If you take a look around the internet when searching the Jets and you will find terms like “lacking talent, no depth, and filled with holes”. Well just how many holes are there currently to fill? When doing the math, there might not be as many as you’d think.
Signings are starting to filter in daily, and there are a few starting spots available right now only 3 days into free agency. General logic would say that currently there are starters needed for offensive guard (1), tight end (1), outside linebacker (2), free safety (1), and strong safety (1). By my count that is six positions that the Jets need to a capable player in by training camp.
That being said, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this team falls into the lacking depth category, not the lacking talent, or holes everywhere category. Assuming New York can get a minimum of two starters from the draft that will leave four spots open and needing a starter before draft weekend in April.
Free agents like Karlos Dansby, Elvis Dumervil, and Victor Butler may be able to take one of the outside linebacker spots. Now we are down to three starters needed.
Strong safeties like Adrian Wilson and Dawan Landry can hold down the fort at strong safety until help arrives or Antonio Allen can improve his game. Landry has been linked to the Jets already from his previous time with Rex Ryan. That leaves NY with a two starters needed.
Willie Colon has just been signed as a starting guard, and I would anticipate the Jets to re-sign Matt Slauson, or Brandon Moore. Slauson would be my guess. That would eliminate the need for a starter at guard. One left.
That leaves free safety, the other outside linebacker,and tight end to be nailed down. Josh Bush I don’t think is ready and/or talented enough to be the full time free safety. I could be wrong, but haven’t seen enough of him.
Tight end is currently being held down by Jeff Cumberland ( who I assume will be re-signed), Konrad Reuland, and Hayden Smith who I have heard significantly improved last year. Assuming they believe Smith has talent and has improved, keeping Cumberland as the day 1 starter with a chance to prove himself may be beneficial, while also seeing how far Hayden Smith progresses in year 2. The smart thing would be to sign a cheap veteran as a 4th tight end as insurance. Kellen Davis from Chicago makes sense to me. He’s an unrestricted free agent and Chicago just signed Martellus Bennett to a long term contract making him expendable. Davis offers a cheap veteran, as he only has 47 catches in 6 years, and his 6’6 270 pounds make him a great blocking tight end in two tight end sets.
Taking into consideration the free safety and opposite outside linebacker positions, the Jets have multiple draft picks to explore filling the depth chart and reloading it with talent. Of all the positions of need, the one that could be hardest to fill is a coverage safety, a leader for the secondary to get players lined up. If the Jets make any splashes in free agency (which I doubt), it could be to find a free safety. Kerry Rhodes if not signed by another team in the next week or two would make sense to me, provided both sides could agree to let the prodigal son return. With the amount of cap available, I think he could get a one or two year deal averaging between 3 or 3.5 million with half being guaranteed. That’s not bad for a 30 year old coverage safety, and still fits in what the Jets can afford to pay out. His last salary was 5.5 million when he was cut, I think he could resign for a little more than half of that just because he likes New York alone.
OLB: Jarvis Jones from Georgia, Jamie Collins from Southern Miss, Brandon Jenkins of Florida State, Cornelius Washington of Georgia, Goodman of Clemson, Travis Long of Washington State all make good alternatives for the 2nd outside linebacker spot. Because of the depth in the draft, Jarvis Jones is the only one on this list with a 1st round grade.