth. Mo is definitely an option if the free agent market dries up quickly. The Jets should really sign a higher priced FA and bring Claiborne back on a cheaper contract.

Possible Contract: 2 years/ $12 million

Kony Ealy, 26, Defensive End

Why It Makes Sense: Ealy was a no-risk proposition when the Jets brought him in after the Patriots cut him during the summer. He was definitely inconsistent during the year and really faded down the stretch. I did become fond of his ability to gobble up passes and bat them down. He had to be among the league leaders even in his limited snaps.

Possible Contract: 1 year/ $3 million

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, 25, Tight End

Why It Makes Sense: I really enjoyed seeing ASJ turn his life around and become a professional in his first year donning the green and white. He’s a huge body and actually has solid hands. He would’ve had a couple more TDs this year if refs weren’t trying to be heroes and overthink everything. The former Buc will definitely have a solid market so I wish the Jets got this done earlier, but give me some more of the 25-year-old Jenkins to build on his 50-catch campaign.

Possible Contract: 2 years/ $12 million

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Knicks Off-Season Preview: Free Agency Edition

nicks-kcks-nykm-972-73-2016-17-fired-phil-jackson-world-champions-24144150The Phil Jackson experiment is over in New York and fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief and turn the page to the next era of Knicks basketball, which is hopefully centered around future All-Star Kristaps Porzingis. As we sit less than four hours before the free agency frenzy begins, reality is starting to set in that General Manager Steve Mills will be navigating the team through free agency and that is a scary thought.

Only the Knicks could go into the free agency period without a team president, oh wait the Cavaliers are right here with us but they’re in a little better predicament than the NYK. I’m hoping Mills treads lightly until reinforcements come in a few weeks and doesn’t dig us into an even deeper hole than this organization is already in. Here’s head coach Jeff Hornacek’s chance to get heavily involved with the structure of the team in 2017.

James Dolan probably has the highest approval rating of his disastrous tenure as owner from meddling to save the franchise from Phil “Triangle Offense” Jackson. If he wants to keep that momentum going, he should definitely look at ex-Cavs GM David Griffin who was recently let go by another crazy owner. I don’t know what to think of the John Calipari rumors, which he shut down, but in my opinion it wouldn’t be smart to give up multiple assets in hopes to get an established general manager like the Spurs R.C. Buford or Toronto’s team president Masai Ujiri, whom James Dolan is infatuated with.

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If Dolan wants to promote from within I’m cool with that as well. I believe Allan Houston has all the makings to be a successful executive after being in the organization’s front-office since the Donnie Walsh era in 2008. He’s paid his dues and is well respected within MSG. I’m just happy Isiah Thomas isn’t coming back to haunt us, stay over there with the Liberty, Zeke.

The Carmelo Anthony Saga Must Come To An End:

The Melo drama continues into the summer of 2017, but I believe it will finally come to an end. When the new executive is hired, this should be his first order of business to launch the Knicks into the next era of basketball. Teams will definitely come calling once they miss out on major wing targets like Paul George and Gordon Hayward this weekend. I still think it comes down to Houston, Cleveland and Washington as a dark horse. Remember, Carmelo Anthony has all the cards with his no-trade clause so he can pretty much handpick where he ends up.

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Possible Free Agent Targets

Derrick Rose – Just kidding, he’ll be someone else’s problem next year. 

Ben McLemore – Still only 24-years-old, but had trouble developing in a crowded backcourt of a dysfunctional Kings organization. Worth a roll of the dice. Career 35% shooter from downtown. Averaged 12 points per game in extended playing time in 2015.

*** Knicks reportedly reach out to McLemore’s camp (July 1)***

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Shabazz Muhammad – Another 24-year-old that can fill it up in a short amount of time. The once highly touted UCLA product averaged 10 points and 3 rebounds in 19 minutes for the T’Wolves last season.

James Young – A guy I loved coming out of Kentucky in 2014 who became a lost first round pick spending much of his time on the bench for the Boston Celtics. Only 21-years-old and I still think he can reach his ceiling of a Lou Williams/Swaggy P potential type of player with proper nurturing and playing time.

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Dion Waiters – There aren’t many people as polarizing in the league as the Philly product. Waiters shut up his haters with a solid showing in Miami this past season, evolving as a leader and putting up solid numbers. Who could forget his game-winner against the Warriors, as he was a key cog in their mid-season turnaround. Let’s bring Waiters Island to NYC.

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Veteran Point Guard To Mentor Frank Ntilikina

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Darren Collison – a perfect fit for a mentorship role for Ntilikina. Collison should come at a fairly cheap price and be productive in his minutes. Still only 29, Darren is a guy the Knicks should target to help ease Ntilikina into the NBA lifestyle. Also, averaged 13 points and nearly 5 dimes a game in Sacramento last season.

Patty Mills – The Aussie has developed into a solid player for the Spurs over the past few seasons, who has seen extended minutes with the decline of Tony Parker. Cory Joseph drew a 4 year $29 million deal in free agency from Toronto last off-season, so something similar for Mills should be in line. Sign me up for the 40% shooter from deep.

*** Resigns with San Antonio Spurs – 4 years $50 million according to ESPN***

If the Knicks are smart it will be a relatively quiet off-season in NYC with the exception of shipping out Carmelo Anthony, but it’s for the best. I’m open to taking on a bad contract from someone if they attach an asset with it (young player/first round pick) or shipping out someone like Courtney Lee. We need to focus on building this from the ground up. It’s going to be a tough couple years here, but at least we have our draft picks going forward and hopefully Dolan chooses the right person to lead this franchise out of the abyss. Enjoy the madness people.

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