Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Doesn’t need to stress “filling shoes” 03.21.18

I think the Jets’ handling of his contract was bizarre and somewhat disrespectful, but let’s not put the player in Canton.

Demario Davis is a very good player, but to ask Avery Williamson about the pressure of “filling his shoes” is a reach.

Once again, very good player, but it’s not like Ray Lewis left the building.

Davis and Williamson are very similar players – instinctive inside linebackers who are excellent against the run, so-so in coverage and have great character.

The Jets treated Davis poorly on his way out, but they will live to see another day without him.

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Phil Simms on who he thinks Jets will get at #3 03.20.18

Phil Simms was a guest today on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio channel with host Adam Schein and talked about the upcoming NFL draft and the QB prospects, and was asked by Adam his thoughts on the Jets-Colts trade and who he thinks the Jets are targeting.

Schein: “What did you think of the Jets – Colts trade?”

Simms: “Well I thought it was great for the Jets. … I would think they are going to three knowing, and really thinking, that they’re going to get the guy they want. … So my guess, just a guess, would be that it would be Baker Mayfield.”

See Darnold’s Pro Day Live Wednesday Morning 03.20.18

*NFL Network will provide live coverage of USC’s Pro Day on Wednesday, March 21 at 9:00 AM Pacific. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, Daniel Jeremiah, Curtis Conway and Rhett Lewis will be live on-location at USC.

Viewers will see potential first overall pick quarterback Sam Darnold throw for the first time in front of scouts since declaring for the draft. USC’s running back Ronald Jones II and linebacker Uchenna Nwosu will also be highlighted in live coverage participating in drills and the 40-yard dash.

*Press Release

Analysis of Jets Free Agent Adds Johnson/Bridgewater 03.15.18

In the last issue of the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, we had an extensive free agency preview. Here is what we wrote about Jets free agent additions, CB Trumaine Johnson and QB Teddy Bridgewater . . .

Trumaine Johnson, Rams, 6-2. 213, 28

A jumbo CB with great ball skills; over six years in the league has 67 PD’s and 18 picks. In 2015, he had 7 picks and 17 PD’s, and actually missed two games. With his length and physicality, he’s great matchup against big receivers. He’s also a physical tackler. Had two legal issues – disorderly conduct (2011) and reckless driving (2013) which need to be looked into before doling out big money.

Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings 6-2, 215, 25

Severely damaged his left knee in August, 2016, and didn’t returned to the field until Week 15 of 2017. Due to the severity of the injury, the Vikings declined his fifth-year option. In 2014 was the first rookie quarterback to ever complete over 70% of his passes in four straight games. Tends to dink-and-dunk a lot, preferring safe options; needs some work on deep ball. Tremendous character and work ethic.

In JC Free Agent Issue, Crowell was #2 RB – Here is what I wrote . . . 03.14.18

In the last issue of Jets Confidential Magazine, I did an extensive free agent preview, breaking down the top available players at each position. I had Isaiah Crowell (who is reportedly signing with the Jets) ranked as the #2 RB available behind Carlon Hyde. Here is what I wrote about Crowell . . .

Isaiah Crowell, Browns, 5-11, 225, 25

Durable back who didn’t miss a game the last two seasons. He has a nice combination of power, speed and quickness. A five-star recruit out of high school who all the big programs wanted; he went to Georgia where he was SEC Freshman of the Year but got in trouble and had to transfer. If he truly has his act together now, could really help a team as a featured back.

*****To subscribe to Jets Confidential Magazine click below . . .

Question for Mr. Johnson – What happened with Demario? 03.14.18

Who saw this coming?

Demario Davis was the Jets’ best linebacker last year (talking inside and outside).

He led the team in tackles and sacks.

He was also one of their top leaders in their locker room and on the field, a player with tremendous character, who usually gave the pregame speeches to his teammates.

He took a paycut to come back to the Jets last off-season in a trade; that is how badly he wanted to be a Jet.

And now it looks like he’s being replaced by Avery Williamson.

Perhaps Davis was looking for too much money, but what about negotiating a little longer and meeting in the middle? You negotiated with Ryan Fitzpatrick into the summer, you couldn’t work a little longer with Davis and his agent?

Why move to replace him so quickly? Williamson is a solid player, but did you need to rush to the cash register to pay for him?

