We are now only two days away from NFL free agency starting up and the picture has changed substantially for the New York Jets with the restructuring of Mark Sanchez’s contract, which freed up 6.4 million of cap space this year and dropped them out of the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. What kind of changes will this roster have in the coming weeks?
Offensive Line – We knew not to take Mike Tannenbaum at his word when he said Wayne Hunter would be back as the starting right tackle. There are already reports about the Jets trying to trade him, which we all know isn’t going to happen unless a team’s GM gets dropped on their head. Vernon Carey has long been speculated as a veteran replacement for Hunter but with the extra freed up cap space could the Jets look to take a run at Demetrius Bell or Jared Gaither? I wouldn’t rule it out or rule them out looking to swing a trade for a team with a surplus at tackle.
Wide Receiver – If they Jets are going cheap, Braylon Edwards will always be there as an option around May after they take the time to exam his leg and make sure he is healthy. If they are going to spend a little money, Laurent Robinson remains an intriguing option that will hit the market, as is Early Doucet. If the Jets don’t sign a wide receiver in free agency, they will need to address it early in the draft as there is a lack of talent and size opposite of Santonio Holmes.
Running Back – We know the Jets need some veteran insurance at this position and the only name we have heard mentioned is Ronnie Brown. He does make sense considering his history with Tony Sparano and the role the Jets are looking to fill. The team isn’t look for somebody to do much more than provide insurance as a third down back and maybe give them 10-12 plays a game. Joe McKnight is going to be given a larger role and they have to give Bilal Powell some type of a look after spending a fourth round pick on him last year.
Tight End – The Jets will likely sign another tight end to compliment Dustin Keller, with Anthony Fasano being a favorite if he becomes a free agent. If not, they could look at Maretellus Bennett, John Carlson, or Jacob Tamme.
Quarterback – Chad Henne or Jason Campbell might not want to come here considering Sanchez’s security the next two years. The Jets could look to the next tier of backups like David Garrard, Josh Johnson or Drew Stanton…or they could always trade for Tim Tebow after Denver signs Peyton Manning…just kidding.
Defensive Line – Expect Sione Pouha to be locked up in the next day or two.
Linebacker – The Mario Williams rumors have picked back up since Sanchez’s contract was signed but from everything we have heard that isn’t going to happen. They will likely make a push for Jarret Johnson and Jameel McClain, while hopefully also considering Erin Henderson. I wouldn’t expect them to sign more than one linebacker, instead looking to boost the position through the draft.
Secondary – The safety market has been picked apart by the franchise tag, leaving LaRon Landry, Dwight Lowery, and Reggie Nelson as the top players out there. Landry is going to cost too much for a player who can’t cover and can’t stay healthy. Would Tannenbaum swallow his pride and bring Lowery back? He might have to strongly consider it. The Jets could also consider trying to swing a trade here or aggressively going after Mark Barron in the draft.