Skip to content

Special Monday 10-pack: Winners and losers in free agency

628x471 Getty Images

Only six days ago, the free-agent market opened.  One of the biggest classes of veteran players, with some of the biggest names, landed on the market.

Apart from the Peyton chase, much of the dust has settled.

And so now we’re required by the laws of football analysis to tell you who won and who lost, even though we won’t really know the answer until they start playing games.

Which, you know, will feature winners and losers.

1. Winner:  Eagles.

Last year, with a compressed offseason and a new defensive coordinator who had been an offensive line coach for 14 prior seasons, the Eagles foolishly embarked on a spending spree, bringing in a bunch of big-name players and setting the stage for a Wonderlic pick-sixer blurting out the dreaded “Dream Team” label.

Apart from the challenge of getting a bunch of new employees on the same page quickly, the move surely caused some of the men already under contract to wonder why they weren’t getting a share of the free-agency windfall.

This year, the Eagles have focused on taking care of their own, which is a much better way to ensure that a true spirit of team will take over the locker room.

Perhaps most importantly, the Eagles have set the stage for receiver DeSean Jackson to turn back the clock to 2009, when he wasn’t concerned about staying healthy and/or getting paid.  The Eagles have addressed those concerns via a long-term deal that, in comparison to some of the too-heavy contracts given to lesser receivers and in light of Jackson’s rocky recent history, looks like a win-win.

Maybe that means “win” will be a more common term in the term’s vocabulary this season.

2.  Winner:  Packers.

G.M. Ted Thompson rarely makes a big splash in free agency.  The biggest exception came in 2006, when at the very public urging of quarterback Brett Favre the team signed cornerback Charles Woodson.

Other than that, the Packers under Thompson take a very conservative approach, building through the draft and using free agency on a limited basis, with low-cost talent addressing specific needs.

It’s not sexy this time of year.  But this isn’t the time of year when championships are won.  Unlike downtrodden organizations (such as the Packers themselves in 1993, when Reggie White chose Green Bay from a long list of suitors), the Packers don’t need to do anything to fire up the fan base or breathe life into the franchise.

It’s the right approach for this specific team.  The Packers have won, once again, by doing nothing.

3.  Winner:  Bills.

Speaking of downtrodden organizations, no team needed a big-ticket free agent like Mario Williams more than the Bills.  And they went all in, pulling out all the stops and persuading Williams to spend two nights in town and eventually getting the job done.

It gives Buffalo and the Bills a major boost, igniting intense local interest and legitimate national attention.  It also makes good football sense; defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt now has a player around whom the team’s new 4-3 defense can be built.

It wasn’t cheap, and it may prove to be a mistake.  But it was a risk the Bills needed to make if they ever hope to become relevant again.

4.  Winner:  Patriots.

At first, it looked like the Pats would follow the Pack’s “closed for business” approach to the early days of free agency.  But with needs at receiver, they’ve added a player in Brandon Lloyd who’ll have a far bigger impact than Chad Ochocinco (then again, the bar is low), and they’ve given Wes Welker a little cause for concern by landing a candidate to play slot receiver in Anthony Gonzalez.

They’ve also addressed an area of need on defense, adding the once-promising Trevor Scott to the rotation of recently underachieving pass rushers.

The Pats could still use a true deep threat to clear out all the underneath traffic.  But even if Lloyd is the biggest addition, the team that nearly won the Super Bowl in 2011 will be contending again in 2012.

5.  Winner:  Chiefs.

Yes, they were denied admission to the Peyton chase.  But let’s not forget that, despite all the dysfunction and key injuries of 2011, the Chiefs weren’t far away from winning the weakest division in the NFL.

Unlike most teams, the Chiefs found bargains even before the market softened, adding running back Peyton Hillis to a one-year, fire-under-butt-lighting $2.6 million contract, tight end Kevin Boss for three years and $9 million, right tackle Eric Winston, and backup quarterback Brady Quinn.

Hillis and Quinn played for offensive coordinator Brian Daboll in Cleveland, adding some familiarity to the new Romeo Crennel regime.  Winston addresses a key area of need, and Boss gives the Chiefs a second pass-catching tight end, which apparently is now a mandatory requirement for any team that hopes to be highly successful in the passing game.

