It continues to be a quiet start for the New York Jets in free agency and with the action surrounding them, a few things have become clear. Overall, this is going to be a more restrained approach than in recent years but that doesn’t mean a big splash won’t be on the way in the coming month.
At wide receiver, it is clear the Jets never had any interest in spending big time money opposite Santonio Holmes. It makes sense when you look at the coordinator they hired and how much guaranteed money they are giving Holmes this year and next year. We suspected this would be case as the Jets are now bargain hunting to fill out their wide receiver depth chart. I anticipate them signing Chaz Schilens. He is comfortable with Sanjay Lal as his receiver coach and the Jets will give him a legitimate chance to start. Personally, I don’t think this is enough support at wide receiver for Mark Sanchez and the team should still consider checking out Braylon Edwards in May to make sure his knee is healthy. Jerricho Cotchery won’t come here unless the team is going to give him a legitimate chance to be the starter, which I’m not sure they will.
If the Jets are going to spend big money in free agency, it will be at the safety position. Look for them to make a strong push to get either Reggie Nelson or LaRon Landry in the coming few days. After hopefully signing one of them, I would expect them to bring back Jim Leonhard on a veteran’s minimum within a few months and then still add a safety in one of the early rounds of the draft.
We haven’t heard of the Jets looking to spend anywhere else in free agency outside of backup quarterback, where they will probably sign Drew Stanton. A move that will rightfully be questioned by many. David Garrard or Josh Johnson would provide a more legitimate threat to Sanchez in the number two spot than Stanton.
So what about tackle, linebacker, and running back? For whatever reason the Jets appear to be passing on many of the quality free agent right tackles. I don’t know if that is because they have a gentleman’s agreement with Vernon Carey to join the team in a few weeks or because they are really hard headed enough to think Wayne Hunter or Vladimir Ducasse could start next year. At linebacker, unless they make a push toward Jameel McClain, they appear to be standing pat and we haven’t heard anything about a Ronnie Brown signing being imminent yet at running back.
What you do need to remember is that the draft is a little over a month away and the Jets are going to have 10-12 picks. Don’t be surprised to see a very active few days from Mike Tannenbaum in terms of sliding up and down the board, along with looking to fill holes by trading picks for veteran players. This could very well be a situation where fans are in an uproar until draft weekend comes, and then it becomes much clearer what the Jets were looking to do this off-season. They have enough picks and assets to patch up linebacker, tackle, and running back in that weekend.
Don’t forget Mike Tannenbaum’s history when it comes to trades.