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The NY Jets have had a relatively quiet 48 hours. After a trio of signings on the first day of the legal-tampering period — including two high-profile ones — the Jets have taken it slow over the next two days.
The Jets signed linebacker Jarrad Davis, wide receiver Corey Davis, and pass-rusher Carl Lawson on the first day, but have made just one signing since in the form of cornerback/special-teamer Justin Hardee.
That said, there are still a number of prominent players left on the open market.
General manager Joe Douglas has been patient over the last couple of days, but the Jets aren’t done making moves. Expect the team to target positions such as cornerback, offensive line, and running back, among others, in free agency.
And they might not just be picking from the scraps either.
The market for a few players has developed rather slowly and left some of the better names in free agency still available going into Thursday. The Jets could look to capitalize on this opportunity.
There are a few ways the Jets could still make another splash or two in free agency. While they missed out on players like Curtis Samuel and others on Wednesday, that doesn’t mean they’re out of luck.
Douglas and the Jets’ work is far from over. And expect the next few days to be an indication of that.
With that, let’s take a look at three ways the Jets could still make a splash signing in free agency.
Next: 3. Sign an impact defender
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
3. The NY Jets could sign an impact defender
While the edge rusher market was quick to develop with many of the top names being snatched up on the first day of the legal tampering period, other positions on defense haven’t developed the same way.
As such, the Jets could still look to make an impact signing or two on that side of the ball.
Safety Keanu Neal is a player to keep an eye on as the Jets reportedly have interest in the former Pro Bowler. At just 25-years-old, Neal could be a significant addition to a Jets’ defense that took a step back in 2020.
Now two years removed from a torn Achilles, Neal could reunite with former defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich in New York giving the Jets a trio of safeties (paired with Marcus Maye and Ashtyn Davis) to utilize.
Elsewhere, look for the Jets to target the nickel cornerback position. While K’Waun Williams is someone who has been regularly connected to the team, someone like Troy Hill would arguably be a bigger “splash.”
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Hill has been a revelation for the Los Angeles Rams over the last few years and is arguably the top nickel cornerback on the market. Williams is the more likely add, but Hill would be a pretty significant signing.
Finally, the Jets could target another pass-rusher to pair with Carl Lawson. Many of the top names have already been signed, but one player who could intrigue Douglas is Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney remains one of the best run-defenders in the NFL and is incredibly underrated as a pass-rusher as well. Essentially, he was overrated for so long that he’s now become underrated.
If not Clowney, a veteran like Melvin Ingram could make sense too as the Jets look to bolster their pass-rush in the short-term.
Next: 2. Sign an outside cornerback
2. The NY Jets could sign a starting outside cornerback
One position was intentionally left out of that last section, mostly because it deserves a section of its own. The Jets are highly likely to target a starting outside cornerback in free agency.
The two top names in William Jackson III and Shaquill Griffin have already been signed. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t upgrades still out there.
Richard Sherman is a player who’s been connected to the Jets quite a bit given his ties to new head coach Robert Saleh. He’ll likely have other offers from contenders, but Sherman perfectly fits the scheme and could be a valuable addition in the short-term as a mentor to someone like Bryce Hall.
Elsewhere, the Tennessee Titans released both of their starting cornerbacks on Wednesday in Adoree’ Jackson and Malcolm Butler. Jackson is definitely the most intriguing of the two as the former first-round pick has a ton of upside at just 25-years-old.
He’s just one year removed from finishing as Pro Football Focus‘ eighth-highest graded cornerback, but played just three games in 2020 due to injury.
Jackson is one of the best remaining players on the market and the Jets should pounce at the opportunity to sign him.
If not, they could target Butler as a fall-back. Butler spent three years in Tennessee as a starter and put together arguably his best season since 2016 last year when he finished as PFF’s No. 15 overall cornerback.
Even at 31-years-old, it seems like he still has plenty left in the tank.
Next: 1. Sign another top wide receiver
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
1. The NY Jets could sign another top wide receiver
No position group remains as stacked in free agency as wide receiver. And even though the Jets have already dabbled in that market with the addition of Corey Davis, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to add another one.
The consensus top wideout in free agency remains unsigned going into Thursday — that being former Detroit Lions star Kenny Golladay. Golladay is drawing heavy interest from both the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Giants, but could the Jets be suitors as well?
Don’t count on it.
Golladay’s skill set is very similar to that of Davis and Denzel Mims making it highly unlikely the Jets spend big money on him. But he’s such a talented player, that it would be hard to argue against making such a move.
It’s not likely, but it certainly wouldn’t be a bad decision to target Golladay.
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Two more likely targets, however, are JuJu Smith-Schuster and Will Fuller. Both players were rumored to be targets of the Jets prior to free agency with the former being an obvious fit in new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s system.
At just 24-years-old, Smith-Schuster might have the highest upside out of any receiver in this class and he’s just two years removed from a 1,500-yard campaign.
Signing him could coincide with the release of Jamison Crowder which would save the Jets roughly $10 million that could be used to sign the former USC star.
Fuller makes sense too given that the Jets are looking for speed on offense, but his injury history will scare teams away despite a career-year in 2020.
The Jets have plenty of options left at wide receiver, even with Curtis Samuel off the board. Don’t be surprised to see them add another notable name in the near future.