There are still a handful of experienced NFL veterans available on the free agent market, and these five should still be on the radar for the New York Jets.
With the NFL Draft long past and the start of training camp only about a month away, most fans have already started thinking about the upcoming season. Jets fans are surely no exception.
Gang Green Nation has much to look forward to this season, as their team will have a greatly improved roster. However, successful franchises are always looking for ways to get better.
And there are still some useful veteran players who remain unsigned.
Here are five key free agent players the Jets should seriously consider signing before the start of training camp:
5. Morris Claiborne
However, one area that remains a weak spot is the secondary. Beyond Trumaine Johnson, the Jets lack proven talent at the cornerback position.
Morris Claiborne may not be a superstar, but he does have more experience (7 seasons) than Roberts (3 seasons) and Poole (3 seasons) combined. He also was a decent CB2 for the Jets for the past two years.
The Jets should bring back Claiborne on a small one-year deal and let him compete for a starting spot. If nothing else, he would provide much-needed depth.
4. John Sullivan
In addition to cornerback, another potential liability for the Jets in 2019 is center.
After failing to upgrade the position over the offseason, the Jets are relying on the relatively unproven Jonotthan Harrison to be their starting center for all of 2019.
However, they should add a more established veteran presence to provide depth and stability.
One option is former Rams center John Sullivan. He may not be the most exciting player (no Pro Bowl appearances), but Sullivan has started at least 14 games for eight of the last nine seasons.
The Jets need help at the center position, and if nothing else Sullivan would be an experienced player to take a flier on. After all, anyone who can stick around in the brutal world of the NFL that long is worth something.
3. Matt Bryant
The Jets sent multiple special teams players to the Pro Bowl last year (kicker Jason Myers, returner Andre Roberts). Unfortunately, in typical Jets luck, both of those players left via free agency after the 2018 season.
The Jets attempted to partially address their special teams woes by signing kicker Chandler Catanzaro. While Catanzaro is an passable NFL kicker, his 80% field goal success rate last season hardly inspires confidence.
There are better free agent kickers out there, and one of them who the Jets should seriously consider signing is former Falcons kicker Matt Bryant. Bryant has made over 87% of his field goal attempts for each of the past three seasons. And his 95.2% success rate last season was particularly impressive.
The Jets should hold an open kicking competition during training camp, and bring in Bryant to push Catanzaro.
2. Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Gang Green doesn’t really need a tight end.
Chris Herndon excelled in his rookie season (502 receiving yards, 4 receiving touchdowns), and there is no reason to think he won’t continue to thrive and develop in 2019.
That said, the Jets don’t have any legitimate receiving threats at tight end beyond Herndon. In order to address this, they should bring back a fan favorite from a couple years ago.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a promising 2017 season with the Jets, catching 50 passes for 357 yards and 3 touchdowns in limited playing time. The Jets should pair him with Herndon, and give Sam Darnold one more weapon in 2019.
1. Nick Perry
Outside linebacker is particularly an area of need. Jordan Jenkins and Brandon Copeland both showed promise last season, amassing 5+ sacks for the first times in their careers. However, they remain unproven, and the Jets desperately need more depth and firepower at the outside linebacker position.
Nick Perry is an option the Jets should consider. The former Packer and first round pick has racked up 7+ sacks in two of his last three seasons. He is still relatively young (29 years old) and could be pushed to realize new potential in Gregg Williams’ defense.
The 2019 Jets are a greatly improved team. If everything breaks their way, they may even be able to contend for a playoff berth. Perhaps adding a few of these key free agents could be the difference maker in the Jets’ quest to end a long postseason drought.