Jets Rumors

AFC East Notes: Pats, Gronk, Jets, Anderson

Will Rob Gronkowski come out of retirement to rejoin the Patriots? There’s a “40% chance” of that happening, a source close to the tight end tells Mike Florio of PFT.

Much has been made about Gronkowski’s apparent weight loss, but the tight end claims that he’s lost only 18 pounds since the Super Bowl. Assuming that only a fraction of that weight is muscle mass, it might not be hard for Gronk to get back into football shape, should he decide to retake the gridiron.

Florio speculates that a direct appeal from Tom Brady to Gronkowski could convince the veteran to give it one more go. Furthermore, while coach Bill Belichick isn’t crazy about players cherry picking their activity participation, he believes that Belichick has taken a softened stance and would not stand in the way of Gronkowski rejoining the team later this year.

While we wait to see what happens with everyone’s favorite party animal, here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson can cash in with a huge 2019 season, Brian Costello of the New York Post writes. Anderson had 50 catches for 752 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games last year. More importantly, he averaged 15 yards per catch and showed that he is one of the best deep threats in the league. New coach Adam Gase has already said that he wants to better utilize Anderson’s blazing speed, so he could set himself up for a sizable payday in 2020.
  • This week, the Jets added to their analytics department with the hire of Matt Sheldon as their new director of football research and strategy (Twitter link via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com). Sheldon held the same title under Adam Gase with the Dolphins in ’17 and ’18. It’s a sign that the Jets are putting greater emphasis on advanced stats and also another sign of Gase’s serious influence in the organization.

Jets' Avery Williamson Changing Positions

  • Avery Williamson will slide to the Jets‘ weakside linebacker spot to accommodate C.J. Mosley, Brian Costello of the New York Post notes. The market-shattering free agent addition will become Gang Green’s defensive play-caller, though both are set to be three-down ‘backers in Gregg Williams‘ defense. In his previous Jets role, Williamson totaled a career-high 120 tackles and graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 18 traditional linebacker last season.

Jets’ Chris Herndon Suspended By NFL

Jets tight end Chris Herndon has been suspended for four games by the NFL. Herndon’s ban stems from a drunk driving arrest and subsequent guilty plea. 

Ordinarily, Herndon would be facing a two-game ban for the violation. However, a woman at the scene of the crash later claimed bodily harm, raising the suspension to four games.

As a rookie, Herndon tallied 39 receptions for 502 yards and four touchdowns across a full 16-game slate. This year, he won’t be eligible to play until Oct. 13, but can participate in preseason contests.

It’s a bad blow for the Jets as Herndon is among their most promising young offensive players. They’ll have to get by without him for games against the Bills, Browns, Patriots, and Eagles before he can return to face the Cowboys.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Jets' Backup QB Battle

The Jets inked former Broncos starter Trevor Siemian to a one-year, $2MM this offseason with the plan to use him as a backup to quarterback Sam Darnold. But as Connor Hughes of The Athletic writes, fellow signal-caller Davis Webb was more impressive during the spring. Webb, a Giants 2017 third-round pick that the Jets claimed off waivers last year, doesn’t have any NFL experience under his belt, while Siemian has started 24 pro games. Gang Green could potentially release Siemian, but they’d be saddled with $1MM in dead money. An alternative, per Hughes, could involve trading Webb for a mid-round pick, although it’s unclear if another club would sacrifice any real draft capital in exchange for an unproven quarterback.

NFL Supplemental Draft Order

The NFL’s Supplemental Draft order does not go by the inverted win/loss records of clubs. Instead, the order is dictated by a weighted lottery that uses a team’s win percentage as just part of the equation. Here, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link) is the complete order of the supplemental draft:

1. Lions
2. Broncos
3. Jets
4. Cardinals
5. Giants
6. Bills
7. Raiders
8. 49ers
9. Jaguars
10. Packers
11. Bengals
12. Bucs
13. Falcons
14. Vikings
15. Redskins
16. Titans
17. Dolphins
18. Steelers
19. Panthers
20. Browns
21. Ravens
22. Patriots
23.Cowboys
24. Seahawks
25. Eagles
26. Texans
27. Bears
28. Colts
29. Saints
30. Chiefs
31. Chargers
32. Rams

The supplemental draft is conducted via email. If multiple teams submit a pick for the same player in the same round, this order dictates which club gets the player. Of course, any team picking a player in the supplemental draft will sacrifice the corresponding pick in the 2020 draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Happy With Jamison Crowder

  • It sounds like Jamison Crowder is going to have a big role with the Jets. Crowder was always highly regarded during his time in Washington, but never truly broke out and injuries ruined his 2018 campaign. He signed a three-year, $28.5MM deal this offseason, and New York is apparently very high on him, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Mehta writes that new coach “Adam Gase has made no secret about how much he’ll lean on pass catchers inside the numbers in his scheme.” Crowder will be operating out of the slot, and it looks like he might thrive in Gase’s offense. That spot is important to us,” Gase said of slot receivers. “(It) really kind of creates the tempo of the offense.” He continued by saying “a lot of the slot receivers, historically have been not guys that are threats down the field. He’s a threat down the field, but at the same time he can catch it and create, which is going to be interesting for us because we’ve never had a guy who can really juice it up.” Mehta also writes that Sam Darnold already feels fondly toward his new safety blanket.
  • In case you missed it, Jets left tackle Kelvin Beachum is unlikely to be back with the team in 2020.

