Free Agent Frenzy: Best Fits for the New York Jets on Offense
Almost 24 hours into the 2014 NFL Free Agency period and already big names have inked deals with their new teams.
The Denver Broncos have made the biggest splash to this point, improving their defense by stealing the New England Patriots best cornerback Aqib Talib, and also signing big name free agents DeMarcus Ware and T.J. Ward.
On the other hand, the New York Jets have been virtually quiet to this point, only agreeing to terms with Franchised Kicker Nick Folk.
Many Jets fans were excited for the start of Free Agency, thinking the Jets would make a splash immediately. Instead, General Manger John Idzik has stuck to his guns, standing firm on his negotiations with players like Offensive Tackle Austin Howard, who has already signed with the Oakland Raiders.
After cutting Holmes, who has struggled with injuries in recent memory, the Jets have freed up almost $40 million in Cap Space.
Unfortunately, they now have a young and unproven Wide Receiver core of only one reliable starting-caliber receiver on the roster, Jeremy Kerley.
Here is a breakdown by position of remaining offensive Free Agents that would fit well in the Jets offense:
Michael Vick – Vick has publicly stated that he is going to wait for the best opportunity to present itself before he decides what jersey he wants to wear next season. Vick is anxious to start again and has experienced success with Jets Offensive Coordinators Marty Mornhingwig in the past. It would not be unlike the Jets to bring in another Quarterback and hold a competition for the starting role.
Maurice Jones-Drew – With Toby Gerhart taking over the starting position for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jones-Drew is left searching for a team looking to add stability to their backfield. Although Jones-Drew has had injuries with his foot, he was a monster towards the end of last season on a talent-starved Jaguars Squad. It is a clear fit for both sides, as the Jets run Rex Ryan’s “ground ‘n’ pound” offense and Jones-Drew still wants the ball.
Legarrette Blount – Blount is a powerful back, who had glimpses of excellence for the Patriots last season. Although he may not be the fastest or quickest guy on the field, Blount is hard to bring down and can wear down a defense as the game goes on. Rex loves players with toughness and an edge, and Blount fits that to a tee.
Eric Decker – Decker, reportedly, is visiting the Jets at the moment and it would not be shocking if he was the Jets first big move. Decker is arguably the best WR on the market, and since dropping Holmes, the Jets are desperate for WR help. Although Decker is a solid WR, he still isn’t a number 1 guy, which leads the Jets to have to think about draft day.
James Jones –In 2012, Jones had a league high 14 receiving touchdowns for the Green Bay Packers, but was plagued with injuries last season. This has caused him to fly under the radar and could be a potential steal for the Jets, who need as much help in the passing game as possible.
Steve Smith – Early Wednesday, Smith’s agent informed the public that his client had played his last game in a Panthers uniform. Carolina has been actively seeking a trade partner for Smith, but if they cannot find one, it is reported he will be released. Although Smith is not as explosive and dangerous as he used to be, he is still a deep threat with great hands. He also brings veteran experience to an offense that lacks many veterans at skill positions.
Emmanuel Sanders – After a great season, the Steelers are not expected to make Sanders an offer. Sanders, like former Steelers WR star Mike Wallace, will be looking to land a big contract while he can. Arguably the biggest playmaker in this FA class, Sanders is a speedy and creative WR that the Jets could use.
Julian Edelman – The Patriots failed to come to terms with Edelman, who, to the excitement of all Jets fans, will not be wearing a Patriots jersey this season. Edelman is a tough, chippy player that can make plays on offense, defense and special teams. Edelman is an elusive slot receiver, comparable to what Geno had at West Virginia with Tavon Austin(and we all know how that went.)
Brandon Pettigrew – The Jets have seen success with the two TE system and are looking for a complement to recently re-signed Jeff Cumberland. Pettigrew is a complete TE that is looking for a home that will value his blocking skills. Under Rex the Jets are a run first offense and a TE like Pettigrew would help the run game along with the passing game.
Jermichael Finley – Finley is a weird prospect at this point, as he has not received medical clearance on his neck. He is still recovering from a successful spinal fusion surgery and, if healthy, can bring an exciting element to the Jets offense.
Breno Giacomini – GM Idzik was in Seattle when Giacomini was signed to the Seahawks in 2010. With the release of Howard, the Jets are looking for a suitable replacement to protect Geno. Breno was good enough to start for the Super Bowl winning team, which doesn’t hurt his cause.
Michael Oher – The man made famous from the movie based on his life, The Blind Side, is currently looking for a new quarterback to protect. Oher has stayed healthy enough to start all 80 games since joining the Ravens and the Jets need as much stability on their offensive line as they can get.
Zach Strief – Strief is a 30 year old right tackle who played for the Saints last season. He is a skilled pass blocker, who could play an important role in the development of Geno Smith. Strief was named the 7th best offensive tackle in the league last season by Pro Football Focus, allowing only 3 sacks, 4 hits and just 4 penalties all season.
Overall, the Jets have a lot of work to do before the start of the 2014 season. Their offense is currently under construction, as most of the starters for the team next season are not on the roster yet. It will be interesting to see how Idzik approaches the rest of free agency and the draft.
As a Jets fan, this is an exciting few weeks.
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