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What are your final predictions for the New York Jets in free agency?
Joe Caporoso – The Jets free agency period will be far less exciting than what we saw last year and that does not have to be a bad thing. Internally, there will be a push to bring back a few priority players like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bilal Powell and Erin Henderson. The Jets will field a competitive offer for Damon Harrison but could very well lose him to a higher bidder, while also listening to offers to Muhammad Wilkerson but likely keeping him on the roster under the franchise tag this year. Externally, get familiar with names in lists like this. The Jets will not be in the mix for many of the “big” names but will rather target young, lower cost options who they believe have upside in their system. Names like Shea McClellin, Alfred Morris, Joe Barksdale, Patrick Robinson, Jeff Allen and Sterling Moore could be targeted. The Jets will also work to restructure a handful of deals, led by offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson.
Joe Malfa – When free agency begins next week, Maccagnan is going to be working feverishly to get this team set for 2016. The first order of business will be to look for ways to free up cap space. I think Ferguson and Mangold will be asked to rework their deals, and Kerley, Cumberland, and Giacomini are all goners. Those moves would free up $12-16 in cap space, and I believe a trade involving Wilkerson is not yet out of the equation.
As far as the signings go, the first item of business is signing Ryan Fitzpatrick, but I would personally keep an eye out for Brock Osweiler. If Fitz is looking for a deal in the $10-12 million range, it would make more sense to go ahead and give that $12 million to a younger guy with a brighter future in Osweiler, who the Broncos may not be able to retain given their situation. At running back, I think Powell stays, Ivory goes, and three names to watch will be Lamar Miller, LeGarrette Blount, and Alfred Morris. On the offensive line, Alex Boone would be a perfect fit out of San Francisco, which would give the Jets a solid line of Ferguson, Carpenter, Mangold, and Boone, with the only question mark being the right tackle. Defensively, the Jets should look to add a low-cost CB a la Patrick Robinson as JC mentioned. The biggest need that should be addressed in free agency is linebacker, and names like Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan might be tossed around.
I do not see the Jets making any major splashes outside of a potential Wilkerson trade, but I have faith that Maccagnan will put together a second consecutive strong offseason that will put the Jets in position to make a playoff run when September rolls around.Dalbin Osorio – I usually like to thing big and expect splashes from the Jets in the offseason. However, with the franchise tag applied to Mo Wilkerson and their pending free agents still needing new contracts it’s hard to see where the money is going to come from to sign any impact guys. With that said, I think Maccagnan has a plan and he will make sure the Jets are active in free agency and add the following haul:
RG Bucky Brooks
TE Zach Miller
WR Jaron Brown
CB Patrick Robinson
DE Cameron Wake
They’ll add some depth signings like Larry English and Barry Cofield, but those 5 guys will be their big signings with Bucky Brooks being the projected starter at RG next to a returning D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Wake gives the Jets an edge presence in case they miss on the top draft prospects. Miller is an upgrade over Cumberland and Davis. Robinson is an upgrade over Cromartie, and slots right in opposite Revis next year.
David Aitken – With Fitzpatrick’s contract and Wilkerson’s situation up in the air, it’s hard to say how much the Jets will actually have to spend. I’ll go with the bargain shopping approach for now. I think we’ll see deals come through to retain Fitzpatrick, Erin Henderson and at some point Calvin Pace “at least into training camp.” The Wilkerson situation remains too close to call – even if he is traded, does it come early enough for the Jets to be active in the first waves of free agency? At running back I think Powell will be back as well as a low-cost runner like LeGarrette Blount, Ronnie Hillman or Alfred Morris. There’s also a slight chance the dominoes fall where bringing Ivory back could make sense instead.If some money is freed due to Wilkerson’s departure, I’d expect to see the Jets try to add a starter on the offensive line. A player like Brandon Brooks, Jeff Allen, Mitchell Schwartz depending on his value would fit the bill. Otherwise there are more bargain options like Joe Barksdale or Mike Harris. In terms of depth another bargain lineman could enter the fold as well as a corner and defensive lineman. At this stage, I wouldn’t get my hopes up with many big names but instead expect the Jets to be bargain-hunting opportunists and focusing on young talent through the draft.
Kevin Zielaznicki – The biggest news of the offseason will be the New York Jets trading star defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, resulting in the team re-signing Nose Tackle Damon Harrison. General Manager Mike Maccagnan will also resign quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, linebacker Erin Henderson, and running back Bilal Powell. I think Macc will target a veteran RB like Matt Forte and a veteran OL like Geoff Schwartz. On the defensive side of the ball, I expect Macc to attempt to address the lack of speed in the front seven and add a veteran pass rusher like Aldon Smith or Dwight Freeney.
Nikki Charlesworth – What happens with Mo Wilkerson remains the biggest factor when it comes to what will happen in the coming weeks with regards to free agency. Hopefully, he will remain but we’ll likely see the back of Chris Ivory and Damon Harrison to follow on the heels of Antonio Cromartie. The amount of money available will be hugely reliant on this situation and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s contract. Focus should be on maintaining Fitzpatrick as he is still the most viable option at quarterback. Credible options on the free agency market are minimal, especially as contracts are signed keeping the likes of Kirk Cousins and Sam Bradford firmly in place. If Mo does go, then keeping Snacks will definitely be a priority. To fill other positions, Lamar Miller at running back would be a good pick up alongside re-signing Bilal Powell. Looking for a tight end such as Coby Fleener or Antonio Gates (in the unlikely chance that the Chargers don’t re-sign) would also be a good plan as the TE position was a real weakness in 2015 and the draft class isn’t deep.
Alex Kaczynski – With the franchise tag used on Muhammad Wilkerson this week, Maccagnan and company will have to focus on some other key needs to piece holes together during free agency. Cap space is an issue, there may be a few players asked to restructure, while Kerley and Cumberland will be shown the door. I believe Bilal Powell stays with the team and there will be an additional signing of a RB, perhaps Matt Forte or the heavily sought after Lamar Miller. The Jets need to address an OL in the worst way, they could possibly pursue Mitchell Schwartz or Russell Okung if the money is right. Maccagnan will go and get a TE for Chan Gailey, who desperately needs one. Jermaine Gresham could be a legitimate option.
On the defensive side of the ball, a big issue will be trying to retain Damon Harrison. If they want to help their secondary, the front 7 has to put more pressure on the quarterback so it is worth looking at a linebacker. There are a few good options at ILB with James Laurinaitis, Danny Trevathan and Derrick Johnson hitting the market. They have all come off good seasons and should be given a look by the green and white, especially Trevathan who is only 25. The chances are slim with the amount of money they can give out, but I have seen crazier signings happen during free agency.
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