Analysis: Jeremy Kerley extension makes sense

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
A few thoughts on wide receiver Jeremy Kerley signing a four-year, $16 million contract extension Tuesday with the New York Jets:

1. The timing is curious, considering Kerley's recent slump and the arrival of Percy Harvin, but this is a good business move by the Jets. The bottom line is, Kerley is a good football player, he's only 25 years old (he turns 26 on Nov. 8) and the cost isn't outrageous -- a reported $5.4 million in guarantees. He's making $1.4 million this season, the final year of his rookie contract.

2. Kerley is one of the few good draft picks they've made on offense in recent years, so it made sense to lock him up before he hit the free-agent market after the season. The philosophy behind conserving cap room is to re-sign your own players, and that's what GM John Idzik has done.

3. This has no bearing on Harvin's future; it's apples and oranges. Financially, he's in a different league than Kerley. The Jets will make the Harvin decision based on whether they believe he's worth his 2015 salary ($10.5 million), which puts him near the top of the salary-structure for wide receivers.

4. Ever since a seven-catch game in Week 3, Kerley's production has dipped -- only seven catches for 60 yards and no touchdowns over the last four games. His playing time also has decreased -- 61.9 and 58.6 percent of snaps in the last two games, his lowest percentages of the season. Harvin, too, is a slot receiver, so it'll be interesting to see how it plays out in the coming weeks.

5. Don't be surprised if Idzik continues along this path, extending other potential free agents. The top names are running back Bilal Powell and linebacker David Harris, who actually is looking for his third contract. The big fish is defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. He's signed through 2015, but the two sides are talking and it wouldn't be a shock if a deal is done in the coming weeks.

Jeremy Kerley, Jets strike deal

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21

The New York Jets have signed wide receiver Jeremy Kerley to a four-year contract extension, the team announced Tuesday.

The deal is worth $16 million, with $5.4 million guaranteed, a league source told ESPN's Adam Caplan.

"I'm happy it's done, and I'm happy that me and my family are going to be taken care of now. So that is out the way," Kerley told ESPN's Josina Anderson.

Kerley's deal comes just days after the Jets acquired Percy Harvin in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks. Kerley said he wasn't worried that Harvin's addition would keep him from getting a new contract.

"I think whatever was going to happen between me and the Jets was going to happen," he said.

"I've always felt confident in my role. I've always had that approach and mentality that whatever they needed me to do, I would do it. So, I don't feel like my role will lessen or anything like that with the addition of Percy.

"So, I just feel like with him, he obviously opens up a lot of things for our offense. There are a lot of things we could do to get the ball in his hands. Like I said, he's a special player, so having him only helps us have a better chance of being successful."

Kerley, a fifth-round pick out of TCU in 2011, has 22 receptions for 201 yards and a touchdown this season for the Jets (1-6).

He's established a good rapport with second-year quarterback Geno Smith, ranking first on the team in targets with 45.

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John Idzik is right: The New York Jets scored a "potential coup" by acquiring Percy Harvin.

No, the Jets' general manager is wrong. Harvin is an ineffective role player.

It's easy to form two different opinions on the trade, especially if you study Harvin's first and last games with the Seattle Seahawks this season.

In the season opener, he was heavily involved in the game plan, touching the ball on six of the first 15 plays from scrimmage. He was electric, totalling 61 yards rushing and receiving on those plays and making the Green Bay Packers look foolish at times.

In Week 6, a stunning loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Harvin got only six touches for the entire game. Net result: Minus-1 yards. They forced the ball to him in various spots, disrupting the flow of the offense. The Cowboys anticipated almost every play, gang-tackling him on five of the six plays.

Good Percy, bad Percy. It's up to Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to create the former. A closer look at Harvin's first six touches and last six:

Packers at Seahawks

1. On their first offensive play of the season, Harvin was split wide left. Russell Wilson threw him a slip screen and he gained four yards.

