Just call me "The Deflator." I'm going to shrink this New York Jets mailbag just a bit, spreading more questions over two days. As always, thanks for input.
@RichCimini: Obviously, you're referring to safety D.J. Swearinger, who was waived by the Houston Texans. It was actually a waiver claim, not an offer sheet, but I know where you're coming from. In fact, eight teams submitted claims, and he ended up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This was all about competition and familiarity. Maccagnan was the Texans' director of college scouting when Swearinger was drafted in the second round in 2013, so it's a player he likes. His name came up in trade talks with the Jets during the draft and, as you know, they wound up dealing for another Texans castoff, wide receiver DeVier Posey. On waivers, Swearinger would have been a cheap addition ($723,000) with no strings attached and he would have added good competition at safety. After Calvin Pryor and Marcus Gilchrist, there are no sure things on the roster. Swearinger would have been battling Jaiquawn Jarrett, Antonio Allen and others for reserve roles. It was worth a shot.
@RichCimini: This is interesting. It's highly likely that none of their six draft choices will be opening-day starters. When's the last time that happened for a team that picked sixth overall? As you noted, Nick, Leonard Williams will be an immediate contributor. Beyond him, I think wide receiver Devin Smith is the most likely to have an early role, but a lot of that depends on Smith. If he can absorb the offense, improve his route running and develop an ability to read coverages, he'll have a chance to make an early impact. He has the kind of game-breaking skills they need on offense. I wouldn't expect him to steal playing time from Brandon Marshall or Eric Decker, but he could take time from Jeremy Kerley.
@RichCimini: Great question, Brandon. The Jets' four top backs -- Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Stevan Ridley and Zac Stacy -- have similar styles, which is a kind way of saying they're grind-it-out, between-the-tackles runners. They combined for 401 carries and 1,595 yards last season, which works out to a 4.0-yard average. In the NFL, that's called pedestrian. Not one of them has caught more than 36 passes in a season, and they've combined for only two receiving touchdowns. That said, I think Ivory will go into camp as the No. 1 back, but the plan is to have a backfield-by-committee. The X factor is Ridley because you know he has talent -- he ran for 1,263 yards in 2012 with the New England Patriots -- but the question is, how much can he contribute after knee surgery? The good news is they have solid depth; the bad news is that none of the backs are dynamic. Clearly, this will have to shake out in training camp.
@RichCimini: Ha! Good one. Where have you gone, Percy Harvin? There are no clear-cut answers at either spot, so training camp will turn into an open audition. I'd say Saalim Hakim is the leading candidate at kick returner, but he's hardly a sure thing. His instincts are shaky and his hands are stone, which is too bad because he runs like the wind. Walt Powell and T.J. Graham also will be candidates. Devin Smith did a little return work early in his career at Ohio State, so maybe he'll get a look. The winner of the No. 5 receiver job will have to excel on special teams. You can survive without a good kickoff returner because, let's face it, the job has been diminished due to the new rules. Punt returning, though, is a concern. Another season of Kerley? Say it ain't so. Mike Maccagnan needs to be on the lookout for a punt returner. The Jets finished 30th in the category last season and they haven't addressed it.