Predicting the New York Jets’ 5 Biggest Free Agency Moves
Predicting the New York Jets' 5 Biggest Free Agency Moves
NFL Free Agency is quickly approaching. In approximately one month, teams will bid on coveted players. Based on last season’s performance, certain clubs are in different positions. Those that are rebuilding may look for need rather than making splashy a transaction. Others who finished either in the postseason or close to playoff qualification might try for the big splash.
Sometimes these signings don’t pan out. We have seen players like Albert Haynesworth cash in on big deals only to disappear. Mike Wallace also showed a talented player who received what many viewed was too much money. This year’s class features several talented wide outs as well as other positions. One team teeters on the verge of contention and faces important decisions in the coming days. Entering his second full year as New York Jets general manager John Idzik can operate differently than last offseason. At that time the Jets were coming off serious salary cap issues. These problems stemmed from past bad contracts. On a positive note, there are fewer holes than when this squad was in full blown rebuilding mode.
Of course it was well known how bad New York’s receiving corps looked throughout 2013. Dynamic slot target Jeremy Kerley can make big plays, but if this team is going to improve further, he must get help. David Nelson represents solid depth, but should not be counted on as anything more than a No. 2, at best. Expected roster cuts would add to an already healthy salary cap situation.
5. Rex Ryan Brings in Another Pass Rusher
Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples and Sheldon Richardson lead a tremendous pass rush. Outside linebacker Calvin Pace enjoyed a resurrection of sorts last season, but I am not sure he can repeat such impact. Ideally, Brian Orakpo or Anthony Spencer sign , making this aspect of HC Rex Ryan’s unit downright dangerous.
4. A Veteran QB Will Arrive
Geno Smith did not do enough during his rookie season to lock down starting position. Idzik must upgrade current backups David Garrard and Matt Simms. On multiple occasions, I have said Michael Vick would fit well. His experience with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is intriguing. Despite recent injuries Vick can still make an impact.
3. Jarius Byrd Will be Targeted
Pass coverage was a liability for the solid defensive line of Gang Green. Jairus Byrd would represent an upgrade at free safety over Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett. The issue here is that he might want more than they are willing to offer. If New York seriously goes after him and makes it happen, their defense becomes potentially scary.
2. Some Solid Defensive Back Will be Signed
If Byrd does not sign with the Jets, there must be a backup plan. Louis Delmas only has six career interceptions, but has excellent tackling skills. Corner should be targeted though either position could improve via raft choices. Idzik and company likely gamble on their defensive backfield with veteran corners Brent Grimes or Drayton Florence available.
1. The Jets Land Big Time Receiver
Geno Smith or whoever starts at quarterback next season needs better surrounding talent. Holding the No. 18 selection provides an opportunity to land a difference maker. In free agency this should also be important. Eric Decker brings size and speed that should quiet criticism. Some feel his production comes strictly from Peyton Manning, but eight touchdowns in 2011 with the Kyle Orton/Tim Tebow combination shows pure talent. Jeremy Macklin has injury concerns, however there is a lot to like with perimeter speed. Emanuel Sanders would also provide game-breaking ability. Golden Tate or Hakeem Nicks also work as backup plans. Any of these players could come together, or be paired with a first-round wide out.