Jul 28, 2013; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan (center) talks with his team following the end of practice during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
The Jets had some glaring needs going into the 2014 season. Injuries, and declining play from some of our veterans added to the problems. The Jets have needs at OL, OLB, CB, QB, and S going ahead into 2015 as I see it. Undoubtedly, they will try to meet much of those needs through the draft, but with a limited number of picks, they will definitely have to be players in this year’s free agency market.
For the Jets to improve next season and be competitive in any sense, they’ll need to bring in some veteran players. They have a surplus of cap money available, and if the new general manager spends it wisely, there is plenty of talent to be had in an interesting free agency market.
I thought today we might take a look at some players they may want to consider signing. It is possible some of these players don’t make it to the market, and others will be added to the free agency lists as cut begin later in the off-season. The players we’ll be talking today are players that are currently eligible as UFA’s (Unrestricted Free Agents) this year.
Dec 14, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbackBlake Bortles
(5) scrambles away from Baltimore Ravens linebackerPernell McPhee
(90) during the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore Ravens defeated Jacksonville Jaguars 20-12. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Outside Linebacker: Pernell McPhee is my choice here. McPhee is the unsung hero of a good defensive unit for the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens face a dilemma concerning McPhee, and some analysts say it is likely that the Ravens will let him test free agency.
If McPhee hits the market, I think the Jets should take an interest in signing him. McPhee was drafted as a 5th round pick as a DE by the Ravens in the 2011 draft. He’s only 26 years old, and at 6’3″/280 lbs, he’s proven he can bring the pass rush from the OLB position. In his short tenure with the Ravens he’s put together 92 tackles, 17 sacks, and three forced fumbles.
McPhee may not be too highly pursued either. The draft offers some very good pass rushers this year, which may drop the number of teams looking in free agency. At the right price McPhee would provide an instant upgrade in our LB corp and pass rush. McPhee is a disrupter; not only can he get to the QB in a hurry, but he gets in the backfield consistently, disrupting opposing offenses.
Dec 28, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers cornerbackChris Culliver
(29) breaks up a pass to Arizona Cardinals wide receiverMichael Floyd
(15) during the fourth quarter at Levi
Cornerback: Chris Culliver is currently a CB for the San Francisco 49ers. This is one of those players that may not make it to the open market, but if he does, the Jets could use him. Culliver is 6’0″/ 199 lbs coming off of his 4th season with San Francisco. He was a third round pick in the 2011 draft and has career totals of 111 tackles, seven interceptions, 36 pass defenses to go along with two forced fumbles. Culliver boasts a 4.36 time in the forty and is a capable tackler.
Culliver would be a great addition to the Jets. He’d bring a veteran experience to a young beleaguered secondary. He’s young (27) enough to consider as a long-term signing to work opposite Dee Milliner, which would allow the Jets to move McDougle inside. The Jets would likely have to pay for his services, as free agency and the draft lack a ton of talent at the corner back position.
Kareem Jackson is another option if the Jets are willing to go corner back in free agency. Jackson is another young player seeking to land a payday in free agency. Jackson is 5’10″/188 lbs. He was drafted in 2010 by Houston in the first round, 20th overall. His career stats include 241 tackles, 10 interceptions and a forced fumble. The Jets need a play maker in the secondary, and Jackson has proven he has a nose for the football.
Offensive Line: Willie Colon has to be replaced, making guard a priority for the New York Jets in the off-season. My thoughts here are it will be a necessity for the Jets to sign a veteran in free agency. They will likely draft for depth along the offensive line, but I don’t see them grabbing a starter with the #6 pick.
Mike Iupati is being rumored as a top starter that may be available when free agency starts. Iupati has been a mainstay of the San Fransisco 49ers since being drafted in 2010. Pro Football ranks him second among guards against the run. He’ll be highly prized if he makes the market, and will likely be one of the top paid guards in the league next season. The Jets will need to be willing for his services, but the dividends could be huge.
Iupati is 6’5″/331 lbs. He’s a bruising player in the run game, a true road grader. Depending on what the Jets do at RB in the off-season, Iupati will lead the way. He’s played left guard through his career, but let’s leave that concern to the coaching staff. I’m all for bringing him in, he’s young at just 27, and an immediate upgrade over anything the Jets have to offer currently at the position.
Ryan Baluga might also be an option the Jets might want to look into as well. Baluga is a right tackle for the Green Bay Packers. He measures in at 6’5″ 314 lbs. He’s a less costly option, but having missed the entire 2013 season due to injury, teams will have some concerns likely. He played well in 2014, showing that when he’s healthy, he can produce nicely at either guard position. If the Jets can sign him without spending too much, he’d absolutely be an upgrade over aging Willie Colon.
Dec 28, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) runs the ball against New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty (32) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Safety: It depends on who you talk to concerning the safety position, as to whether they need to find a replacement or not. I personally think they need someone to replace Dawan Landry. The Jets have Calvin Pryor and Antonio Allen in the mix with Landry currently, but they might be well served to bring in a veteran.
Devin McCourty would be a perfect fit for the New York Jets. Not only would they be bringing in a top safety to bring our younger guys along, but they would be getting one from the New England Patriots. McCourty is 5’10/188 lbs; he was drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft by New England.
Money is the key issue here, the Pats are cash strapped currently, and may not have the cap space to sign McBourty. He’s played in the AFC East, so he is familiar with many of the receivers he’ll face.
Rahim Moore is another option the Jets could be looking at to fill the safety position as well. Moore plays for the Denver Broncos, he’s a 6″1″195lb safety who makes his presence felt on the field. His career totals are; 195 tackles, 20 pass defenses, one sack and eight interceptions since being drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft.
Dec 21, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) throws the ball during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
At QB, it’s anyone’s guess. Neither the draft nor free agency has much to offer in the form of a starter for 2015. A trade for a veteran QB might be the route the Jets choose to go to firm up the position. Whoever comes to the general and head coach jobs will have to figure out which way is best. Brian Hoyer‘s name has been mentioned, but I don’t think he’ll actually make it to free agency. Jay Cutler‘s name has also been talked about, but I see no way the Jets would be willing to trade for him.
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There’s some names I think the Jets should definitely take a look at to fix some of their needs. If they want to make this a competitive team in 2015, they will need to bring in some experienced players to help the roster. These guys are fairly young, they still have some good football ahead of them, and would look great playing in green and white. WR is also a position the Jets may explore in free agency. I left it out of this discussion, as its my feeling they can fix the position by making it a priority in this year’s draft.
Time for the discussion. Any thoughts on my candidates? Have a few you’d like to see play for the Jets? Let’s talk Jets football!