New York Jets' Disciplined Approach to NFL Free Agency Nets Them Versatile RB Mike Goodson

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Mike Goodson NFL Free Agency
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL free agency is alive and well this week, but not every team is going on a free agent spending frenzy.

The New York Jets have been one of the teams keeping a low profile since the new league year began, thanks to a pragmatic and calculated new approach from rookie general manager John Idzik.

It’s no secret that the Jets don’t have too much cap flexibility, which is another factor in their relative inactivity. But Idzik understands that building from within is a better blueprint for success than spending lavishly in March.

Nevertheless, the Jets have made a few low-cost, low-risk signings that won’t be generating many headlines. But generating headlines isn’t the goal, no matter what the media might have you believe. Winning games is the goal.

After inking quarterback David Garrard and fullback Lex Hilliard, the Jets made their most significant free agent addition of the offseason Friday when they signed running back Mike Goodson to a three-year contract.

Goodson, who will be 26 years old in May, played his first three NFL seasons in a crowded backfield with the Carolina Panthers, before being traded to the Oakland Raiders prior to the 2012 season.

With the departure of Shonn Greene, Mike Goodson has a legitimate chance to be a starting running back for the first time in his career. He will likely be competing for touches along with Bilal Powell, among others.

According to multiple reports, Goodson’s deal is for three years and a tad under $7 million total, which is a bargain compared to what Greene got on the open market, and potentially a steal for the Jets.

Goodson brings some versatility to the table, something Greene could never provide, and something the Jets were definitely looking for in 2013 as they transition to a West Coast offense under Marty Mornhinweg.

While he only got on the field for 145 total offensive snaps last year, Goodson made the most of his opportunities. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry on 35 carries, and caught 16 passes without a drop, at 12.2 yards per reception.

In fact, that 12.2 yards per catch was third-best in the league among running backs with at least 10 catches. He also forced 13 missed tackles on the year. Not bad for a guy who played less than 20% of his team’s snaps.

Goodson got his most extensive playing time of his young career in 2010 with the Panthers. That year, he averaged 4.4 yards per carry on 103 carries, and he had 40 receptions as well.

He’s never been asked to truly carry the load in his NFL career, and that’s something that has its advantages and its drawbacks. One of the positives is that he has relatively fresh legs for a player entering his fifth season.

While he’s never gotten the opportunity to prove he can be a starting running back, he has shown that he can be an effective option at the position, and he’s played pretty well whenever his number’s been called.

The Jets will likely go with a backfield by committee in 2013, but Goodson’s ability to run hard, make people miss and catch the ball out of the backfield could make him the early favorite to earn significant playing time.

All in all, it’s a solid signing for the Jets. One that carries little risk, along with some good potential upside.

That is the kind of free agent “splash” you can expect from Jets GM John Idzik.

The major-impact additions will come, but they likely won’t come until late April, at the 2013 NFL Draft.

That’s the way a true architect builds a winning football team. That’s the John Idzik way.

Jon Presser is’s New York Jets Lead Columnist
Follow him on Twitter @metsjetsnets88 and Google Plus
Contact him at

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