Jets Rumors

Kyle Long: I Haven’t Talked To The Jets

Kyle Long says he has not heard from the Jets about a potential return to the field (Twitter link via Rick Tarsitano of WGN). This contradicts a report from earlier today which indicated that the Jets were attempting to talk the former Bears offensive lineman out of retirement

[RELATED: Jets Hoping To Pull Kyle Long Out Of Retirement]

Long, 31, stepped away from the game after years of injury trouble. When Long was younger and healthy, he was one of the game’s best interior lineman. From 2013 through 2015 – Long’s first three years in the NFL – he was a perennial Pro Bowler. He was also an annual fixture on Pro Football Focus’ list of the top-ranked offensive guards in the league.

The Jets have made a serious effort to upgrade their offensive line this offseason and they have gone this route before, having just recently lured Ryan Kalil out of retirement. But, according to Long, that’s not the case here. With his 32nd birthday on the horizon in December, Long seems content with retirement.

According to Over The Cap, Long earned upwards of $37MM over the course of his seven-year career in Chicago – more than enough cash to ride out retirement. The Jets, meanwhile, have about $25MM in available cash that they can use to strengthen other areas of need.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Hoping To Pull Kyle Long Out Of Retirement

The Jets have spoken with former Bears guard Kyle Long about coming out of retirement, Manish Mehta of the Daily News hears. The former Pro Bowler would give the Jets a major boost on the front line and a potential replacement for incumbent right guard Brian Winters.

[RELATED: Jets Aren’t Interested In Jadeveon Clowney]

As Mehta notes, Joe Douglas has had success in this area before. Last year, he convinced Ryan Kalil to return to the field, and he believes he can also talk Long into playing again. Long, 31, dealt with shoulder, tricep, ankle, and hip injuries throughout his Bears career.

Long missed 22 games over his last three seasons, but he performed as one of the NFL’s top offensive guards when he was healthy. He was a nearly perennial Top 5 fixture in Pro Football Focus’ rankings and, as an added bonus, he also offers experience at tackle.

Long’s own level of interest is unclear. If he is willing to play again, the Jets will have to pony up a big chunk of their available $25MM in cap room. Meanwhile, there are still some glaring holes to address, including cornerback and edge rusher. If the Jets are serious about signing Logan Ryan, for example, they’ll have to budget carefully.

The Jets’ offensive line has already been overhauled this year. The new-look OL will feature first-round pick Mekhi Becton, plus newcomers Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, and George Fant. Between the three free agent deals and the re-signing of Alex Lewis, the Jets dropped $80MM to beef up the unit.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Aren’t Interested In Jadeveon Clowney

The Giants aren’t pursuing Jadeveon Clowney and the same goes for the other tenants of MetLife Stadium. The Jets spoke with the edge rusher’s agent, but they do not have serious interest in signing him, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com hears. Furthermore, Cimini hears that the Jets were never serious about him at any point this offseason. 

[RELATED: Browns Offered Clowney $12MM/Year?]

Clowney did his best to drum up interest from the Jets earlier this year, signaling a desire to join up with Gang Green. The Jets could use some help in the pressure department, but they’ve only got so much cap room to work with and bigger fish to fry. Specifically, they’re on the lookout for help at cornerback and they’ve got their sights set on former Titans standout Logan Ryan. As of this writing, they’ve got about $25MM to spend.

A confluence of factors have led to an unexpectedly long free agency spell for the former No. 1 pick. Beyond the pandemic and the ongoing unrest, Clowney’s asking price has proven to be a major hurdle. At the outset of free agency, Clowney was reportedly looking for $20MM/year. Then, he dropped it to about $17MM or $18MM. So far, it sounds like his best offer came from the Browns at around $12MM, a deal that Clowney’s camp rejected.

The Browns are still interested in Clowney, but the list gets murky after Cleveland. The two New York/New Jersey teams are out and the Eagles don’t want to approach his asking price either.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Sign Rookie CB Bryce Hall

The Jets have signed fifth-round cornerback Bryce Hall, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). In accordance with his slot, Hall will receive a four-year deal worth about $3.6MM with a $315K signing bonus.

Hall notched five interceptions and 38 passes defended over the course of his four-year career. Unfortunately, he didn’t get a chance to really build on those totals in his final year on campus. In October, Hall suffered a serious ankle injury and had to be carted off of the field. Before that, Pro Football Focus rated Hall as the nation’s top cornerback in the 2018 season. Had he declared for the draft one year early, Hall would have gone much earlier – the Jets see him as a potential Day 3 steal.

