NY Jets: 3 overlooked free agents who can make an impact
By Paul A. Esden Jr.
The NY Jets have been linked to some big-name free agents this offseason, but here are three overlooked players that could make some sense.
With over $50 million in cap room, the NY Jets have been linked to some big-name free agents. Rightfully so considering the team’s large array of needs to fill this offseason.
Although the team would be better served getting the most bang for its buck by making every dollar count. We evaluated the free-agent market and came up with three names that are being overlooked that the Jets should seriously consider pursuing in 2020.
3. Jared Veldheer, offensive tackle
The NY Jets need a complete overhaul this offseason as it pertains to their offensive line. Gang Green has been tied to all the big names in free agency like Joe Thuney of the New England Patriots, Brandon Scherff of the Washington Redskins, and Jack Conklin of the Tennessee Titans, but what about an under the radar name?
Jared Veldheer is a 32-year-old offensive tackle (will be 33 by the start of the 2020 season) and possesses great size at 6-foot-8, 322 pounds. This past year he came out of retirement to finish the season with the Green Bay Packers. For those curious, the reason he initially retired was due to a nagging hip injury.
He plans on continuing his career in 2020 and he’s set to be a free agent once the new league year begins. Veldheer was a key rotational player and is a viable starting right tackle in this league.
Instead of paying Jack Conklin between $16 and $18 million a season on a long term deal, the Jets could pay a fraction of the price for a serviceable veteran starter. In addition to playing right tackle, he also has experience playing left tackle and even center. That could be invaluable for a team in desperate need for a pick me up.
Next: 2. Kicker to boot?
2. Greg Zuerlein, kicker
Another area of need for the NY Jets is there special teams unit. Both the team’s kicker and punter are pending free agents and quite frankly the team could use an upgrade in both areas. Gang Green will have a bevy of potential replacements available during the free agency period although none bigger than Greg Zuerlein.
He goes by a lot of different names although he’s most well known by Legatron.
Zuerlein has one of the biggest legs in the NFL and will be entering his ninth season in the pros in 2020. Greg’s longest field goal he’s ever converted is 61 yards. Although over the last three years his accuracy has exponentially decreased each season: 95 percent (2017), 87 percent (2018), 73 percent (2019).
Don’t fret, much of that can be attributed to nagging injuries and he would prove to be an epic upgrade for the green and white.
Next: 1. Polarizing signing for the ages
1. Vontaze Burfict, outside linebacker
This would be a polarizing addition to the NY Jets without question. But it would bring an additional level of nasty to the green and white defense. But what is a good weapon without a warrior to utilize it?
Vontaze Burfict would be a perfect fit under Gregg Williams and he would be able to maximize his talents. The Jets need edge rush help and Burfict can help in a number of areas whether that’s in pass coverage or being an enforcer across the middle.
Speaking of enforcing across the middle that’s how Burfict has gotten into some trouble over the last few years. As a matter of fact, his propensity for personal fouls dates back to his high school days.
This mean streak has followed him from a series of personal fouls, failed drug tests, and last year he was suspended for the entire football season after a dirty hit in the Oakland Raiders vs Indianapolis Colts game where he smashed a downed receiver with a dirty cheap shot.
While there are obvious red flags that should warrant a deeper investigation, if he clears the thorough evaluation he should 100 percent be brought in. The talent is obvious and the team has a need.