Free Agent Anxiety: Where Do The Jets Go From Here?

1

Photobucket

I was clearly spoiled by the past two off-seasons from the Jets. Since Thursday, they have pulled off two pretty major trades and I am still sitting here getting anxious because there isn’t much talk out there about any substantive transactions on the horizon for them. Only one new player has been added so far: Antonio Cromartie, while Kerry Rhodes, Donald Strickland, Lito Sheppard, and likely Thomas Jones have all been let go. The future in green and white of Marques Douglas, Wallace Wright, Howard Green, and to some extent Leon Washington remain up in the air. I am confident Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets scouting department will do a good job in the draft with their current six selections, but beyond that what is left for this Jets off-season? Let’s take a quick position by position run through -

Quarterback – It doesn’t look like the Jets will be bringing in a veteran backup for Mark Sanchez. I can’t see any team showing any interest in Kellen Clemens as a RFA or even in a trade, meaning he will likely be back. The Jets organization seems to be pretty high on the potential of both Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the three of them battle for the #2 spot behind Sanchez in 2010. The idea of Chad Pennington coming back ended when he re-signed with the Dolphins and there has been other movement with backup quarterbacks, David Carr to San Francisco, AJ Feely to the Rams and rumors of other movement, Jim Sorgi to the Giants and Jeff Garcia to multiple teams but there hasn’t been anything reported on the Jets showing interest in any quarterbacks.

PhotobucketRunning Back – Thomas Jones has most recently been linked to the Chiefs and it sounds like a long shot he will end up back with the Jets. Mike Tannenbaum has said the Jets will add a veteran running back but I think he could wait until the summer to see what some of the training camp cuts are. He discussed Tony Richardson in a conference call with reporters today, saying it was a “priority” to re-sign him which is good news. I am sure at his age, Richardson would like to come back for another year with the Jets instead of moving out to another team. There is no reason to go cheap at fullback, especially with a lack of veteran leadership now at the running back position. I still doubt any team signs Leon Washington to a contract as a RFA, but that could just be a hopeful thought.

Wide Receiver – Another key point of Tannenbaum’s conference call today was confirming the Jets interest in Laveranues Coles. It has been reported over the past week that LC has an interest in returning to New York and I think he could be a good fit in the Jets offense. He has the skill set to be a very good slot receiver, as long as at this stage of his career he can accept a more limited role.

Tight End – The Jets re-signed backup tight end Ben Hartsock to a 2 year deal today. I believed the Jets could upgrade over him to a slightly more versatile guy. Hartsock is basically another tackle out there, but I suppose his value as a blocker is crucial in the type of offense the Jets run.

Offensive Line – Haven’t heard much of anything at this position but I still expect the Jets to spend a mid or late round pick on an offensive lineman.

Defensive Line – Marques Douglas is rightly attracting alot of interest in the free agent market but as I have written many times here before, the Jets would be foolish not to bring him back. Pay the guy his money. Quality 3-4 defensive ends are hard to come by and the Jets had one last year in Douglas. Even if the Jets bring Douglas back, I could still see them taking a defensive lineman in the first or second round…Dan Williams and Jared Odrick are some first round names that have been linked to the Jets in a few mock drafts.

Linebackers – Adalius Thomas hasn’t been released by the Patriots yet but when he is, I would expect the Jets to act quickly. They could also look for a pass rushing prospect at outside linebacker in the first or second round of the draft.

Secondary – Mike Tannenbaum has made it sound like he will be adding two or three more members to the Jets secondary before the off-season is done. Whether it is through the draft or free agency, I would expect to see a new safety, a nickel back, and a depth player at either corner or safety brought in.

Special Teams – Wallace Wright was just signed by Carolina, which is a shame. He has been the Jets top special teams player for a few years now.  Jay Feely hasn’t been signed by anybody yet, so I could hold on to the thought that Nick Folk won’t be kicking for us next year.

Dusting Off LC Footage