You’ve got the questions, I’ve got the answers (I think). Our New York Jets query of the week:
@RichCimini: The Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears also have been linked to Tony Romo. Right now, it’s a total guessing game. I suspect the Jets might have interest, too, but I don’t see that marriage happening. Romo wants to play for a Super Bowl contender — who can blame him? — so that rules out the Jets.
When Romo lands somewhere, it’ll start a domino effect in the quarterback market, causing another quarterback to shake free. That’s where the Jets can benefit. Let’s say your hunch is correct and he ends up with the Denver Broncos. How would that affect the Jets?
Forget about Paxton Lynch becoming available. The Broncos took him with a first-round pick, and there’s no way they’d cut bait after only one year. It wouldn’t make sense from a football standpoint or a salary-cap standpoint. Besides, the Jets wouldn’t give up a high pick for Lynch. They weren’t particularly high on him in the draft. I heard they had a middle-round grade on him.
Trevor Siemian would be a possibility under your Romo scenario, but the problem is this: The Broncos would have all the leverage. They control Siemian’s rights for two more years at a ridiculously inexpensive price — cap numbers of $628,000 and $728,000 in 2017 and 2018, respectively. They could easily keep him as a No. 2 or No. 3 quarterback with no strain on their cap situation. Remember, he was a seventh-round pick — cheap labor.
With no sense of urgency, the Broncos would have to be blown out of the water to trade Siemian. If you’re Mike Maccagnan, would you deal a first-rounder for him? I wouldn’t. A second-rounder? That’s still a rich price. Siemian did a respectable job last year (8-6 as the starter, 18 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 84.6 passer rating), but he’s still an unfinished product.
Before they do anything, the Jets must update their evaluations of Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. This will determine which aisle of the quarterback market they’ll be shopping. Do they pursue a “bridge” quarterback, or do they make a significant investment? If it’s the latter, we’ll know they’re not counting on Petty and Hackenberg.
The NFL hands out its awards Saturday night in Houston. Safety Landon Collins has a legitimate shot to be named AP Defensive Player of the Year and quarterback Eli Manning is a finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year honor.In this space, we’re going to discuss the merits of Collins, a second-year player who busted out with an All-Pro season. It was a surprising jump from up-and-down rookie to difference-making jack-of-all-trades safety. He was a star for the Giants this season.
“I know he’s playing at a high level for us,” coach Ben McAdoo said during the year, after Collins had five interceptions in a four-game stretch. “He’s still learning, he’s still growing, he’s still a young player. He’s preparing well, and he’s very productive.”
Just about everyone noticed. Will it be enough to beat out such players as Denver’s Von Miller, Atlanta’s Vic Beasley Jr., Los Angeles’ Aaron Donald and Oakland’s Khalil Mack, who are believed to be his top competition?
Let’s look at Collins’ case:
Why he deserves DPOY: His stat line speaks for itself — 125 tackles, four sacks, five interceptions, 13 passes defended, one touchdown. He led all safeties with 46 defensive stops, according to Pro Football Focus. That was eight more than any other safety. Nobody in the NFL produced such a diverse stat line. Collins was the only player with at least 100 tackles, three sacks and three interceptions. He helped transform a defense that was among the worst in the league last season to the one of the best in 2016. Collins played every snap and was a consistent performer from start to finish on a defense that allowed the second-fewest points. All in all, he was brilliant in 2016, and likely exceeded even the loftiest of expectations.
Why he doesn’t deserve DPOY: The argument against Collins isn’t really a knock. It’s more a bonus for his competition. Miller, Mack and Donald did their damage through constant double teams. Teams game-planned to stop them. That wasn’t necessarily the case for Collins, especially early in the year when nobody knew he was a top-level player. It likely wasn’t the case later in the year either with much of the attention on trying to contain Damon Harrison in the middle of the Giants’ defensive line.
Collins still played his role brilliantly. He was used mostly near the line of scrimmage as a run-stuffer, blitzer and in coverage mostly in the short and intermediate areas of the field. That was ideal for his skill set. But the Giants didn’t use him often to stop or shadow the league’s better tight ends or help prevent all the big plays they allowed downfield (only one team allowed more passes of 20 or more yards). That’s just not the strength of his game.
Prediction: Von Miller wins Defensive Player of the Year
Collins finishes second or third (possibly behind Mack as well). It’s part name cache and part Miller’s ability to dominate despite intense attention and double teams. Miller finished second in the league with 13.5 sacks, tied for sixth with 24 quarterback hits and had 78 combined tackles, the most of any player with double-digit sacks. He was also the leader of a Broncos defense that held up its end of the bargain, finishing fourth in yards and points allowed. Miller is a worthy winner. Collins was a worthy candidate.