Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Jets [Print without images]

Thursday, July 1, 2010
Mailbag: Clemens' future, Wilson's role, etc.

By Rich Cimini

As promised, here are more Jets questions and, hopefully, cogent answers. If there’s this much Jets interest in early July, what’s it going to be like in September?

What will the Jets end up doing with Kellen Clemens? Since he signed his tender, if we cut him, does his number go against our cap number? (Ron, Las Vegas)

If the Jets acquire a veteran before training camp (hello, Mark Brunell), they will release or trade Clemens. (A trade, however, is unlikely.) It’s too bad, because Clemens has been a good soldier, but the organization simply wants a No. 2 QB with more experience. His tender isn’t guaranteed; it simply comes off the books. It’s possible they may have fronted him some of the tender amount in the form of a bonus (he gets to keep that), but his actual salary wouldn’t count as a cap hit because there is no cap.

Rich, do you think Dwight Lowery has a breakout year this year? I've read lots of good things about him in the preseason. Also, what other players could you see having a so called breakout year this year? (Ray Romano, Lynbrook)

No, Ray, Lowery isn’t going to have a breakout year. He has Revis, Cromartie and Wilson ahead of him in the cornerback pecking order, so he’s looking at a relatively small role. There has been some talk about moving him to safety, which isn’t a bad idea. Some in the organization really like Lowery, a student of the game with very good ball skills, but some think he doesn’t have the pure speed and man-to-man skills to thrive in Rex Ryan’s scheme. Other potential breakout players: DT Mike DeVito, ILB Kenwin Cummings (on special teams), S James Ihedigbo (role player in defensive sub packages) and DE Ropati Pitoitua.

What are the odds that Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie are all back next year? Very small right? (Ryan, Manhattan)

The odds are about the same as Edwards showing up in Cleveland as part of the LeBron-to-the-Knicks recruiting committee. I can see two out of three not being back in 2011.

I understand Darrelle Revis wanting to get paid, but does he realize the Jets have more urgent, pressing free agents? With his demand to be the highest paid player, he’s being selfish. So the question is: Would he rather be the highest paid on a losing team, or paid fairly and allow the Jets keep their players? I’m totally on the Jets’ side here. (Eric, Manhattan)

I don’t want to put words in Revis’ mouth, Eric, but I’m sure he feels “highest-paid cornerback” and “paid fairly” are one in the same. I don’t want to take sides, but in presenting the contrarian view, Revis, like all players, wants to be paid a fair-market value. In his eyes, that is at least $16 million, about the average of Nnamdi Asomugha’s contract with the Raiders. Revis is making $15 million less than Asomugha this season, so the way he sees it, his contract is an urgent, pressing matter. On the other hand, the Jets believe they've made him a fair offer and, from what I hear, I don't think they're going to be in a rush to raise it very much. They want to do a team-friendly contract because, in their eyes, he has three years left on his contract.

Rich, is there still any risk of a possible TV blackout if all the PSLs are not sold? (Peter, Syosset)
Pete, I don’t think there will be a TV blackout. From what I understand, they’ve already sold about half of the 9,000 PSLs that were price-slashed. I have to think they’ll be able to sell another 4,500, give or take, by the season opener. If they don’t, owner Woody Johnson will cut a large check, making sure there’s no blackout. He doesn’t want that stain on his legacy.

Hi Rich, what do you think Rex's plan for Kyle Wilson is? I've heard reports that he is very high on him as a nickel corner. Personally, I feel the nickel corner is the harder position to get a hold of. They do not have any sideline help, and they have to go up against shifty, quick receivers. Do you think Rex might put Dwight Lowery (who I believe is a decent corner) in to start the season as the nickel and ease Wilson into the role? This, to me, is one of the bigger questions facing training camp. (Scott, Hoboken, N.J.)

Scott, Wilson is slated to be the starting nickel/slot corner. You’re right, it’s not easy for a nickel back to cover a slot receiver. In Wilson’s case, he played on the boundary for his entire career at Boise State, and it’s not as easy transition. I was talking to Wilson a couple of weeks ago, and he mentioned that it’s tougher to cover a receiver in the slot than outside because you don’t have sideline leverage. That said, Ryan is willing to throw Wilson into the fire. Really, it’s the perfect way to break in a rookie cornerback: Let him play about 40% to 50% of the snaps as a nickel, then move him into the starting lineup in year two.

What's the word on Jamaal Westerman this year? One more year under Rex should have done wonders for a smart player like him. (Akshay, N.J.)

Figures that a Westerman question would come from Jersey. You’re right, Akshay, Westerman will be better than he was a year ago; the coaching staff really likes his upside as a pass rusher. Thing is, he’ll be playing behind Pace and Thomas and Taylor. Good luck finding reps.