The Key Question of the Jets Offseason

Asomugha's loose lips have people talking

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    At last weekend's Pro Bowl, Darrelle Revis teamed up with Nnamdi Asomugha of the Raiders to form a cornerback tandem that would be the envy of just about every team in football history. Two shutdown corners of the highest level that would enable a defense to deploy their other nine players with little concern about getting beaten deep down the field on a pass.

    Such tandems rarely occur outside of All-Star Games, but Asomugha and Revis got tongues wagging when they admitted to discussing a long-term partnership

    "Me and Revis have been talking to Rex to try to do something," Asomugha said. "You may see us in the future. There's a little bit of talk going on. Either he's coming to Oakland or something else will happen."

    Said Revis: "Me and him have talked about it, but I can't really control that situation. I don't know if he can either."

    There's no chance that the Raiders are getting Revis, not unless they have a time machine that can make them offer Howie Long and Marcus Allen in their primes. That leaves the Jets and led to a column in Oakland advocating a trade sending Asomugha to New York in exchange for a couple of first rounders and players.

    We'll leave aside the concerns about tampering that the cornerbacks' comments bring with them for a moment and simply discuss the wisdom of the move for the Jets. It seems like pie in the sky stuff, but Al Davis is as unpredictable as anyone in football and Mike Tannenbaum isn't afraid to swing big when a deal is available. With Rex Ryan's blitzing mind and a developing offense, the idea of shutting down a good portion of the opposition's passing game every week is awfully tempting. 

    Here's the question the Jets have to answer before making a deal like this: Are we the team that struggled to make the playoffs or the team that won two games once we got there? 

    The answer to that question has nothing to do with Revis or Asomugha. It has to do with Mark Sanchez and it is complicated by his decision to have surgery on his left knee. For the Jets to be more than the team that snuck into the playoffs with the help of two teams playing for nothing, Sanchez has to be capable of doing more than he did this season. That includes the playoffs, because as well as he played it was still clear against the Colts that the Jets couldn't win a game if Sanchez was the focal point of the offense. 

    His knee surgery means less time working with receivers, less time reading defenses at anything close to full speed on the practice field and the progress needed to make the next step can't be assumed. As swell as a defense with Revis and Asomugha might look, it takes more than the two best cornerbacks in the AFC to win it all.

    Making such a trade would represent a flying leap off a cliff in hopes of reaching the other side when the Jets are in a position to keep laying the foundation for a bridge that will last them a whole lot longer.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.