As March 13th gets closer, New York Jets fans are starting to feel a rush of anxiety. They just watched their hyped team flame out at 8-8, while the New York Giants threw salt in the wound with yet another Super Bowl victory. Mike Tannenbaum is out in front of the media saying things like “Wayne Hunter is coming back as the starting right tackle” and the team won’t be taking an overly aggressive approach to free agency…take a breath everybody, let’s go over what we know as of right now –
We know Mike Tannenbaum gives no valuable information to the media. If a player is under contract, Tannenbaum expects him back in the same role next year. If a player is a free agent, the Jets will review their options and make the best decision for the franchise. This is all company line BS. Tannenbaum isn’t giving anything away. The Jets don’t have a ton of money to spend but with a few more maneuvers, will have enough to make a reasonable splash staring March 13th.
Quarterback – The Jets are going to do their due diligence on Peyton Manning, like nearly every team in the NFL will. If they feel like they have a real shot, they will go after him hard with no regard for Mark Sanchez’s feelings. I still say this has about a 5% chance of happening but the Jets will be at the top of the Manning rumor mill under he signs elsewhere. As expected, Chad Henne has also been linked to the Jets as a logical backup to Mark Sanchez. If I was gambling man, I’d put my money on Henne being in New York next year and Manning being in Arizona.
Running Back – No chatter here. It would serve the Jets well to add a low cost veteran but that seems like the type of move that won’t happen until closer to training camp. Joe McKnight is going to be talked up a ton this off-season as a big part of the Jets plans and Bilal Powell will also be hyped as somebody who will receive more of an opportunity.
Wide Receiver – A position of constant debate on Twitter among Jets fans. The impression that I am receiving is that the Jets won’t have enough money to spend on Pierre Garcon or Robert Meachem. If they spend it will be on the third tier of free agent wide receivers, like Early Doucet or Braylon Edwards. There was a Daily News report yesterday that the Jets had interest in bring #17 back if he was “healthy and the price was right” aka on a veteran minimum deal with some incentives attached. The Jets expressing interest in Edwards shows the type of money they are looking to spend at WR this off-season…not much.
Edwards has the potential to give a high return on investment. If you are going cheap at receiver, who would you expect more from than Edwards who has proven he can be productive with Mark Sanchez in New York? What I am saying if there is one receiver the Jets are getting for the veteran’s minimum this off-season that can produce 60 catches, 750 yards, and 6 touchdown, it is Edwards.
Tight End – I still believe if Anthony Fasano gets cut he ends up in New York. Don’t be surprised if the Jets spend more on him than they do on a wide receiver in free agency.
Offensive Line – I really hope Mike Tannenbaum hasn’t talked himself into a Wayne Hunter/Vladmir Ducasse battle for right tackle but I wouldn’t rule it out completely. At this point, I still expect some type of veteran to be brought in for insurance but the market isn’t full of quality options. Vernon Carey makes sense but might end up costing more than the Jets want to spend.
Defensive Line – I am confident Tannenbaum gets Sione Pouha locked down before free agency starts.
Linebacker - Jarrett Johnson is the first name that has been linked to the Jets with any kind of mainstream media report. It makes sense, as he is familiar with Rex’s system and could be a veteran stopgap to be paired with a first round pick at outside linebacker. Rex Ryan needs to drop the “I can get a pass rush from anybody” attitude and the Jets need to get a player who can get double digit sacks in a season. If there is an aggressive approach in the draft, pass rushing outside linebacker needs to be the position that is targeted.
Secondary – There is a crop of talented safeties out there and if the Jets are going to spend money at a position, than why not here? You are trying to beat a team that features Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez out for the your division, remember? Tyvon Branch, Reggie Nelson, LaRon Landry and Michael Griffin are all out there.