The New York Jets are better off without with out a second All World CornerbackGang Green resigned their top priority Santonio Holmes
- Giants General Manager Jerry Reese told Osi’s agent, “You better shop around”
Gang Green Nation was dealt a server blow this past weekend when they learned that cornerback Nmandi Asomugha decided to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles instead of our beloved Jets. Does this mean that Jets general manager Mike Tannebaum was derelict in his duties in not landing the All World defensive back? Quite the contrary. It might have been the best thing that happen to the organization since Joe Namath turned down the NFL to sign Sonny Werblin’s contract. The Eagles might have won the free agency sweepstakes, but that does not guarantee a trip to the Super Bowl.
Andy Reid and the Eagles swept in like a thief in the night and signed the best class of this year’s abbreviated free agency period to the point where everyone else is presently a distant second. Not only did they bring Asomugha into the fold, but they also signed Tennessee’s defensive end Jason Fabin, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, quarterback Vince Young, and now running back Ronnie Brown. They also acquired defensive back Dominique Rogers-Cromartie through a trade. Considering that they already have the electrifying Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson, you might as well hand them the 2011 Vince Lombardi trophy now, right? Not so fast my friend.
There is more to winning football games than just signing high-profile free agents. There is a thing called chemistry that determines who stands on the podium after the last game of the season. Their roster looks good on paper but so did the 1977 Sixers lineup, and they fell short of their quest of winning that year’s title. And, lest we forget the Miami Heat’s Big Three.
I know that most people associated with Jets Nation wanted Asomugha. That signing would have given us the best cornerback tandem in NFL history. However, it was not going to address the Jets’ needs. We already have the League’s best cornerback in Darrelle Revis. Bringing Asomugha into the fold would have been a luxury and not a necessity. With the money Tannebaum was dangling in front of Asomugha, they were able to resign David Harris and Antonio Cromartie. Gang Green also signed free agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress. The Jets need these players if they are going to have a chance of building on the success they achieve over the past two seasons.
The Jets also need to shore up their linebacker and safety units. Asomugha would have been of little help against the Pittsburgh Steelers in last year’s AFC Championship Game. Rex Ryan is excited about the two rookie defensive linemen, Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis, but they are rookies and we have to temper our enthusiasm until they prove their metal when the lights are turned on. If the Jets can come up with a serviceable linebacker and safety before the season starts, Rex Ryan’s unfulfilled Super Bowl predictions might come true. If they would have signed Asomugha, they would have had nothing left to shore up the other deficiencies they have and perhaps would have taken a step backwards.
The Eagles were not the only other team to strike it rich this off season. The New England Patriots also hit the lottery in trading for disgruntled defensive tackle Albert Hanyesworth and wide receiver Chad Ochocinco for a couple of fifth-round draft picks. That is grand larceny, but that is why the Patriots dominated the past decade and are in position to continue for the foreseeable future. Johnson gives Bill Belichick the ability to stretch the field and Hanyesworth, when motivated, can take over a game along the defensive line. The Patriots have a history of taking folks from the Island of Misfit Players and resurrecting their careers. Hopefully, Ryan has the necessary tools to foil Belichick’s plans.
Surprisingly, the New York Giants have yet to make a big splash during this signing period. General Manager Jerry Reese has been laying low. He did resign Ahmad Bradshaw, but has done very little in the free agent market. I guess the Osi Umenyiora saga has drained him. The Giants gave the disgruntled defensive lineman’s agent permission to seek out a trade, but reports on Wednesday, August 3, 2011 say that permission may have been rescinded. Umenyiora reportedly wants a contract in neighborhood of $8 to $10 million and the Giants want a first round draft pick in return. Expect to see Osi in a Giant uniform on opening day. No team is going to give up a first-round pick, especially since they do not have to pay rookies a king’s ransom anymore.
Teams are willing to pay the big bucks to resign their own free agents, but some of the bigger named free agents looking to relocate are finding that the clubs are not willing to cough up long-term, high-priced contracts. That is why Randy Moss decided to retire and Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards is still without a home. Other players, like Ronnie Brown, settled for a one-year, $1 million contract when he thought that he would have signed a multi-year, multi- million dollar contract by now. I expect both Moss and Edwards to be signed by opening day. It just will be for far less than everyone anticipated.
This preseason will be one of the more interesting periods in NFL history. There are several big-name free agents still out there without a home. There will be a revolving door at each training camp with players coming and going. Do not think that any team’s roster is set by no means. General managers will be working the phones with the hopes that they can improve their respective squads.
If you are disappointed with your team’s current roster, you should just be patient. No baseball team won a pennant in February and no NFL team will win the Super Bowl in July. The Eagles have leaped to the head of the line as far as Super Bowl favorites, but it is a long season. I’m happy with what the Jets have accomplished thus far and I’m waiting to see what Jerry Reese and the Giants are going to do. Perhaps we will see a Jets-Eagles Super Bowl and perhaps neither of them will make it. There are too many factors that will determine who will be hoisting the Lombardi trophy in February. We will have to just wait and see how this plays out.