This is the final installment of looking at where the Jets maybe able to help themselves get stronger at wide receiver and tight end. To see the article on the AFC go here. To see the article on the NFC go here
October 28, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Steve Breaston (15) warms up before the game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. The Raiders won 26-16. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
. This time we are going to look at the remaining free agents the Jets have to choose from.
Most Jets fans have been clamoring for the team to bring back Braylon Edwards. The 30-year-old Edwards is not the deep threat he used to be due to knee issues but he still can get open from time to time and certainly does have chemistry with Mark Sanchez. The fans are behind Edwards due to his stellar play during 2009 and 2010 as the team reached the AFC Championship Game both years.
While Edwards is serviceable and I wouldn’t object to signing him for the veteran minimum it is clear his best days are behind him. The other name linked to the Jets most prominently is Brandon Lloyd, formerly of the Patriots. The 32-year-old Lloyd hasn’t generated much interest due to his lack of success outside of New England and the fact he is getting up there age wise. On June 6 Brian Costello of the New York Post wrote that the Jets have no interest in signing Lloyd.
An interesting name to watch is Steve Breaston. The 30-year-old receiver has not had less than 700 yards receiving in any full season he has played and has punt return skills that the Jets need. Breaston is suffering from a knee injury and although he visited Pittsburgh and Cleveland earlier in the offseason he is not healthy enough to sign. His situation bears watching though.
Another player to watch is Jabar Gaffney who had 947 yards receiving in 2011 before injuries and off the field issues rendered 2012 a wash for him. Gaffney is 32 which also doesn’t help in generating interest. Derek Hagan is a player with good size but not a lot of production in his career. He worked out for the Jets on May 30th and our own Alan Schechter wrote about his potential with the Jets here.
Other free agent wide receivers include Lee Evans, Deion Branch and Devery Henderson but I would pass on all three as they are declining talents whose best years are behind them.
On the tight end side an interesting name got cut today. Former 4th round pick Evan Rodriguez of the Bears got cut following an offseason marred by two arrests. He is a good blocker with some athleticism. Rodriguez also has ties to the area as he hails from the Bronx and he has Jets ties as he went to Temple University just like Jets DT Mohammed Wilkerson. If anyone knows if Rodriguez is worth a flyer it would be Wilkerson. Maybe coming home would be the spark his career needs and being around family the support he needs personally.
Dallas Clark leads the list of receiving tight ends as he registered over 400 yards last year with Tampa Bay. Tampa expressed some interest in bringing him back but the issue could be money. He would be an upgrade for the Jets but not more than a 1 year stop-gap. The same could be said for Visanthe Shiancoe who got lost in the Patriots large corp of tight ends last year. He is a very capable player but is 33 years old. Chris Cooley is only 30 but his last two years have been terrible. He was once one of the top tight ends in the game but only had 9 receptions for 72 yards the past two years combined. He wants to keep playing but no one is beating down his door to give him a chance. Randy McMichael is 34 and now mostly a blocker. He could be a 1 year possibility for the Jets. Billy Bajema is a good blocker that would be a good depth signing for the team as well.
As you can see the pickings are pretty slim right now on the free agent market the Jets are better off waiting for final cuts to either make a trade or pick someone up who falls through the cracks.