The New York Jets are going to be making upgrades in free agency this offseason. After a few cuts, the team will have upwards of $100 million to spend. General Manager Mike Maccagnan has three straight years of no postseason appearances under his belt and will not be afraid to spend. However, if the team is going to spend they should be focusing on younger players.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, Minnesota Vikings
The Jets have to make some changes to their running back unit this offseason. The first move should be cutting veteran Matt Forte. Forte has looked nothing like the Pro Bowler he was in Chicago in his two seasons in New York. Injuries have played a role in his regression, but he also is 32 years old. He is owed $3 million next season, meaning he makes perfect sense to release as a way to add some cap space.
Bilal Powell, the Jets most consistent offensive player the past five seasons, could also be gone. He was solid once again in 2017, as he averaged 4.3 yards per carry. He has not proven to be a feature back, and at 29 years old the Jets can definitely use a younger option. Elijah McGuire also flashed a lot of potential during his rookie season, which makes Powell more expendable.
Enter Jerick McKinnon, a 25 year old coming off a career year. McKinnon caught 51 passes out of the Vikings backfield, and added 570 rushing yards with five total touchdowns. He will most likely get a deal with an average salary close to Bilal Powell’s of $4 million. Signing McKinnon to replace Powell is an upgrade in talent and brings youth.
Albert Wilson, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
With question marks at the position, the Jets need to add depth at wide receiver this offseason. If the Jets don’t want to spend big money at the position for a guy like Jarvis Landry or Allen Robinson, cheap options do exist. Albert Wilson is only 5’9, but can be a very productive player out of the slot for the Jets. Wilson is 25 years old and has a lot of potential to grow. This past season in Kansas City, Wilson caught 42 passes with three touchdowns. He ended the season with a ten catch performence in Denver.
Jermaine Kearse should be brought back, but beyond that there are no guarantees. Robby Anderson is the team’s best receiver, but right now we have no idea how long he will be suspended for. Quincy Enunwa will be great to have back, but you wonder if he will be the same player following a very serious injury.
Wilson may not be a flashy name, but he can be a very productive player in Jeremy Bates’ offense.
Trey Burton, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
If the Jets do not resign Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Trey Burton should be a target to be the starting tight end. Burton has been Zach Ertz’s backup with the Eagles for the past three seasons. He caught five touchdowns in 2017, and should be looking for a bigger role.
Trey Burton has improved since the arrival of head coach Doug Perderson and his West-Coast style of offense. The Jets with Jeremy Bates seem like an idea scheme fit for the tight end.
At 26 years old, Burton fits the mold of the type of player the Jets should be targeting. The team should be signing players that are entering their prime and still ascending. Burton could breakout in a big role within a new offense.
Aaron Colvin, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jets should absolutely be going after the top-priced cornerbacks on the market, like Trumaine Johnson. However, they also need to add more depth. Aaron Colvin is the third wheel at cornerback in Jacksonville, and could seek out a bigger role in free agency. At 6’0 and with good speed, Colvin could be a nice option on the outside for the Jets.
Morris Claiborne was the top cornerback on the Jets in 2017, but is replaceable due to injury concerns. Slot cornerback Buster Skrine is likely to be released. That leaves the Jets with the need to add multiple cornerbacks through the draft and free agency.
Colvin is 26 years old and isn’t the type of player that will require a truckload of money. He is an above-average cornerback, and would make a ton of sense for the Jets.
Alex Okafor, DE, New Orleans Saints
If the Jets want to reunite Todd Bowles with one of his former players, Alex Okafor is a good player to take a chance on. The former fourth rounder played the first two seasons of his career with Todd Bowles as his defensive coordinator. In 2014, Okafor put up eight sacks with Bowles as his coach. Okafor was having a breakout season in New Orleans before tearing his achilles in week 11. In ten games he recored 4.5 sacks with two forced fumbles.
With the injury the price tag should not be high for a starting quality player. At 26 years old, Okafor. The need is there for the Jets as Muhammad Wilkerson is set to be released. Okafor makes a ton of sense lining up opposite Leonard Williams. He is a solid pass rusher and is a good scheme fit.
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