NFL free agency kicks off on March 12th, only 8 days from today. The New York Jets are not expected to be overly active considering their salary cap situation. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering how the team has been run in previous years, they need to sit out the first wave of overpaid free agents and settle for 2nd and 3rd tier players who they can get at bargain rates. The focus for this team needs to be on building through the NFL Draft. Regardless, there will be some measure of activity from the Jets in the coming months, here is the first version of our round-up heading into next week
Rumored Interest - Brady Quinn, David Garrard, Kevin Kolb
Other Sensible Options - Matt Moore, Jason Campbell, Chase Daniel
Garrard has already worked out for the team and the interest between both parties seems mutual, making a deal feel almost like a matter of time. Quinn has a history with new Quarterbacks Coach David Lee and his signing wouldn’t have to be mutually exclusive of Garrard. Neither Garrard or Quinn are particularly exciting options but both will be cheap and cheap is what the Jets need right now. Matt Moore is the top quarterback in this free agent class and could be out of the Jets price range, as plenty of other teams will have interest. Daniel deserves a long look after learning under Drew Brees for a few years and his price tag shouldn’t be prohibitive. Somebody to keep an eye on is Kevin Kolb if he ends up being released by Arizona for not restructuring his contract. He has a positive history with Marty Mornhinweg and could be a quality stopgap.
Rumored Interest - Bernard Scott
Other Sensible Options - Felix Jones, La’Rod Stephens-Howling, Rashad Jennings, Javon Ringer
Bargain basement options across the board. Shonn Greene is going to walk and plod his way to 2.1 yards per carry somewhere else next season. Scott, Jones, or Stephens-Howling would add nice speed to a Jets backfield in desperate need of it. This position will also be addressed in the Draft. Don’t waste your time thinking the Jets will pursue Reggie Bush, Ahmad Bradshaw or Rashard Mendenhall…they won’t.
Rumored Interest - Braylon Edwards
Other Sensible Options - Josh Cribbs, Julian Edelman
It’d be surprising if the Jets did anything except bring Braylon Edwards back on a cheap, short-term contract. The only reason I list Cribbs and Edelman is because the Jets could see the dual value in them improving their special teams and offense. Couldn’t the Jets use a player who can line-up at multiple spots on offense, create big plays and contribute heavily on special teams?
Oh and good-bye to Chaz Schilens, Mardy Gilyard and hopefully Clyde Gates.
Rumored Interest - Geoff Schwartz
Other Sensible Options - Cooper Carlisle, Donald Thomas
The Jets first order of business will be placing a tender on restricted free agent Austin Howard and then deciding what to do with Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson. Look for Slauson to walk and for the Jets to make an effort to bring Moore back on a short term deal. There has been rumored interest in Geoff Schwartz who was on the Vikings last season. He is a versatile player who can play both guard and tackle but is likely viewed as a replacement for Slauson when he leaves in free agency. Carlisle and Thomas are other Guards worth considering in free agency who won’t break the bank.
Rumored Interest - Ben Watson, Brent Celek
Other Sensible Options - James Casey, Brandon Myers
Dustin Keller is likely going to leave in free agency, forcing the team to place a tender on restricted free agent Jeff Cumberland. If Celek gets cut from Philadelphia, he immediately becomes a logical target for the Jets with Mornhinweg at offensive coordinator. Casey and Myers are both players who can be every bit as productive as Keller but at half the price.
Rumored Interest - None
Other Sensible Options - None
The Jets focus here is going to be restructuring Sione Pou’ha and trying to bring Mike DeVito back. If both end up leaving than look for the Jets to add a veteran off the scrap heap heading into training camp.
Rumored Interest - Antwan Barnes, Shaun Phillips
Other Sensible Options - Victor Butler, Manny Lawson
It makes sense for the Jets to add at least one veteran at outside linebacker considering how thin the position is right now. They’ve had interest in Barnes in the past and both him or Phillips could provide needed depth and flexibility at the position. Butler deserves a long look and could develop into a more than capable starter in the right situation.
Rumored Interest - None
Other Sensible Options - Gerald Sensabaugh, Kenny Phillips, Drew Coleman
There is a chance the market might break in a way that forces LaRon Landry to accept substantially less than the 6 million per year he expects. If that is the case, the Jets may be able to get him back on a reasonable deal. They also need to decide what to do with Yeremiah Bell at safety. Sensabaugh and Philips could help with the transition if Landry or Bell leave. Obviously cornerback is going to be dictated by what happens with Darrelle Revis but even if he is traded, the Jets won’t spend big in free agency in replace him. Coleman is simply a cheap depth option.