New York Jets owner Woody Johnson said yesterday he is interested in the team acquiring Philadelphia Eagles star wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
In Orlando, Fla. for the NFL Annual Meeting, Johnson told reporters the Jets are “looking at a number of players, including DeSean,” adding that it would happen “at a price we can afford or we feel is appropriate.” Jackson’s current contract has a base salary of $10.5 million in 2014; the Eagles have said they would be open to trading Jackson for a third-round pick in this year’s draft.
But Woody also said that trade is not the Jets’ “primary operating motif.” I’d say the same for the philosophy of GM John Idzik, who comes from the Seattle Seahawk mindset of building through the draft rather than making blockbuster trades – or spending big in free agency at all. The Jets already made their splash by signing Eric Decker; it’s hard for me to see them making a push for Jackson, too. (There’s also the question of whether Jackson is a “diva” wideout in the mold of recently-departed Santonio Holmes, which doesn’t help matters.)
Rex Ryan recently said he does not think the team is done signing free-agent wideouts, but that comment may not point in Jackson’s direction. Former Seahawk Sidney Rice and former Raider Jacoby Ford have both been rumored to be on the team’s radar. Besides that, the Jets now have a few more draft picks they can choose to spend on wide receivers.
Every year at the Annual Meeting, the NFL awards 32 compensatory picks among teams that, in the previous free agency period, lost more high-valued free agents than they signed. This week, the Jets received four compensatory picks, the maximum number a team can receive in one draft. They received one fourth-rounder and three sixth-rounders.
Last free agency, the Jets lost six highly-valued free agents: safeties Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry, defensive lineman Mike Devito, guard Matt Slauson, running back Shonn Greene and tight end Dustin Keller. Their only highly-valued free agent pick-ups were linebacker Antwan Barnes and running back Mike Goodson (neither of whom made a sizable impact in 2013), for a difference of four players.
The Jets now have six of the first 137 selections in the draft, with three coming in the fourth round. They have the Buccaneers’ pick for the Darrelle Revis trade, their own pick and now their compensatory pick as well.
Far be it from me to act like I understand how the league decides which specific selections each team will receive. The Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu said “to pretend to know when you do not know is a disease.” What I do know is the Jets have 12 picks, tied with the San Francisco 49ers for most in the league, and this draft class is widely considered one of the deepest in a long time.
Later this week, I’ll determine how the Jets should use those 12 picks by ranking their biggest draft needs by position.
News and Notes: It’s far from official, but signs are pointing toward the Philadelphia Eagles signing Mark Sanchez. Why this couldn’t have been more tidily accomplished in a Vick-Sanchez trade, I don’t know. But should he sign there, Sanchez will be the most experienced quarterback on the Eagles’ roster, having spent more years in the league than either Nick Foles or Matt Barkley. Additionally, former Jet OL Vladimir Ducasse signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings. The former second-round pick never panned out with New York, but I wish both him and Sanchez more success in their new homes.
~New York Daily News Jets beat writer Manish Mehta reported yesterday that the Jets are one of four teams meeting with running back Maurice Jones-Drew’s agents at the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando. What’s more intriguing is the list of Jets’ competitors for MJD’s services: Miami, New England and Pittsburgh. If nothing else, the Jets ought to seriously pursue Jones-Drew in order to keep him from going to one of their division rivals. Coming back from injury and starting fresh with a new team, Jones-Drew may be dangerous in 2014.
~I’m really trying to be as humble as I can about this, but I am currently leading the iSportsWeb March Madness pool on ESPN Tournament Challenge by 20 points. I am in the 99.6th percentile, in the top 41,000 out of over 11 million. I’m just saying, I’ve never had this kind of bracket success before. I want to thank all of you for your continued support and praise for me. (I’m being braggadocious on purpose because I know my luck, and I’m probably about to lose my entire Final Four in the Sweet 16 and fall from grace.)