Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Douglas no tipsy sailor when it comes to contracts 03.17.21

These contracts seem to make more sense than some past Jets deals.

Talking about the three players the Jets reportedly added early in free agency – DE Carl Lawson, WR Corey Davis and LB Jarrad Davis.

These are typical Joe Douglas contracts: The player gets nice money, but the deals aren’t over-the-top, profligate contracts that you sometimes saw in the past, like the CB Trumaine Johnson, LB C.J. Mosley and CB Darrelle Revis (the 2015 deal) contracts. Those deals were considered a tad over the top by some observers.

Lawson got a 3-year deal for $45 million with $30 million guaranteed, which isn’t a crazy money for a good pass rusher.

Compare that to, let’s say, Mosley, getting $51 million guaranteed.

Corey Davis got a three-year deal for $37.5 million with $27 million guaranteed, so it’s essentially a two-year deal for $27 million.

Jarrad Davis got a one-year deal for $5.5 million with a chance to grow that to $7 million with incentives.

These are the kind of contracts that are good for the team and the player – everybody is happy – a win-win.

The Jets’ football czar clearly likes to add players in free agency, but not spend like a drunken sailor, and wreak havoc on the team’s salary cap.

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Fills 1 of the Jets biggest needs 03.15.21

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport announced that the Jets will sign former Detroit Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis to a one-year contract.

Rapoport also announced the deal is a one-year deal for $5.5 million with a max of $7 million. Peter Schrager was also involved in the announcement.

There was so much talk about the Jets needs at positions like cornerback, defensive end and wide receiver, but just as big a need was for a coverage linebacker, and Davis gets high marks in this area.

Davis, a first-round pick of the Lions in 2017, has great range and terrific coverage instincts. So considering how bad the Jets need a coverage linebacker, who can stay in the hip pocket of tight ends, this signing makes a ton of sense.

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Hall-of-Fame QB/analyst feels Jets ‘will start QB clock’ again 03.15.21

He’s a Pro Football Hall-of-Fame QB, and a pretty blunt NFL Network analyst, and he feels the Jets will likely pick a QB high to line up their rebuild with their quarterback’s contact.

“I really believe that the Jets go and get a quarterback, possibly (Zach) Wilson, because I think he’s intriguing with his skill set at the #2 spot [and] they kind of start the QB clock again, still a couple of years away from competing,” said Kurt Warner on NFL Network. “So instead of wanting to pay a quarterback (Sam Darnold) next year big dollars, when [you’re] not there yet, have a quarterback meet our team. So we get a young quarterback, we feel in year three or four, he’s ready, we feel this team is ready, and now we pay the quarterback and we can make some hay in the playoffs.

“Although logic can tell you to keep Sam Darnold and see what you have there, I think the Jets are probably going to get a quarterback early and Sam Darnold might go elsewhere.”

Darnold’s rookie contract expires after the 2021 season, and the Jets likely won’t pick up his fifth-year option.

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Rising corner could be tempting for Jets at 23 03.12.21

The Jets have a need at this position, so this rising player could interest them at 23.

Talking about Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome, who helped his stock with a strong performance at the Wildcats’ pro day on Tuesday.

“I’ve had Greg Newsome from Northwestern as my 31st player.,” said NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah on Tuesday. “He just ran 4.31 according to a GM that just texted me from that pro day. So he’s not going to be there in second round. He is probably going to end up going in the 20s when it’s all said and done. But he is a really good football player.”

Well that GM might have embellished the 40 time a little. According to other scouts there, Newsome’s times were 4.38 and 4.39, but that is still very good.

So he could be on the radar for the Jets at 23, along with other corners like South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn and Georgia’s Tyson Campbell.

The bottom line is the Jets need to add a corner in the first few rounds.  There is no way around.

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Jets Add Five To New Athletic Care and Performance Department 03.11.21