Next up, don’t be surprised if Crennel lures another former Brown to Kansas City, with linebacker Kamerion Wimbley on the market.

6.  Loser:  Dolphins.

Peter King of SI.com chronicles a decade of bizarre personnel moves by the Dolphins, but the organization is now developing another troubling reputation:  anyone with options won’t opt for Miami.

It began last year with owner Stephen Ross clumsily pursuing coach Jim Harbaugh, which painted a vivid picture of disloyalty to coach Tony Sparano.  It continued in 2012 when Ross tried, and failed, to lure coach Jeff Fisher to town.  And it spread to the ranks of players in 2012, with Peyton Manning showing tepid interest at best in joining the team (even though some believed it was a done deal that he’d be a Dolphin).  Then, Matt Flynn’s decision to play for the Seahawks instead of former Packers coordinator/Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin did more than raise eyebrows — especially when followed by Steelers safety Ryan Clark proclaiming that “no one” wants to play for the Dolphins.

It’s possible that Philbin simply wasn’t all that interested in Flynn, and that Philbin knows  Flynn’s pair of high-end performances (one in 2010 and one in 2011) won’t translate to being an effective week-in, week-out starter, once opposing defenses have a chance to study enough of his film and figure him out.  If that’s the case, the Dolphins shouldn’t have even brought him to town for a visit.  By doing so, it creates the impression that they wanted him — and that yet again they failed to get their man.

Correct or not, there’s now a perception that no one of significant consequence wants to work for the Dolphins.  And the harder Ross tries to turn the page by making a “big splash,” the more likely it is that he’ll continue to swing the bat and hit himself in the face with it.

7.  Loser:  Saints.

With Bountygate lingering, the Saints had even more reason to work out a new, long-term deal with Drew Brees.  And yet the Saints continue to fail to find a middle ground with their franchise quarterback.

There’s a chance Brees simply wants too much.  But here’s the problem:  He deserves it.  The best NFL quarterback of the last six years, if he wants to max out his contract, then he should.

And as to the idea that he needs to leave some money behind so that the Saints can field a competitive team given the salary cap, here’s one important point:  It never stopped the Colts from being competitive when Peyton got every last dollar he could.

And while it’s good that the Saints kept receiver Marques Colston, they lost Robert Meachem.  And while it’s good that they lured Ben Grubbs away from Baltimore, the lost Carl Nicks.

More importantly, they’ve yet to do anything to address needs on defense, which could become even more significant once the suspensions come down.

8.  Loser:  Vikings.

Good teams can afford to sit on the sidelines in the early days of free agency.  The Vikings are not a good team.

With plenty of cap room and a tenuous stadium situation and a fan base that may choose to do things other than attend or watch Vikings games this season, the franchise needed to make a splash.  Not a Mario Williams cannonball; but something more significant than a John Carlson dog paddle.

It’s doesn’t mean the Vikings should go hog wild.  But they should have made it a priority to land one big-name player, even if it meant overpaying a little.

The offseason is about selling hope.  Teams like the Packers, Patriots, Giants, and Steelers can afford to do nothing in March; the hope is implied.  For teams that have fallen, March is an opportunity to prove that they’re at least trying to get up.

9.  Loser:  Ravens.

The Ravens had four players in the PFT Hot 100 free-agency list.  Three already have bolted for greener pastures:  defensive end Cory Redding, linebacker Jarret Johnson, and guard Ben Grubbs.

To make matters worse, guard Evan Mathis opted to stay with the Dream Team in lieu of joining a team that, on paper, seems to have a better chance of making its dreams come true.

Then there’s the lingering possibility that someone will make restricted free agent cornerback Lardarius Webb an offer the Ravens can’t afford to match.

Though there’s a long way to go before September, it’s hard not to think that, at least for now, the Ravens have faded a bit closer to the pack in the AFC.

10.  Loser:  Bengals.

By capping 2011 with an unlikely playoff berth, it can’t be said that Paul Brown Stadium routinely was less than full due to the fact that the team was bad.  Instead, the fan base is fed up with owner Mike Brown.

