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NY Jets: 3 surprise free agent targets that make perfect sense to add

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 04: Robert Quinn #58 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts with teammates Demarcus Lawrence #90 and Jaylon Smith #54 after Lawrence sacks Daniel Jones #8 (NOT IN FRAME) of the New York Giants (not pictured) during the first quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on November 04, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 04: Robert Quinn #58 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts with teammates Demarcus Lawrence #90 and Jaylon Smith #54 after Lawrence sacks Daniel Jones #8 (NOT IN FRAME) of the New York Giants (not pictured) during the first quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on November 04, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
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NY Jets (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The NY Jets have overspent on free agents in the past, now it’s time to learn from their mistakes. Here are 3 surprise targets that make sense to add.

The offseason is supposed to be the best time for NY Jets fans. It’s a time period that is full of hope. Every team is undefeated at 0-0 and usually, the team is stocked with money and draft picks to change its fortunes.

While the Jets do have over $50 million in cap space and eight selections to their name in the 2020 NFL Draft this offseason, there’s a fear among fans. For example, when you get beat up on by a big brother for years if he raises his hand later, you flinch, even if he’s not going to hit you.

This is what Gang Green fans witness every offseason. Due to decades of big money spending in free agency on busts, fans get nervous every time the Jets enter the free agency period with cash in their pockets.

So it’s time to break the vicious cycle of overspending and now it’s time to be more selective. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Jets have to be frugal per se, but making sure they get the proper bang for their buck is paramount.

With that in mind, we dug up three under the radar surprise candidates that the Jets should do their homework on. Plus we explain why each player would make sense to add to the roster in 2020.

Next: 3. Veteran pass rusher

. . . Robert Quinn. 3. 123

With so many needs for the NY Jets, it’s impossible to overspend on everything. This means the team will be forced to get creative on the open market. We start off our surprising under the radar candidates with veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn.

There’s no question he’s getting older, right now Robert is 29 years old (he’ll be 30 by the start of the 2020 season), but there’s still plenty left in the tank. Quinn just completed his ninth season in the pros on his third different NFL team in the last three years.

Despite bouncing around, Robert’s stats speak for themselves. During that three-year stretch, he recorded 26.5 sacks, 31 tackles for loss, 49 quarterback hits, and six forced fumbles. Also important to note during the last three years Quinn has only missed 3 games out of 48 possible contests.

According to ESPN, Quinn is ranked the 34th best NFL free agent on the open market this offseason.

Last season with the Dallas Cowboys he reached the double-digit sack barrier for the first time since 2014. Perhaps more impressive is Quinn led the entire league in “pass rush win rate” which is a relatively new metric used by ESPN and NFL Next Gen Stats data.

Current NY Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams coached Robert Quinn for a total of four years (in two separate stints) with the St. Louis and the eventual LA Rams.

During that time Williams got the most out of Quinn and a reunion with the Jets would make all the sense in the world. Robert would simply be asked to do what he does best, rush the passer. As a situational rusher, Quinn could pin his ears back and get after the passer in limited reps.

Next: 2. Versatile defensive back

. Ronald Darby. 2. 54. .

Another area of need for the NY Jets lies in the defensive backfield. While the team has a dynamic duo at the safety position in Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams, things aren’t as stable at cornerback.

Trumaine Johnson was supposed to fill the No. 1 corner void on this team, but he failed miserably. Johnson is a cautionary tale of how adding free agents on big-money deals can backfire in a bad way.

So instead of repeating mistakes from the past, this time around the Jets are going to be a bit headier on who they sign to fill the gap at corner.

One name that immediately jumps out is veteran cornerback Ronald Darby formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Darby just turned 26 years old back in January and bringing him into the fold would make a lot of sense on an array of levels.

Ronald knows the AFC East well because he was originally taken with the 50th overall pick in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. After a few years in the winter tundra, he was dealt away to the Eagles and has been there ever since.

That’s not the only connective tissue, current general manager Joe Douglas was the Vice President of Player Personnel from 2016 through 2019 for the Eagles prior to taking this gig with the Jets.

According to ESPN, Darby is ranked the 100th best NFL free agent on the open market this offseason.

While there is a lot to like with this addition, it’s only fair to point out a huge sign of concern which is his durability. Darby has missed 23 out of 80 possible games in five seasons. That’s a huge red flag, but that’s why he’s going to come cheaper than some of the other options available on the open market.

Next: 1. Veteran presence at quarterback

The Jets Zone w/ @BoyGreen25 feat @RichCimini:– Fact or fiction on #TakeFlight free agency rumors.– Which FAs #Jets are trying to re-sign ahead of next week.– Joe Douglas, Ozzie Newsome relationship details.– Latest on Quinnen Williams.– Tom Brady?!https://t.co/yWFRXUrPzb

— The Jets Zone (@TheJets_Zone) March 12, 2020

58. . . . Case Keenum. 1

Apparently this list of three surprise candidates that could make sense for the NY Jets to add was really just a leftover NFC East shopping list that we got our hands-on. A complete coincidence believe it or not.

The most underrated need this offseason for the NY Jets is backup quarterback. Absolutely no one is talking about it, which is baffling.

Obviously Sam Darnold is the present and future of the franchise, which isn’t in question. Although what is in question is a viable backup, understudy, or someone that at the bare minimum can keep Darnold honest.

For one reason or another Darnold has missed 6 games out of 32 possible. That’s 19 percent of the games so far in his first two years.

The Jets owe it to themselves to put the team in a good position if Darnold is forced to miss time for a third consecutive season in 2020. When Sam went down this past season, the year was over. The offense proved inept and struggled to move the ball.

There were a few reasons for that including going cheap on the backup quarterback spot. It’s time to invest in a legitimate option that can step up in a pinch to help the team out.

This offseason will be one of the craziest roller coasters for the quarterback position in history. The Jets should steer clear of the crazy names and just add someone effective.

Case Keenum isn’t a sexy name, but he’s one that would make perfect sense to add to the quarterback room. He just turned 32 years old and the best part is, he knows his role and won’t ruffle any feathers.

Considering his age he could prove to be Darnold’s primary backup for the foreseeable future. All the other options are too young, too old, or wouldn’t understand the role they’d be signing up for.

New York Jets: Top 10 2020 NFL free agents Gang Green should chase. Next

The Jets would be his sixth NFL landing spot since entering the league back in 2012. He has tons of experience (has played in 67 games and holds a 27-35 record as a starting quarterback) and would be just what the doctor ordered.

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