*New York Jets Announce Five Hires to
Athletic Care and Performance Department
The New York Jets have established a new Athletic Care and Performance Department that will include the team’s athletic trainers, strength & conditioning and nutrition staffs in addition to a rehab department. Highly decorated Dr. Brad DeWeese, who was named director of high performance, will oversee the operation that also added Mike Nicolini, head strength & conditioning coach; Dr. Matt Sams, director of sports science; Dr. Robert Sausaman, assistant director of high performance; and Dr. Omar Ahmad, assistant strength & conditioning coach. The charge of the newly created department is to align the club’s athletic performance staffs to better position players for success.
Dr. DeWeese most recently served as the assistant athletic director for sports performance at East Tennessee State where he also worked as a tenured associate professor. Before joining ETSU, Dr, DeWeese was the head of sports physiology for the United States Olympic Committee’s Winter Division based in Lake Placid, NY, where he helped athletes to seven world championship titles in three different sports, 21 Olympic and world championship medals and 100-plus medals in World Cup and Pan-American competitions. Dr. DeWeese, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Western Carolina and a doctorate from North Carolina State, has written a number of articles on speed development, programming tactics, and optimal training methods leading to elite performance.
Nicolini was with the 49ers from 2018-20 as assistant strength & conditioning coach after having started as a strength & conditioning assistant. From 2011-17, Nicolini was with San Jose State’s football program, beginning as a volunteer (2011) and strength & conditioning graduate assistant (2012) before serving as the assistant athletic performance coach (2013-14) and lead athletic performance coach (2015-17). Nicolini, who obtained his bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Redlands and his master’s degree in kinesiology from San Jose State, played defensive back at Redlands (2007-10) where he had 10 interceptions, 31 pass defenses, 4 FR and 2 FF in 36 games.
Teaming with Nicolini in the strength & conditioning department, Dr. Ahmad arrives from Richard Bland College where he was the assistant director of athletics and sports performance, and was also responsible for student-athlete compliance with NJCAA protocols. A graduate of the University of North Carolina Asheville in 2008, Dr. Ahmad earned his master’s of physical education from North Carolina Pembroke and is working toward his doctorate at East Tennessee State University. Before joining RBC athletics, Dr. Ahmad served as the assistant director of athletic performance at the University of Missouri, and he was also responsible for the design and supervision of training programs at HCA Virginia Sports Medicine.
For the past two years, Dr. Sausaman has been the director of applied performance at Missouri. The Gainesville, FL native worked as the director of sports science/performance with the women’s soccer program at East Tennessee State from 2016-19. In 2015, Dr. Sausaman was a strength & conditioning associate with the Jacksonville Jaguars where his responsibilities included speed development, performance testing sessions and recovery education. Dr. Sausaman, who holds a B.A in finance (2009), an M.B.A. (2011) and a M.S. in sports & leisure commerce (2012) from Memphis as well as a Ph.D. in sports performance from East Tennessee (2019), played soccer collegiately at Memphis (2005-08) and started his coaching career at his alma mater from 2011-15, filling the role of sports performance liaison.
Dr. Sams was a performance science analyst for the Kansas City Royals prior to joining the Jets. He earned his bachelor’s of science (2011), master’s in exercise physiology (2014) and PhD in sports physiology and performance (2017) from East Tennessee State.
Quote from New York Jets
General Manager Joe Douglas:
“After a thorough review of our sports performance areas, it became clear that in order to maximize our player’s health, safety and effectiveness on the field, we needed to establish a centralized group that would better position our team for success. During our search for the right person to lead this group Dr. Brad DeWeese impressed us, not only with his proven track-record, but also with his vision, insight, and strategic approach to maximize athletic care and performance. His focus on speed and power is exactly what we believe we need to help develop and enable Jets players to reach their peak level. We are excited to add this new dimension to our organization and bring Dr. DeWeese and his staff into the fold and know the players will find this group to be a tremendous asset to them.”
Quote from New York Jets
Director of High Performance Dr. Brad DeWeese:
“We believe in a roundtable approach, everybody has a seat at the table, everybody’s equal and there’s no walls that divide us. We may come into a room and have respectful dialogue, but we’ll come to a decision that we all support. It is important to invest in resources and technology where you can remove your opinion and you can look at the information, what it’s telling us and what do you think it means, what should it add. And we can move forward with a discussion with everyone on equal footing in a performance model. You remove defense mechanisms empower everybody and it drives innovation. I want to let everyone know that they matter.”
*Press Release

Former NFL scout not totally sold on Mac Jones 03.10.21

Alabama QB Mac Jones is a lightning rod in the draft process.

Some consider him a player rising up draft boards, but former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network, isn’t totally sold.

First what what he likes about Jones:

I go back and look at the things that I value at the position, and most people value when you look at accuracy, decision making and poise, he’s outstanding, off the charts in those three areas,” said Jeremiah, who co-hosts the “Moving the Sticks” podcast.

Now the “but.”

“But he just doesn’t have a lot of twitch, and you don’t see a lot of twitch with him being dynamic in terms of being able to create or escape and then you don’t see a lot twitch power on the football,” Jeremiah said. “He’s got good enough arm strength but he doesn’t have a big power arm.”

