New York Jets: Veteran Free Agents Who Should Be Brought into Training Camp
Going into this season, the New York Jets are in need of some veteran presence at multiple positions.
While the team is planning to go back to their successful ground-and-pound game from two years ago that resulted in back-to-back AFC championship games, the offensive line and running back depth charts need to be addressed.
Youth and immaturity in the receiving core can also use some veteran leadership.
With all of the big-name free agents already signed, there are still some savvy veterans out there who can have an impact for a cheap price.
Here are veterans the Jets should bring in for training camp.
Starting New York Jets right tackle Wayne Hunter was a liability last season.
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Hunter gave up 11 sacks, which was third worst for all offensive linemen.
However, his job at right tackle appears safe because no high draft pick was used on a right tackle and no free agents were pursued.
As it appears, the Jets are ready to retain Hunter as their starter. That does not mean a veteran offensive tackle can't be very helpful.
Enter former Jet/New York Giant Kareem McKenzie. McKenzie was a starting right tackle for the Super Bowl champions last season and is very solid, even going into his 13th NFL season.
He can provide much-needed depth to the offensive line.
It's hard to believe that a highly rated offensive lineman like Vernon Carey has still not found a team to offer him a contract this late into free agency.
Carey is a versatile former first-round pick who can play guard or tackle. ESPN.com gives him a score of 82 out of 100 while grading him as an offensive lineman.
Carey is also familiar with New York Jets' offensive coordinator Tony Sparano as he was with the Miami Dolphins while Sparano served as head coach since 2008.
The fit seems perfect.
At 6'8'' and 345 lbs, Max Starks is one of the league's biggest players. In his nine-year career, he has been both an offensive lineman and a backup for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Starks is currently rehabbing after tearing his ACL in last season's AFC Wild Card Game against the Denver Broncos.
Since then, the Steelers drafted Ohio State's Mike Adams in the second round of the draft as their offensive lineman of the future.
If the Steelers are unwilling to invite Starks to their training camp, the New York Jets should seriously consider him as an option.
Starks is a solid veteran coming from one of the best organizations in the league and can be a veteran presence for the Jets.
On the New York Jets fullback depth chart is third-year player John Conner.
When Conner came into the league, he had the luxury of having long-time veteran Tony Richardson at his side; now he's alone.
Ahmard Hall, the Tennessee Titans' starting fullback is left without a team at the moment. He's a seven-year veteran who was the lead blocker for Pro Bowl running back Chris Johnson since his rookie season.
Hall can come into camp and fill the role that Richardson has left vacant a season ago.
Since Cedric Benson was used sparingly during his first three years in the league with the Chicago Bears, he does not have the same mileage on his legs as most other 30-year-old running backs.
Benson proved he still can be very productive last season as he ran for 1,067 yards on 273 carries in 15 games.
Benson can come in immediately to either take the starting job from incumbent Shonn Greene or split time forming a powerful two-headed backfield with Tim Tebow part of the fold.
In the 2009 season, Edwards was the Jets' top deep threat. In 2010, he was New York's leading receiver.
Santonio Holmes has yet to prove he can be the veteran presence to lead second-year receiver Jeremy Kerley and this year's second-round draft Stephen Hill, especially after the immaturity he showed last season that caused a locker-room divide.
Edwards is not the ultimate veteran team leader, but it will be better to take a chance on him rather than Holmes.
The New York Jets can use another pass-catching tight end in their offense if they want to follow the league-wide trend that was started by division rival New England Patriots.
Visanthe Shiancoe can be a very serviceable tight end at the right price. Last season, his production dropped a little as he had just 36 receptions for 409 yards.
With Mark Sanchez showing how much he targets the tight end, Dustin Keller was the team's most targeted receiver last season, Shiancoe can provide another weapon.
Also, at 6'4'', he can be very useful in the red zone.