By Brad Carroll
It took less than five hours for the new regime that runs the New York Jets to fix the severe errors made by the previous leadership (if you can call it that), adding a new offensive lineman, re-signing a running back, trading for a No. 1 wide receiver and adding two new starting cornerbacks, one of which just happens to be the best in all of football.
Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan, with owner Woody Johnson's checkbook in hand, has put a bigger stamp on this organization in a few weeks than former GM John Idzik did in two years. While Idzik was vilified for his role in destroying the Jets roster, Maccagnan is being hailed as a hero for revamping the entire team in a matter of days.
Of course, the biggest move was stealing star cornerback Darrelle Revis away from the rival Patriots with a huge free agency deal. Revis will make $70 million over five years, with $38 million guaranteed. He will make $16 million, $17 million, $16 million, and $11 million in the final two years. The first two seasons are fully guaranteed.
It's a ton of money, but the Jets have money to spend, with around $45 million in cap space, so Revis makes complete sense to add to the payroll. Plus, the Jets did save $10.5 million earlier Tuesday when they released wide receiver Percy Harvin and won't have a quarterback to pay millions to the next several seasons, whether it's Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick or Marcus Mariota under center.
And there is the fact Revis returned this past season to his elite status as the best cornerback in the NFL and in the top five of all defensive players. He was an All-Pro with the Patriots and should play again at that level with the Jets for the next three seasons, at least.
While Revis was the biggest score for Maccagnan on the opening day of the free agency period, he wasn't the only one. In fact, the Jets added Revis' corner partner earlier in the day as well, signing former Browns cornerback Buster Skrine to a four-year, $25 million deal. There isn't much known about Skrine, but he automatically becomes a starter with the Jets secondary in horrible shape.
With Revis, Skrine and a hopefully improved Dee Milliner, the Jets should have a great threesome of cornerbacks, as opposed to the pile of garbage that was part of the team last year. Skrine started 31 games for the Browns the past two years and will turn 26 years old in April, so he has plenty of upside.
The Jets also signed former Seahawks guard James Carpenter, a first round draft pick in 2011, to a four-year, $20 million deal. The Jets aimed higher in the guard market, but struck out on Mike Iupati and Orlando Franklin, so Carpenter became a hot commodity. The Jets needed a starting guard in the worst way, so they had to make the deal to bring in a player who has under-performed for Seattle, but did play better the last two years.
It's a chance the Jets had to take.
The Jets brought back one of their own as well Tuesday, re-signing running back Bilal Powell. That move should bring an end to the talk of the Jets signing C.J. Spiller. Powell deserves the chance to take over Chris Johnson's role from a year ago, and he should do it better. Chris Ivory will still be the main ball carrier.
In addition to releasing Harvin, the Jets made the Brandon Marshall trade official, giving the team a true No. 1 wide receiver to play opposite Eric Decker.
The Jets aren't done this offseason, and the next move just might be adding to the quarterback position, with Fitzpatrick being the most talked about possible addition. If the Jets are to truly hit a grand slam, they'll add a quarterback in the draft. But that's a ways away.
So far, though, Maccagnan has already made everyone forget about the past two horrible seasons. The Jets are back in the national spotlight. And, for the first time in a long time, it's for all the right reasons.