But hey, didn’t a pocket passer, lacking a lot of athletic twitch, just win his seventh Super Bowl, one Tom Brady?

“Okay, we just had a pocket passer win the Super Bowl, so this guy is a pocket passer, what’s so complicated? Well, the pocket passers that are successful in the NFL right now are the older veterans who have 15, 20 plus years of experience and knowledge to be able to have the answers to the test. When you’re a young quarterback trying to find your footing, trying to begin that knowledge, it sure is nice to be able to use your athleticism in the meantime as you’re trying to gain that experience and gain that knowledge, When things aren’t going to be perfect in front of him, I think he’s going to have a little bit of a hard time.”

With all that being said, Jeremiah feels that Jones could be a good fit for New Orleans, picking at 28, due to their infrastructure.

“If he has the right pieces that’s why to me New Orleans, if he could somehow get to the bottom of the first round, and end up in a place like New Orleans, I think he’s got a great chance to be successful in a scheme that fits, good offensive line, and the pieces around him. But I worry a little bit going to a team picking in the top half of the first round with a lot of roster holes, I don’t know.”

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Jets executive on free agency – ‘It’s not fantasy football’ 03.10.21

Fantasy football is great and a lot of fun, but you can’t take a “fantasy football” approach to free agency, according to one Jets executive.

Jets pro personnel director Greg Nejmeh feels the team needs to be “disciplined and strategic” in free agency,  which begins on March 17.

“I think in free agency you want to be aggressive, but you want to be disciplined, too,” Nejmeh told The Official Jets Podcast. “You don’t want to just be signing guys, you want to build a team. And that’s something Joe (Douglas) and Robert (Saleh) talk about all the time. We want to build a team that’s composed of guys with the traits we want. It’s not fantasy football where you can go and sign all kinds of different players. You have to be disciplined and strategic about it.”

In other words, as Bill Parcells once said, “You can’t buy a championship.”

The Jets have several needs entering free agency, including edge-rusher and cornerback.

It could be a good year to be looking for an edge-rusher, with plenty of quality pass-rushers set to hit the street, like Tampa Bay’s Shaq Barrett, Baltimore’s Yannick Ngakoue and New Orleans’ Trey Hendrickson.

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Comparing the cost of Sam vs. Zach 03.10.21

So what is the financial difference between the two signal-callers?

“To stay with Sam (Darnold), if you want to stay with it financially, Sam is I think $4.8 (million) this year; let’s round that up to $5 million,” NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said on Tuesday. “$20 million would be the fifth-year option; you’ve got $30 million would be if you franchised him the following year. So the Jets have Sam under control there for those three years at 18.3 per year, which is a pretty reasonable number if you take into context the number we just saw yesterday (with Dak Prescott).

“But if they decided to trade Sam, you go and draft somebody, which I would say would be Zach Wilson, you’re looking at four years of control, before you get to that fifth-year option, at $8.7 million per year. So you’re going to save $10 million per year on average. You’re going to get an extra year of control. So that’s the financial difference.”

Jeremiah, who is good friends with Jets GM Joe Douglas from their days as Baltimore scouts, knows his old pal has a tough call to make.

“So if you’re the Jets, with that (#2) pick, which is going to be the biggest decision that Joe Douglas will make as a general manager for that team, you’ve got the ‘Stay with Sam’ and you’ve got the ‘Draft a QB’ plan,” said Jeremiah.

It will be interesting to see which plan Douglas chooses.

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Big decision that probably didn’t get enough attention 03.02.21

It was one of the most important quotes in recent New York Jets history:

“That structure has changed. Joe (Douglas) will report to (ownership), Robert (Saleh) will report to Joe. It seems a clean and simple way to do things.” – Christopher Johnson, January 21, 2021.

This is so, so important. The old way, where the coach and GM were equals, wasn’t working, and was hurting the Jets’ chances at success.

There was a stretch of time that Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan weren’t even speaking to each other.

Whether it was John Idzik and Rex Ryan, or Maccagnan with Todd Bowles or Adam Gase, it just wasn’t working.

And even with Gase and Douglas, who liked each other, it wasn’t totally working, with the Frank Gore situation being a perfect example. Gase playing the 37-year-old Gore as much as he did, with talented young running backs on the roster, was beyond odd. But the way the Jets were set up, Douglas had no power to stop it. Yes, Douglas picked the players, but the coach decided who played on game day.

