Trade official: Darrelle Revis passed physical. Bucs send 1st in 2013 and conditional 4th in 2014 that could be 3rd to Jets. More on ESPNews
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 21, 2013
John Idzik has seen it all before. A quarterback earning a boat load of guaranteed cash, sitting on the bench holding a clipboard. It’s not unusual.
In his final season in Seattle he was part of a front office that signed Matt Flynn and gave him $10m. In return, they got a backup. The reason? A much cheaper rookie quarterback was simply superior. Both in the short and long term, it made sense to take the financial hit and move on.
History could be about to repeat itself.
By trading Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a similar situation could be unfolding. The deal will give the Jets at least the #13 overall pick on Thursday to go with the #9 selection. The Jets also own the seventh pick in round two. That’s a veritable bounty for a franchise that needs to get better, younger and cheaper.
People are already suggesting the Jets could use their two first round picks on a pass rusher and a replacement cornerback. I don’t buy that. What was the big problem last year? It was the titanic white elephant of an offense that destroyed any chance the Jets had to be competitive. They ended the year a laughing stock.
Part of this was down to the way they handled the quarterback position. The Tim Tebow experiment was a disaster, Tony Sparano was an odd choice to replace Brian Schottenheimer and the whole plan served only to undermine Mark Sanchez, who’d just been re-signed to a hopelessly flawed extension. They had no serviceable running back and a dearth of talent at receiver. It was a shambles.
If that team wants to get back to relevance, the offense has to be the starting point. Rex Ryan can put a defense on the field that is respectable. That’s why he’s even in New York. Everything points to an offensive rebuild in the draft.
There are two schools of thinking when it comes to Sanchez. Most people have written him off. Others believe he’s been harshly treated. After all, he’s had nothing to work with in New York. No talented pass catchers. No running game. Nevertheless, it’s time for the Jets to move on. Giving him one last chance will simply add to the soap-opera style drama we’ve seen with this franchise the last two years. The guy was booed mercilessly in the Knicks-Celtics playoff game last night when he appeared on the big screen. The same thing will happen every time he throws a bad pass or makes a basic error. It’s passed the point of no return. Rightly or wrongly, you can’t live with that kind of atmosphere.
The Jets won’t be able to move him until next year when he becomes a free agent. A guaranteed salary of $8.25m secures his place in New York for one more season. But that doesn’t stop the Jets spending a high pick on a quarterback. The cheap cost of a rookie makes it palatable to draft a replacement at #9, #13 or #39. Look at the salaries of the players drafted in those positions last year:
#9 Luke Kuechly — 4-years, $12.58m
#13 Michael Floyd — 4-years $9.97m
#39 Janoris Jenkins — 4-years, $4.99m
Kuechly’s cap hit as a rookie in 2012 was $2.285m. That’s the kind of cost the Jets will face if they draft Sanchez’s replacement with the #9 pick. It’d be even cheaper if they waited until #13 or the top of the second round.
This has to happen. And having made that choice, they need to start bringing in some skill players to support the new quarterback. So what kind of scenario could we see?
Buffalo are picking one place above the Jets at #8. Until we hear differently, I expect the Bills to draft a quarterback with that slot. It could be Geno Smith. It could be someone else. Right now, I actually think it’ll be Matt Barkley. It’s a hunch. A hunch that a few people have. Maybe it’ll prove to be misguided, but I suspect the Bills will be one of the handful of teams that look beyond the physical limitations and see an effective game manager that can start quickly. I don’t think it’ll be a great spot for Barkley, but I can see it happening.
If they do take Barkley in that slot, the Jets should take Geno Smith. I can’t see him going to Jacksonville, Oakland or Cleveland. New York will get a shot if Buffalo passes. And they should pull the trigger.
Rather than following that up with a pass rusher or any other defensive player, they should race back to the podium and take Tavon Austin at #13. Instantly Smith gets a receiver he’s familiar with. The Jets get a difference maker, a guy who can put points on the board and make chunk yardage. Basically, something they’ve not had for a long time.
Immediately, there’s some kind of plan on offense. A spark. They can move beyond the Sanchez era. The fans in New York aren’t used to patience, but rest assured they’ll be willing to stomach growing pains for a Smith-Austin combo much more than another year of watching Mark Sanchez.
At #39, I’d continue the trend. Go after a running back (Eddie Lacy, Jonathan Franklin, Montee Ball, Christine Michael). Keep building that offense. If Lacy’s there it should be a no brainer. Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Eddie Lacy. The Jets have an offense all of a sudden.
It basically comes down to these scenario’s for me:
If Geno Smith goes in the top eight — #9 Tavon Austin, #13 Jonathan Cooper/Chance Warmack, #39 Ryan Nassib/Matt Scott/Tyler Wilson
If Geno Smith is available — #9 Geno Smith, #13 Tavon Austin, #39 Eddie Lacy/Jonathan Franklin/Christine Michael
Sure, they’d still need a pass rusher in either scenario. They might have to coach someone up. And? Who’s to say a player like Corey Lemonier, Jamie Collins or John Simon wouldn’t be available in round three? There are still veteran pass rushers on the open market. They can also target cornerback replacements later, with Logan Ryan, Sanders Commings, Marc Anthony, Will Davis, Jordan Poyer and David Amerson providing plenty of mid-round depth in the secondary.
If they take Barkevious Mingo and D.J. Hayden at #9 and #13 they’ll be the same old Jets next year. That offense needs a revolution. Benching Sanchez and his gigantic guaranteed salary would be no different to the benching of Matt Flynn in Seattle. Costly, but necessary.