In order for the New York Jets to address a gaping hole at special teams, they should take a chance on a newly available veteran in wide receiver Devin Hester.
After months of relative inactivity, fans of the New York Jets finally have things to talk about again. From the long overdue return of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to the start of training camp, football is finally back in the air.
Despite the team facing a brutal schedule, there are reasons for optimism in 2016. The Jets return with primarily the same roster that went 10-6 last year and posted a top ten offense and defense. The team’s balance gives them a chance to contend.
However, the team was not without its flaws. The Jets failed to make any impact on special teams in 2015. Their punt and kick off return teams didn’t account for a single touchdown. Additionally, the Jets averaged a paltry 20.8 kick off return yards in 2015, ranked 26th in the NFL.
The Jets recognized that special teams was an area in desperate need of improvement, as they hired a new special teams coordinator in the offseason. While the Jets are confident that new special teams coordinator Brant Boyer can make a difference, the team shouldn’t stop there. An upgrade in personal is also sorely needed.
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The Atlanta Falcons recently released legendary return specialist Devin Hester. On the oft chance that Hester has anything left to offer, the Jets should bring him into training camp.
At first glance, adding Hester to the team may seem like a waste of time. After all, he’s coming off an injury-shortened season and will be turning 34-years-old this year.
However, in terms of financial commitment and effort, it would cost the Jets almost nothing to take a chance on Hester. And the dynamic play maker racked up over 1,000 kickoff return yards as recently as 2014.
If Hester fails to stay healthy or productive throughout training camp and the preseason, the team could easily cut him. If he thrives against the odds, then the Jets found a major positional upgrade off the free agent scrap heap.
From Fitzpatrick to Brandon Marshall to Ryan Clady, Jets’ general manager Mike Maccagnan has thrived buying low on veteran players. He should continue that largely successful formula and take a chance on Hester.