New York Jets Free Agency: 5 Targets the Jets Should and Could Acquire

Andrew BaumannContributor IIIMarch 11, 2012

New York Jets Free Agency: 5 Targets the Jets Should and Could Acquire

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    The New York Jets have a very interesting offseason this year.

    After making the AFC Championship game twice, the Jets disappointed with a controversial 8-8 record and missed the playoffs. They were laughed at league wide, especially because Rex Ryan, the coach, has predicted a Super Bowl every year.

    For things to get better, the Jets need to be more active in free agency. No year since Ryan's arrival have the Jets made any waves in the free agency market. Last year, they tried with Nnadmi Asomaugh, but they lost him to Philadelphia.

    This year, the Jets and Ryan should be spreading their efforts, trying to get good players at all key positions instead of a star player at one need.

    Here are my five picks for players the Jets should look for this free agency period. 

Issac Redman, No. 33 RB

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    If the Jets want to move forward with Shonn Greene, they need to get a solid second option that could compete for the starting job. Shonn Greene is good, but he's either not good enough to be a starter or he's not putting in any hard work.

    Bringing in Redman can change that. As a career backup in Pittsburgh, Redman will come to the Jets hungry to prove he can do the starting job. Redman can push Greene to greatness or be great himself. 

    A similar situation happened with the Giants. Brandon Jacobs helped pushed Ahmad Bradshaw into greatness because the two competed heavily for the starting job. Let Redman and Greene push each other.

    Plus, Redman is a heavy, 6'0", 230 lb back who is tough and can run defenses over. He's the type of guy the Jets need, working down heavy defensive lines with constant punishment. 

    Redman is a better option at RB than Jacobs. Jacobs, who is bigger and could be considered better, will ask for too much money and might bring some locker room troubles with him.

    Redman will come cheap as a career backup and had nothing but a stable locker room in Pittsburgh. 

Donovan McNabb, No. 5 QB

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    A lot of analysts want the Jets to pursue a solid backup who's edging on being a starter in order to push Sanchez to play better. 

    I disagree.

    The thing Sanchez has never had in NYJ was a backup who knew how to play football, and that's where you bring in a guy like McNabb. A perennial All-Star, McNabb is one of the more underrated quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL.

    Bringing him to NYJ can do nothing but good. McNabb, while old, can still throw the ball competently and can teach Sanchez some tips and tricks that he may not have known or learned yet. Plus, he will push Sanchez harder than any other free agent quarterback right now.

    Nothing brings pressure like a Super Bowl-appearing All-Star quarterback. 

    This is all if McNabb does not retire, of course. If he does not, he can be brought in on a one- or two-year contract at easy money.  

Steve Smith, No. 11 WR

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    You're going to find a growing trend among my recommendations here: keeping things cheap.

    Steve Smith will keep things cheap. 

    With Santonio Holmes locked up for a while, the Jets do not need to focus on getting another star receiver. Instead, the Jets should try and throw their blanket wide and catch as many small fish as possible. If the Jets get my recommendation of Steve Smith, as well as my next recommendation at wide receiver, they could easily make a very underrated wideout corps that will allow Sanchez to show his stuff.

    Sanchez had his best season with Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes, and Edwards is barely a second WR. Smith, who had a 1,200-yard season only two years ago, would bring an underrated threat for Sanchez to throw to. 

    Plus, again, Smith had two sub-600 yard seasons back-to-back. Last year, he only had 11 receptions for 100 yards. He cannot expect to get paid well, so coming to the Jets for cheap would be a good way for him to prove he deserves more money.

    It would be a win-win for the Jets and Smith.

Anthony Gonzalez, No. 11 WR

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    Anthony Gonzalez has only caught five passes in the NFL in the past two years.

    And that's exactly why he will leave Indianapolis. All of his teammates are expected to leave, so why not Gonzalez? He's never been utilized to his full potential and is eager for a big payday and a chance to prove himself—just like Steve Smith was last slide.

    The difference between Smith and Gonzalez, though, is that Smith is better. But that's exactly why he would work in the Jets offense.

    In order of priority: running with Shonn Greene, passing to Holmes, then to Keller, then to Smith, then finally to Gonzalez.

    Gonzalez would literally be the fifth offensive option in the Jets playbook. And every single time a play was dialed for him, you bet the 27-year-old would put 100 percent of his effort into it. Who would not want to be good? Who wouldn't want to be a star?

    Gonzalez has all the talent to be good, and going to the Jets would be a chance to prove he deserves big money. 

Visanthe Shiancoe, No. 81 TE

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    Read here: Do not get rid of Dustin Keller.

    Instead, keep him and get Shiancoe. 

    One of the underestimated attributes of a tight end system is the dual tight end system. Look at the two places it is run at heavily: in New England with Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, and in Carolina with Cam Newton, Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olsen.

    Looking at the New England Patriots, all you need to see here is that they made a Super Bowl with the play of their two tight ends. While it was not the only reason, it did not hurt. Plus, Gronkowski recently broke the tight end single season yards record. But I understand what you might be thinking: it was all Tom Brady! 

    Look at Carolina instead. They had a rookie Cam Newton, who, if he was good at all, nobody expected him to be a dangerous passer but a mobile quarterback. Instead, you have the rookie passing yard record broken. All Newton had in Carolina was All-Star wide receiver Steve Smith and two tight ends in Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey. Plus, he was playing in a primarily run-focused offense.

    Does any of that sound familiar? The reason two tight end systems are so effective is because they provide an additional two check-downs for the quarterback. If nothing is working deep, you've got three options close: your slot receiver and your two tight ends. 

    A two tight end system also provides extra run support. Teams would have to guess when you have Dustin Keller and Visanthe Shiancoe on the field—are they there to block for the run, or are they there to catch a pass?

    You'd never know. 

Thanks for Reading!

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    Don't forget to post your questions, comments or any mistakes you might happen to see in the comment section below.

    Also, before you ask, I think many of you are wondering why I did not provide a pass-rusher in this slide section. To be honest, all of the great options—such as Mario Williams at defensive line—would cost way too much money. The Jets should instead focus on the draft and draft such talents like Dontari Poe. You can see all my picks for the Jets here:

    Jets Mock Draft: Predicting All Picks for the Jets in 2012

    Thanks again!