2012 NFL Free Agency: Cheap Options the New York Jets Should Consider Signing

Aaron Jacobs@@AaronAJacobsContributor IIIMarch 28, 2012

2012 NFL Free Agency: Cheap Options the New York Jets Should Consider Signing

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    The New York Jets have already made their splash this offseason, and it wasn't through free agency.

    Instead, the major move by the Jets was a trade with the Denver Broncos for Tim Tebow. With Tebow comes a ton of speculation about how long Mark Sanchez will hold his starting position on the team.

    The Jets have already said that Sanchez is their starter and Tebow will be the wildcat/situational quarterback, so if that's the case the Jets should still try and fill a few holes in their roster before the 2012 NFL draft.

    While most of the marquee free agents have already signed, and were most likely out of the Jets' price range, there still might be a few cheap options left for them to fill some needs.

    Let's take a look at some free agents the Jets should try to acquire for a cheap price.

Free Safety: Oshiomogho (O.J.) Atogwe

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    O.J. Atogwe is an intriguing option for the New York Jets to fill that free safety spot on the roster.

    The Jets have already signed LaRon Landry, who played next to Atogwe last season as the two safeties on the Washington Redskins.

    The fact that Landry and Atogwe know how to play alongside one another could make this the best option for the Jets' starting safety tandem.

    Atogwe is not exactly a ball hawk, but he is a solid starter and when healthy can cover the middle of the field.

    However, signing Atogwe would be a major risk for the Jets.

    Atogwe is 30 years old and has a history of injuries. This is the same risk the Jets took by signing Landry, so what if both safeties end up on injured reserve?

    That wouldn't bode well for the Jets.

    Bringing in two guys with injury histories to secure both safety positions would put them in the same position as last season when Jim Leonhard went down.

    The Jets still have Eric Smith but they let Brodney Pool walk away in free agency. If Landry and Atogwe were to get hurt, the Jets would be stuck with Smith as their starter and also without a true strong safety.

    However, the New York Jets should take a shot at bringing in Atogwe if the price is right. It would be a solid move to solidify the core of defensive backs on the team. If Atogwe can produce as the Jets' free safety, it would be a low-risk/high-reward signing.

Offensive Lineman: Vernon Carey

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    As indicated many times in multiple articles, despite what the New York Jets say, they need help at right tackle.

    Wayne Hunter should not be the starter heading into the 2012 season. He did nothing last season to prove that he should be more than a backup offensive lineman.

    The Jets should take a shot at offensive lineman Vernon Carey.

    He played with the Miami Dolphins and would understand how to block in a Tony Sparano offensive scheme.

    Carey is 30 years old and his size is an issue. At 6'5", 340 lbs, it is doubtful that he is quick enough to solidify the Jets' right tackle position, but could he be worse than Hunter?

    The other issue with Carey is at this stage in his career he may be best suited at guard, but he still might be an effective right tackle.

    Even if the Jets decide to go with Hunter as the starter, it couldn't hurt to bring in some depth along the offensive line, especially if Vernon Carey can be brought in for the right price.

Tight End: Visanthe Shiancoe

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    This is not at all a shot at starting tight end Dustin Keller, but having a backup option at tight end could greatly benefit quarterback Mark Sanchez.

    Bringing in Visanthe Shiancoe as the No. 2 tight end on the roster would be a great move for the Jets.

    Keller is really the only threat as a pass-catching tight end on the roster. Sure, Jeff Cumberland is on the roster, but is he a reliable option at backup tight end?

    The two-tight-end set has become popular in the NFL.If the Jets can line up Keller on one side and Shiancoe on the other, it would prevent Keller from being double-covered across the middle.

    Keller is not blocking tight end, so it would be good to have a backup that can catch and block. Last season it was obvious when Matthew Mulligan came into the game that he was brought in to block, and defenses would stack the box for an obvious run.

    Having Shiancoe could improve the running game because he is also a threat as a receiver, which would keep defenses honest and open up some running lanes for Shonn Greene.

    Also, Keller has had some minor injury problems, so having a backup is probably a wise investment.

    The Jets should try to sign Shiancoe because his price tag shouldn't be too high and he still has a few good years left in the NFL.

Wide Receiver: Braylon Edwards or Jerricho Cotchery

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    How many Jets fans miss this picture?

    Sontonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery were a great receiving corps when they were together, as each brought a different element to the Jets' offense.

    Edwards was the deep vertical threat that complemented Holmes. His combination of speed and size was great for Sanchez, who could throw the ball up and know Edwards would go get it.

    Cotchery was not fast, tall or very athletic, but he was the heart of the Jets' receiving corps. He was as gritty and tough as it gets as a third-down slot receiver.

    Today, the Jets have a young and promising receiver in Jeremy Kerley, but he is a slot receiver at best at this stage in his career. The Jets still need a complement to Santonio Holmes, and, sorry, but I don't believe Chaz Schilens is the answer.

    If the Jets could bring back either Edwards or Cotchery it would be a great cheap move for the team, especially because it would help Sanchez to have a wide receiver that he is familiar with.

In Conclusion: New York Jets Need to Draft Wisely

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    The New York Jets do not have a great deal of cap room left heading into the 2012 NFL draft, so if they do decide to spend any more it will have to be short-term deals worth little money.

    The Jets can expect to draft for depth, but they should still try and fill a few of the major holes before heading into the draft.

    They should try and fill in the starting free safety position and find competition for Wayne Hunter at right tackle.

    The other needs such as running back, outside linebacker (a pass-rusher) and offensive line depth can be filled through the draft.

    The Jets have 10 picks in the draft and will have to use them wisely to fill the holes on this roster.