The upcoming New York Jets off-season is likely going to disappoint a large portion of the team’s fanbase. Every need isn’t going to be filled. That being said, what do the Jets have to take care of, at a minimum, in the upcoming months for Mike Tannenbaum to do a satisfactory job?
It starts up front on both sides of the football, which means getting Sione Pouha signed to a 2-3 year deal to make sure he can keep anchoring the Jets run defense. On offense, that means bringing in a veteran right tackle to compete with Wayne Hunter, somebody along lines of a Vernon Carey. The offensive line should also be supported with a mid-round pick to develop.
Improving the pass rush is of equal priority. Mario Williams isn’t happening. There are a few decent stopgap players available in free agency like Anthony Spencer and Manny Lawson. If Tannenbaum is thinking big on draft day, it should be at this position. The Jets aren’t going to need to sell the farm to move up to get an elite pass rusher but if they need to move up to the 12-14 range to get their guy, Tannenbaum shouldn’t hesitate.
Safety is a position the Jets could address in free agency and support with a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Tyvon Branch or Michael Griffin are worth the investment on the open market and look for Jim Leonhard to be brought back on a veteran’s minimum deal to provide depth.
There is a need at wide receiver but compared to right tackle, linebacker, and safety the need is a luxury. Don’t be shocked if the Jets don’t add a starting caliber free agent at receiver. This is a run first team and the priority to spend in free agency at the position is lower than other spots on the team. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Jets add a mid-round receiver with some size and go into camp with him, Jeremy Kerley and Patrick Turner competing for reps opposite of Santonio Holmes, with Dustin Keller having a much larger role split out at receiver, while the team signs a blocking tight end to pair with him.
Beyond that, another quarterback is going to be brought in. I have a tough time seeing it being anyone besides Chad Henne on a cheap, one year deal. It is a necessary, logical move considering his history with Tony Sparano.
Hypothetically, if Tannenbaum brought back Pouha, signed Vernon Carey to play right tackle, signed Branch or Griffin at safety, and Henne to be the backup quarterback and then on draft day got a pass rushing OLB in round one, along with a safety and wide receiver in the middle rounds. Would you consider that a successful off-season? I would.