Let’s take a quick look at the rivals, shall we? Rich Cimini at ESPN New York is doing a positional review series where he takes a look at the New York Jets by each positional grouping, and there are some interesting notes for New England Patriots fans to glean from the quarterback and running back positions.
Cimini wrote that Matt Moore, Matt Flynn, and Tarvaris Jackson are the three most likely options, because he believes that Alex Smith “probably will be too rich for the Jets’ blood”. I think the Jets need to save their draft picks (their building blocks for the future) and instead focus on signing what Cimini dubs a “cost-effective veteran”. The perfect example of this is former Carolina Panthers and Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore, who enjoyed a solid 2011 campaign in Miami and is an underrated, cheap veteran who is a capable starter in this league. He was ranked just outside of PFF’s top ten among QBs in 2011 (per their advanced player grades).
Although there is an obvious connection between John Idzik and Flynn and Jackson from the Seattle Seahawks, only Flynn is a legitimate option. Jackson is clearly not a starting caliber quarterback in this league, and I think it’s more likely that the Jets sign Moore than trade after the more expensive Flynn. But he is most likely the better option from a playing value perspective, so Flynn and Moore are certainly two plausible options.
I agree that Smith is out of the Jets price range, because the San Francisco 49ers will likely command a high price for him (as they should). It’s easy to forget that Smith had a 70.3 completion percentage this season and is an extremely accurate QB. He would be a great fit for Marty Mornhinweg’s new offensive system in New York, but the Jets will need to go with the cheapest option due to their disastrous cap situation.
Cimini’s assessment of the Jets running back position is blunt when it comes to Shonn Greene‘s future, and he wrote that , “Greene is as good as gone.” With the Jets in severe cap problems and Greene coming off of a season in which he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry, it’s better to let Greene be and allow him to sign a slightly bloated contract with another team this offseason.
Greene will still be one of the best available free agent backs this spring, so there will be interest there. The Jets need to get a more explosive backfield option to throw in the RBBC that will contain Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell. If the Jets weren’t in such a cap mess, then Greene would have probably stayed. But the best way to go is for the Jets to draft a mid-round RB who brings something different to the table.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.