2014 NFL Free Agency: Alterraun Verner Could Be New York Jets' Big Star

By Luis Tirado Jr.
Alterraun Verner
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since trading away their five-star cornerback in Darrelle Revis about a year ago, the New York Jets haven’t truly found the player to fill his departed shoes.

Taking a look at this past season, the Jets’ secondary did a decent job, but nowhere near what is expected considering its past. Antonio Cromartie did his best despite nagging injuries and father time catching up to him; he just isn’t the same player he use to be back in his prime a few years ago. Rookie Dee Milliner showed some signs he could potentially be a shutdown kind of player, however, he still needs more time and experience under his belt before he reaches that kind of status.

It was interesting to see the Jets grab the legendary Ed Reed in the middle of the season, but it didn’t exactly pan out the way everyone had hoped. If anything, even though he also dealt with injuries and age, he was a great mentor for those around him considering his invaluable experience. You can’t put a price on that kind of leadership, so one understands why the Jets made the move.

Overall, the Jets secondary lacked that intensity and chemistry they once portrayed when No. 24 was in town. Regardless, now it’s time to move on from “Revis Island” and find the next big star to help make the Jets’ secondary be feared once again.

Forget about all those rumors of some kind of “reunion” between Revis and the Jets, as that definitely won’t happen. Whether he stays with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or not remains to be seen, but don’t expect to see the Jets go after him. From all the memories of his infamous training camp holdouts over more money to the fact that he doesn’t seem to be the player he use to be after tearing his ACL, makes many believe the Jets won’t any moves for him.

The NFL free agency kicks off on March 11, which should start with a frenzy between teams and all the great free agents that are looking for new homes. It’s no surprise the Jets are always known for their incredible defense under head coach Rex Ryan yet this past season, the Jets weren’t really the dominating force they use to be known for. While addressing this need isn’t the No. 1 priority, considering the Jets are rumored to be shopping for a top wide receiver and possibly veteran quarterback to add to the mix, they could go after one of the best cornerbacks in free agency. This particular player is coming off a pretty solid year in which he had 49 tackles, five interceptions, 23 passes defended and two forced fumble recoveries; pretty impressive stat line for someone who just ended only his fourth NFL season so far in his young career. Cornerback Alterraun Verner would be the answer to a secondary that needs a new face to lead the backfield. His acquisition could make him the next big defensive star on the Jets.

Verner’s 23 passes defended made him No. 1 in that category last season in the league, and one can only imagine the impact he would have on the Jets upon arrival. If the Jets were willing to pay top dollar to acquire him since he knows his worth, it would definitely bolster the Jets’ secondary tremendously by having a true shut-down corner.

Expect to see both Reed and Cromartie released due to salary cap purposes and immediately make the Jets a potential new home for Verner. It would be incredible to see him partnered with Milliner, who should improve from last year as they would form a new dynamic duo in the Jets’ secondary that would scare opposing quarterbacks. Maybe then the Jets will finally find someone to be able to make everyone turn the chapter from Revis to Verner.

Luis Tirado Jr. is a New York Jets writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @LTJ81, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+

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