Can’t live in Never-Never land with personnel

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Only time will tell if Joe Douglas free agent plan will be successful . . .

. . . but so far, it’s very clear, he has a plan, doesn’t care about public opinion when making moves, and isn’t into bidding against himself.

We will get into some of the latest free agent additions in a second, but in terms of holdover players, he’s clearly running a meritocracy.

On Monday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced that the Jets have re-signed linebacker James Burgess to a one-year contract.

This is an example of a merit-based personnel move. Burgess played well last year when asked to fill-in at inside linebacker following myriad injuries. They didn’t pick up his option last year, but they brought him back under their terms today.

The new administration initially made a mistake cutting him last summer, and then starting a rookie ahead of him, but I will cut Douglas some slack because he had just arrived and some others in the building gave him bad advice.

Burgess has a knack for slipping blocks and finding the football. He is an all-out player who will chase and pursue all day. He’s a gym rat who will do everything he can to be prepared on Sunday.

Now Douglas has had the requisite time to get a full dossier on each player on the entire roster, and it’s truly his show now. When he first arrived he made some mistakes because he got there so late and was playing catch-up.

Another move since we last spoke was the release of CB Darryl Roberts. Once again, this is a merit-based move. Roberts is tough as boot leather and is very good in run support/ special teams, but at cornerback, he lacks starting instincts. This isn’t a second-guess. I wrote his all last spring when it was clear he was going to be the starter opposite Trumaine Johnson entering the season. He’s a see-and-go reactor (lacks ideal anticipation). Still shocking the former GM, and his sidekick, gave Roberts a three-year contract last off-season. Awesome for Roberts and his family. From a football standpoint, he should have been given a one-year make-good deal and been the fourth/fifth corner/core special team’s player. What was the former GM thinking giving him a three-year, $18 million deal with $4 million guaranteed is hard to figure. By getting out now, Douglas saved $6 million against the cap.

Also over the weekend, SNY Jets Insider Connor Hughes announced that the Jets signed former Colt CB Pierre Desir. The Port-au-Prince-native was released by the Colts to clear cap space.

Here’s the deal people. Teams don’t release corners whose film they love. Too hard to find quality at this position. Clearly the Colts weren’t thrilled with Desir’s film, just like they weren’t thrilled with Nate Hairston, or they would have figured out a way to keep them. Look, I’m not saying Desir is a bad player, and he’s clearly better than Hairston, but teams hold on to good corners with white knuckles if they have really good film. Let’s not overrate the “Rex Hogan was there” stuff. Can he cover consistently or not – that’s the bottom line (along with good character). Can he help the Jets as a #2 or #3 CB? Maybe. But the Jets should still consider picking a CB in the first round, and maybe another one later.

Also, Schefter announced the Jets signed safety Marquii Christian. He will be the third safety. Not a lot of money here – just a little over a $1 million for one year.

Douglas has a plan and is running a meritocracy. If the former GM was here, Roberts is probably still in town on his current deal, and Robby Anderson/Jordan Jenkins are locked up to long-term megabucks deal. Anderson is still at home sticking to profligate demands no teams are going to meet, and Jenkins signed a one-year deal today. Why didn’t Jenkins get a long-term deal? Heck of a guy, great character/teammate (will a head coach one day), but lacks ideal speed, quickness and flexibility for the position he plays. None of that is his fault. None of it. But what do you want me to do, ignore that, because he’s cooperative with the press, like others do?

March 23, 2020

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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