Jets Pay Him or Slay Him Analysis: We Play General Manager, Deciding Who Should Stay And Who Should Go On Defense This Offseason

January 24, 2015

By Brad Carroll


Now that the New York Jets have finally found a new general manager and head coach to lead them into the future, fans can start to plan ahead as to what Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles will do to shape the roster over the next several weeks and months. It's obvious after a 4-12 season and four straight years without a postseason berth, there is a lot of work to be done to improve the team.


On defense, Bowles, the new head coach and former defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals, will see a solid starting point but a ton of holes as well. The defensive line, led by Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, is among the best in the league, and the linebacker core is a strength as well. The major emphasis of reconstruction is the secondary, a group that was completely ignored by the old general manager last offseason. The results of that embarrassing misjudgment was apparent on the field, leading to some lopsided scores with opposing quarterbacks, good and bad, having their way with the Jets passing the ball.


The decisions on who will be released and who will be targeted in free agency and the draft are still far off into the future, but that won't stop us from playing the role of GM and choosing which players should stay and which should go, or more to the point, Pay Him or Slay Him, to improve this team immediately. Read our offensive breakdown here.



PAY DEE MILLINER: If you can remember all the way back to the preseason, and early preseason at that, Milliner actually played extremely well in limited action. It gave the Jets and their fans something to latch on to that the secondary wouldn't be as bad as advertised. But Milliner tore his ACL and was lost for the season before playing in a real game. It was a huge blow to the Jets, and we all saw the results play out on the field. Milliner deserves another shot and should be one of the starting cornerbacks on the team. Next season is make-or-break for him, however.


SLAY KYLE WILSON: We've practically begged the Jets to "slay" Wilson for the past several years, and much to our chagrin, nobody listened. But that should all change now, as Wilson will likely be a guaranteed goner very soon. Wilson was a horrible bust as a first-round draft pick, never coming anywhere near reaching that level of expected production. He couldn't even start this season when the Jets were picking guys from the crowd to play the position. It will be a joyous day for Jets fans once he gets his walking papers. Too bad it didn't happen sooner.


PAY MARCUS WILLIAMS: Let's not get ahead of ourselves and praise Williams for a having a good season. His play only looked good because those who were put at corner before him were just plain awful. But to his credit, Williams became the best of a horrible bunch and could be kept around as a fourth or fifth corner type, and maybe a nickel back if he improves greatly in the offseason.


SLAY DARRIN WALLS and PHILLIP ADAMS: They are a pair of the aforementioned terrible cornerbacks, so get rid of them and start (almost) completely over at the position.


PAY CALVIN PRYOR: And pray he isn't a complete bust, like Wilson and Vernon Gholston before him. Pryor had a disaster of a rookie season, with all of his big talk resulting in zero production. The Jets liked Pryor coming out of college because he was a big-hitting safety. Pryor, however, couldn't even make a tackle, let alone make a game-influencing hit. Remember too, the Jets took Pryor over Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who was an immediate starter for the Green Bay Packers, who nearly made it to the Super Bowl. If this was Pryor's second season, it would have been an easy "slay," but he gets the benefit of the doubt and another year to prove himself with a clean slate.


SLAY ANTONIO ALLEN: The coaching staff didn't do him any favors by moving him from safety to corner to safety and to corner again, but Allen was terrible no matter what position he was playing. In a lot of ways, Allen was the worst member of the secondary  this past season and there's little reason to keep a player like that on the team.


SLAY DAWAN LANDRY: He's a year older and a free agent, so the Jets can focus on getting younger and better at safety to start opposite Pryor.


PAY JAIQUAWN JARRETT: He had the game of his life against the Steelers in the middle of this past season after supplanting Pryor as the starting safety, proving he can be a playmaker. But that was the only impact he made for the team all year. Jarrett would just be here for depth purposes.



PAY DAVID HARRIS: The Jets leader on defense picked a perfect time to have another solid season, as he heads into free agency. Harris, however, shouldn't expect to break the bank on the open market, and if his dollar requests are within reason, the Jets need to bring him back. He's coming off a huge contract so we'll see how things develop in free agency, but he's a nice player the Jets should want.


PAY QUINTON COPLES: We're one of the few (or so it seems) believers in Coples as a potential defensive force, mainly because he hasn't been given the ability to demonstrate exactly what he can do on a consistent basis. Coples hasn't been the player any of us expected as a first round draft pick, however, so next season would be a make-or-break one. He had 6.5 sacks this past season and needs to get into double-digits to stick around. But Coples deserves another chance to prove himself.


PAY DEMARIO DAVIS: He's an up-and-coming player who could benefit in a big way under the new guidance and new defensive scheme of new coach Bowles.


SLAY CALVIN PACE: He deserved to come back last season after registering 10 sacks the year before, but Pace got half that this season and should find work elsewhere.


SLAY JASON BABIN: He didn't do much in his one year with the Jets, and certainly not enough to bring back when the theme for the new defense should be to get younger and better.



PAY MUHAMMAD WILKERSON and SHELDON RICHARDSON: Because we're not crazy. Wilkerson is the best player on the team and Richardson is a close second. The Jets do need to give Wilkerson a long-term contract sooner rather than later. He certainly deserves it. Get that deal done and enjoy the duo wreck havoc on opposing offensive lines once again next season.


PAY DAMON HARRISON: The strength of the Jets is their defensive line and Harrison is the man in the middle of that group. It's the one area the Jets don't have to look outside the organization for help, other than adding depth.


SLAY KENRICK ELLIS: We always thought Ellis was better than the coaches did, as he never truly got a shot to show what he can do. He couldn't beat out Harrison, an undrafted free agent, which doesn't look good for the former third-round draft pick. Ellis is a free agent and there's no need to have him return as a backup.


SLAY LEGER DOUZABLE: He played in 16 games this past season and 25 tackles and 2.5 sacks. There's better, younger players out there to fill the line with depth. Douzable will be heading into his eighth season in the NFL.


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