A heaping helping of off-season Whispers

Bengals are looking to re-sign safety Rogers Beckett, but with John Lynch available, the Jets might not need him.

Justin McCareins is right out of Central Casting to play in the West Coast offense. He is a chiseled 6-2. 218 pounds and very physical.

"I think I fit in perfectly with it,' said McCariens. "I knew I would fit well into this scheme."

Aside from fitting into passing game, McCareins will help the Jets running attack. He's a tenacious blocker. With his size and strength, he blocks like a tight end.

McCareins is excited about a chance to play with quarterback Chad Pennington, one of the most receiver friendly quarterbacks in football.

"I also notice that receivers love to catch the ball from him," said McCariens. "He's got good touch on his passes and he's very accurate. I'm excited to be out there running for him." . . .

The Jets defense had so many situational substitutions the last couple of years, it led to a lot of chaos. The problem was the Jets had a pair of linebackers, Mo Lewis and Marvin Jones, who were not good in pass coverage. So in any passing situations, the team had players like Jason Glenn, rotating in for them. However, teams would often take advantage of having Jones and Lewis on the field on first down, and called for passing plays.

So this off-season, the Jets front office aimed to cut down on these situational substitutions. The signing of former Oakland Raider linebacker Eric Barton is a perfect example of this plan. He is a solid linebacker against both the run and pass, and never comes off the field. He was a 4.6 forty guy when he came out of Maryland four years ago, so he has the speed to cover in space. Last year in Oakland, he played 98 percent of the defense snaps. In 2002, he played 92 percent. Now look for Jets to follow up the Barton signing by picking a linebacker in the first or third round. There is even a chance they could look to make a trade (for Lamont Jordan) and get back into the second round and pick a linebacker there.

Miami's Jonathan Vilma is a perfect example of the type of every-down linebacker the Jets will look to add in the draft. He ran under 4.6 at a recent workout. If the Jets get back into the second round, Florida State's Mike Boulware would be a consideration . . .

Two off-season moves by the Jets that kind of went under the radar, where the signing of a pair of CFL players, running back Kenton Keith and tight end Matt Dominguez. If the Jets decide to trade Jordan, Keith could give them depth behind Curtis Martin. After Saskatchewan lost starting tailback Cedric Shaw, Keith took over and averaged seven yards a carry. The New Mexico State product runs under 4.5. He will also be in the mix at kick returner for the Jets.

Dominquez was a teammate of Keith with the Roughriders, and hauled in 75 balls. He is kind of a tweener at 6-2, 220. The Jets could either bulk him up to play tight end, or leave him at his current size and let him compete at wide receiver. He averaged 14.3 yards per catch the past year in the CFL, which shows you that type of mobility that he has. The Jets don't really have a tight end who can get down field, so Dominguez could fill that void if they chose to play him at that position . . .

As first reported at JetsConfidential.com, there is a chance that Josh Evans will become a free agent soon, if he doesn't take a big paycut. A source close to Evans told the Bergen Record's Randy Lange that the defensive tackle was told he could shop himself around and look for a trade. The Jets were likely calling his bluff. What team is going to trade for a 31-year-old defensive tackle who has been suspended three times for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy? There is little or no market for a player of Evans' age with his history. So he either takes a paycut to about $1 million per year, or he will be released.

Wouldn't you say a little over $1 million is a fair price for Evans, considering what he put the Jets through last year with his suspension? They were forced to start rookie Dewayne Robertson at the three-technique tackle, and he clearly wasn't ready. Robertson's poor play had a trickle down affect on the whole defense, especially the linebackers who often weren't protected properly. While it's very hard for Evans to accept this paycut after having to give back a $3 million bonus last year, he's going to have to do it, if he wants to play for the Jets. If Evans was released, there will be teams interested in signing him, but likely for just the veteran minimum (around $750,000). The deal the Jets are offering is better than that . . .

While the Jets have an interest in safety Rogers Beckett, they refuse to spend much more than the league minimum on him. Remember he was a bust in San Diego, and while he did better in Cincinnati, he's clearly just an average safety at this point. The Bengals are now making a push to re-sign him, so he will likely return to Cincinnati.

The availability of Tampa Bay's John Lynch, could be a blessing to the Jets. He would be the perfect candidate (if his shoulder is okay), to fill their hole at strong safety.

But whether they add Lynch or note, expect the Jets to address safety in the draft. While they would have to trade up in the first round to grab Miami's Sean Taylor, they could wait until the second (if they make a trade) or third round and grab Purdue's Stuart Schweigert or Kansas State's Rashad Washington.

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