Jan 21, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets new general manager Mike Maccagnan speaks during a press conference at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com via USA TODAY Sports
The primary free agency period is over, for all intents and purposes. Many of the big names have come off the board, and done so rather quickly. The Jets and Mike Maccagnan have come out as big winners, revamping the secondary and improving on the offensive side of the football as well. The Jets did an excellent job this week at using the millions of dollars available to them to upgrade the roster.
What about the secondary market of free agents? Now the first wave has come and gone, this is the time where teams look for free agents that might be had at a lower price, but could make positive additions to the roster. The Jets are undoubtedly looking at this group, seeing if there are any other secondary level moves to make in order to upgrade the roster even further before the NFL draft.
Here are some players the Jets could take a look at, within this group, that could make a difference in 2015.
Next: Stevan Ridley
Oct 5, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running backStevan Ridley
(22) reacts after scoring against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
STEVAN RIDLEY: Prior to the resigning of Bilal Powell, there was a lot of talk linking the Jets to C.J. Spiller. Another name that came up was Shane Vereen. But, with Vereen gone, what about Stevan Ridley? The Jets often liked to carry three running backs, and Steven Ridley is sitting available on the free agent market, without a lot of reported interest to date.
Here are a couple of notes on Ridley. He is only a two seasons removed from a 1,200 yard, 12 touchdown season. Until his injury last season, Ridley routinely averaged over four yards per carry. Last season, Ridley was on a pace to run for around 850 yards and 5-6 touchdowns. He is only 26 years old, and should have a lot of good years left.
Ridley would come to the Jets with a risk, coming off of an ACL and MCL injury. But that, combined with the seemingly soft market for Ridley, his price wouldn’t be high at all. If he is 100%, Ridley would come as a huge step up from Chris Johnson as a tandem with Chris Ivory. It would also weaken the Patriots, which is always appealing to New York Jets fans.
Next: Cecil Shorts
Nov 23, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts cornerbackVontae Davis
(21) breaks up a pass intended for Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiverCecil Shorts
(84) during the third quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts defeated the Jaguars 23-3. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
CECIL SHORTS: The Jets do not have to be finished at wide receiver. I think the Jets would be well served to give Cecil Shorts some consideration. Shorts isn’t as frequent of a target as he once was, but he too is only years removed from his breakout season. In 2012, Shorts garnered the attention of NFL fans by catching 55 passes for 979 yards and seven touchdowns. That same year, Shorts’ average yards per catch was a strong 17.8. Shorts is a talented down the field weapon.
The Jets could invest in Shorts quite cheaply. His previous contract didn’t even average of $700,000 per year. A soft market for Shorts would also keep his number down. A low salary with incentives would be a wise choice to add depth at WR for the Jets.
Next: Marcus Benard
Nov 16, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals linebackerMarcus Benard
(59) leaves the field after the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals won 14-6. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
The Jets are in the market for an edge pass rusher. We know that there is a good chance that the Jets take one in the draft. But what if there is still one available in free agency? As I scoured the list of available players, Marcus Benard was a name I admittedly wasn’t familiar with. But as I read, he could be a very interesting choice.
Benard is 29 years old, likely still with productive years ahead of him. When used fairly frequently, he has been effective off the edge. Benard posted 7.5 sacks in 2010 while with the Browns, and 11 over his first two seasons. He, like Cromartie, comes from Todd Bowles‘ defense. He would come at quite the inexpensive price, and here in New York, given the chance to rush off the edge, could become a sleeper in this free agent market.
These are just some names available in the secondary market that the Jets could take a look at. They would come at a lower price than the first group of free agents, and have the potential to make an impact if brought in by the Jets.
What do you guys think?