Rounding Up the Latest New York Jets Offseason Buzz
The gap between spring practices and the start of training camp is the quietest period of the never-ending NFL season, but there are always news and nuggets emerging out of Florham Park.
Veteran contract talk, unexpected free agents becoming available and neck-turning rookies have given the New York Jets plenty to marinate on over the next few weeks.
Here is some of the latest buzz surrounding the Jets.
Sheldon Richardson Wants Muhammad Wilkerson to Get Paid
Muhammad Wilkerson has not made a fuss about his lack of a new contract, but fellow defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson is unafraid to let the public know his thoughts on the absence of a long-term deal.
Richardson told Brian Costello of the New York Post that he believes the Jets should "do the right thing" by extending Wilkerson. "That's somebody I want around," he added. "But it's just business. You have no control over it.
"He's due for a paycheck, though. Believe that, he's due for a paycheck."
Richardson is right on all accounts. The team's sack leader (10.5) in 2013, Wilkerson has established himself as one of the top young defensive linemen in the NFL while emerging as a leader for the new generation of Jets. Wilkerson will be making a comfortable wage under his $6.9 million option in 2015, but he deserves long-term security.
With players such Nick Mangold and David Harris entering their 30s in the near future, the Jets need players such as Wilkerson to establish a foundation to build around.
Theoretically, the Jets could franchise Wilkerson next season and delay giving him a long-term extension until the 2017 offseason. However, given Wilkerson's value as a leader and a player on the Jets, it seems inevitable that the two sides will come to some kind of an agreement over the next year.
Interest in Brandon Flowers?
The Jets can say all they want about how much confidence they have in the cornerbacks on their roster, but they would be foolish not to investigate the possibility of adding Brandon Flowers, who was released by the Kansas City Chiefs on June 13.
According to Erika Esola of Florida Today, the Jets have already had a close encounter with Flowers, nearly trading for him last month:
The Jets have already reached out to Brandon Flowers, per local source. Chiefs - Jets tried to work out a trade in May but Idzik said no.— Erika Esola (@emesola) June 14, 2014
It is unclear how much of an appetite the Jets have for Flowers now, as some reporters, including ESPN New York's Rich Cimini, claim that the Jets have not made any calls to Flowers' camp.
Given the uncertain shape of Dee Milliner and the rough injury history of Dimitri Patterson, adding a player of Flowers' caliber would only give the Jets added security at a key position in their defense.
Even if they conclude that they would be better off starting younger players such as Dexter McDougle or Darrin Walls in an emergency, general manager John Idzik should at least get a feel for the price of Flowers' services.
Michael Vick Is Bulking Up
One of the biggest knocks on Michael Vick's career (on the field) has been his inability to stay healthy. Since he joined the league in 2001, Vick has played in 16 games just once, in his final season with the Atlanta Falcons in 2006.
His lack of durability is a big reason why he found himself on the backup quarterback market this offseason. Vick has responded by adding four pounds of solid muscle this offseason, according to ESPN New York's Rich Cimini.
Adding four pounds in several months is unimpressive—adding four pounds of lean mass, however, is a much more difficult task, especially given Vick's age (33). It remains to be seen whether or not this helps Vick avoid future injuries, but he should be commended for his efforts.
There may be some concern that the added weight will slow down Vick and take away his signature mobility, but he appears to be content with his movement skills since the weight gain:
Still can move. Doesn't seem like any of my skills have diminished. ... I still feel like I can play at a high level. That may be tested at some point this season, and I look forward to it.
The Jets are hoping that Vick's health will not be a relevant issue during the 2014 season, but they can at least take solace in knowing that Vick is doing everything he can to be available all season long.
Dawan Landry the Odd Man Out?
With three starting-caliber players at the safety position, one of the Jets' three safeties is going to see a dramatic decrease in playing time to make room for first-round pick Calvin Pryor.
Judging by how they have been used in OTAs, signs point to veteran Dawan Landry taking a backseat to Pryor and third-year player Antonio Allen. According to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York, Pryor and Allen have been getting the bulk of the first-team reps, leaving Landry for third-team duties.
It is possible that Rex Ryan could just be working out some kinks and getting a look at Pryor and Allen together, but this is not a good sign for Landry's future with the Jets. Allen played exceptional football at times last year and deserves a chance to start, and first-round picks will always get preferential depth-chart treatment.
Getting Pryor on the field early is a bit of a risk simply because he is a rookie, but an absent Landry would speed up his development.
It remains to be see if Landry will be cut or simply see a decrease in playing time, but the Jets are clearly preparing for life without him.
Dexter McDougle Impressing
At first, third-round pick Dexter McDougle only stood out because of his red non-contact jersey. Now that he has been cleared for full practice, McDougle is turning heads with his play and impressive knowledge of the playbook.
According to Darryl Slater of The Star-Ledger, Rex Ryan called out McDougle in front of the entire team. McDougle was up to the task, says Ryan:
I called him out in front of the whole team [after practice]. I thought he was impressive. Here's a kid that's been learning those 80 plays on defense, yet really hasn't been able to go through anything. He's done the tough part. He's got to sit there and pay attention, knowing he can't get on that field, and then take it out there today.
McDougle's emergence as the most impressive rookie so far is well-timed. With Dee Milliner nursing a hamstring injury, the Jets need as much extra depth as they can get at what is the crux position in Ryan's defense.
Now, the task for McDougle is to carry over his impressive spring into training camp, where he will have a better chance to separate himself from the competition and climb the depth chart.