Jets Unlikely To Bring Back Kelvin Beachum In 2020?

Kelvin Beachum is under contract with the Jets through 2019, but Brian Costello of the New York Post does not expect him to return to Gang Green in 2020. The club could have cut him this offseason but opted to bring him back to serve as Sam Darnold‘s blindside protector for one more year.

Beachum signed a three-year, $24MM contract with the Jets in March 2017, and he has started every game for Gang Green since he signed that deal. However, he has not been especially productive, ranking 48th out of 80 qualified tackles in 2018 per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. He also tied for the team lead with seven accepted penalties last year and had two more declined. He allowed five sacks, and his run-blocking left much to be desired.

Still, an $8MM salary for an average LT is not terrible, and it’s not as though the Jets needed the salary cap space they could have saved by cutting Beachum. Plus, New York does not have anyone on the roster who looks like an immediate upgrade. Third-round rookie Chuma Edoga may be able to step into the LT job next year, but there are concerns about his core power and maturity, and at the very least, it seems he will need a year or so to develop.

Costello believes new GM Joe Douglas will overhaul the entire O-line next year, and Beachum does not figure to be part of the revamped unit.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets’ Brandon Shell Underwent Knee Surgery

Jets right tackle Brandon Shell has a chance to earn himself a lucrative contract based on his play next season. However, he’ll first have to prove that he’s fully recovered from a knee injury. As Brian Costello of the New York Post writes, the 27-year-old underwent surgery on his left knee this past offseason.

The exact injury hasn’t been reported, but we learned back in December that it had nothing to do with the lineman’s ACL or MCL. It also sounds like the operation was a success, as Costello writes that Shell was practicing fully during OTAs and didn’t show any issues with his knee.

If Shell is indeed healthy, it’d be ideal timing. After all, the 2016 fifth-rounder is set to hit free agency following the 2019 campaign. While Shell has started 29 of his 34 career games (including 16 starts over the past two seasons), he’s now playing for a new head coach and GM. As Costello writes, 2019 will be Shell’s opportunity to show both Adam Gase and Joe Douglas that he should be considered a foundational piece of the Jets’ offensive line.

While Shell didn’t have a standout 2018 season protecting rookie Sam Darnold, he showed improvements over his 2017 season. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked Shell 56th among 80 eligible tackles, and he allowed only 1.5 sacks throughout the year. The lineman will predictably have a lot more pressure on him in 2019, as he’ll now be blocking for an All-Pro running back in Le’Veon Bell.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Marcus Simms Works Out For Teams

Former West Virginia wide receiver Marcus Simms worked out for half of the NFL’s teams on Monday, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com. The Jaguars, Saints, Seahawks, Colts, Jets, Redskins, Chiefs, Browns, Eagles, Lions, Packers, 49ers, Vikings, Ravens, Raiders, and Falcons.

[RELATED: The 2019 NFL Supplemental Draft, So Far]

The 49ers and Vikings both sent directors of scouting while the Ravens had their personnel director on hand. The Raiders, meanwhile, had general manager Mike Mayock on hand, which may be an indicator of strong interest.

Simms’ 40-yard-dash times of 4.49, 4.45 and 4.40 seconds were strong, while his 36 inch vertical showed decent hops for the position. While he’s not considered to be as strong of a pro prospect as Washington State safety Jalen Thompson, Simms has a chance at being selected when the NFL Supplemental Draft takes place later this month.

Shepherd 'Forgotten Man' With Jets?

  • The Jets took a gamble by drafting defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd in the third round last year, and so far it hasn’t paid off. Shepherd played at small-school Fort Hays State so he was a bit hard to scout, but the team banked on his upside when they took him 72nd overall. Shepherd played around 30 percent of the team’s defensive snaps as a rookie, but didn’t play particularly well and appears to be falling out of favor with the new coaching staff. While breaking down the team’s depth chart, Matt Stypulkoski of NJ.com writes that Shepherd’s stock has gone down so far this offseason, saying it “sure seems like it only took one season for Shepherd to turn into something of a forgotten man,” and adding that he “hasn’t proven enough.” There’s still a long way to go, so Shepherd could always find himself back in favor with Adam Gase, but right now things aren’t looking great.