NFL New York Jets

5 Overrated Free Agents The New York Jets Should Avoid

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5 Overrated Free Agents The New York Jets Should Avoid

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The New York Jets are projected to have approximately $40 million of cap space this offseason, assuming they make the expected cuts of Santonio Holmes, Mark Sanchez and Antonio Cromartie. That figure ensures that the Jets will have the ability to be one of the biggest players in the free agent market, if they so choose.

Having a ton of money doesn’t necessarily mean you should spend it, and the Jets need only look at the rival Miami Dolphins to see the negative side effects of massive free agent spending sprees. John Idzik is a cap conscious general manager who was part of the Seattle Seahawks organization that built through the draft to form this year’s Super Bowl champion, and he knows the draft is still the best way to construct a long term winner.

However, given the Jets’ needs at wide receiver, tight end and in the secondary, it is safe to assume that Idzik will spend a fair amount of money on free agents this offseason. When doing so, however, he needs to be careful to avoid some of the mistakes that have plagued other teams. The Jets are a young team with many key players still on rookie contracts, and free agent spending should supplement them with other young talent, not overpriced veterans.

The Jets cannot afford to get drawn into overpaying big names, because it will hurt them tremendously in the future. As you read this, keep in mind that these are mostly good players, but they will get more money or a bigger role than they deserve, if not both. The Jets need to make sure they stay away from these five players.

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5. Brian Orakpo

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The Jets need an outside linebacker to beef up their pass rush, and Brian Orakpo is the biggest name available. Orakpo is a very good player, and he has recorded at least 8.5 sacks in each of his four healthy seasons. However, he is not the right fit for the Jets for a few reasons.

First of all, the Jets are heavily invested in their defensive front already, and spending big money there will only further unbalance the team. Second, Orakpo is a very good pass rusher, but he is going to be paid for more than he’s worth, possibly as much as $10-12 million a year. That is simply too big an investment at that position for the Jets, especially for a player who has only ranked in the top 20 in the NFL in sacks once in his career.

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4. Golden Tate

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Golden Tate emerged as the Seahawks’ No. 1 receiver this season, but his overall statistics were not particularly impressive, recording 64 receptions for 898 yards and 5 TDs and ranking outside the top 30 in the NFL in each category. Idzik is familiar with Tate and may want to bring him in, but he is not the true No. 1 receiver the Jets need.

Tate doesn’t have the history of production that some other free agent receivers have, though Seattle’s ball control offense is partly to blame. Tate also doesn’t have elite physical attributes, and he is not the big receiver the Jets need. As a No. 2, Tate could make sense for the Jets. However, targeting Tate as their top free agent receiver would not improve the Jets nearly as much as needed.

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3. Alterraun Verner

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Alterraun Verner is part of a big group of starting corners available, and his price is going to be inflated because of his takeaway numbers. Verner had five interceptions this season, nearly matching his total from the first three years of his career combined. However, interceptions are a terrible way to judge cornerback play. Even if you were focused on INTs, Verner had four of his five picks in the first four weeks and then only one over the final 12 games.

Yards per snap in coverage allowed is widely considered the best measurement of cornerback play, and Verner ranked 22nd in the NFL in that category this season. That is solid, but not worthy of the big contract he is likely to receive. Additionally, Verner is better in zone than man to man, making him a poor fit for the Jets. The Jets should not get drawn in by his INT numbers, because signing Verner would be a mistake.

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2. Brandon Pettigrew

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The Jets need a new tight end, and they have been repeatedly been linked to Brandon Pettigrew. However, Pettigrew was pushed out of the Detroit Lions offense this season, and his 41 receptions for 416 yards and 2 TDs were his lowest numbers since his rookie season.

Pettigrew is a good blocker, but the Jets need a receiver. Geno Smith frequently targeted the tight end in key situations like third down and the red zone, and the Jets have to give him a player that can make an impact as a receiver. Pettigrew is overrated, and the Jets will be disappointed in his impact in the passing game if they make him their starting tight end.

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1. Michael Vick

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The Jets need a veteran backup quarterback, and they have been linked to Michael Vick on numerous occasions, largely because of his familiarity with Marty Mornhinweg and the Jets’ offense. However, signing Vick would be a terrible idea that would not only fail to improve their team, but also cripple Smith’s development.

I have written at length about the reasons not to sign Vick previously, and among those concerns are the fact that he is aging, injury prone, overpaid, a PR nightmare and an outright replacement for Smith instead of a mentor and competitor. Most concerning, however, is the fact that Vick is actually more turnover prone than Smith, averaging 1.85 and 2.1 turnovers per game in his last two full seasons, as opposed to Smith’s 1.75 this year. In short, Vick is overrated and ineffective, and there is absolutely no good reason for the Jets to sign him.

Greg Sulik is a New York Jets writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GregSulik or add him to your network on Google