Even though the team is laying a solid foundation of youthful players, Bengals fans think it’s not because of Brown but in spite of him.  And with a huge cap surplus for 2012, the Bengals haven’t done much to persuade anyone that they’re willing to spend.

The good news is that, after several days of inaction, the Bengals have gone bargain shopping, adding offensive lineman Travelle Wharton and defensive back Jason Allen.  They also managed to keep free-agent safety Reggie Nelson, who had attracted an offer from the Jets.

But this is the one playoff team that needed to at least chase a marquee free agent.  They didn’t have to land the guy.  Mike Brown simply needed to show that he’s willing to move from the nickel slot machines over to the no-limit poker table.

The Bengals may once again be competitive in 2012.  The fans won’t embrace the franchise they way they should, however, until they see large chunks of their money being reinvested in players who can help the team compete for a championship.

11.  Loser/Winner:  Redskins.

I know.  I said there would be only 10 winners and losers.  But I didn’t say anything about the team that lands in both categories.

The $36 million in unexpected cap charges for treated the uncapped year too literally makes the Redskins losers.  Their refusal to shrug their shoulders when they did nothing wrong makes them winners.

Their ability to still find a way to spend money makes them winners.  Their decision to give so much money to the likes of Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan makes them losers.

Their willingness to move up to No. 2 and get the franchise’s first true franchise quarterback since Sammy Baugh possibly will make them winners.  Mortgaging the future by giving up three first-round draft picks and a second-round pick possibly will make them losers.

Permalink 130 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Features, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Rumor Mill, Top Stories, Washington Redskins

Dominique Easley says he’ll be ready for OTAs

Toledo v Florida Getty Images

After his workout for NFL teams Thursday, Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley said his knee was “about 80 percent” and that he’d be ready to minicamp practices this spring.

His coach is 100 percent sure he’ll make some team very happy.

According to Jeff Barlis of ESPN.com, Easley worked out for 17 teams Thursday, showing them he was largely recovered from his second ACL tear from last September.

The fact he’s torn both ACLs will drop his draft stock, but he could still be a second-rounder. Many think his ability to rush from inside could push him even higher.

He said he’ll start seven straight days of visits to teams starting Sunday.

I felt real good out there,” Easley said. “I wanted to show them that I can move, that I still have the quickness, I still have my get-off and my tenacity in everything that I do.”

Easley has plenty of experience rehabbing, after tearing his left ACL in 2011 and then the right one last fall.

“He was very impressive,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “The [NFL scouts] all commented you could see what he does on tape in the workout. His competitive edge is one of his greatest talents.

“I think he’s got a great ceiling. . . .He would have been [a sure first-round pick]. It’s unfortunate, but his best football is ahead of him. I know one thing: Nobody is going to work harder than him to get it done. He’s got a great work ethic. He’s got a great competitive edge. All the intangibles are there.”

Imagine that. An SEC coach saying one of his star players has a good work ethic. Interesting concept.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Johnson’s knee nothing unusual for six-year running back

Johnson AP

An intriguing slow-day skirmish has emerged regarding the status of the knee of Jets running back Chris Johnson.  Adam Schefter of ESPN has reported that the Jets have “some concerns” about the knee, and that it contains arthritis.  Johnson has said there’s no arthritis.

Here’s what we know, from a source close to the situation.

His knee is normal, for a player who has six years in the NFL at running back.  It would look no different under close scrutiny than the knee of any other running back who has spent six years in the NFL with significant use.  He has 2,014 regular-season offensive touches, an average of 335.6 per year.

Does his knee show wear and tear?  Of course it does.  Can he play on it?  Of course he can.

If the Jets had concerns, why would they have signed him?  G.M. John Idzik is conservative, thoughtful, and deliberate.  He’s not going to roll the dice with $3 million of owner Woody Johnson’s money.

“It flies in the face of common sense,” the source said.

There were, we’re told, no alarms or red flags.  While either or both knees could keep him from spending another decade in the NFL, the NFL is a year-to-year proposition.  For the coming year, the knee is good enough for Johnson to play at a high level.  Eventually, it won’t be.

