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5 Biggest Free Agency Rumors Surrounding the New York Jets

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5 Biggest Free Agency Rumors Surrounding the New York Jets

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The New York Jets have the potential to be one of the biggest players in free agency this offseason, as they will have close to $45 million of cap space if they make the three assumed releases of Santonio Holmes, Mark Sanchez and Antonio Cromartie. That kind of flexibility means the Jets can do almost anything they want to upgrade their roster.

The Jets have needs at wide receiver, tight end, right guard, outside linebacker, cornerback and free safety, requiring a starter at each spot. Obviously the draft will be used to fill a couple of those holes, but there is no doubt that John Idzik and Rex Ryan will use some of their considerable cap space to dip into the free agent market.

Free agency officially opens a week from today, and rumors are flying around left and right about all of the big name players. The Jets have been linked to several of these players, though as with all rumors it can be difficult to sort out fact and fiction. NFL teams like to play things close to the vest, so take everything you hear with a grain of salt.

However, there is so much smoke with these five rumors that there must be at least a little fire, so Jets fans should be carefully watching to see how these situations play out. Given Idzik’s background, it seems unlikely that the Jets will go on spending spree similar to what the Miami Dolphins did last year. However, they will still make some key moves, and these are the five biggest free agency rumors surrounding the Jets.

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5. Signing Golden Tate

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The Jets are going to be linked to several Seattle Seahawks because of Idzik, and Golden Tate is at the top of the list. Tate’s receiving statistics are not particularly impressive (64 receptions, 898 yards, 5 TDs), but Seattle’s run heavy offense is largely to blame. Tate would undoubtedly be an upgrade for the Jets and would immediately become their best receiver.

Personally, I believe that Tate will stay in Seattle unless someone makes him an offer he can’t refuse. The Jets should not be that team, because Tate is really no more than a No. 2 receiver, and he is going to be overvalued by virtue of being on the Seahawks. Emmanuel Sanders would be a much better target for the Jets, but don’t be surprised if they make a run at Tate.

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4. Releasing and Potentially Re-Signing Antonio Cromartie

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The first part of this rumor seems inevitable at this point, as Cromartie is coming off an awful season and is a $15 million cap hit if he’s on the roster compared to just a $5.5 million charge if he’s not. The Jets have long been rumored to re-sign Cromartie at a lower price, but that is a bad idea.

Cromartie turns 30 next month and has chronic hip problems, and the Jets are a team that should be building for the future. There is a very solid group of corners available in free agency, including Aqib Talib, Alterraun Verner, Sam Shields and Walter Thurmond, who I think would be a perfect fit. The Jets need to get a long term solution at corner, and that means moving on from Cromartie.

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3. Pursuing Michael Vick

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This has been one of the most popular rumors surrounding the Jets lately, as Michael Vick is familiar with Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg from there time together with the Philadelphia Eagles. I am on record that I think this signing is an absolutely horrendous idea, and the Jets should stay far, far away from Vick. Vick is not an upgrade over Geno Smith, and he brings all kinds of problems with him.

In his last two full seasons as a starter in 2011 and 2012, Vick averaged 1.85 turnovers per game and 2.1 turnovers per game, worse than Smith’s 1.75 per game this season. Vick also had a lower completion percentage than Smith this season. When you consider the fact that Vick is old, injury prone, likely going to be overpaid and guaranteed to cause a quarterback controversy, there is just no logical reason to sign him.

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2. Making a Big Offer to Jairus Byrd

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With the news that the Jairus Byrd rejected a long term offer from the Buffalo Bills followed by the Bills’ decision not to use the franchise tag, the safety market just got a whole lot more interesting. Byrd is one of the best free safeties in the NFL, and he has been a takeaway machine for the Bills with 22 interceptions and 11 forced fumbles in his career.

Byrd is an absolutely perfect fit for a Jets team that desperately needs a playmaker at the back of their secondary, and they should make him a strong offer. There is going to be a ton of competition for Byrd’s services and the price could get very high, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the Jets passed. However, if they can land Byrd for something like $6-7 million a year, he could be worth it.

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1. Going After Eric Decker

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This is longest running rumor around the Jets and it isn’t going to stop until Eric Decker signs somewhere. Decker is coming off his second consecutive highly productive season with the Denver Broncos, and he would be a huge upgrade for the Jets.

The problem with Decker is that many people believe Peyton Manning made him look a lot better than he is and that he isn’t worth No. 1 receiver money. If the Jets sign him, they will be expecting him to perform like a true top flight receiver, making this a risky addition. It will all come down to price with Decker, because Idzik is not the type of GM to hand out a big contract unless he is completely sold on a player.

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