The NY Jets should target these two free agents with their added cap space

NY Jets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets could go on a little August shopping spree with their newfound cap space.

NY Jets‘ general manager Joe Douglas showed a lot of promise in his first full offseason with the team. He added draft picks to build for the future and freed up space in the salary cap to improve the team right now.

And with that free space in mind, it’s time for Douglas to be aggressive and go sign some top-notch free agents.

The two that come to mind for the Jets are edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney and cornerback Logan Ryan. Both are veteran players at positions of need, but they are both asking for more money than Douglas is willing to give them.

This may have been a practical concern for Douglas a week ago, but after the developments over the last few days, the Jets have more than enough money to spend.

Linebacker C.J. Mosley has opted out of the season and the team released veteran guard Brian Winters, freeing up just about $14 million in combined cap space for the upcoming year.

These moves, on top of what was already available, means that the Jets have more than enough money to go out and sign some big-name free agents. Even if it does mean paying a bit more than Douglas really wants to.

Starting off with Clowney, he’s one of the most well-known edge rushers in the league, but he may not have lived up to the hype in part due to injuries.

This may be why teams have not been willing to give Clowney the $17 million per year ($20 million at first), but at this point, what do the Jets have to lose?

The Jets ranked just 23rd in the NFL in team sacks. That ranking that was boosted greatly by Jamal Adams’ contribution of 6.5 sacks, which was good for second on the team. Following the Adams trade, the team will need to find a way to replace his presence in the pass rush.

When at his best, Clowney can be one of the most effective edge rushers in the league. Prior to his injury-riddled 2019 season in which Clowney recorded just 3.0 sacks, Clowney racked up 18.5 sacks over the prior two seasons with the Houston Texans.

That is something the Jets desperately need. Despite some complex blitz packages designed by Gregg Williams that are actually quite effective, the Jets still lack even an adequate edge rusher that can help to make up for a cornerback group that is subpar on paper.

Not to mention that Clowney is an elite run-defender having earned a Pro Football Focus grade of 87.3 — among the best at his position in 2019.

One last reason the Jets should sign Clowney is the pull that has already come out of the Jets locker room for him to sign with Gang Green. Newly-acquired safety Bradley McDougald has been lobbying for the Jets to sign his former teammate.

All things considered, this is the perfect situation for the Jets to sign a guy like Clowney. A deal of short length, perhaps one-to-two years, that is worth around $16 million, maybe even less if the Jets throw in some incentives, would be a great idea for both parties involved.

Of course, this is assuming Clowney would agree to such a deal. Perhaps Gregg Williams could work his recruiting magic once again.

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Jadeveon Clowney isn’t the only free agent the NY Jets should consider signing.

Moving now to Logan Ryan, another veteran that Douglas should look to sign to address a position of need. The seven-year veteran has spent time with New England and Tennessee, both teams who have had strong defenses while he was there.

Cornerback is another position that the Jets have a need at, despite strong play from Brian Poole last season and the addition of Pierre Desir.

The Jets have seen a steady stream of struggling cornerbacks come through the doors over the last few seasons, leading to some big-time defensive issues.

Ryan is a guy who can step right in as a starter and match-up with the opposition’s best receiver better than anyone on the roster at this moment. Last season, Ryan grabbed four interceptions and recorded 18 pass defenses. Both of which would have led the Jets.

The Jets were around average for the league in terms of passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed last season. However, without Jamal Adams’ playmaking in the secondary this year, that may take a step back this year.

Ryan’s asking price at this point is around $10 million per year. Once again a short deal may be what’s best for the Jets. But seeing as Ryan has had less trouble with injuries than Clowney has, Douglas may be willing to sign Ryan to a multi-year deal.

I know that signing big-name veterans may not be the style of Douglas, but this season may just be the perfect time to go against the grain.

Next. NY Jets: 3 offensive players on the bubble entering training camp

The Jets need a little star power on the defensive side of the ball and with the added cap space, at least for a year, why not?