Sunday, March 17, 2013
Sunday notes: Crumbling around Revis
By Rich Cimini
A look at the Jets and the rest of the NFL -- posted 25 minutes later than usual, but I'm blaming the fax machine:
1. SPEAK SOFTLY, BUT ...: GM John Idzik has said very little publicly about the Darrelle Revis situation (We love Darrelle, we want him to get healthy), but his actions in the early days of free agency are coming across loud and clear. The Jets are rebuilding, allowing longtime starters to leave and replacing them with hold-the-fort guys. Idzik's philosophy is as obvious as a billboard at the Midtown tunnel, and it's hard to imagine Revis being part of his long-term plan (as crazy as that sounds). No GM strips down his team and builds around a cornerback, even a cornerback as great as Revis.
My opinion hasn't changed: There's no way he gets a long-term contract from the Jets, and I expect him to be traded before the draft.
2. POKER FACE: I spoke to one agent who lauded Idzik for the way he has refused to engage in the Revis hysteria, which has bordered on silly at times. A "brilliant" tactic, said the agent, who described Idzik as "tough and smart. Don't mistake kindness for weakness." We'll see how this turns out. The rookie GM has to make a decision that will affect the franchise for years to come.
New Jersey native Antonio Garay is certainly the Jets' most colorful acquisition.
3. JERSEY BOYS: The Jets' free-agent signings all have connections to the New Jersey/New York area. QB David Garrard was born in East Orange; DT Antonio Garay was born and raised in Rahway; RB Mike Goodson was born in Irvington; and G Willie Colon was born and raised in the Bronx and attended Hofstra. Too bad the Jets couldn't get QB Joe Flacco (Audobon) on that list.
4. GARAY'S ANATOMY: Garay, 33, has suffered five season-ending injuries in his career, which began as a sixth-round pick of the Browns in 2003. The worst came in 2007, when he broken a leg and shattered an ankle on a horrific chop block by Redskins OT Chris Samuels. Garay missed two seasons, making his return on the Jets' practice squad, of all places. Give Garay credit for determination; he could've packed it in a few years ago. He and Colon could co-author a book about injuries.
Since 2010, Colon has undergone at least three surgeries -- Achilles' tendon, triceps and, most recently, a knee arthroscopy. The knee still isn't 100 percent; he's still a couple of weeks away. If Colon is healthy, he's expected to start at one guard spot. With Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson floating in free-agent limbo, the other starter could be Vladimir Ducasse.
5. RAINBOW CONNECTION: Garay is quite a character. He made national headlines a couple of years ago when he bought a "Hello Kitty" Smart car (this is what a 320-pound dude looks like in a Smart car), and he has become known for his zany hairstyles. He has colored his hair blue, yellow, green, orange, purple and pink. When Junior Seau died, Garay honored Seau by having the former Charger's likeness shaved into his head. USA Today did a nice job of collecting Garay's many hairstyles.
6. FOLK STINGER? On Saturday, free-agent PK Nick Folk re-signed with the Jets on a one-year deal. I've always thought of Folk as an under-rated kicker. I also think that if special teams coach Mike Westhoff hadn't retired, Folk might not have returned. There was some friction in that relationship.
7. NOT-SO-SPECIAL K: Former Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb is attracting a lot of buzz in these parts for someone with a 9-12 record as a starter. Remember, this is a man who lost a traning-camp competition last summer to John Skelton. The Cards wanted to bail on him after a year, when they started flirting with Peyton Manning.
8. HOLMES-COMING BACK: I find it interesting that Santonio Holmes agreed to a $3.5 million pay cut to stay with the Jets. His new base pay is $7.5 million, the guaranteed portion of his salary. In other words, there was no financial downside to getting cut; he collects the money no matter where he plays. So did Holmes take the cut because of his devotion to the Jets? I think his surgically repaired foot may have been the bigger factor. Maybe Holmes, still not able to run, was worried the injury would've hurt his ability to find a new team. If that's the reason, I'm concerned if I'm the Jets.
9. BROADWAY GENO? There will be a lot of Geno Smith-Jets speculation as we get closer to the draft, but after an impressive pro day, the West Virginia quarterback won't be around for the Jets with the ninth pick. He could go as high as the Raiders (third), with the Eagles (fourth), Cards (seventh) and Bills (eighth) possible landing spots.
A lot of people figure Bills coach Doug Marrone will try to reunite with his former Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Bills make a play for Florida State's EJ Manuel, presumably in the second round.
10. TOUGH MARKET: I think a lot of free agents are wondering, "When do I get mine?" This is a buyer's market, with many big-game free agents settling for one-year contracts. Why? The salary cap remained relatively flat, increasing to $123 million from $120.6 million. Mind you, the cap was $123 million in 2009. This CBA, born from the 2011 lockout, is putting the squeeze on the players. Free agency is a cash cow for only a select few.