1 – Joe Thuney
A 27 year old guard who has spent his entire career with the New England Patriots. Thuney has started 64/64 of games over the past four years and gradually developed into one of the best interior linemen in the NFL, who is smack dab in the middle of his prime. Needless to say, he is going to paid. Thuney came in ranked as the 5th overall guard in the NFL last year by Pro Football Focus and is projected to receive a contract that could be in the 12-13 million per year range. The Jets have long been mediocre at guard by leaning too heavily on players like Brian Winters and Kelechi Osemele. Acquiring Thuney would be a massive win for the Jets and paired with Alex Lewis (if they can bring him back), would bring much needed stability to the interior of the offensive line.
2 – Jack Conklin
The top tackle on the market, who is only 25 years old and already rumored at the top of the Jets wish list. Conklin has started all 16 games in 3 of his 4 seasons (he tore his ACL in 2018) and put together a strong season in advance of free agency that was reminiscent of his All-Pro rookie campaign. There is a reason the Titans didn’t pick up his fifth year option as there are concerns about his consistency (particularly in pass protection) and health but overall he is a plug and play above average starter at right tackle for whoever pays up the roughly 15 million per year it will take to get him. Will he be overpaid? Arguably but that is what free agency is…the next guy up gets a market setting deal and Conklin is the next guy up at right tackle. If the Jets can land him, it is likely he will be paired with a rookie at left tackle, giving Sam Darnold two new long term bookends.
3 – Breshad Perriman
A popular name with Jets fans as a Robby Anderson replacement, Perriman closed last season on a tear in Tampa Bay’s pass happy offense, setting career highs in yards (645) and touchdowns (6). A first round disappointment to date, the 26 year old Perriman has a good combination of size and speed but outside of a few games last year and a few moments in Cleveland during the 2018 season, he has been pedestrian at best (he has 5 other touchdowns spread throughout his three seasons). He is a reasonable player to take a short term flier on and will be much cheaper than Anderson but assuming he can be a productive 16 game starter is risky.
4 – Graham Glasgow
A 27 year old interior linemen, who has started 47 games over the past three years for the Detroit Lions, with the last 31 coming at center (he also has left guard experience). Glasgow is a perfect Plan B option for teams who do not land Thuney and should be about 5-6 million per year cheaper. The Jets have long been short on talent, depth and versatility on the inside. Glasgow could be a Brian Winters replacement or a Jonotthan Harrison replacement and despite not being a “name” player, would be a pragmatic, solid addition.
5 – Connor McGovern
A somewhat similar player to Glasgow, the 26 year old has started at both guard and center. McGovern started 31 games over the past two years for the Denver Broncos, including 16 last year at center. He is projected to receive somewhere around 8-9 million per year and could be a higher ceiling replacement for Harrison at center. Like Glasgow, he isn’t a big name player but is the type of signing that would solidify a major weakness for the Jets.
6 – Halapoulivaati Vaitai
A popular name with Jets fans because he has started a few games in recent years with the Eagles, where Joe Douglas was previously. Vaitai is best served as a swing backup at tackle, rather than someone you’d bet on to start 16 games. Depth is a good thing but he is a major step down from Conklin if the Jets cannot land him. You can make a case he’d be a better starting option than Chuma Edoga or Brandon Shell, though.
7 – Andrus Peat
A former first round pick, the 26 year old guard (he has also started at tackle) has started a declining number of games each of the past four seasons. He started 10 for the Saints last year. Peat has been an up and down player that has struggled to stay healthy but should make well less than 10 million per year on the open market. A fallback option who would still be an upgrade over Brian Winters, who the team is also considering retaining.
8 -Rashard Higgins
A 25 year old receiver who flashed consistently during Baker Mayfield’s rookie season, when he racked up 572 yards and 4 touchdowns. He struggled to stay healthy and get targets in last year’s messy Browns season. There are rumors Cleveland will push hard to get him back but if he hits the open market, he could be a worthwhile investment that pans out into a competent starter, who is reliable for Sam Darnold.
9 – Quinton Spain
A 28 year old offensive guard who started 16 games for the Buffalo Bills last year and 15 the year before for the Tennessee Titans. The Bills will likely push to retain him but if he hits the market, Spain is a solid second tier option to add competition and experience to the interior offensive line. He is also likely to be a lower cost option than many of the names listed above.
10 – Emmanuel Sanders
A popular name associated with the Jets because of his history with Adam Gase. Sanders will be 33 years old next season and faded down the stretch for the San Francisco 49ers last year. He hasn’t been a 1,000 yard receiver since 2016 and has struggled to stay healthy in recent seasons. He would be a more expensive veteran leader for the receiver room than Demaryius Thomas was last year while providing more upside. The sizzle is more than the steak at this point and the Jets would be wise not to overpay while trying recapture an old Broncos offense.
11 – Nelson Agholor
A former first round pick who has been inconsistent for the Eagles and is regularly linked to the Jets because of…Joe Douglas. Prior to last season, Algholor put up back to back seasons over 700 yards and did score 8 touchdowns in 2017. He would provide some size in the slot but could be redundant with Jamison Crowder and Chris Herndon working the seams.
12 – Paul Richardson
A fallback speed option for the Jets if/when Robby Anderson walks in free agency. The 27 year old didn’t do much the past two years in Washington (he averaged 250 yards and 2 touchdowns per season), while missing 15 games. The Jets would be betting on him recapturing the production he had with Russel Wilson in 2017, when he eclipsed 700 yards and scored 6 touchdowns. A thoroughly meh/JAG option.