The super-sized, action-packed edition of the Jets Mailbag features the possibility of Super Bowl MVPs Nick Foles and Malcolm Butler in Gang Green’s future, why the Jets aren’t giving up on Robby Anderson, why Todd Bowles can bring home the Lombardi Trophy and much more.
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Nick Foles will be beloved in the City of Brotherly Love for eternity after his magical run that gave the Eagles their first Lombardi Trophy, but let’s not turn him into something he’s not. Foles is the best backup quarterback in the league. If you think he can be a highly productive full-time starter, you’ll be disappointed.
Credit Doug Pederson for installing more run-pass option elements to cater to Foles’ skillset during their historic run, but this Super Bowl MVP isn’t the answer for the Jets. If Gang Green strikes out on Kirk Cousins, the smart money would be on a Josh McCown/first-round quarterback combo platter. (I would take the Teddy Bridgewater/Josh McCown/second- or third-round quarterback trio route if they can’t land Cousins, but what do I know? I’m just a reporter with a surgically-repaired knee).
The Eagles will surely entertain offers for Foles, who is scheduled to earn a $3 million roster bonus in March as part of a $7 million package in the final year of his deal in 2018, but I’d be surprised if teams would part with anything more than a third-rounder (or a conditional fourth) for his services. Would the Eagles say goodbye to the league’s best insurance policy given Carson Wentz’s uncertain timetable from ACL/PCL rehab for anything worse than a second-round pick? I doubt it.
Would the Jets trade one of their two second-rounders for Foles, who is about a year younger than Cousins? I would be stunned if Gang Green, who will probably do their due diligence and inquire, goes in that direction.
Bottom line: Cousins still is the absolute best option for the Jets.
What better way for Butler to exact revenge for his inexplicable Super Bowl benching than by sticking it to Bill Belichick twice a year as a member of the team that the Hoodie despises? It would be perfect.
Oh, and it just so happens that Gang Green is looking to add two starting cornerbacks this offseason. The Jets would love to sign Mo Claiborne and add another piece in the secondary (via free agency or draft). Truth be told, the master plan would be to add a true No. 1 cornerback alongside Claiborne. Finances aside, Buster Skrine would be the ideal slot corner for them.
Does Butler fit that No. 1 corner description? Well, he’s only one of three players at his position with at least 10 pass breakups and two interceptions in each of the past three seasons, according to Pro Football Focus. Butler has 44 passes defensed and eight interceptions in his three seasons as a full-time starter. He’s proven to be much more than a Super Bowl fluke. The 2015 Pro Bowler and 2016 second-team All-Pro had some lulls in his play this season, but there’s a belief that he wasn’t thrilled about not getting a long-term deal last offseason.
The 5-11 Butler is not the longest corner out there, but he can play.
Tom Brady gave Butler a matter-of-fact endorsement on social media after Belichick put the cornerback on ice in the biggest game of the season: “Love you Malcolm! You are and incredible teammate and player and friend. Always!”
There are a few quality free-agent corners on the market. Will the Jets have interest in Butler?
Come on. We all know the answer to that.
This might be hard for some people to accept, but Anderson isn’t a bad guy. Did he make regrettable remarks to a police officer after his recent arrest? Absolutely.
Does he need to steer clear of some questionable influences back home in Florida? I would say yes.
But know this: The Jets aren’t ready to give up on him. My understanding is that the team does not plan to cut Anderson (barring another transgression obviously). He is young (24), talented (a team-high 941 yards and seven TDs in 2017), cheap ($630,000 base salary in 2018) and could be under team control through 2019.
Anderson, frankly, needs a solid and stable mentor. Jermaine Kearse and others were good influences on the young wideout during the season, but those teammates arent around-the-clock babysitters. Anderson must learn to handle everything that comes with being a professional athlete. Again, he is not a bad guy. He can turn things around if he truly wants to. He needs to grow up.
Here’s the unvarnished truth though: Anderson has two pending legal issues, including a court appearance next month for his arrest at a music festival in Florida last summer. The smart money is on Anderson missing some time in 2018 due to a suspension.
Let me tell you a story about freshly minted Super Bowl champion Doug Pederson. The Philly fan base was less than thrilled when the Eagles hired him two years ago. Heck, no other team wanted him. He wasn’t a “hot candidate.” In fact, the sports talk radio airwaves were lit up with ticked off followers who viewed Pederson as nothing more than Andy Reid Lite.
Pederson was grilled for his questionable play-calling in the second half of Kansas City’s playoff loss to the Patriots that season. Philly fans didn’t have much belief in their new coach. Pederson went through some growing pains as a rookie coach with fans and media questioning his overly aggressive play-calling. Heck, Pederson single-handedly cost the Eagles a win in Dallas that first year with an ill-conceived pass play-call that took his team out of field goal range to ice that game.
GM Howie Roseman radically re-shaped the roster over two years to help build a champion. Now, Pederson is a god in Philly.
The point is that you need talent to win. Bowles absolutely has the temperament to take the Jets to the Promised Land. Anyone who tells you otherwise has their mind made up that he will fail. Pro tip: Ignore those people. Bowles is a respected leader in that building. He has the command and smarts to take this franchise where it so desperately wants to go. Does that mean he will deliver the Lombardi Trophy? I don’t know. Nobody does. But I know this: He needs more talent in his locker room just like everyone else in his profession.
Oh, and Carson Wentz wouldn’t hurt.
Will you and Joe Beningo do a reality show together? Would be must see TV. @OlsenEohpd04
I have a tremendous amount of respect and empathy for long-suffering fans like Joe who lived and died with every disappointing season for the better part of five decades. But my message to Joe and other diehards is simple: Don’t be paralyzed by the past. Just because you haven’t found the Holy Grail in so long doesn’t mean you won’t find it in the future. Just ask the three million people during the parade route in Philly on Thursday. Oh, and a TV show with Joe would be fun but I fear we’d both lose our voices after the first episode.
Is there center or other positions on the offensive line that you see the Jets target in free agency that would make big impact? @RobbyJerzee
Everyone on One Jets Drive knows that they need an upgrade at center. Expect that to be addressed in free agency.
As far as our quarterback is concerned, if Cousins says no to us and it comes down to Josh Allen or Baker Mayfield, which is the better choice? (I get the issues of character and size with Mayfield and the accuracy issues and raw talent of Allen.) @djalive12
Josh Allen. He has the potential to be special.
What are the odds (Washington) franchise tag(s) Kirk Cousins? @Christaps__
Exactly 0.1969 percent.
How badly will the Jets botch this offseason? A) Bad B) Very Bad C) Hilariously Bad D) Jets Bad @SamIAmCorp
This seems like a loaded question. I’ll go with E) Better than you think.
Biggest need besides QB? … I think edge rusher. @JohnZitani
You would be correct.
Could you see the Jets trading down in the draft and stockpiling picks if they’re able to land Cousins in free agency? @spike_flibbs13
The only way I see that happening is if Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen or Josh Allen somehow falls to No. 6. A quarterback-needy team might be willing to give up valuable draft capital to get a crack at one of them. It could be an intriguing option depending on the compensation and how far the Jets would have to slide back in the first round.
What do the Jets need to do to compete with the Patriots? @SportsTalkJunke
Finding a difference-making quarterback would be a nice start.
When does Joe Klecko make the Hall of Fame? @Slicksie
It’s a traveshamockery. Hopefully, the versatile four-time Pro Bowler earns a spot in Canton one day.
Cousins sucks! @TDA3397
That, sir, is not a question.