2. Harvin lined up in the right slot and caught a bubble screen for four yards on third-and-1.

[+] EnlargePercy Harvin
Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesIn his first game of the 2014 season, then Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin received the game ball from ESPN Seahawks reporter Terry Blount.
3. He showed his trademark explosiveness on this play, a jet sweep around right end. Harvin bolted around the corner, gaining 13 yards. Wilson used a nifty run-action, faking to Marshawn Lynch after handing off to Harvin. Packers outside linebacker Julius Peppers was paralyzed with confusion, not knowing how to react as Harvin blew past him.

4. This time, Harvin was in the right slot. He ran a quick out, catching a nine-yard pass off play-action.

5. The Packers defended this play well. Lined up on the left wing, Harvin caught a bubble screen and was tackled for a two-yard loss. He fumbled, but recovered the ball.

6. Harvin made a 33-yard reception, demonstrating his ability to make plays downfield -- something he didn't get to do as often as he wanted. On second-and-12, he was in the right slot and ran an "over" route, breaking into the clear. He beat a double-team off the line by using a shoulder dip, faking linebacker A.J. Hawk and safety Morgan Burnett so badly that the two defenders ran into each other. It turned out to be Harvin's longest pass play of the season.

Game totals: Harvin caught seven passes for 59 yards and ran four times for 41 yards, his best game of the season. The Seahawks won, 36-16.

Cowboys at Seahawks

1. Harvin lined up in the backfield. The Seahawks were in shotgun, with Harvin to Wilson's right. On second-and-5, they ran him off left end for minus-1.

2. In the left slot, Harvin caught a bubble screen, but he was dropped for minus-1 on first-and-10.

3. This time, they put Harvin on the move. He shifted wide left and came back in motion to the right, setting up their patented jet sweep. The Cowboys' fast-flow defense read it beautifully and stopped him for no gain.

4. They tried a slip screen, with Harvin split wide right. Linebacker Rolando McClain diagnosed the play quickly, blowing it up with help from a few of his friends. The play lost four yards on first-and-10.

5. Once again, Harvin lined up in the backfield, this time to Wilson's right. It fooled no one. He ran up the middle for no gain.

6. In his last touch as a Seahawk, Harvin caught a five-yard pass. He was in a double-stack to the right and ran a quick look-in route, finding a soft spot in the underneath zone. On the next play, Wilson ran for a nine-yard touchdown to tie the game.

Game totals: Harvin caught three passes for zero yards and ran three times for minus-1. The Seahawks lost, 30-23.
The addition of Percy Harvin took a chunk out of the New York Jets' massive amount of salary-cap space, but they're still not crying poverty. They still have $14.58 million in room, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars ($24.17 million), Cleveland Browns ($20.58 million) and Philadelphia Eagles ($16.54 million) have more space than the Jets.

Harvin will count $6.47 million on the cap for the final 10 weeks (nine games plus the bye week). Initially, it was widely reported his cap charge would be $7.1 million, but his former team, the Seattle Seahawks, ended up picking up last week's pay check because the Jets already had played Thursday night, before the trade was finalized.

Despite his abbreviated season in New York, Harvin still has the fourth-highest cap charge on the Jets. The top 5:

1. D'Brickashaw Ferguson -- $11.7 million

2. Nick Mangold -- $7.2 million

3. David Harris -- $7.0 million

4. Percy Harvin -- $6.47 million

5. Eric Decker -- $4.0 million

5. Michael Vick -- $4.0 million

The Film Don't Lie: Jets

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
A weekly look at what the New York Jets must fix:

If third down is the money down, the Jets are a cash-poor defense.

The Jets have allowed a league-high 11 touchdowns on third down, a season-long problem that bit them again in last Thursday night's 27-25 loss to the New England Patriots. They surrendered two touchdowns on third down, including a 19-yard scoring pass on a third-and-19 play in the fourth quarter -- a breakdown that will haunt Rex Ryan's dreams for the remainder of the year.

Let's provide some context to the 11 touchdowns: In 2009, when their defense was at its peak under Ryan, the Jets allowed 19 touchdowns for the entire season -- on all downs.

They get a chance to start a turnaround Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, who suddenly have a formidable quarterback-receiver combo in Kyle Orton and rookie Sammy Watkins. The Jets don't have a true No. 1 corner to match against Watkins. Heck, they don't even have a No. 2 corner. Because of injuries and bad personnel decisions, Ryan is mixing and matching, using Darrin Walls and Phillip Adams as his starters after giving up on Antonio Allen as a corner.