But that’s no different than any other NFL running back.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Montreal Alouettes sign Chad Johnson

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

Chad Johnson will resume his football career in Canada.

The Montreal Alouettes said Thursday that Johnson had signed with their club, the CFL’s website reported. The Alouettes also tweeted a picture of Johnson ostensibly signing a contract with the team.

The 36-year-old Johnson participated in the Alouettes’ minicamp in Vero Beach, Florida before officially joining the CFL team. Johnson was out of football in 2013 after a summer stint with the Miami Dolphins in 2012.

Johnson spent more than a decade in the NFL, reaching stardom with Cincinnati (2001-2010). He also had a one-season run with New England (2011) before signing with Miami. The Dolphins released him after his arrest in connection with an altercation with his wife.

Johnson joins an Alouettes receiving corps which includes Duron Carter, the son of NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter. Ex-Jets wideout David Clowney is also on the Montreal roster.

Permalink 14 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Chris Johnson disputes report of arthritis in knee

Knee Getty Images

Jets running back Chris Johnson had knee surgery earlier this year, but he nevertheless passed a physical on his way out the door in Tennessee and on his way in the door in New York.

Despite being healthy enough to play professional football, that could change in time.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Jets have “some concerns” about Johnson’s knee.  Schefter specifically reports that the knee has arthritis.  Which means that cartilage is either gone or disappearing.  Which means that Johnson could have chronic issues with the knee as his career continues.

Johnson disputed the report during his introductory conference call with the Jets.  Johnson said there’s no arthritis in his knee.

Either way, it hasn’t stopped the Jets from reportedly paying Johnson $3 million to sign.  Or from paying him another $1 million in salary this year.  But it could put a cap on the number of years that Johnson will be able to play, for the Jets or anyone.

Permalink 21 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Brian Cushing sends out word that he’s cleared

Brian Cushing AP

The Texans got some good news this week that had nothing to do with the draft.

Via Dave Zangaro of CSNHouston.com, Texans linebacker Brian Cushing tweeted out word that he’s been cleared by his doctors after his latest knee injury.

Cushing’s been limited to 12 games the last two years because of knee injuries, from his 2012 ACL team to a broken fibula and torn LCL in the same knee last year.

“I’m just looking forward to playing football again,” Cushing said on SiriusXM radio. “Getting back, playing the game I love and putting forward a full 16 games.”

Losing Cushing was just one of the things that made last season leave the rails for the Texans. But after giving him a six-year $55.6 million deal with $21 million guaranteed, they need to get some return on that investment.

 

Permalink 7 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

49ers meet with another running back

Jim Harbaugh AP

The 49ers are reportedly shopping running back LaMichael James for a trade, which seems fine with James while also opening up a spot on the roster that could possibly be filled by another back selected in the draft.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that the 49ers met with a prospect for that spot this week when University of the Cumberlands running back Terrance Cobb was in for a visit. Cobb joins Towson’s Terrance West and Central Florida’s Storm Johnson as backs that have popped up on the 49ers’ radar recently.

Cobb struggled with injuries during his senior season at the NAIA school, but the 49ers should be able to get some extra insight into his abilities. His older brother Reggie, an ex-NFL running back, is a regional scout for the team and should have some, perhaps biased, thoughts on what his little brother will be able to do at the next level.

Frank Gore is heading into the final year of his contract, so the 49ers may be looking for another back to add to Kendall Hunter, Marcus Lattimore and Jewel Hampton as they try to figure out what their backfield will look like in 2015 and beyond.

Permalink 11 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Aaron Hernandez investigation leads to an arrest in Florida

Aaron Hernandez AP

Two of Aaron Hernandez’s alleged accomplices have been indicted in connection to Odin Lloyd’s murder in Massachusetts last year and now an arrest connected to the case has been made in Florida as well.

Oscar Hernandez Jr., who is not related to Aaron Hernandez, has been arrested on federal charges of lying to a grand jury, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. The U.S. attorney’s office in Boston released a statement saying that the arrest was related to gun trafficking between Florida and Massachusetts and that the case is “related” to a June 17, 2013 murder in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. 

