NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, February 19, 2016, 10:56 AM
Bryce Petty, who has only seen preseason action, has the tools to succeed in the NFL.
Our weekend edition of the Jets mailbag delves into a potentially promising future, an enigmatic young player with plenty to prove, a blockbuster trade that could jolt the franchise and a Pro Bowler making a public announcement to 31 other teams.
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Thoughts on Bryce Petty’s development in the future… Do you think the Jets would take a QB at No. 20? – @SomethinFUNNEE Andrew Golden
Petty told me something pretty interesting in the Jets locker room late in the season. We were chatting about Baylor’s weird season that included all their injuries/issues at quarterback. He watched their games on TV just like everybody else these days, of course. He told me how incredibly easy/basic the opponents’ defenses looked to him now. After more than seven months of studying complex NFL defenses, this stuff on TV looked simple to him. It spoke to his growth as a player.
Petty is a much better quarterback now than he was when Chan Gailey and quarterbacks coach Kevin Patullo first got their hands on him last spring. He’s made important strides despite not getting in game reps as a rookie. The team brain trust has been careful not to rush his development. The biggest benefit for him as a fourth-round pick: There’s really no pressure to accelerate his learning curve from statistical giant in a college spread system to a pro-style quarterback.
The decision makers envisioned a 2-3 year developmental process, but they obviously wouldn’t hesitate to use him next season if he proves that he’s ahead of schedule and ready for the bright lights.
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s unexpected career revival has given the organization more time to properly evaluate the long-term quarterback situation, including Petty’s development. (We’re operating under the assumption that the Jets re-sign Fitzpatrick).
Petty has the physical traits to succeed at this level – he can make every throw – but here’s what fans might not know about him: The guy is a smart and willing listener. He admitted to me that there were times this season when he was frustrated – every competitor wants to play on Sundays – but he’s been mature enough to absorb all the information that Fitzpatrick, who’s been selfless and willing to share knowledge, has provided. Patullo has also been a terrific influence and mentor.
It’s impossible to definitively say right now whether or not Petty is the real deal, but I know this: The big stage won’t be too big for him when/if his time comes with the Jets. In fact, fans are going to fall in love with him. He has the presence and make-up to handle everything that comes with being a quarterback in New York.
That being said, the Jets should not – and will not – hesitate to take a quarterback with the No. 20 pick if they have a strong conviction in one of the signal callers on the board. It’s a smart strategy.
Don’t be surprised if the Jets select a quarterback at some point in the draft. Hall of Famer Ron Wolf, who helped Woody Johnson during the GM/head coach search process last year, subscribed to the notion that you should take a quarterback every year. That was a smart approach by a very smart man.
Ira from Staten Island doesn’t have a Twitter account, but we won’t hold that against the most loyal and level-headed Jets fan I’ve ever met. His question via email: I still think that Jace Amaro can fit well in Gailey’s spread offense. He wasn’t (the new regime’s) pick though. How do you think they use him?
First and foremost, it’s my understanding that Amaro’s rehab from his surgically-repaired left labrum has gone well over the past five-plus months. So, health shouldn’t be a concern.
The more pertinent question centers on how Gailey actually feels about Amaro as a player. Remember, that Amaro didn’t exactly get much love from the new coaching staff before he banged up his shoulder in the preseason opener against the Lions. He was ostracized to the far practice field with second- and third-stringers during the offseason. Amaro was buried on the depth chart behind Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Davis, but Todd Bowles rationalized the ranking by claiming that he was an H-Back more than a tight end.
The Jets used Quincy Enunwa as hybrid tight end/in-line blocker last season, but they desperately need a tight end upgrade after that position accounted for a league-low eight receptions in 2015. Jets tight ends also had the fewest composite playing time (617 reps), according to ESPN.
Amaro, Wes Saxton or perhaps Zach Sudfeld, a restricted free agent that missed the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL, could provide a boost. The Jets, of course, could add help through free agency and/or the draft too.
Amaro, a 2014 second-round pick by John Idzik, had a disappointing rookie season (38 catches, 345 yards, 2 TDs, too many drops). Gailey seems smart enough not to turn Amaro into an in-line blocker, so maybe there’s a chance that he can be productive in the slot or even occasionally split out wide in this spread scheme.
I know this: There are teammates, who are skeptical that Amaro will be effective. He has a lot to prove to a lot of people, including guys in his own locker room.
What are the chances that the Jets make a surprise move and trade Sheldon Richardson to the Titans for the first pick and an edge rusher? – @warrior7995
That’s an interesting idea, but don’t expect it to happen. Would the Jets make that trade? I believe they would, setting in motion a series of moves that would get Jets fans pretty excited. If Richardson were dealt for the top overall pick, the Jets would sign Mo Wilkerson to a long-term deal. They could go in a number of directions with the top pick in the draft, including bolstering their pass rush by selecting Ohio State’s Joey Bosa or replenishing the offensive line stud Mississippi tackle Laremy Tunsil. Or how about super-freak linebacker Myles Jack from UCLA or Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey?
Alas, the Titans are going to command much more than just Richardson, who will be looking for a blockbuster long-term contract in another year or two. Would the Jets really give up Richardson AND premium draft picks to get the No. 1 selection this year? Nope.
For the record: Richardson has a Hall-of-Fame skill set, in my opinion. The consensus from the scouts, coaches and front office executives that I’ve touched base with is that he’s the Jets defensive lineman with the highest upside.
Is it a real possibility that Chris Ivory could be elsewhere in 2016? – @awt14_ Andrew
The Jets have been in talks with the Ivory camp, but the likelihood is that he’ll test free agency. It seems like ages ago when we were waxing poetic about Ivory being the heart and soul of the Jets offense. Remember when he racked up 362 total yards in back-to-back games against the Dolphins and Washington in Weeks 4 and 6? He was an unstoppable force.
Nagging injuries slowed Ivory down in the second half of the season, but he still finished with his first 1,000-yard season and Pro Bowl berth. The Jets still want him back, but it’s more likely that he’ll land a bigger pay day from another team. Bowles’ top three running backs are unrestricted free agents. There’s no guarantee than any of them return, but Bilal Powell could be a cheap option. They will likely pick up a ball carrier in the draft too.
Is it realistic that the Jets sign Fitz, Snacks, Mo, Powell and still are able to sign impact players in free agency? – @ylowie747
I could bore you with the financial details, but I won’t. In short, the answer is: No.
Wilkerson will have the largest 2016 cap charge among that group when the team slaps the franchise tag for $ 15-16 million on him before March 1. The Pro Bowler provided a medical update – and not-so-subtle advertisement to any teams interested in trading for him after the franchise tag is applied – on his verified Twitter account on Thursday. Wilkerson underwent surgery Jan. 5 on his broken fibula suffered in the season finale in Buffalo.
“Great visit (with) Dr. Anderson (today) in NC,” Wilkerson tweeted. “Leg responded (great), starting rehab ahead of schedule. Anxious to get to work. Thx for all the support!”
Translation: “Hey, 31 NFL teams: Don’t worry about my leg. I’ll be fine. So, if you’re willing to give up a first-round pick and pay me what I believe I’m worth in a long-term contract, give the Jets a call.”