But the third-down struggles go beyond the cornerback play. Ryan is using more zone coverages than usual, sometimes creating indecision among the defensive backs. The result: busted coverages.

The Jets should be cleaning up on third down, considering their pass-rushing prowess, but at times they look utterly helpless.
A few thoughts on the Percy Harvin love-fest Monday at One Jets Drive:

The most shocking development was that general manager John (Talking Points) Idzik actually provided the headline, calling the trade for Harvin a "potential coup" for the Jets.

They're coup-coup if they think Harvin will transform the New York Jets into an offensive juggernaut and save the season.

While it's hard to rip the trade, considering the minimal cost in terms of draft-pick compensation, it's also unrealistic to expect an immediate impact from Harvin. It's not easy to integrate a wide receiver into an unfamiliar system in the middle of a season. It's harder when that receiver isn't a traditional receiver.

Harvin is a hybrid player, a receiver/runner with elite physical skills. As the Seattle Seahawks discovered, it takes a concerted effort to get him the ball; it doesn't happen through the normal flow of an offense. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg will have to cook up a "Percy Package," while trying to balance it with the running back, Eric Decker and emerging tight end Jace Amaro.

The Jets could've used a training camp with Harvin, giving him a chance to learn the full offense and develop a rapport with Geno Smith. Now, it's a seat-of-their-pants operation.

Let's call it what it really is: This is a nine-game audition for Harvin. If he stays out of trouble, doesn't slug any teammates and makes plays, the Jets -- rather, Idzik -- can bring him back in 2015. His salary next year is $10.5 million, so it might take a lot of convincing over these next couple of months.

It's a rental, with the option to buy.

This audition is costing them a pretty penny ($7.1 million in guaranteed salary), but they can cut bait after the season without any salary-cap ramifications; there is no guaranteed money from 2015 to 2018 in the contact. It's a wonderful set-up for Idzik, who has mastered the low-risk, short-term contract (see: Chris Johnson and Michael Vick.)

So, basically, Harvin is in the same situation as Rex Ryan and Geno Smith. To varying degrees, they're all battling for the jobs over these next nine games.

John Idzik hire is anything but a coup

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Percy Harvin has been in enough fights in his time as a professional and amateur football player to be represented by Bob Arum, and yet the latest man to employ him, New York Jets general manager John Idzik, called the acquisition a "potential coup."

The Jets usually lead the league in a lot of things, but potential coups sure isn't one of them.

Despite Harvin's turbulent history of confrontations with teammates and coaches, Idzik spent part of his Monday forecasting good things for Harvin because, in part, the Jets' locker room and facilities amount to what the GM called "a very healthy environment."

The Seattle Seahawks just won the Super Bowl. A safe bet says their environment is at least a little healthier than the Jets'.

Either way, the Seahawks dumped Harvin on their former front-office colleague for what will likely be an inconsequential draft pick. For Idzik, the trade was an admission he'd made awful choices with his roster. He waited until the Jets were 1-6 before finally spending some of the $20 million-plus available to him under the salary cap, and his desperation was clear in the form of the player now costing him $7.1 million.

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- What's the big deal about a fight between teammates?

That, essentially, was the response Monday from right tackle Breno Giacomini, who witnessed the Percy Harvin-Golden Tate dust up at last year's Super Bowl.

Giacomini, who played last season for the Seattle Seahawks, was surrounded by reporters after practice, everyone wanting to get his take on the New York Jets' newest player. Giacomini called Harvin "a good teammate" who plays with a feisty attitude.

Harvin took the feisty part to a different level. Altercations with Tate and Doug Baldwin, in the preseason, surfaced in various reports in the immediate aftermath of last Friday's trade.

"It happened twice. Who cares?" Giacomini said. "It was squashed right away [with Tate]. ... People get in fights all the time. This is the game of football. The media is blowing that up. It's being blown up for no reason."

