NY Jets were one of the finalists for Chandler Jones in free agency

NY Jets, Chandler Jones
NY Jets, Chandler Jones / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

The NY Jets have already been linked to some big names in free agency, but former Cardinals' defensive end Chandler Jones may be the most surprising of them all.

On Wednesday, Jones signed a three-year, $51 million dollar deal with the Las Vegas Raiders but was reportedly considering a handful of other teams: the San Francisco 49ers, the Buffalo Bills, the Indianapolis Colts, and yes, even the New York Jets.

Jones is ultimately heading to the AFC West to join Raiders star Maxx Crosby, and that division in itself may house some of the best pass-rushers in the league. The Jets would have liked to pick up a star edge rusher this free agency, but Jones' asking price was ultimately too high.

The Jets got significant upgrades at tight end, the secondary, and the offensive line in an efficient first official day of free agency, and the team will look to continue rebuilding its roster for the upcoming season.

NY Jets nearly landed former Cardinals star Chandler Jones in 2022 free agency

As The Athletic's Connor Hughes notes above, the Jets remain in desperate need of reinforcements in the pass rush and interior defensive line. They've since signed former Texans standout Jacob Martin bolstering their defensive end depth.

With Carl Lawson returning from injury, Chandler Jones would have added a re-energizing boost to New York's pass-rushing unit having posted double-digit sacks in five of his six seasons with the Cardinals.

The Jets weren't willing to pay as much as $17 million a year for a player on the wrong side of 30, but Jones' interest in the Jets bodes well for the future of the franchise.

Admittedly, Jones may only have been considering the Jets for the money, but New York will take any opportunity it can get to add elite players — at a reasonable cost, of course.

With many top free-agent pass rushers already signed or re-signed, New York may now look toward the early rounds of the draft to address their pass-rushing needs, even after signing Martin.

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Jones may have been out of New York's price range, but the team showed notable initiative in targeting a top-caliber player like Jones in the first place. It's evident that the Jets aren't done improving their defense this offseason — nor should they be.