The Boston Globe reports that a source briefed on the investigation confirms that Lloyd was the victim of that murder and that the case against Hernandez Jr. is part of the ongoing effort to find the murder weapon. Hernandez Jr. is accused of lying to a grand jury and obstructing justice when he said he didn’t have anything to do with purchasing and shipping a Toyota Camry to Hernandez’s North Attleboro home. A gun was found inside the Camry, which was parked in Hernandez’s garage, when police searched the former Patriots tight end’s home.

Hernandez Jr. is also accused of trying to influence the testimony of the person he allegedly bought the Camry from in Florida and will be brought to Massachusetts to face the charges at a later date.

Permalink 12 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

LaMichael James hints that he sees a trade coming

LaMichael James AP

When news broke that the 49ers are shopping running back LaMichael James, it may have come as a surprise to some. But not to James.

Shortly after the reports surfaced of the 49ers trying to trade him, James hinted in a series of messages on Twitter that he saw it coming. His first tweet after the news broke was, “When old news become new news.” He then retweeted a series of tweets from fans saying that James would benefit from a fresh start.

So it sure sounds like James will spend 2014 somewhere other than San Francisco. That’s not a big surprise, as the 49ers gave James just 12 carries last year behind Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter, and this year they’re adding Marcus Lattimore to the mix.

The only question is where James will end up. Philadelphia is an obvious connection because Chip Kelly was James’s college coach at Oregon, but the Eagles don’t much need James, considering that they already have LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles and Bryce Brown at running back.

Perhaps some team will like James enough as a return man to give up a late-round pick for him, but it’s also possible that the 49ers won’t be able to find anyone willing to give up anything for James.

Permalink 46 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

PFT Live: Patriots talk with Tom Curran, PFT Planet calls and tweets

Bill Belichick AP

We’re inching ever closer to the draft, which kicks off three weeks from today with the first round from New York City.

The Patriots won’t be selecting until late in the first round, assuming, of course, that they don’t trade out of the 29th spot. Tom Curran of CSN New England will join Mike Florio on Thursday’s edition of PFT Live to discuss the possibility of Bill Belichick doing that and what the Patriots might do if they wind up staying put in the spot they earned with their latest AFC East title.

Florio will ask the questions during that segment, but he’ll also be answering questions about the Patriots, the draft or anything else on your mind right now. PFT Planet can send their questions in via Twitter — @ProFootballTalk — or by giving a call to 888-237-5269 during the show. 

It all gets started at noon ET and you can watch it all live by clicking right here.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Stephen Ross likely to be once again shutout by Florida legislature

Ross Getty Images

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has been having a hard time in the Florida legislature.

Last year, his effort to procure legislation that would allow Miami-Dade County residents to vote on a potential tax increase for stadium renovations died in the Sunshine State’s lawmaking body.  This year, Ross submitted an anti-bullying bill.  As explained by Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, it’s headed for the same fate.

The Dolphins don’t seem to be as upset about this year’s developments as they were last year, when the team claimed that Speaker of the House Will Weatherford reneged on a promise to bring the stadium proposal to the floor for a vote.

“There were some concerns that were raised to us about some aspects of the implementation,” Dolphins lobbyist Ron Book said.  “By the time we reworked it, time had just really run out.  With all the meaningful changes in law, it sometimes takes more than one year to get there. In this case, it was exactly that situation.”

The bill incorporated suggestions from researchers at NYU aimed at stopping bullying.  Ross championed the cause in the wake of the 2013 bullying scandal that rocked the franchise and the rest of the NFL.

As to the stadium situation, Ross has decided to proceed on his own.  As to the bullying proposal, there’s no viable alternative to patience.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Falcons bringing Anthony Barr in for a visit

Anthony Barr AP

Depending on who drafts him, Anthony Barr figures to play multiple roles.

So it makes sense that a defense that won’t commit to any one style is looking closely at the UCLA linebacker.

According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Barr will visit the Falcons next Tuesday.

Barr’s most natural fit is as a 3-4 outside linebacker, and he’s shown enough in his two-year conversion from running back (23.5 sacks) to suggest he’ll be good at it as a pro. But on a recent trip to Dallas, he said they viewed him as a 4-3 defensive end.

