Bowles: Jets plan to keep Wilkerson, Harrison

INDIANAPOLIS -- The biggest challenge of the Jets' offseason might be finding a way to keep both Muhammad Wilkerson and Damon Harrison together for a least one more year.

On Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, coach Todd Bowles spoke like a coach who believes retaining both players is a possibility.

"We're optimistic and we're working through it, so hopefully something can come of it," Bowles said of the two impending free agents. "We know it's a business at the same time and we have certain plans in place but our plans are to keep them."

General manager Mike Maccagnan kept opinions on all personnel matters close to the vest, but did seem to speak with some optimism.

"We like Mo and Damon and we want to find out a way to keep both of them," Maccagnan said.

Some other takeaways from the TB/Big Mac double-dip at Lucas Oil Stadium's well-worn podium:

  1. Bowles said there was a "chance" Antonio Cromartie could return at a lower salary, but other comments seemed to reveal the Jets are moving on. "Cromartie is one of the finest players I've ever played or coached. It was a hard decision, but we needed to upgrade a little bit at that position and that's why the decision was made."

2.* *Ryan Fitzpatrick is also a impending free agent, of course, but Maccagnan doesn't sound too concerned. "We like Ryan. I think we have a good situation for Ryan. We just have to come to an agreement on cost. ... That's still yet to be determined here in the near future as we go forward before free agency."

3.* *Bowles on the team's decision to fire special teams coordinator Bobby April: "I thought there was a disconnect." Bowles said the team needs to improve both its coaching and personnel.

4. Bowles didn't offer any clarity about the future of Geno Smith, who was limited to one relief outing in place of Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2015. "Right now, Geno's our backup quarterback."

5.* *How about Dee Milliner, another forgotten man from the 2013 draft class? Bowles insisted the former first-round pick is in the mix to replace Cromartie as a starter after not playing a single defensive snap in 2015. "He's in the competition for the starting job," Bowles said. "The spot's open."

  1. Does Bowles have any regrets on how he coached the Week 17 loss to the Bills? "No, and I've moved on."
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