With free agency set to start with the new league year on March 12 and the New York Jets not having much, or any cap flexibility, this week will be spent previewing some cheap free agents who could still help greatly on the field. This is part four of four. Click for parts one, two, and three.
The defensive line of the New York Jets struggled at getting to the opposing quarterback in 2012. The Jets were 20th in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Sack Rate, with only five teams totaling less sacks.
While Muhammad Wilkerson started to find a pass rushing groove with five sacks, his line mate on the other end, impending free agent Mike DeVito, had one. Of course, DeVito is more of a run stopper, but so is Wilkerson, who had more total tackles as well as sacks on the season. Also, with the emergence of Quinton Coples in his rookie season, the Jets can let DeVito walk.
To replace DeVito in the rotation, The Jets could look at Trevor Scott, formerly of the New England Patriots.
Taking a look at Scott’s stats from last season won’t tell the whole story of him as a player. He only had 14 tackles in 14 games, but that was in a rotation behind guys like Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones, while only seeing 23 percent of New England’s defensive snaps.
Looking into Scott’s past with the Oakland Raiders will help see the player he can be. In his second season, Scott had 43 tackles and seven sacks. In his third season, Scott tore his ACL and missed the final six games. He came back to play all 16 games the next season, but did not have much on field production. That offseason, he signed a one-year deal with New England.
Scott is still only 28 years old and will now be a full two seasons removed from his knee injury. Scott will come cheaply—probably close to the one-year/$1.15 million contract he signed with the Patriots last offseason.
The Jets won’t have to rely on Scott as a starter, but just a rotation piece behind Wilkerson and Coples. Scott still managed three sacks in his limited playing time for the Patriots, so he could fill in as a needed presence in the pass rush even if he doesn’t see extended time on the field. Scott also has some experience playing outside linebacker, so he can bring depth to two positions.
For around $1 million, Scott is a risk the Jets can afford to make. His potential to pass rush and the depth he brings to defensive end, linebacker and special teams alone should be worth a contract. Scott’s floor is dependable depth, while his ceiling could be finding his 2009 form again—low risk, high reward. That versatility should be something the Jets are looking for this offseason.
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