In recent years the New York Jets have had more success picking up contributing players in free agency and trades than they have in the draft.
Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan have not drafted consistently well, but the GM has earned the nickname "Trader Mike" with local media. The team has never shied away from signing or trading for players with character concerns, and some cases have worked out better than others, Holmes being the obvious drawback up to this point.
There are a few issues on the Jets roster that they have tried to address in the draft and have struck out, leaving them to comb the free agency market for proven commodities. