Oct 25, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Matt Asiata (44) runs the ball during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
The overall offense of the New York Jets left much to the imagination. Here are the top five offensive players they should target in free agency.
After a dismal 5-11 season, the New York Jets need a serious re-tool in order to be in contention for the division, the conference, and the Super Bowl. One of the best ways to add sure fire talent to the roster is to get some sure fire talent via NFL Free Agency.
We all know the saying “defense wins championships”, but in order to win those same championships, you also need to score points. And when you’re in the same division as a team like the New England Patriots, you need as many points on the scoreboard when that clock stops as you can possibly get.
So here is a look at what players would make the biggest impact for the Jets heading into next season and beyond. These are players that can step right in and take care of business.
Next: 5. Offensive Tackle Matt Kalil
Oct 4, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Minnesota Vikings guard Brandon Fusco (63) and tackle Matt Kalil (75) in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
5. Offensive Tackle Matt Kalil
Now every team needs a great quarterback in order to do much in the passing league that we have today, but how often does a quarterback complete a pass for a touchdown while laying on the ground? Answer: not very often. We need to improve the offensive line about as much as we need to improve the quarterback. If a guy doesn’t have time to make a throw without being rushed and doesn’t have time to let the play develop than the offense is going to struggle week in and week out.
Matt Kalil, in my opinion, is going to be the best “bang for your buck” offensive linemen in free agency this year. At only 27 years old he should still have 4-5 great years ahead of him. He’s coming off of having surgery on his hip this last season, which is a little unnerving for an offensive tackle, but after missing most of the 2016 season and having this offseason to rest he should be good to go heading into next season. Last year was the only season Kalil had less than 1,000 snaps.
He’s a great player who knows his role in a team. He’s not afraid to get down and dirty. He doesn’t give up huge plays to defensive players. Knows how to keep track of where the quarterback is in the pocket without looking, which is something that we greatly need. He should be making somewhere in the ball park of $10M a year on a 4-5 year deal so signing him would be very doable for the Jets and should be one of the top priorities.
Having a strong tackle on the weak side would make things better for anybody the Jets put in the backfield and would make it a more attractive landing spot for some other free agents.
Next: 4. Center Brian Schwenke
Sep 20, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Tennessee Titans center Brian Schwenke (62) prepares to snap the ball against the Cleveland Browns in the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
4. Center Brian Schwenke
Brian Schwenke is a great young center and would be a great addition for the Jets. With the departure of Nick Mangold there is another big hole in the offensive line and since it’s smack dab in the middle of the line it’s kind of a big deal.
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The communication between a center and quarterback are very important. Possibly more important than the communication between any other two positions on the field. Snap counts, blocking assignments, calling an audible, etc. These are all things the center and quarterback must communicate on. Any miscommunication could lead to a devastating outcome on any play.
Schwenke is an unrestricted free agent this year. He’s only 25 years old and hasn’t had any All-star performances that make him a big marquee player just yet. But he has had very solid play all four years of his career thus far.
The biggest stat that should pop out at you is that over the course of four seasons he has only given up five sacks. Schwenke could end up being one of the best centers in the league. This is a low risk/ big reward situation for the Jets and they can’t afford to pass on it.
Next: 3. Running Back Matt Asiata
Sep 18, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Matt Asiata (44) rushes against the Green Bay Packers in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
3. Running Back Matt Asiata
Matt Asiata showed a lot of promise in his time on the field filling in for an injury. Unlucky for him he was filling in for one of the best running backs in the game. That coincidentally ends up being good for the Jets.
When Adrian Peterson came back in, Asiata’s time on the field was cut drastically. This helps the Jets because Asiata won’t be able to ask for as much money.
He has great vision when running in the backfield, runs great routes, and has hands like a wide receiver. Asiata will improve the run game greatly. That will improve the passing game and the offense overall. Defenses will have to game plan for the run as well as the pass and play options.
Only three fumbles in four seasons, averaged over 3.5 yards per carry every year except his rookie year, nine rushing touchdowns in 2014 and six in 2016. If the Jets get Asiata and improve the offensive line, he will become one of the next big players in New York.
Next: 2. Offensive Guard Earl Watford
Sep 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Josh Mauro (97) and guard Earl Watford (78) against the New England Patriots at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Cardinals 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
2. Offensive Guard Earl Watford
Earl Watford is another player who has a lot of potential upside with very little risk attached to signing him. He was placed on injured reserve in 2015 after playing only eight games. But came back with a solid 2016 outing. Watford will be a little riskier than maybe Schwenke, but he still has tremendous upside.
In three seasons, he’s given up 7.5 sacks, which isn’t amazing but it is still good improvement. This gives the quarterback time. Allows holes to open for the running back. Both of those bring the play option into effect and make that a factor as well. The offensive line will improve with these additions and we’ll see the results in the form of points on the scoreboard.
Next: 1. Quarterback Tony Romo
1. Quarterback Tony Romo
The quarterback is quite possibly the most important position on the football field at any given time. Yes, other positions are important as well, but almost every position in almost every play reacts to the quarterback. That is one thing the Jets are in pretty serious need of currently. Only Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg are currently on the roster heading into next season. If that remains the same in Week 1 than Jets fans are in for another long season.
One option that would be a huge upgrade over what they currently have would be Tony Romo. Currently, Romo is not a free agent, but there is a good possibility he could be. If that happens the Jets need to make signing Romo their top priority.
There is a small question of Romo’s health and his ability to stay on the field. But with the Jets recent history at the position, the risk is greatly outweighed by the reward with this one. He’s a gunslinger who has no problem standing tall in the pocket even when under pressure. He can put the football right where it needs to be. He is capable of delivering big games week in and week out if he’s given the time to let plays develop.
In his last, relatively full season (2014 played in 15 games) Romo had a 69.9% completion percentage (1st in the league) on 3,705 yards (14th), 34 touchdowns (4th), and only 9 picks (only 4 quarterbacks who started 10 or more games that year had fewer interceptions). Romo on the Jets would bring a big upgrade compared to anything the Jets have had over the past few years.