With Rex Ryan given a multi-year extension, and the majority of his coaching staff still intact, let’s dive into free agency and some first round draft options for the Jets. Here is my top five list of offseason priorities…
Josh Cribbs did an excellent job filling in this past season as a kick/punt returner. Until his late-season-injury, he was a dynamic weapon for the Jets. Cribbs lined up as a Wildcat quarterback, in addition to returning kicks on special teams. If the Jets pass on Cribbs, they could try to sign one of the names above. As good as Cribbs was for the Jets, his injury/durability remains a concern. Regardless, this is a role that the Jets need to address. Special teams can win or lose games, at times. It’s imperative that the Jets find someone to fill this particular role. The good news is — most of these names, if not all, will come at a low price.
4.) Sign wide receiver Denario Alexander. Fallback option- Hakeem Nicks, Jeremy Maclin
Standing at 6’5, Denario Alexander is a big target for any quarterback. Having been sidelined by injuries most of his career, Denario is a bit overlooked. This could end up helping the Jets in contract negotiations. Alexander doesn’t have much leverage. He missed the entire 2013 season as a San Diego Charger, and was placed on IR after a pre-season knee injury. Nevertheless, Denario will only be 26 once the 2014 regular season rolls around. He is a very talented receiver with size and speed.
It’s easy to see the Chargers allowing him to walk. Malcolm Floyd, Keenan Allen, Vincent Brown, Eddie Royal, Antonio Gates, and Ladarius Green will all be splitting targets from quarterback Phillip Rivers. The Chargers can afford to let Alexander walk. If Alexander signs elsewhere, the Jets could look into one of the following receivers; Hakeem Nicks, Eric Decker, James Jones, Jeremy Maclin, Anquan Boldin, or Golden Tate. When considering cost, Alexander and Nicks would be an ideal #1,2 WR priority for the Jets. Cost is important here, as we’re looking to spend more elsewhere in free agency (see #3 below). However, assuming Alexander gets back to full health, he can be a legitimate #1 receiver for the Jets.
Here are some highlights of Denario Alexander (when healthy, of course!)
3.) Sign defensive end Jared Allen. Fallback option: Brian Orakpo or Shawn Phillips
The Jets can use a veteran pass rusher to have a “situational pass-rusher” type role. Jared Allen/Shawn Phillips will provide extra leadership. Rex Ryan is notorious for keeping his veterans fresh, so I could see this really benefitting the Jets down the line; hopefully during a playoff run. Allen won’t come cheap, but signing him to a 2-3 year deal could be an affordable option. Phillips could come at a lesser price, but he is nearly half the talent that Jared Allen is. Allen could be in high demand, come free agency. Signing Phillips or even Brian Orakpo to a 2-3 year deal is another direction the team could go. Orakpo is a long-shot, assuming he will seek a big-time deal in free agency. These veteran pass-rushers could be the icing on the cake for a Jets dominant front seven, looking to take the next step in 2014.
Please jump with us to page 2, where Jetserious will break down the top two players/positions the Jets should address this offseason, and a preview of what the Jets depth chart could look like heading into the 2014 regular season….
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Let’s get down to numbers 2 and 1 of the Jets offseason checklist….
2.) Sign Safety TJ Ward. Fallback option- Ed Reed
Besides Byrd of the Bills, TJ Ward is the most talented (young) Safety of the free agents. He could be pricey, but the Jets have a lot of money to spend. Ward should be the Jets main priority when free agency begins. If the Jets cannot land Ward or Byrd at a decent price, they can opt to resign Ed Reed for another year. He is a nice fall-back option, if all else fails. His leadership on and off the field has been really beneficial to the young defensive backs like Dee Milliner and Antonio Allen.
1.) Draft tight end Eric Ebron + another weapon for Geno
Jimmy Graham is likely to receive the franchise tag or resign with New Orleans, and Dennis Pitta could cost a bunch. So why not draft a tight end to help build around Geno Smith? This is an excellent class to be drafting a tight end or wide receiver. As for Ebron… size, speed, and athleticism come to mind. If Ebron does not slip to the Jets at 18, and the Jets don’t trade up for Sammy Watkins (unlikely), the likes of (WR) Marqise Lee, (WR) Mike Evans, and (TE) Jace Amaro should be available — one of which the Jets would be happily take…. I would think.
Here are some highlights of NC’s tight end Eric Ebron….
Without going through rounds one through seven, I’d like to focus on one particular wide receiver. While studying Sammy Watkins of Clemson, I was able to study the receiver who plays opposite of Watkins; Martavis Bryant. At 6’5, Bryant is a big target. The way he runs in open space (and the way he uses the stiff-arm) reminds me of Santonio Homes…. but obviously bigger. He is projected to go anywhere between rounds three through six, so the Jets will have multiple opportunities to snag the talented wideout. Bryant would provide depth to a position of need in wide receiver, and help the Jets offense become more explosive and effective in the red zone.
Here are some of his highlights….
If the Jets can go through this checklist and execute these transactions, gang green will be a team to be reckoned with. The Jets could have some money left over if spent properly. We should trust Idzik to do just that, after he fixed the cap situation when he arrived last year. Assuming Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes are cut, the Jets should have plenty of money to play with.
Anyway, the new depth chart would look like this….
Depth Chart: Offense
QB – Geno Smith, Matt Simms RB – Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Mike Goodson WR – *Denario Alexander, Jeremy Kerley, David Nelson, Martavis Bryant (must draft before 6th round) TE – **Eric Ebron (1st round pick), Jeff Cumberland (resign)
*Denario Alexander, Hakeem Nicks, James Jones, Eric Decker, Jeremy Maclin, and Anquan Boldin are all options here.
**Assuming Jets draft Ebron over Marqise Lee
LT – D’Brickashaw Ferguson LG – Brian Winters C – Nick Mangold RG- Willie Colon (resign) RT – Austin Howard (resign)
Depth Chart: Defense
DT – Damon Harrison, Kenrick Ellis DE – Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Jared Allen or Shawn Phillips OLB – *Calvin Pace, Antwan Barnes, Garrett McIntyre MLB – David Harris, Demario Davis CB – Antonio Cromartie, Dee Milliner, Kyle Wilson, rest to be determined FS – TJ Ward or Ed Reed, and Antonio Allen SS – Dawan Landry, Josh Bush
*Jets likely to resign Pace via ESPN New York.
KR/PR – Pick one: Cribbs, McCluster, Hester, Ginn, or Jacoby Jones/Ford.
*Also resign kicker Nick Folk.
That’s all from Jetserious and The Jet Press.
Thanks for reading!