A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:
1. Big decisions: The 2020 offseason begins as soon as Super Bowl LIV is over and the confetti starts flying. The Jets' decision-makers, already preparing, spent the past week in free-agency meetings. Before they open the checkbook for outside free agents, they have to figure out which of their own they want to keep. They have 22 unrestricted free agents; the only team with more UFAs is the Dallas Cowboys (25), according to OverTheCap.com.
Here's a breakdown of the New York's top pending free agents and their odds of returning to the Jets:
Robby Anderson, wide receiver: His body of work doesn't jump off the page (no 1,000-yard receiving seasons), but he's looking at a big score because he's young (27 in May), fast and one of the few quality options in a thin receiver market. Experts say he could land a deal that averages at least $13 million per year. Watch out for the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders. The Jets are hesitant to go that high, as they should be. Chances of return: 25%
Jordan Jenkins, linebacker: He's a complementary player who can set the edge against the run and contribute eight or so sacks per season -- and there's definitely value in that. That said, he's not a top-tier edge rusher. Based on pass-rushing metrics, he's not even the best edge rusher on the team. (Tarell Basham has him beat.) Jenkins probably is looking at something in the range of $7 million to $9 million per year. Chances of return: 50%
Brian Poole, cornerback: Playing the all-important slot corner position, he was one of the Jets' most consistent players. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams loves his aggressive style of play. Hurting at the position, the Jets will make a strong bid to keep him. Figure he lands a deal worth at least $6 million per season. Chances of return: 65%
Kelvin Beachum, left tackle: Competent left tackles are hard to find, especially ones who don't make too many mistakes in pass protection. The Jets want to get younger -- Beachum turns 31 in June -- but there's no guarantee they will find a plug-and-play left tackle with the No. 11 pick in the draft. The hunch is Beachum will look to explore the market. Chances of return: 45%
Alex Lewis, guard: He's a Joe Douglas guy -- acquired in a preseason trade -- so you can bet the Jets' general manager will push to keep him. Coach Adam Gase likes him, too. Lewis did a solid job at left guard in the aftermath of the Kelechi Osemele fiasco. Chances of return: 70%
Brandon Shell, right tackle: Gase tried to replace the 2016 fifth-round pick last season, but had to play him because of all the injuries on the offensive line. Adios. Chances of return: 5%
Neville Hewitt, inside linebacker: The defensive coaches have a lot of faith in Hewitt, who wound up playing 69% of the defensive snaps because of injuries to C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson at inside linebacker. Hewitt's value will increase if Williamson becomes a salary-cap casualty, which is likely. Chances of return: 75%
Bilal Powell, running back: The longest-tenured Jet was a nice change-of-pace back -- he was more effective than Le'Veon Bell on certain runs -- but he's 31 and the offense needs more speed in the backfield. That said, he's well-regarded within the organization and it wouldn't be a surprise if he gets another one-year deal to prove his worth. Chances of return: 40%
Demaryius Thomas, wide receiver: Thomas, 32, was a positive locker-room presence, but it's a young man's game, especially at this position. Chances of return: 20%
Trevor Siemian, quarterback: The Jets didn't see much of Siemian, because of his horrible ankle injury, but they saw enough. It's time to upgrade the No. 2 QB position, particularly since Sam Darnold has missed six of 32 games. Chances of return: 25%
2. Adams vs. Jets: I don't foresee a quick resolution to the Jamal Adams contract situation. Know this: He will ask for the moon. He's not looking to simply leapfrog the Chicago Bears' Eddie Jackson ($14.6 million per year) as the highest-paid safety; he's looking to Bob Beamon him. It wouldn't surprise me if he tries to surpass Baltimore Ravens veteran Earl Thomas for the largest guarantee at signing ($32 million).
The Jets have the negotiating leverage because they can control Adams for three years (counting a franchise tag), so they will slow-play the negotiations. This will take us to the draft, at which time the Jets will start to receive trade offers. Adams can muddy the waters by threatening a training-camp holdout, which will put pressure on the Jets to sign or deal. Safety holdouts are rare. Thomas did it in 2018 with the Seattle Seahawks, but it backfired; he reported without a new deal before the first regular-season game.
Adams' comment last week (he expects a new contract and wants to stay in New York) was the first move in what could be a long chess match.
3. Early scouting: The Jets have both Super Bowl teams on their 2020 schedule, triggering the question: When was the most recent time that happened? Actually, it wasn't that long ago -- 2017, when the Jets faced both the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons.
4. Revis and the Hall: The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2020 (modern era) on Saturday. In case you're wondering, former Jets star Darrelle Revis will be eligible for the first time in 2023. Yes, he will make it to Canton, Ohio, someday, but is he a first-ballot Hall of Famer? The whole "first-ballot" thing is a bit hollow because, unlike in baseball, it depends largely on the competition in that particular year, as there is a maximum of five slots.
Based on his body of work, Revis isn't considered a no-brainer, a la Ed Reed (2019) or Peyton Manning (2021), mainly because he had only four or five dominant seasons and his interception total (29) is far below the lowest total by a cornerback in the Hall of Fame (46, Mike Haynes).
But here's the thing: I think he has a good chance to make it in 2023 because the list of first-time-eligible players for that year isn't filled with a bunch of locks. It's headed by former Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas (a lock) and former Indianapolis Colts pass-rusher Dwight Freeney (virtual lock). Once Manning goes in, there won't be any legendary quarterbacks on the horizon who could take a spot from Revis.
If Revis has to wait until 2024, he would have an obvious campaign slogan: "24 in '24."
5. Jimmy G and the tree: This might surprise some folks, but the Jets showed significant interest in San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the 2014 draft. In fact, he was one of at least three quarterbacks they hosted on pre-draft visits. I remember talking to Garoppolo at a pre-draft media event in New York. When I asked him to give his most memorable takeaway from his visit to the Jets' facility in Florham Park, New Jersey, he mentioned the 200-year-old tree that stands between the two practice fields.
"I know it's kind of a random thought, but I was curious about it," he said. "Coach [Rex] Ryan told me the owner's mother wanted to keep it there."
As it turned out, the Jets didn't pick a quarterback early in the draft because they were committed to 2013 draft pick Geno Smith -- a misguided decision. They waited until the sixth round to select Tajh Boyd, who had trouble completing basic passes and was released in training camp.
6. From sorry to super? If the Chiefs win, three former Jets will get a Super Bowl ring: cornerback Mo Claiborne, linebacker Darron Lee and nose tackle Mike Pennel. Of the three, Pennel is the only one likely to be active for the game. He's an effective run-stuffer, a skill that will be needed against the 49ers' high-powered rushing attack.
Not long ago, the undersized Lee was considered a big part of the Jets' future, but the 2016 first-round pick fell out of favor with the previous coaching staff. He hit bottom in 2018 with a suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. Some players told me Lee, perceived by his peers as immature, was no good for team chemistry. The new regime wanted no part of him. Gase, who served briefly as the interim GM, traded him for a 2020 sixth-round pick.
In retrospect, it was a good trade because Lee and the hard-nosed Gregg Williams would have clashed. With Kansas City, Lee has struggled to find a role. In the regular season, he played mainly on special teams, contributing 150 snaps on defense. In March, he will be a free agent. We already know one place where he won't be going.
You can't help but feel good for Pennel. As a child, he underwent cancer treatments at a hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, an emotional story he shared with ESPN in 2017. Now he's playing in the city's first Super Bowl in 50 years. Cool stuff.