7 defensive tackles the NY Jets could sign after losing Sheldon Rankins

NY Jets, Calais Campbell
NY Jets, Calais Campbell / Greg Fiume/GettyImages
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6. The NY Jets could sign Akiem Hicks

Another aging veteran who can occupy a similar role to Joseph is longtime Chicago Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks. Hicks spent the 2022 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, starting 11 games while battling a foot injury.

Much like Joseph, the 2022 version of Hicks was a far cry from his former Pro Bowl self. He finished with 22 tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, and four QB hits in just under two-thirds of a full season.

Hicks was more effective as a run defender as his 65.6 Pro Football Focus run-defense grade ranked 38th out of 143 qualified interior defensive linemen. That's the role he would likely play with the Jets.

The days of Hicks being a dominant three-down lineman are probably over, but he could still provide value as an early-down run-stopper. The Jets could use someone like that on their roster.

5. The NY Jets could sign Greg Gaines

Joseph and Hicks are both short-term, stop-gap options. If the Jets would prefer a younger alternative, someone like Greg Gaines could make some sense.

A fourth-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams in the 2019 NFL Draft, Gaines played a part-time role in his first two NFL seasons before taking over as a starter in 2021. His 69.8 PFF grade ranked 27th out of 108 qualifiers that year, and he finished with a career-high 4.5 sacks.

Gaines saw his production and effectiveness decrease this past season, although a large part of that was due to the fact that he played through a biceps tear he suffered in training camp. Gaines wasn't healthy in 2022 and it showed.

At 6-foot-1, 312 pounds, Gaines is an athletic nose tackle who offers pass-rush upside (8.5 sacks over the last two seasons) to go along with a strong run-stopping pedigree. He would be a wise buy-low candidate coming off a down year.