Davis had a terrific season in 2017 and the owner really liked the guy – always seeking him out at practice to talk to him. Christopher Johnson and Davis worked together to help the Jets handle the anthem controversy very well. Where is Christopher Johnson on this one? Why not tell your football brass – “Work this out with Demario!” The owner has that power, last time I checked.

This whole situation seems odd and perhaps could have been handled better.

*****To subscribe to Jets Confidential, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

NFL Free Agency Primer 03.12.18

Q. When does the 2018 free agency signing period begin?

A. At 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 14.

Q. What is the salary cap for 2018?

A. The salary cap is $177,200,000 per club.

Q. When must teams be in compliance with the salary cap?

A. At the start of the 2018 league year, which begins at 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 14.

Q. If a team is under the salary cap at the end of a given season, can the team “carry over” room to the next season?

A. Yes. A team may carry over room from one league year to the following league year by submitting notice to the NFL prior to 4:00 p.m. ET on the day following the team’s final regular-season game, indicating the amount of room that the club wishes to carry over.

Q. What is the maximum amount of room that a club can carry over?

A. A club can carry over 100 percent of its remaining 2017 room to its adjusted salary cap for 2018.

Jets need an edge 03.12.18

The Jets need to improve their edge pass rush, a key component of any successful 3-4 defense.

But not with just-a-guy; not with a pedestrian rusher who gets to the quarterback once in a blue moon, and finishes a season four or five sacks.

They need a double-digit edge sack guy (not talking about interior pass-rushers); they need a game-wrecker with great first-step quickness, a guy who can consistently take the edge and beat offensive tackles one-on-one.

They have been kicking the can down the road on this need for too long.

They need to finally address it this off-season, whether it’s in free agency or the draft.

No more procrastinating.

*****To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

Christopher Johnson must lean on him for QB decision 03.07.18

The Jets have some big decisions coming up at the QB position.

Now Kirk Cousins could make part of that decision for them by signing elsewhere.

But whatever happens for Gang Green at QB, Christopher Johnson, Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles need to lean heavily on their offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates throughout the process.

This cat knows quarterbacks.

He played the position, has coached them forever, and has tutored them at QB camps – he knows whereof he speaks.

Don’t blame him for the struggles of some young quarterbacks recently. That situation was forced on him, and was political football throughout 2017 – Kabuki Theatre.

Bottom line – the Jets need to make sure Bates is on board with their quarterback choices coming up. Whether it’s which veteran QB they end up signing or which QB they draft.

He’s has the top QB-mind at One Jets Drive.

Listen to him closely.

Jets need less hired guns and more pure Jets. 03.06.18

The Jets need to develop and retain more pure Jets.

On Monday, running back Matt Forte announced on NBC Sports Chicago he will sign a one-day contract with Chicago to retire as a Bear.

Has anyone ever done this with the Jets?

Forte played with the Jets the last two years, but clearly was still a Bear at heart.

The Jets need to move away from loading up on hired guns, and try to draft, develop and cultivate pure Jets, who, to use a terrible cliché, “bleed green.”

They’ve had too many individual contractors pass through Florham Park in recent years.

It’s time for them to develop a generation of players who are Jets at heart, and add less players who are just in town for a job.

*****The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out and loaded with great stuff on Gang Green – brutally honest, but fair. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

Today’s Official NFL Waiver Wire – The Official Wilkerson Announcement 03.05.18

The following are the​ NFL transactions for Monday, March 5.​ Transactions will be published each day after they are circulated to NFL clubs. This public version will ​include waiver requests, assignments via waivers, terminations, free agent signings, reserve list and practice squad additions and deletions, and trades. It will not include waiver claims, tryouts, suspensions, etc.​


DATE: Monday, 3/5/2018




Wilkerson, Muhammad, DE, Temple

Jets need to make sure they’re not being used 03.04.18

The Jets have to make sure the interest is pure.

It’s no secret the Jets are interested in free agent QB Kirk Cousins, as they should be.

But they need to make sure he’s legitimately interested in them.

And that his agent isn’t just using the Jets, who have a ton of cap space, to drive the price up with other suitors.

The agent seems to have a lot of surrogates in the media.

The Jets need to do their due diligence and make sure the agent, and his surrogates, aren’t just using them as a pawn.

Nobody likes being used.

*****To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, a must-read for Jets fans, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Our free agent preview issue is out now. Check it out.

