9 players the NY Jets can still target in 2022 free agency

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NY Jets, Kyzir White / Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
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NY Jets, Solomon Thomas / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

8. NY Jets target: Za'Darius Smith, DE

Za'Darius Smith is one of the most high-profile free agents that remains on the market. The two-time Pro Bowler racked up 26 sacks between 2019 and 2020 before an injury-riddled 2021 campaign cut his time in Green Bay short.

It seemed as though Smith was headed back to Baltimore, however, his reported deal with the Ravens fell through and he landed back on the market. The Jets have a need at pass rusher and could look to bring him in.

Now, it's hard to say what type of scheme fit Smith would actually be. The 29-year-old has primarily been a stand-up pass rusher for most of his career, but he does have the size to play a regular 4-3 defensive end role.

If the Jets are still looking to make a big splash in free agency, they may not do much better than Za'Darius Smith.

7. NY Jets target: Solomon Thomas, DT/DE

One player who would fit in perfectly with the Jets' defensive scheme, however, is former third overall pick Solomon Thomas. Thomas obviously has experience with Robert Saleh dating back to their years together in San Francisco.

That experience could serve him well as he looks for a new home this offseason. The former draft bust fell well short of expectations in San Francisco, but he did find a regular role as part of the Raiders' defensive line rotation this past season.

Thomas is at his best when he's asked to play a hybrid defensive line role. At 6-foot-3, 280 pounds, Thomas is somewhat of a tweener and has the size to play on the interior.

He could be an excellent fit as somewhat of a backup to John Franklin-Myers who would be asked to play a similar hybrid position. Given how much Saleh likes to rotate his defensive line, having another player who can fill Franklin-Myers' role makes sense.