It’s been a busy Monday morning following the annual Green & White Scrimmage this weekend, so we delayed our usual New York Jets mailbag column a bit until the late afternoon.
As always our expert writers Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller will answer the hot-topic questions of the week. Today will focus on the aforementioned Green & White Scrimmage, 2022’s first unofficial depth chart, Denzel Mims’ uncertain future with the franchise, and the latest on Duane Brown and Mekhi Becton.
Most recent mailbag articles:
- Week 50: Strongest & weakest positional groups, moving on from recent draft picks & Zach Wilson’s cougar drama.
- Week 51: Multi-year contracts still on the market & most challenging positional cuts.
- Week 52: Start of training camp — surprise cuts & offseason transformations.
- Week 53: Camp standouts & disappointments, notable cuts that could occur.
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Green & White Reactions
1. Give me one player from the Green & White Scrimmage that stole your eye and impressed you heading into the first preseason game.
It has to be Tyler Conklin. I had the opportunity to speak with him earlier this offseason on my YouTube channel and he seems like he has a major chip on his shoulder.
The tight end reportedly had seven catches on Saturday night, plus he was the receiver on Zach Wilson’s only touchdown pass.
C.J. Uzomah is louder and makes more money so it makes sense that he has won the headlines, however, Conklin is going to be a guy they feed the ball to in this offense throughout the 2022 season. I’m looking forward to a real taste of that during the preseason.
To me, it was first-round draft pick Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. The rookie cornerback was not my preferred selection at No. 4 overall — I’ll be the first to admit that — but he has impressed me early on this spring and summer.
For the most part, Sauce locked down receivers like Elijah Moore, Corey Davis and Garrett Wilson during his initial “game” at MetLife Stadium. One fan video of Gardner versus Moore actually ended up going viral — that’s a ton of talent on one jump ball.
Most importantly though, the moment wasn’t too big for Gardner, it was just right. That’s what you want from a rookie that’s expected to start.
2. Give me one player that you were confident in making the roster, but are more worried about now after the Green & White Scrimmage.
This is a weird one because he didn’t actually play, but Vinny Curry. The sage of this edge rushing unit has been sidelined with a hamstring issue.
The Jets’ depth on the defensive line is incredible and the more time he misses, the more it seems like a lock that he’ll be playing elsewhere in 2022.
Curry has an inspirational story and is a savvy veteran but they just have too many guys and it’s a numbers game.
Mine is safety Ashtyn Davis. It’s not that the 2020 third-round draft pick did something wrong at the scrimmage, it’s that his greatest competition keeps doing things right.
Will Parks had another highlight-reel interception at the Green & White game — making it two straight practices that he did so. This isn’t some camp body scrub. Parks is an experienced veteran that has contributed at virtually every franchise he’s played for.
He knows how to play special teams too, which should also help his chances. With Jason Pinnock already sliding into Davis’ role as the potential long-term starter, Joe Douglas could cut bait with the draft disappointment while he still has some value by trading him before Week 1.
3. How much do you think it would cost to sign Duane Brown after his MetLife visit? Should the Jets pull the trigger?
Yes, they should. I’ve pounded the table for this move for months.
I would do a similar Morgan Moses deal from last year — a one-year deal for about $3 or $4 million guaranteed, with incentives that can pay more. I just don’t think a proven commodity like him will sign for less, but Douglas has surprised us before with his wizardry so you never know.
I’d pull the trigger yesterday though. You have to get this signing done as soon as possible. Again this isn’t an indictment on Becton or George Fant, you just have to possess a good backup plan. Brown would give you an elite option off the bench.
Paul sent in his answers just before the Becton camp injury today but I have the benefit of that knowledge before I comment. Honestly, it wouldn’t have changed my response besides upping the level of enthusiasm.
I had hoped they wouldn’t let Brown leave the building on Saturday night. Now I’d be on the phone promising him more guarantees.
People worry about money but the Jets have plenty of it. On a one-year deal, there are no long-term ramifications here. Whether Becton’s knee injury today was a false alarm or not, we just received a massive reality check. There is a likelihood that either Becton or Fant WILL miss time in 2022. They are both prone to doing so and each has a knee that is fresh off a surgery.
I don’t care if we spend above budget on this one. I’d give him $5 million in guaranteed money and another few million in incentives. Fortunately, I’m not the GM and it won’t cost that much. Riley Reiff just signed with a base salary of $3 million and even less in guarantees. Sure, his incentives could raise that number over $10 million but with Brown, that’s less likely to happen.
I think it would cost something similar to Reiff’s deal. Pay the man!
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2022 Roster Spots Are Hard to Come By
4. With all the rookie wide receivers that have been impressing at camp (Calvin Jackson Jr, Irvin Charles, Keshunn Abram), would you trade Denzel Mims in order to keep an extra youngster during cuts?
I wouldn’t do it solely for that reason but that’s another plus to moving Mims.
The former Baylor product wants to be a starter but there is a snowball’s chance in hell that happens with the Jets. If he wants it that bad, it will have to happen elsewhere.
I’d love to bring up one of those young guys (Charles is my favorite of the group), but the big reason is Mims is buried on the depth chart and it’s time to hit the eject button while he still has value.
I feel I’ve gained somewhat of a reputation as a Mims hater on Twitter but honestly, I have nothing against the guy. I would love to see him succeed here but his best opportunity may have come and gone in 2021.
Corey Davis and Moore were out with injury and Mims did nothing. He was outplayed by Tarik Black and D.J. Montgomery! If you want to blame his bout with food poisoning or COVID, fine, I’ll allow it. My counter is this — why is he running with Mike White and the third-team most practices this summer? Behind guys like Charles, Calvin Jackson Jr., or USFL pickup Rashard Davis.
There’s no explanation other than the fact that he just doesn’t fit here. Whether he doesn’t fit into the offensive system in general, or into Mike LaFleur and Robert Saleh’s plans is up for debate. Either way, he was drafted by Adam Gase’s staff and something doesn’t appear to be working under the new regime.
Mims looks and sounds frustrated, he doesn’t play special teams, and he’s headed toward the end of his rookie contract after the 2023 campaign. I’d trade him in a player swap and keep one of the promising rookies in his place — either Jackson or Charles.
5. What surprised you most about the Jets’ first unofficial depth chart?
Surprised? Nothing too crazy, no.
I had two major observations — linebacker Marcell Harris over Kwon Alexander is interesting but I think that is a present issue that will sooner rather than later be fixed with Alexander taking over by the time the season arrives.
The other very interesting nugget was Bryce Hall and Ahmad Gardner being listed as co-starters. Gang Green has awesome depth but Sauce will have to earn his nickname and the starting gig at cornerback.
These initial depth charts should always be taken with a grain of salt. Rookies are often placed very low — so credit to Gardner for being so high — and recent signings tend to be out of whack as well. To that point, one decision did intrigue and shock me.
Solomon Thomas was listed as the starting defensive tackle next to Quinnen Williams. Now, it’s been heavily reported that John Franklin-Myers will start at the defensive end position in the base formation, so that part didn’t surprise me but Thomas over Sheldon Rankins did — especially when you consider his newcomer status.
I think most people always looked at the failed former first-round pick as a rotational guy in New York. Someone that could potentially be on the roster bubble, even, but that does not appear to be the case after the early show of support.
P.S. At the highly-contested edge rusher battle, Jacob Martin and Vinny Curry were listed as the backups behind “JFM” and Carl Lawson, for what it’s worth. Bryce Huff and Jermaine Johnson II were the third-stringers with players like Jabari Zuniga, Tim Ward, Micheal Clemons and more regulated to the fourth-string column.
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