Sep 15, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets cornerback Marcus Williams (20) intercepts a pass intended for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) during the second half at New Era Field. The Jets beat the Bills 37-31. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
With free agency coming faster than we know it, there will be certain free agents that the New York Jets will need to keep to make their team succeed. Here are the top three that should stick around.
This offseason will be a big factor if the New York Jets will look to make a run to the playoffs next season or it will be another rebuilding year. Sure, there will be plenty of free agents the Jets could sign but there are a few in the organization they should look to keep.
Many backups played a lot last season and were able to do a good job. If they were able to get a full season under their belt than they could further develop to take the next step.
This organization has not been in the playoffs in over a few years and they want to change that for next season. They will need to lock on certain players to add depth to the roster and keep those who are free agents.
The Jets need help in many areas of the team and they can do that by keeping certain young players. They will need to be aggressive to improve this team fast before fans become even more frustrated.
Here are the top three free agents that above all else, the Jets should keep in the grand scheme of things.
Next: 3. Cornerback Marcus Williams
Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson (29) is tackled by New York Jets cornerback Marcus Williams (20) during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
3. Cornerback Marcus Williams
Heading into his fourth season, cornerback Marcus Williams has been a successful blanket for the Jets to have on the defensive side of the football. He is still a young and aggressive player that has done well in covering wide receivers. He has been playing on a year to year contract now as it makes sense to lock him up for the future.
If he reaches free agency than the Jets will miss out on him and the ability he has on making the team better. In his three years with the Jets, Williams has played a total of 34 games and his playing time increased these past two seasons. He is not afraid to lay down the hammer on receivers.
Unlike most corners, Williams will play bump and run and will not waste steps at the line of scrimmage. He is able to copy the steps the opponents receivers are doing to make them use incorrect steps in their routes. Each of his three seasons he has been able to double his interceptions numbers.
Williams is someone who should be given a chance as a starter and that he could have a bright future. The Jets should give him a two, maybe even a three-year contract to help secure another promising young talent.
Next: 2. Offensive tackle Wesley Johnson
2. Offensive tackle Wesley Johnson
Wesley Johnson is someone who has intrigued many for what he could possibly do if he were to get a chance. The Jets last season played with the most different offensive tackles. He is a free agent that could help the depth and possibly take Nick Mangold‘s position soon.
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In 2015 and 2016, Johnson was given a chance to play and he took the huge opportunity and made the most out of the extra playing time. He is quick off his stance and has athletic coordination. He is very light on his feet and can work his hips while keeping his hands inside.
If he is able to learn things from Mangold than he could develop his game even further. He could be the leader of the group that the lineman would need in order to get them playing harder. He still has some flaws in his game but there are certain things that could be fixed very easily.
He should at least be given a one year or even two-year deal to see what he can do.
Next: 1. Offensive Tackle Ben Ijalana
Sep 1, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) celebrates his 44-yard touchdown pass with tackle Ben Ijalana (71) during the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
1. Offensive Tackle Ben Ijalana
Ijalana has been a decent offensive lineman for the Jets as he has done his job and made the best of it. He is a thick build of a player with a good height size at 6 foot 3 inches tall. He is able to generate good push off the line of scrimmage and has good hands inside.
He played the most games in his career this year with being put in the lineup 13 out of 16 games. He is a fighter for his team that shows a tough streak and keeps going to the end. He is able to show good awareness in pass protection and identify different defensive looks.
The one thing that might scare the Jets from signing him is he struggles on more athletic defensive lineman. He lacks the effort to get to the second level and misses his blocks but these are fixable through good coaching and execution.
If they can get him for a one-year contract for league minimum then it will be good depth for next season. It is going to be tough because Ijalana is getting up in age and might not play much longer but at least for now, would make sense to keep around.