Either way, the moves the Falcons have made this offseason suggest a lean toward more 3-4 looks under defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, with the early additions of Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson the strongest hints. But they insist they aren’t necessarily a 3-4 defense, for whatever reason.

Barr’s ability to rush the passer will suit him wherever he lands, and the Falcons clearly need someone who can do that from any angle.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

T.J. Ward: We’re trying to be one of the best defenses in the world

T.J. Ward AP

On Wednesday, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said that the team needed to reestablish its identity for the 2014 season after shuffling their roster in the wake of their Super Bowl loss against the Seahawks.

One of those new arrivals has a suggestion of what that new identity should look like. Safety T.J. Ward said that everybody on the defensive side of the ball is looking to “make a statement from point go, from the first preseason game” so that opponents no longer go into games against Denver worried only about the Manning-led offense.

“As good as the Broncos offense was last year, you see what happens when you get put up against a stout defense and an offense that can pretty much manage and make some plays here and there,” Ward said, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “We’re sending a message right now that we’re coming in not only trying to be one of the top offenses in the league, but one of the top defenses in the world and get that Super Bowl ring.”

The additions of Ward, defensive end DeMarcus Ware and cornerback Aqib Talib were designed to make the Broncos defense a more formidable unit in the coming season and a healthy return for linebacker Von Miller is another reason to think that better days are ahead on that side of the ball. Whether that changes the identity of the team from the offense-centric one of 2013 remains to be seen, but it should make the Broncos a more balanced team when they next take the field.

Permalink 14 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jairus Byrd looks forward to getting inside Rob Ryan’s head

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Getty Images

Jairus Byrd joined the Saints for several reasons, including the fact they paid him a lot of money.

But the former Bills safety said he was looking forward to bringing his ability to create turnovers to the creative defenses of coordinator Rob Ryan.

“To have that ability with an offense that’s gonna put up points and a stingy defense like that and exotic in the way Coach Ryan calls things, it’s unorthodox, it’s gonna keep people guessing,” Byrd said, via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. “That combination right there was enough.”

His conversations with Ryan have been limited about his role so far, but Byrd said he could tell it’s going to be exciting.

“Yeah, definitely,” Byrd said. “Look, he has some stuff in his head that he’s gonna get out one way or the other.”

Putting Byrd next to last year’s first-round pick Kenny Vaccaro should allow Ryan to get even more creative, as he has two established playmakers in the back of his defense.

Along with a unit that outperformed every expectation a year ago, that gives Byrd plenty to look forward to.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Dominique Easley will work out today at Florida

Tennessee v Florida Getty Images

One of the more intriguing players in this year’s draft will be in the spotlight this morning, trying to convince NFL scouts he deserves a shot.

According to Jeff Barlis of ESPN.com, Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley will work out this morning, hoping to prove himself recovered from last year’s torn ACL.

Easley tore his right ACL in practice last September, giving him a matching set after tearing the left one in 2011.

While the medical issues will force him well down draft boards, he’s been a productive and explosive player in the past.

A three-year starter at Florida, the 6-foot-2, 288-pounder can be a disruptive pass-rusher, and teams will take a chance on his recovery based in part on how he looks today.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham scheduled for visits with Jets

Odell Beckham Jr. AP

The Jets have added running back Chris Johnson and wide receiver Eric Decker to the team this offseason, but few expect that they’re done addressing the offensive skill positions.

The Jets will add some fuel to that school of thought next week when they host wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Odell Beckham for pre-draft visits. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that both players will spend time with the team.

Cooks has been on the Jets’ radar for some time as offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg checked out his pro day at Oregon State last month. The Jets were thought to be very interested in wide receiver Tavon Austin last season and Cooks, the fastest wideout at the combine, would offer them some of the same skills.

The same is true of Beckham, who is a bit bigger than Cooks but still under six feet. Beckham was also a standout returner at LSU, which would broaden his potential contributions to the team beyond playing opposite Decker in the team’s offense. Throw in USC’s Marqise Lee and there are three receivers cut from a similar cloth that the Jets will be considering for the next few weeks.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top