The Jets Source Needs To Toughen Up 03.04.18

“Worried” is a foolish way to feel about this situation.

It makes them sound weak.

“Despite their willingness to throw a truckload of money and a heavily front-loaded contract at Cousins in an attempt to lure the free agent franchise quarterback to New York, the Jets are worried he might already be destined to sign with the Vikings instead,” wrote SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. “According to a team source, they are aware of the league-wide speculation that Cousins is ticketed for Minnesota and they are taking that threat seriously after some informal, preliminary talks with his camp this week.”

Man, do the Jets have a lot of “team sources,” don’t they?

Would it be a good move for the Jets to sign Cousins?

Perhaps, but they shouldn’t be “worried” about him signing with Minnesota.

Give if your best shot, and if doesn’t work out, move on to another plan, like perhaps re-signing Josh McCown and drafting a QB at six, and spending all the money saved by not getting Cousins on their MANY needs.

Worried, Schmurried.

That is a ridiculous way for anyone from the Jets to feel about potentially missing out on a QB who is good, but has just one playoff appearance.

Whoever the source is needs to toughen up.

*****To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Check out our free agent preview issue on news stands now.

Jets Hot Take – It’s not Bobby’s fault 03.02.18

Jets have a very good security chief, Bobby Mastroddi, who is heavily-involved with vetting players.

“We do quite a bit of research on these players,” Jets GM Mike Maccagnan said. “I don’t think we have to do anything necessarily different in how we do our process.”

This is true.

The problem isn’t the vetting process; it’s pulling the trigger on signing, drafting or trading for players with red flags. That isn’t the fault of the Jets’ security department; this is on the person/people making personnel decisions.

The three recent Jets’ arrests should be a lesson for their personnel department on who they bring in.

And this lesson comes at a great time for the Jets, with $91 million in cap space, and four picks in the top 72, they need to hit this off-season out of the park.

But it’s not just adding talented players.

It’s about adding players with stellar character.

*****The latest issue of the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine is out, and is available at convenience stories, and by subscription. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

Jets positioned to take a big leap in 2018! 03.01.18

The future could be bright for Christopher Johnson’s team.

Now equipped with around $91 million in cap space, along with three picks in the first two rounds, this could be a transformative off-season for Gang Green.

They have a lot of needs, and have the ammo to fill them.

Putting the quarterback thing aside for a second (we will find out what happens there soon enough), the Jets need a game-wrecking edge-rusher, a defensive end to replace Mo Wilkerson, a coverage linebacker, a #1 cornerback and a featured back.

And those are just a few of their needs.

But they need to learn from past mistakes, like when were a little reckless with free cap-space in the past; they overpaid four defensive backs in 2015 and a defensive end still rehabbing a broken leg in 2016.

They need to learn from the past to forge a brighter future.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” as philosopher George Santayana said.

The Jets have a chance to take a big step in 2018 if they play their cards right.

*****The free agent preview issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is on news stands. A great primer for the upcoming free agent season. To subscribe to this monthly must-read for Jets fans, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

An interesting stat on Wilkerson from last issue of JC 02.28.18

The following is from the January, 2018 issue of Jets Confidential Magazine . . .

Before his three-week de-activation at the end of the season, and after his toe and shoulder improved, Wilkerson put together a nice stretch of football, as a key cog in a run defense that took a major step forward.

November 2 – Jets-Bills – LeSean McCoy, 12 carries for 25 yards.

November 12 – Jets-Buccaneers – Doug Martin, 20 carries for 51 yards.

November 26 – Jets-Panthers – Jonathan Stewart, 15 carries for 26 yards.

December 3 – Jets-Chiefs – Kareem Hunt, 9 carries for 40 yards.

December 10 – Jets-Broncos – C.J. Anderson, 22 carries for 48 yards, Devantae Booker, 9 carries, 22 yards.

Here are the three games after Wilkerson was benched . . .

December 17 – Jets-Saints – Mark Ingram 12 carries for 72 yards, Alvin Kamara 12 carries for 44 yards.

December 24 – Jets-Chargers – Melvin Gordon, 19 carries for 81 yards.

December 31 – Jets-Patriots – Dion Lewis, 26 carries for 93 yards, Brandon Boldin, 9 carries for 46 yards.

The Jets’ run defense was better for the five games prior to Wilkerson being shut down.

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