So now, if Saleh pulls something like Gase did with Gore, which he probably never would, Douglas is empowered to stop it.

So with all the excitement about the Jets now with five picks in the first 87, a ton of cap space and a new coach, this new power structure change should excite fans just as much.

This is a game-changer in Florham Park.

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Trading him makes little to no sense 02.26.21

To paraphrase Steely Dan, “The things that pass for news, I can’t understand.”

There is this story all over the internet quoting Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams responding to HYPOTHETICAL trade rumors.

“I’d be disappointed,” Williams said to CBS Sports Radio when asked about the possibility of being traded. “I really want to be a Jet for life. I like New York, and I want to play in New York.”

Who said they were interested in trading him? Nobody at One Jets Drive. Some NFL reporters brought up Williams’ name as a player the Jets might have to include in a trade for Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson.

So how is that news?

Plus, the Jets, right now, have so few standouts on their roster, why would they trade one of the few they have?

And by the way, the new coach is a huge fan of Williams.

“Absolutely love Quinnen,” said Jets coach Robert Saleh. “I’m really excited to get the seat belt off his harness and let him go in this scheme, to get him going vertical, to get all that mass moving in the direction that it needs to go. Really excited about the potential that he’s going to have. Loved them coming out, obviously, we took (Nick) Bosa (in San Francisco). He was right there as part of the discussion, I can assure you that.”

The gushing didn’t stop there.

“With regards to that young man, his mindset, his athleticism, his power, his love for football, really, really excited to see him in our system, especially up front in the way we designed with that attack style in regard to penetration and all that stuff, so excited. Obviously, he’s got to do his part and put in the work, but everything I know about him and everything that we’ve studied with regards to draft and what I’ve heard here is he’s going to be up to the task, and can’t wait to see what he does.”

Does that sound like a coach who wants the organization to trade the player?

This is kind of a non-story.

I’m sorry, reporters speculating on what it would take to make a trade doesn’t constitute news.

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A wildcard in the Jets’ QB picture 02.23.21

Not saying this guy is a candidate to start for the Jets, or have any bearing on whether they pick at QB at 2, but Joe Douglas seems to like him.

Talking about Mike White, who was their #2 QB in a few games this season, and one of nine players Douglas signed a reserve/futures contract after the season.

The former Western Kentucky QB, from Pembroke Pines, FL, has good size (6-5, 220), a strong arm, and flashed last summer in camp. There were days in camp he looked better than Sam Darnold.

The Jets clearly like White, a 2018 fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys.

“White has good size and a live arm,” wrote NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zeirlein before the 2018 draft.

Once again, not saying he’s a candidate to start, or will have any impact on the QB moves they make this off-season, just saying Douglas likes him, and he’s somebody to keep an eye on.
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This former scout feels Zach Wilson a good fit for Jets 02.22.21

This former NFL scout thinks BYU QB Zach Wilson would be a good fit for the Jets with the second pick of the draft.

“When you look at the skill set of Zach Wilson, he fits beautifully into the Shanahan-offense they are going to run under Robert Saleh and (Mike) LaFleur; off-schedule, on-schedule, he’s outstanding in those areas,” said former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah on NFL Network.

And these next two points are perhaps the most important ones about Wilson:

“He’s an accurate thrower; he gets quickly through his progressions,” Jeremiah said.

First off, accuracy is huge in the NFL, which is why you often see some of the top quarterbacks around 65 percent in their completion percentage. For example, Aaron Rodgers career completion percentage is 65.05 percent, and last season, he completed 70.72 percent of his passes.

As for going through progressions well, that’s something the Jets must do better at the QB position moving forward.

Now in fairness, it should be pointed out, that going through your progressions against Texas-San Antonio, Western Kentucky and Texas State is a little different than doing it against the New England Patriots. Let’s be honest, BYU didn’t have a very tough schedule last season.

So Jets GM Douglas must discern whether Wilson’s accuracy and progression scans will continue to be excellent on the NFL level against much more complicated, skillful defenses. That determination can be very tough to make.

But Jeremiah clearly feels Douglas should pick Wilson at #2.

“To me, he’s clearly the 2nd best quarterback (behind Trevor Lawrence),” Jeremiah said. “[This gives] Joe Douglas  a chance to get his QB of the future. It makes a lot of sense.”

