Dec 30, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) drops to pass under pressure by New York Jets outside linebacker Calvin Pace (97) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 28-9. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
With the free agency period in full swing, John Idzik and company are hard at work deciding who to bring in here to fill out this roster. Players the Jets should look at targeting in my mind would be veterans not quickly sought, and other bigger names to keep an eye on should they not be signed. This is my list of candidates for free agency.
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick: Recently released by Buffalo, and also probably a little bit humiliated by Buddy Nix following the prank phone call preceding his release. Also Drew Stanton, but I don’t think he would be interested in NY. Mornhinweg and Idzik both said they wanted multiple arms in training camp for competition. Either willing to play for a minimum just to get back to a starting role would be good.
RB: Mike Goodson – reportedly linked to them. Rashard Mendenhall– free agent and workhorse type. He’s not a west coast type of back, but could wind up a Steven Jackson do it all for the Jets. Best bet to me would be in the draft. I also like Peyton Hillis formerly of Denver, Cleveland, and Kansas City. Here me out. He was a fullback in Arkansas for Darren McFadden before becoming a full time running back. If he were to go back to full back after two down years in Cleveland and Kansas City he could be a running, pass catching do it all full back and still get roughly 100-150 touches a year in rushes and catches combined. My favorites in the draft would be Montee Ball in the 2nd or 3rd round, and Raymond Graham in the 4th or 5th round. Both are complete west coast backs that could thrive as potential #1 ball carriers.
WR: Considering they retain Braylon Edwards, the Jets are actually pretty stocked with 4 quality receivers in Edwards, Holmes, Hill, and Kerley. Rumors have them exploring guys like Mohamed Massaquoi who has been a career disappointment. Think Justin McCareins from a decade ago. Draft favorite is one player, Steadman Bailey of West Virginia. Wherever he is drafted, it will be a steal.
TE: The biggest thing the Jets need to do is to re-sign Dustin Keller. Despite Sanchez having a poor year, Keller caught 77% of the passes when he was targeted, ranking tops among tight ends. He had 28 receptions through 8 games despite playing with hamstring and knee injuries. Expanding that to a full season would have put him on pace for another 60 catch 600+ yard receiving season with another 6 or so touchdowns. His replacement Jeff Cumberland caught 55% of the passes targeted for him, a 20% dive. Keller coming off an injury, could have the most to gain by resigning with the team. Most beneficial player resigning for both sides in free agency in my opinion. None of the tight ends in the draft outside of 1st rounders Zach Ertz or Tyler Eifert are going to produce in year one.
Feb 23, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama offensive lineman Chance Warmack stretches to warm up before doing workout drills during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
OL: Here is where things get interesting. I think the Jets should look to retain Slauson to go with Vlad Ducasse, while letting Brandon Moore’s inflated salary walk. This however would leave them in a position where I think they would have to draft a guard, and early to take one of those two spots. Reports have them linked to the Vikings OG Geoff Schwartz. My best bet would to see them draft a guard in the first two rounds of the draft. I like Chance Warmack, Jonathan Cooper, and Larry Worford. Should they choose to wait until the 3rd round I think the top two centers in the draft from Alabama and Wisconsin both have experience playing guard, so there is a good chance to get one of the five of those players in round 1-3 to take over a starting guard position.
DL: Mike Devito is gone. Pouha is gone. Good news is this. Wilkerson, Ellis, Coples are all pretty good, not to mention 350 pound Damon Harrison who is getting better. The Jets need depth, not starters, and you can get d-line depth in free agency or later in this draft.
LB: The Jets have zero outside linebackers, and need to address this ASAP. Gone are Thomas and Pace. Several names have been floated such as Cowboys LB Victor Butler. Also intriguing is the aging, but still pretty good Karlos Dansby expected to be cut by the Dolphins shortly. The draft is pretty deep with outside linebackers as well, and the Jets may be able to tab a starter in the draft, and the other starter in free agency. Draft-wise there are good pass rushers that don’t have to be grabbed in the first 10 picks. Personal favorite is Brandon Jenkins of Florida State.
DB: If the rumors prove true, Revis will depart leaving the Jets with more draft picks, but a hole in the defensive backfield. Add in the likely departure of LaRon Landry and we are talking two starters from the secondary. Add in Yeremiah Bell, and you get my drift. There could be secondary help with big names like Adrian Wilson who was released by Arizona, and Dawan Landry released by Jacksonville to take over the SS position. The top 3 rounds of the draft are pretty good with starting caliber players at CB, and the top 2 rounds for safety. My personal favorites in the draft at corner would be Logan Ryan from Rutgers, and perhaps Tyrann Mathieu from LSU. The Jets did pretty well last year without Revis, and I think they will be OK with a blue collar CB, rather than a blue chip athlete with a big name.
There you have it a few ideas for potential new additions to the New York Jets 2013 roster. Some names have been linked, but most are just wishful thinking.