Hall is the first member of the Jets’ draft class to agree to terms. With the Virginia product in the fold, they’ve got eight more rookies to go, as shown in PFR’s 2020 NFL Draft tracker:

1-11: Mekhi Becton, T (Louisville)
2-59: Denzel Mims, WR (Baylor)
3-68: Ashtyn Davis, S (California)
3-79: Jabari Zuniga, DE (Florida)
4-120: Lamical Perine, RB (Florida)
4-125: James Morgan, QB (Florida International)
4-129: Cameron Clark, OT (Charlotte)
5-158: Bryce Hall, CB (Virginia): Signed
6-191: Braden Mann, P (Texas A&M)

This Date In Transactions History: Jets Reunite With Demario Davis

Three years ago today, the Jets swung a deal with the Browns to reunite with Demario Davis and move on from first-round draft bust Calvin Pryor all in one shot.

Davis didn’t see the field much in his 2012 rookie season with the Jets, but he cracked their starting lineup as an NFL sophomore and remained a Gang Green first-stringer through 2015. After that, he moved on to the Browns in free agency with a two-year, $8MM deal. As the Browns’ starting left inside linebacker, Davis racked up 99 tackles and two sacks, but then-Browns GM Sashi Brown seized an opportunity to trade a dependable veteran for a hard-hitting youngster who had yet to make his mark as a pro.

Calvin is a young, experienced safety that has upside,” Brown said. “We are pleased to be able to add him to our defensive back room and just like every player we acquire, we expect him to come in with a hard-working mindset ready to compete. DeMario is a guy that we developed the utmost respect for in his time with our team, not only as a professional but also as a person. We appreciate all he did for our organization in his time in Cleveland.”

Pryor, known as the “Louisville Slugger,” didn’t have a clear-cut role in the Jets’ secondary after they used their first two picks in the 2017 draft on Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. The Browns felt that Pryor could play behind their own rookie safety, Jabrill Peppers, and possibly find steady work in the rotation. Even though Pryor didn’t move the needle much as a pro, there was reason to believe – Pro Football Focus ranked him as a top 50 safety in his first two pro seasons and, even with his ’16 regression, he still ranked ahead of two safeties who were on the Browns’ roster at the time.

Unfortunately for Cleveland, Pryor did not pan out. The Louisville Slugger took a swing at teammate Ricardo Louis, prompting Hue Jackson to cut him before the season opener. Pryor moved on to the Jaguars, suffered an ankle injury in September, and got cut towards the end of the year. Pryor was on the workout circuit in 2018, but he never found his way back to the field.

Davis, meanwhile, exceeded all expectations. He started in all 16 of his games in 2017, per the usual, but delivered a team-high 97 solo tackles and a new career high of 5.0 sacks. And, get this – the Jets even got him to accept less than his scheduled ~$4MM salary for that year, making him an even better value. Fortunately, Davis got his payday the following year. Unfortunately for the Jets, it was with the Saints. After earning First-Team All-Pro honors in 2019, Davis is gearing up for his third season with New Orleans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets, Falcons, Rams, Bears To Gain Cap Room Via Post-June 1 Cuts

The Bears, Falcons, Jets, and Rams will gain additional cap space starting Tuesday, as Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes. The extra flexibility comes from the following releases that have been designated as post-June 1 cuts: 

Players released after June 1 can have their remaining cap charge spread out across two seasons, rather than one. These four players were released earlier this year, but designated as post-June 1 cuts to smooth out the dead money.

For these teams, a chunk of this money will go towards funding the incoming rookie class. However, there will still be some room left over for summer upgrades, thanks to the top-51 rule. In the case of the Falcons, they’ll have about $8.25MM to spend, as Kevin Knight of The Falcoholic notes.

The additional space could jumpstart talks for June’s best remaining free agents, a group that includes defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, cornerback Logan Ryan, and guard Larry Warford. The Jets probably won’t go for Clowney, but they’ve shown serious interest in Ryan and Warford would make some sense for them if they want to upgrade over Brian Winters.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Bell, Patriots, Dolphins

The Jets missed on many of their top targets this year, but they did manage some upgrades to the offensive line. Coming off of his worst season ever, Le’Veon Bell is excited about having improved protection up front. “Can’t wait,” Bell told ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler with Bart Scott-esque enthusiasm.

