It’s obvious that the New York Jets have some holes they need to fill if they want to get back to playing football in January. John Idzik has made it clear that his offseason mantra is to use free agency to fill those holes so that the Jets can take the best player available when it comes time to draft. I’m sure most Jets fans will be glued to the TV over the next few weeks despite their team not playing. Here are some potential free agents that the Pro Personnel Staff should be taking a closer look at throughout these playoffs at some positions of need.
- Michael Vick – Eagles, 33
- Matt Flynn – Packers, 28
Flynn has been robbing teams blind for the past few seasons before being released by the Seahawks, Raiders, and Bills. However, he has shown solid ability when playing in Green Bay. Because of this he will probably go back to Green Bay but could leave to play in another West Coast system.
- Tarvaris Jackson – Seahawks, 30
Capable game manager who could be a solid veteran back up. Played in very similar system to Jets offense in Minnesota and Seattle.
Others: Seneca Wallace (Packers, 33), Derek Anderson (Panthers, 30)Wide Receivers
- Eric Decker – Broncos, 26
Decker will most likely want to return to Denver, but could get severely overpaid to leave. He could command a huge contract based on inflated numbers playing with Peyton Manning for last two seasons.
- Golden Tate – Seahawks, 25
Tate is looking to cash in as he has put together a great 2013 season and has easily been the Seahawks best receiving option. He is an excellent all around football player that shows more physicality than the average receiver. The Seahawks might be willing to part ways as they expect to have a healthy Percy Harvin in 2014.
- Jeremy Maclin (Injured) – Eagles, 25
Obviously Maclin won’t be playing this weekend, but he could be a bargain in free agency coming of a knee injury. He is another guy that may look to reunite with his former offensive coordinator. He could stay in Philly and see what he can do in Chip Kelly’s offense.
- Anquan Boldin – 49ers, 33
- Julian Edelman – Patriots, 27
In the wake of Wes Welker’s departure, Edelman has had a breakout year in the slot for New England, posting 105 catches. At the age of 27, I would think the Patriots would want to bring him back in 2014. You never know, he could go the route of Welker and leave if the money is right.
- James Jones – Packers, 29
Jones, like Decker, may be another product of the system that might not be as good away from Green Bay. He may want to return to keep his tenure with the Pack going or he may take a similar route to Greg Jennings and get big money to leave.
- Riley Cooper – Eagles, 26
Cooper bounced back from his preseason controversy as he stepped in for the injured Maclin to put together a great 2013 season. He is a solid receiver, but should be a 3rd receiver as he struggles to get open outside of the Chip Kelly system.
- Dexter McCluster – Chiefs, 25
McCluster is a player who is starting to find his niche in the NFL. He is an explosive player that falls somewhere between a Runningback and a Wide Receiver. He can add some playmaking ability to the slot on offense and in the return game.
- Doug Baldwin (Restricted) – Seahawks, 25
Baldwin could be another 2nd or 3rd receiver for the Jets to target. He is an overachiever who hit the 50 catch mark in 2011 and 2013. However, he is a restricted free agent and Seattle will probably bring him back.
The Rest: Brandon LaFell (Panthers, 27), Ted Ginn (Panthers, 28), Danario Alexander (Injured, Chargers, 25), Mario Manningham (Injured, 49ers, 27), Darrius Heyward-Bey (Colts, 26), Andrew Hawkins (Restricted, Bengals, 27), Robert Meachem (Saints, 29)
- Jimmy Graham – Saints, 27
It’s almost unfathomable to think the Saints would let go of their biggest offensive weapon and the NFL leader in touchdowns, but you never know. Another team would have to throw big money at the matchup nightmare to land him.
- Jermichael Finley (Injured) – Packers, 26
It is unclear if Finley will ever play football again after his spinal injury this season, but if he does, he could be a nice addition to any team looking for a veteran tight end on the cheap.
- Andrew Quarless – Packers, 25
With Finley in question, it seems likely that he will return to Green Bay. Has shown to be a solid producer in Finley’s absence.
The Rest: Michael Hoomanawanui (Patriots, 25), Ben Hartsock (Panthers, 33)
- Jon Asamoah – Cheifs, 25
Asamoah should get a lot of calls this offseason as he has been a solid starter since taking over for Brian Waters. He has had some injury issues which could help keep contract numbers down. He would be an immediate starter at either left or right guard.
- Geoff Schwartz – Chiefs, 27
Another Chiefs lineman who has graded out very well. He is currently the Chiefs utility man who has started a few positions in 2013. He will play for 1st overall pick Eric Fisher this weekend.
- Travelle Wharton – Panthers, 32
Had a breakout year for the Panthers in 2013. He could get a short term deal somewhere as he is 32 years old.
- Zane Beadles – Broncos, 27
Beadles is another versatile lineman who has started at both Right Tackle and Left Guard for the Broncos. Guard is his more natural position, however, as he made the Pro Bowl in 2012 at that spot.
The Rest: Paul McQuistan (Seahawks, 30), Mike McGlynn (Colts, 28)
- Aqib Talib – Patriots, 27
Talib has had a great year when healthy in New England. The 2nd Team All-Pro is long and physical and is the type of player defensive coordinators salivate over.
- Vontae Davis – Colts, 25
Consistently rated as one of the best cover corners in the NFL. He does not like to play the run though. He may have to call Grandma if he signs with anyone other than the Colts.
- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – Broncos, 27
After a down season with the Eagles, Rodgers-Cromartie has bounced back nicely with the Broncos, rating out as one of the best cover corners in the NFL in 2013.
- Captain Munnerlyn – Panthers, 25
Had a superb year in arguably the best defense in the NFL. If you watched any Panthers games this year he is all over the field and plays the run just as well as the pass, rare for a corner.
- Chris Harris – Broncos, 24
The Broncos may not have the cap space to bring back all of their corners. Despite only starting 4 games in 2013, Harris had 65 tackles and 3 interceptions.
- Walter Thurmond – Seahawks, 26
After filling in nicely for Brandon Browner, Thurmond may be looking to move on with a big contract elsewhere.
- Sam Shields – Packers, 26
Shields had his best season in 2013 on a one year “Show Me” deal after struggling in 2012. He should be able to lock down a long term deal in Green Bay or elsewhere.
- Tarell Brown – 49ers, 28
Brown is one of the better cover corners in the NFL and may not be brought back in the 49ers stacked defensive backfield.
The Rest: Richard Marshall (Chargers, 29), Cassius Vaughn (Colts, 26), Quentin Jammer (Broncos, 34), Drayton Florence (Panthers, 33), Brandon Browner (Suspended, Seahawks, 29)
- Donte Whitner – 49ers, 28
“Hitner” has been an absolute monster in that 49ers secondary. He is an intimidating presence in the defensive backfield and also makes a ton of plays on the ball. Hard to imagine San Fran letting him leave after losing Goldson the year before.
- Antoine Bethea – Colts, 29
Bethea is one of those safeties that is all over the field with over 100 tackles in 5 of his 8 seasons with the Colts. He is excellent in run support.
- Mike Mitchell – Panthers, 26
After signing a one year deal with the Panthers this season, I think its safe to say that he earned a long term deal somewhere in 2014. He has been one of the breakout stars of the Panthers defense with 67 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles.
The Rest: Mike Adams (Broncos, 32), Quentin Mikell (Panthers, 33), Taylor Mays (Bengals, 26), MD Jennings (Restricted, Packers, 25), Nate Allen (Eagles, 26)