Thoughts and observations on the Jets and other NFL stuff:
1. The Jets chased the most coveted free agent last offseason, ultimately losing CB Nnamdi Asomugha to the Eagles. The No. 1 prize in the upcoming free-agent market is Texans DE/OLB Mario Williams, who could land the richest contract in history for a defensive player. Even though the Jets have a glaring need for a 3-4 OLB, they are expected to sit out the Williams sweepstakes. The primary reason is cap room. As of last week, they had less than $500,000 in projected cap space. They can create room by restructuring bloated contracts and cutting players -- and they probably will -- but they evidently prefer to use the money to address several needs instead of putting all their eggs in the Williams basket.
2. There's also some question about whether Williams can be a 3-4 OLB. He debuted in that role last season, switching to a stand-up position in Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme. He showed promise (five sacks in four-plus games), but it was short-lived because of a torn pectoral muscle. We're talking about only 225 snaps, including just 17 plays in which he dropped into pass coverage, according to Pro Football Focus. The Jets use their OLBs in pass coverage roughly 20 percent of the time, so there would be some adjustment.
3. Of course, the Jets could be saving their money on the off chance that Peyton Manning calls and says, "Hey, Rex, I wanna be a Jet." It's highly unlikely, but ESPN Insider Adam Schefter, in a piece for SportsCenter, lists the Jets among the four likeliest destinations for Manning (assuming he's released by the Colts). He also names the Dolphins, Redskins and Cards, with the Dolphins the current favorite, in his view. Schefter mentions the Jets' tight cap situation and relationship with Mark Sanchez as factors that would prevent them from landing Manning.
4. Imagine if Manning landed in Miami; what a division. The Jets would have to face two of the greatest quarterbacks in history twice a year. Sorry, Bills fans, we're not talking about Ryan Fitzpatrick.
5. The Jets are bucking a leaguewide trend by having an offensive coordinator whose area of expertise is the offensive line. Tony Sparano is one of only four OCs in that category, but he stands alone in this respect: The other three are working for offensive-minded head coaches. They are Rick Dennison (Texans), Hal Hunter (Chargers) and former Jets OL coach Bill Callahan (Cowboys). Sparano works for a defensive-minded coach, meaning he's the "head coach" of the offense. In this air-it-out era, teams prefer coordinators with passing backgrounds -- mostly former QBs and WRs coaches. The Jets are going the other way.
6. Randy Moss to the Jets? Now that would be Linsanity, sans the L.
7. Former New York QBs, Phil Simms and Boomer Esiason, who spoke at a Long Island business luncheon Wednesday, defended Sanchez. Simms believes Sanchez has received unfair criticism from impatient media and fans. He said it's nuts to say Sanchez should be replaced. "When I hear this about Mark Sanchez, it's insane, it really is," Simms said. "It drives me crazy." Esiason said Sanchez has potential for "greatness." Wait a second; this is the same Esiason who recently compared Sanchez's pocket demeanor to that of a nervous chihuahua.
8. In case you're wondering, Santonio Holmes hasn't responded (at least not via twitter) to Sanchez's Valentine request -- not as of Saturday evening, anyway. It was a cute, seemingly all-in-fun gesture by Sanchez, but you have to wonder if Holmes took it the same way. LG Matt Slauson had some fun with it. Slauson, joking with reporters at the WrestleMania announcement the other day, said he was "expecting a card and a big, old stuffed teddy bear" from his QB.
9. On Wednesday, the NFL will converge on Indianapolis for the second time in a month. This time, it's the scouting combine. Media coverage of the combine has grown so much that just about everything is orchestrated by the NFL, which is good and bad. In the old days, things were more relaxed than now. I remember interviewing Bill Belichick in his hotel room during the brief period in 1997 when he was the Jets' HC. Those were the days.
10. I think it's going to be fascinating to see how former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano fares with the Bucs. He's not exactly putting together a "Who's Who" of assisant coaches. Bill Sheridan as defensive coordinator? No doubt, some Giants players are chuckling to themselves.