The Jets’ new-look offensive line will feature first-round pick Mekhi Becton and newcomers Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, and George Fant. Between the three free agent deals and the re-signing of Alex Lewis, the Jets dropped $80MM to fortify their O-Line. They also bypassed this year’s top wide receivers to select Becton, a nightmare for defenders and pickup trucks alike. The Jets hope this will all result in a more reliable pocket for Sam Darnold and larger holes for Bell to run through. In 2019, Bell averaged just 3.2 yards per carry and didn’t get much yardage off of his 66 catches.

Here’s more out of the AFC East:

  • Joe Flacco‘s one-year, $1.5MM Jets deal includes $550K guaranteed, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The full breakdown gives the quarterback $1.05MM in base pay, a total of $450K in per-game active roster bonuses, and the opportunity to earn another $3MM through incentives. The Jets have been encouraged by Flacco’s progress as he works his way back from neck surgery, though the QB admits that he won’t be ready for the season opener. If Flacco’s recovery stalls, they’ll be able to escape the deal fairly easily.
  • The Dolphins are nowhere near ready to give up on quarterback Josh Rosen, according to a source who spoke with Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Rosen was a disappointment in his six appearances (three starts) last year, but the ‘Fins source says he showed some promise in practice towards the end of the year. Another factor: The Dolphins probably don’t want to trade Rosen for pennies on the dollar one year after coughing up a second-round pick for him.
  • Will Hastings‘ relationship with quarterback Jarrett Stidham could help his chances of making the Patriots‘ roster as their slot receiver. Still, the Pats have other options to consider alongside the UDFA out of Auburn, as Doug Kyed of NESN writes. They could change their slot philosophy entirely, utilizing a bigger WR like Jakobi Meyers or Mohamed Sanu on the inside. They could also lean more on two-tight end sets with rookies Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi in the fold, sacrificing speed for better blocking.

Quincy Enunwa Not Planning Retirement

Quincy Enunwa missed all of the 2017 season and 15 games last year because of a neck injury, and the Jets have ruled him out for the 2020 campaign by placing him on the reserve/PUP list. While the veteran wideout will only turn 28 Sunday, he already faces the prospect of his career being over. Enunwa, however, is not conceding that yet.

Enunwa signed a four-year, $33.4MM extension in December 2018. That deal included $20MM in guarantees, which have become crucial for the embattled receiver. The former sixth-round pick will earn $6MM in base salary this year and has a $4.1MM injury guarantee for 2021. Despite the Jets fining him $27K for missing two rehab sessions last year, Enunwa would like to stay with the team for the remainder of his career. It is unlikely, however, Enunwa — drafted two regimes ago — will be with the Jets in 2021. They can save $6MM by releasing him after this season.

Jets’ Joe Flacco Won’t Be Ready For Week 1

Joe Flacco has been cleared to throw, but the quarterback says he won’t be ready for the start of the Jets’ season. In an interview with SiriusXM, Flacco explained that his exact timetable is still up in the air. 

[RELATED: Jets, Joe Flacco Agree To Deal]

I can’t speak to exactly when I’m going to be ready, but it will not be day one,” Flacco said (transcript via ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini). “Obviously, we’ll get with the doctors and I have another checkup come August, so we’ll see where that goes.”

Sources tell Cimini that Flacco could get the go-ahead for contact sometime in September. However, he won’t be able to play in Week 1, when the Jets are slated to open up the season against the Bills in Buffalo.

Flacco, 35, joined the Jets on a one-year deal with a base value of $1.5MM. With bonuses, he could earn up to $4.5MM. The Jets are happy to have Flacco in the fold, but they hope that he won’t have the opportunity to earn those incentives. Ideally, Sam Darnold will stay healthy for the duration of the year in what would be his first ever 16-game slate.

First and foremost, I want to help the team in any way possible and also be a guy Sam can lean on, that he can learn from,” Flacco said. “I would say those are the two most important things: Help out the guys on the team and help out Sam to do all they can…For me, personally, I want to play football. I’ve had some things happen, got injured and had to have surgery. I have to find my way back into the league. I want to play for years to come. I think these guys have given me a great opportunity and hope I can make the most of my situation and make the most of whatever my role ends up being.”

With David Fales, rookie James Morgan, and Mike White also on the QB depth chart, the Jets can probably afford to stand pat under center even if Flacco needs more time to recover than expected.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.