Oct 9, 2011; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Cincinnati Bengals free safety Reggie Nelson (20) reaches for the ball during warm up drills before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Fernando Medina-US PRESSWIRE

New York Jets Free Agent Targets

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Now that the salary cap figure has been (kind of released)-that everyone expects it to be around a 120.6 million dollars it’s time to start looking at some teams and who they might target in free agency. One team I’m interested to see what they can accomplish in free agency is the New York Jets. The Jets recently made news by signing Mark Sanchez to a lucrative contract extension they have officially committed to Sanchez long term. And with Santonio Holmes carrying a huge cap figure this year it should be fun to watch.  The Jets need a pass rusher, but only have roughly three million dollars in cap room prior to any cuts. They are going to have to do some things on the cheap and restructure some contracts as well. The Jets do a good job of restructuring contracts and maneuvering pieces I think they’ll end up with maybe 10 million dollars operating room. Still it’s hard for me to imagine them signing any big name free agent players.

The Jets actually have quite a few needs on both sides of the ball. The Jets need another Wide receiver, they need to upgrade at interior OL and a RT, they need another and better running back, they need a pass rusher, they need to re-sign or replace Sione Puha, and upgrade their safeties.

They don’t have enough money for all of those needs.

Targets:

OLB

Jarrett Johnson, Baltimore Ravens

I think this will be the Jets number one free agent target. Johnson is a pretty good pass rusher who Ryan would know from his time at Baltimore. Johnson is also a mid-level guy who is going to come in around their price range. Johnson is really over-rated, over the last two seasons he only has 4 sacks combined. He’s also more of a complementary guy than he is a offensive terror. He’s also 30 years old, but it’s not like the Jets can contend for the services of Mario Williams with their cap space.

Mark Anderson

Anderson has been a productive pass rusher as 43 DE, but has the kind of athleticism that would translate well to 34 OLB.  I think the problem here for the Jets though is that they won’t be able to afford him.

Prediction:

Quentin Groves, Oakland Raiders

Groves is a talented player who was drafted in the second round of the Jaguars and used to play defensive end for them. I always though his ideal spot was a 34 rush linebacker and if he goes to the Jets he’ll get that opportunity. His production doesn’t warrant a big contract, but he has upside as a pass rusher. Really the market is not great for pass rushers outside of Williams.

They also probably address this position in the draft.

Wide Receiver targets

I think with Burress leaving and their only being Holmes and Kerley to rely on for next year the Jets will pursue WR more heavily than any other position in free agency. It also happens to be a position of strength in the free agency market.

Targets:

Lee Evans, Baltimore

The Bills will have had a very up and close personal look at Evans from his career in Buffalo. The Jets weren’t able to stretch the field much last year even with Santonio Holmes, so maybe they’ll look to add another burner on the outside and the the speed of Kerley as well their offense will suddenly be really fast.

Braylon Edwards, Jets

Edwards wants to return to the Jets, and the Jets might like him back coming at a bargain. Edwards is a big target as well. He doesn’t have great hands, but does have a lot of physical ability.

Marques Colston, Saints

It depends on the market price. If teams are worried about his long injury history he might come on the cheap. He’s a really nice complement to the speed of Holmes.

Prediction:

Laurent Robinson, WR, Dallas

Robinson showed last year that he’s a good all around WR. He made a lot of plays in the Red-zone, but also in between the twenties which is where Burress struggled. Robinson won’t be able to get number one type money, but is probably the best of the second tier of wide receivers that will be available. Robinson with Holmes and Keller is not a bad first three options. They can address WR in the draft or rely on more development for Kerley.

 

Running back:

I think running back is a realistic option in free agency because the price of running backs not named Chris Johnson or Arian Foster has not been that expensive recently.

Targets:

Peyton Hillis, Cleveland

Hillis represents everything they want to be on offense. A guy who can consistently pound the football straight ahead picking up chunks of yardage. He would basically have Shonn Greene’s role, but is better than Green. Will he come cheap enough?And do the Jets want to bring on, yet again, another guy who had locker room issues?

Kevin Smith, Detroit

Smith had a Renaissance year last year with the Detroit Lions. Smith has a lot of speed and can catch the football. He also can take up the middle some. He’s a more reliable version of Joe McKnight. Smith is an enticing option for the Jets who are looking for someone who can catch the football as well as Ladanian Tomlinson did last year.

Brandon Jacobs, NY Giants

Jacobs is making his pitch to the Jets. He wants to stay in New York. He has a Jets mouth and attitude. I don’t think the Jets really consider him though.

Joseph Addai,  RB

If they want a nice complement to Green. Addai is a good fit.

Prediction:

Mike Tolbert, San Diego

If the Jets are smart this is the kind of move they will make. Tolber does everything on the field. Run, catch, play special teams and tackle. Tolbert is also a tough physical runner and will pick up the tough yardage. The only question I have is how much the Jets still believe in Green, because if they do they might not bring in a bruiser type and will focus instead on a chance of pace back.

 

Safety:

This is a position I think they’ll really consider in free agency if they can find one worth signing. Safeties don’t command a lot of money which makes it possible for the Jets to sign one.

LaRon Landry, Was

The Jets problem at safety is that they lack speed at that position. If Landry has one thing=it’s speed. I also think if there’s one position where the Jets can afford to add a high profile free agent it would be at safety. Safeties don’t command the kind of money that Wide receivers, OL, and pass rushers do.

Prediction:

Reggie Nelson, Bengals

The Redskins have a lot of cap room and will probably eventually get something done with Landry (if they haven’t already). Nelson was considered a bust with Jacksonville, but had a terrific year last year with the Bengals. Nelson has a lot of range and speed (which the Jets are sorely lacking). And will be able to clean up some of the mistakes the Jets are exposed to with their blitz happy scheme. Nelson won’t cost an arm and a leg either and is a good fit.

 

Looking at the talent available at the position of needs for the Jets and we see that while their are some top playmakers available at each position-financial constraints will probably lead to the Jets singing second teir guys and probably one impact play-maker at a cheaper position like running back or safety. The Jets really need a good draft this year and to improve their locker room chemistry because I don’t think the talent import from free agency will be sensational.
What do you Jets fans think?

 

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Tags: 2012 NFL Free Agency New York Jets

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