Giacomini finally acknowledged that a fight between teammates, on the eve of the Super Bowl, is a bit unusual. But he added, "It wasn't like a big, huge boxing match."

Naturally, the Jets said only positive things about their new teammate. They're aware of his reputation as a troublemaker, but they appear willing to forgive and forget, hoping he can provide some electricity for their moribund offense.

"He's a dynamic player," quarterback Geno Smith said. "You can give him the ball in space and he can make guys miss. He has that home run ability, so to have a guy like that who can make explosive plays and give our offense that extra edge, I think is going to make us all better."

Guard Willie Colon described Harvin as "scary fast," recalling a play from Monday's practice.

"He ran a route, he was on one side of the field and the time I blinked, he was all the way downfield," Colon said. "He has that DeSean Jackson, lightning in a bottle-type speed."

Coach Rex Ryan was hesitant to spell out Harvin's role, except to say he will return kickoffs. Obviously, he will do more than that. He'll be heavily involved as a wide receiver, probably emerging as the starter opposite Eric Decker.

"I think it'll be interesting to put Percy in with the weapons, the other players we already have," Ryan said. "I think it's going to be exciting. When you have [Jeremy] Kerley, when you have Decker, our tight ends and our running backs, I think it brings an explosive talent to our team. It should be fun to watch."

General manager John Idzik called the trade "a potential coup," acquiring Harvin for a conditional sixth-round pick. Giacomini agreed.

"I'm surprised [he got traded], but you know what? I think we got the upper hand," he said. "I don't know who Seattle will draft, but it won't be Percy Harvin."

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Percy Harvin went from the defending Super Bowl champions to a 1-6 team, but his upbeat demeanor Monday suggested he's glad to be out of Seattle.

Admitting he was frustrated by his role with the Seattle Seahawks, Harvin said he welcomes a fresh start with the New York Jets, who traded a sixth-round conditional pick last Friday for the mercurial wide receiver.

Harvin acknowledged he was involved in altercations with former teammates Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate, who received a black eye during the run-up to the Super Bowl last February. He wanted to clear the air with his new employers, but he said coach Rex Ryan laughed and wasn't interested in re-living the past.

"The coaching staff, the management, on to the owner, they're not worried about (my past)," Harvin told reporters after his first practice. "I even tried to explain a couple of things. They told me to be quiet and not to worry about it. It's been all smiles here."

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday that he believed he could make Harvin happy in Seattle. But Harvin never attempted to mesh with his teammates despite the efforts of Carroll, the Seahawks' coaching staff and management, a team source told ESPN's Ed Werder.

The source told Werder that Harvin was "always unhappy, always agitated" during his time with the Seahawks.

Harvin will make his Jets debut Sunday against the Buffalo Bills

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GM: Harvin deal a 'coup' for Jets

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets introduced wide receiver Percy Harvin on Monday, calling him a dynamic player who could galvanize their moribund offense.

"This could be a potential coup for the New York Jets," general manager John Idzik said, commenting for the first time on last Friday's blockbuster trade with the Seattle Seahawks.

The defending Super Bowl champions had no use for Harvin, giving him away for a conditional sixth-round pick. The Jets were willing to look past his lack of production and off-field problems, pulling the trigger on a deal that was out of character for the usually conservative Idzik.

At 1-6, the Jets are non-contenders, but Idzik insisted "it's not too late."

Harvin, who spent the weekend learning the playbook with the offensive coaches, practiced for the first time with his new team, wearing No. 16. He's slated to meet the media after practice.

Idzik said the Jets did "a ton of background work" on Harvin, who has a history of altercations with teammates and coaches. Idzik, a former Seahawks executive, said his familiarity with his former team was an "advantage" as they performed due diligence.

"It's about looking forward, understanding what may have happened in the past -- I wasn't there, he was," Idzik said. "That's really in the rear-view mirror. It's about learning from your experiences, like everybody else, and we're looking forward."

Harvin, a first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings

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Stunner In St. Louis

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20


Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith debate how much trouble the Seahawks are in after their 28-26 loss to the Rams, the Percy Harvin trade and the team being at .500 or worse after the first six games for the second time since 2010.