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More cornerbacks Jets could consider 02.18.21

The Jets will likely pick a player at this position in the first few rounds, and here is Part III of our series detailing some cornerback options for Gang Green in the 2021 draft:

Elijah Molden, Washington (5’10, 190)

The son of former first-round cornerback Alex Molden (New Orleans Saints), so he has good bloodlines; he had a terrific 2019 season, finishing with 4 picks and 12 PD’s. He should be a good slot corner on the NFL level.

Aaron Robinson, Central Florida (6’1, 193)

A transfer from Alabama, he three interceptions, 10 passes defensed in 2019 for the Golden Knights. The Deerfield Beach-native also had 7 defensed passes in 2020. He’s a big corner who is a very willing tackler.

Rodarius Williams, Oklahoma State (6’0″, 195)

A three-year starter who has started every game since the beginning of his freshman season. The brother of Cleveland Browns cornerback Greedy Williams, he had 2 picks in 2018, but none the last two years.

Kary Vincent, LSU (5’10”, 185)

A cornerback with world-class speed, who is also on the LSU track team, he can run with any burner. He didn’t play this season after opting out. but had 4 picks on LSU’s National Championship Team.

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Here are some Jets could consider 02.17.21

Here is Part II of our look at college players the Jets could consider at a position of need – cornerback:

Eric Stokes, Georgia (6’1″, 185)

A true ballhawk who had four picks and returned two for touchdowns in 2020; he also had 9 passes defensed in both 2018 and ’19. He needs to bulk up a little bit, but it’s hard to ignore his nose for the ball.

Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State (5’10”, 184)

He’s the son of the former NFL cornerback of the same name, who played 11 years in the NFL. Often played on an island on FSU with little help and did a solid job. He has good ball skills, ending his FSU career with 4 picks and 29 PD’s.

Tyson Campbell, Georgia, (6’2″, 185)

A five-star recruit out of American Heritage High School in South Florida, where he was coached by Patrick Surtain, he didn’t have his first career pick for the Bulldogs until 2020. He had a team-high 4 PD’s in 2020.

Paulson Adebo, Stanford (6’1″, 190)

He has very good ball skills, as he showed in 2018-19 with 8 picks and 38 passes defensed. However, he didn’t play this past season after opting out. Originally signed with Notre Dame out of high school, but flipped to Stanford.

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Jets could use one 02.16.21

While it probably won’t happen with the #2 pick overall, it could happen if the Jets trade down in the first round, or at 23, with the pick they got from Seattle in the Jamal Adams’ trade.

Talking about the Jets picking a cornerback, which is one of their top needs. Here is a breakdown of some of the top corners in the draft they could consider:

Patrick Surtain II, Alabama (6’2″, 202)

A big, physical, durable, shutdown cornerback with great bloodlines, as the son of a terrific NFL cornerback of the same name, who was also his high school coach in South Florida. Surtain II is very good in press coverage.

Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech (6’2″, 207)

Tall, physical cornerback with great ball skills, who had 4 picks and 12 PD’s in 2019. He opted out of the 2020 season, so teams will have to go off 2019 film, which was excellent. He’s terrific in press coverage.

Jaycee Horn, South Carolina (6’1″, 205)

The son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, he had 2 picks and 6 PD’s in seven game this year, before opting out mid-season. He has a nice combination of size and athleticism, and does a terrific job in man-to-man coverage.

Shawn Wade, Ohio State (6’1″, 195)

Played in 27 of 28 games over the past two seasons with 57 career tackles, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and 19 passes defended. A five-star recruit out of Jacksonville who played this past year as a graduate student.

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A need for Jets this off-season 02.15.21

When people talk about Jets needs this off-season, you often hear about things like edge-rusher, shutdown corner. and maybe a quarterback.

But another need that isn’t brought up enough, is for an elite coverage linebacker. The pass coverage of the Jets’ linebackers was pedestrian in 2020.

The last game of the season, a loss to New England, was a perfect example, when we saw two running backs wide open for TD passes – James White for a 7-yarder, and then Sony Michel for a 31-yard TD.

The bottom line is there were too many running backs and tight ends wide open against the Jets last season, so new head coach Robert Saleh, a defensive guru, needs to fix this.

And one thing Saleh had in San Francisco were pretty good coverage linebackers, who covered a lot of ground, so expect him, along with Joe Douglas, to add some guys like this for Gang Green.

Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich had one of the NFL’s best coverage linebackers, Deion Jones, while coaching in Atlanta.

So Saleh and Ulbrich know what it looks like.

Some coverage linebackers the Jets could consider in the draft are North Carolina’s Chazz Surratt, Missouri’s Nick Bolton and Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

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