- The Jets are holding a private workout Thursday for North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky, a league source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Gang Green has three quarterbacks on its roster – Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty – but head coach Todd Bowles indicated Wednesday that the club could select one with the sixth pick. Trubisky might come into play there.
The Jets will stage a competition at quarterback in 2017, and Josh McCown, Bryce Petty, and Christian Hackenberg will all be given a chance to win the job, head coach Todd Bowles told reporters, including Brian Costello of the New York Post (Twitter link). McCown signed a one-year deal that comes with $6MM guaranteed and $7MM available via incentives, so the 37-year-old has to be considered the favorite in any sort of battle. But Hackenberg, specifically, could be handed a shot to play in 2017 after being selected in the second round of last year’s draft.
Here’s more out of New York:
- Bowles would not rule out the possibility of the Jets drafting a quarterback with the sixth overall pick, and as such, is open to keeping four signal-callers on the roster for the second consecutive season, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY and Connor Hughes of NJ.com (Twitter links). Gang Green has been lined to the majority of the quarterbacks at the top of the draft — including Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, and DeShone Kizer, and could conceivably land one at No. 6. The Jets have no interest in adding another veteran QB, however.
- New York will add competition “from somewhere” for new kicker Chandler Catanzaro, Bowles said, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Without specifics, that means the Jets could add another kicker in free agency, the draft, or in undrafted free agency. Catanzaro, who signed a one-year deal with $250K guaranteed after being cut loose by Arizona, converted only 75% of his field goal attempts in 2016.
- After not employing a fullback in 2016 under former offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, the Jets may sign an FB this offseason, per Bowles (Twitter link via Cimini). New play-caller John Morton may want a fullback, as the Saints (Morton’s former employer) used one on roughly a quarter of their plays. New York recently met with free agent fullback Will Johnson.
- Offensive lineman Ben Ijalana‘s two-year deal is worth $10.25MM and contains $3MM guaranteed, tweets Cimini. Ijalana, who will play right tackle opposite Kelvin Beachum, will count for $4.25MM on the Jets’ 2017 salary cap before the club decides on a 2018 option worth $6MM.
New York is in the market for new center after releasing veteran pivot Nick Mangold earlier this year. Fourth-year pro Wesley Johnson, who started eight games in Mangold’s absence last season, is projected to enter the 2017 campaign as the full-time center, but Martin reports Harrison will compete for the position. Johnson, a restricted free agent, was tendered at the second-round level, meaning he’ll earn $2.746MM next year.
Harrison, 25, started 19 games for the Colts from 2014-15, but served as a backup last season. In 13 contests, Harrison played on roughly 41% of Indianapolis’ offensive snaps, but he graded as one of the worst interior offensive lineman in the league. Pro Football Focus rated Harrison as the second-worst guard in the NFL in 2016, just ahead of Seattle’s Germain Ifedi.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- Although he didn’t see the field during his rookie campaign, Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg is expected to get a chance to play in 2017, as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. New York’s front office may not view Hackenberg as anything more than long-term backup even after selecting him the second round of last year’s draft, but given that Gang Green doesn’t figure to compete next season, the club might do well to see what it has in Hackenberg. Newly-signed veteran Josh McCown has struggled to stay healthy in recent seasons, so Hackenberg (and/or fellow quarterback Bryce Petty) may be forced into duty.
- Like Lamp, Washington cornerback Kevin King will probably sneak into the back end of Day 1, says Pauline. Not only does King offer size (6’3″, 200 pounds), but he impressed scouts with a 4.43 40-yard dash. Plus, injuries to fellow defensive backs Sidney Jones and Fabian Moreau means other corners, such as King, will see their stock rise as the draft approaches, as supply no longer meets demand. The Buccaneers have worked out King, while the Jets plan to do the same, per Pauline.
- Scouts view North Carolina State safety Josh Jones as a top-50 pick, according to Pauline, and a number of clubs have already expressed interest. Jones has worked out for the Jaguars and will meet with the Cardinals, Steelers, Ravens, Dolphins, and Jets. While Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.com ranks Jones as just the seventh-best safety on the board, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com places Jones within his top-50 players (No. 48).
Johnson, 27, was released by the Giants earlier this month, although he suggested he could end up re-signing with Big Blue on a cheaper deal. After spending four seasons in Pittsburgh (and appearing in 63 games during that period), Johnson missed the entirety of the 2016 campaign after suffering nerve damage in his deltoid muscle.
Atlanta signed two fullbacks — including veteran Derrick Coleman — earlier this week, but that shouldn’t stop the club from taking a look at Johnson. Last season, the Falcons deployed a fullback with regularity, as Patrick DiMarco played 324 offensive snaps, third among all NFL fullbacks. DiMarco has since signed with the Bills, leaving a void in Atlanta’s offense.
The Jets were on the other end of the spectrum in terms of fullback use: Julian Howsare lead all Gang Green fullbacks with a whopping three offensive snaps. Former offensive coordinator Chan Gailey didn’t utilize the fullback in his scheme, but new play-caller John Morton may want to, as the Saints (Morton’s former employer) used a fullback on roughly a quarter of their plays. New York doesn’t currently have a fullback on its roster.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News believes the Jets haven’t pursued quarterback Colin Kaepernick because he doesn’t fit their offensive system. If the team preferred a backup who can fit their scheme, Mehta believes the Jets would be better re-signing Geno Smith. Ultimately, the writer believes Kaepernick would be a good fit with the Seahawks, but the organization hasn’t expressed any interest in the signal-caller.
- According to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com, Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan didn’t show a whole lot of speed during his school’s Pro Day, but he looked solid in positional drills. The defender previously met with the Saints, and he had dinner with the Jets on Thursday night.
- There were a number of offensive line coaches at Utah’s Pro Day, including staff from the Jets, Browns, Jaguars, and Lions. Offensive tackle Sam Tevi was impressive during the workouts, and the big man has drawn particular interest from both the Saints and Patriots.
- Dont’a Hightower agreed to take less money from the Patriots than he would have gotten from the Jets as a UFA, but the Steelers also offered the linebacker a better deal, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. Pittsburgh offered the sixth-year linebacker a deal that would have paid him more then $9MM per year. He signed to stay with the Patriots for $8.7MM AAV. However, both the Steelers and Jets were concerned with Hightower’s health. This led to the Jets pulling their offer after Hightower’s physical. La Canfora adds the Jets and Steelers felt they were being used as leverage during this process.