NY Jets: 3 recently released players the team should target
By Justin Fried
The NY Jets will be assessing all of their options on the free-agent market and these three players could make for intriguing additions.
The NY Jets are expected to be very active in free agency once again this offseason. With over $50 million in cap space — and plenty more to come — the team should have plenty of options to make splashes in the coming days.
From Byron Jones to Joe Thuney, the Jets will be targeting some of the top names on the market in hopes of upgrading their most dire positions. But of course, it isn’t feasible to land premium players at each position.
The Jets will be exploring all options as they look to make adjustments to their roster ahead of the 2020 season. And with various NFL teams around the league releasing veterans to create cap space, the Jets have a unique opportunity to add a few difference-makers.
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These players weren’t necessarily cut from their respective organizations because they’re washed-up or not good enough. Some ran into injury trouble while others just didn’t provide the value of their contracts.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t be productive on a new team in 2020.
With that, let’s take a look at three recently released players the Jets should consider signing.
Next: 3. Ryan Succop
3. Ryan Succop, K
The Jets’ special teams unit once again excelled in 2019 under the guidance of Brant Boyer, but the one position that remains a major weakness is kicker.
Gang Green went through various failed kicker experiments early on last season from Chandler Catanzaro to Taylor Bertolet to Kaare Vedvik, but the player who saw the most time was Sam Ficken.
Ficken was signed by the Jets on September 10th and he would end up kicking in 15 games, making just 70 percent of his kicks. The former Penn State standout would miss three extra-points and eight of his 27 field-goal attempts in what was a below-average season.
And going into 2020, the Jets will certainly be looking for an upgrade at the position. And that upgrade could come in the form of 11-year veteran Ryan Succop.
Succop was released by the Tennessee Titans on Friday after spending the last six seasons as their primary kicker. However, last season was undoubtedly the most challenging of his career to this point.
The former Kansas City Chiefs kicker would begin the year on the injured reserve, only to return for just six games before being placed on the IR again. During that time, Succop made just one of his six field-goal attempts — although one of his misses was blocked.
2019 was a challenge, but his long track record of success prior to last year is what should be intriguing to teams in need of a kicker. The Jets are one of those teams and there’s no doubt that they could benefit from having a proven NFL kicker on the roster.
Ficken likely isn’t the answer, but Succop certainly could be.
Next: 2. Ricky Wagner
2. Ricky Wagner, OT
The Jets should have plenty of opportunities to address the offensive line in the offseason with the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft expected to be very deep along the offensive line. The same could be said for this year’s crop of free agents.
From Jack Conklin to Joe Thuney to Graham Glasgow, there’s no shortage of excellent starting options set to hit the open market. But on Friday, another intriguing name joined that list.
The Detroit Lions released veteran right tackle Ricky Wagner earlier on Friday after three seasons with the team. Prior to joining the Lions, Wagner spent four seasons with Baltimore starting three of those years.
But after impressing in his first season in Detroit, the 30-year-old has seen a dip in his level of play.
Wagner was graded as the 19th offensive tackle in football back in 2017, per Pro Football Focus. But by the time 2019 came to an end, PFF graded him as the 67th best offensive tackle.
Keep in mind, there are only 64 starters league-wide.
Still, Wagner has proven pretty durable and could be a mid-tier starting option if other plans go array. At the very least, it couldn’t hurt to bring him in on a cheap, short-term deal to have him compete with second-year pro Chuma Edoga in training camp.
Perhaps Wagner could even act as a mentor to Edoga who proved to be very raw and unpolished last season.
He shouldn’t be their first option, but Wagner isn’t a player that the Jets should overlook.
Next: 1. Cameron Wake
1. Cameron Wake, EDGE
It seems like clockwork that we discuss the Jets’ need for a true edge rusher every single offseason — and this year is no different. But with more pressing needs at the moment (offensive line, wide receiver, cornerback), they may not be able to land one of the top names on the market.
Aside from that, many of those top names could and will end up being franchise tagged — see Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, and soon-to-be Shaquil Barrett.
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That means that the Jets might need to pivot and look to upgrade the position in other ways. Of course, the team will want to bring back Jordan Jenkins who is set to hit free agency, but one player who warrants attention is longtime NFL veteran Cameron Wake.
Wake was released by the Titans on Thursday after a disappointing one-year tenure in Nashville. But the 38-year-old managed to show last season that he still has something left in the tank.
The Miami Dolphins legend recorded 31 pressures on 172 pass-rush snaps last season which was good for top-three among qualified edge rushers. Unfortunately, Wake played in just nine games before landing on the injured reserve, ending his season prematurely.
The Titans opted to move on from his hefty contract with needs at other positions, but Wake proved that he could still get to the quarterback at an efficient rate last season.
He wouldn’t be a high-profile signing, but Wake would give the Jets some much-needed depth at a position of need as well as provide the team with their best true pass rusher.
Bringing Wake back to the AFC East seems like a no-brainer and it’s a move the Jets should absolutely consider.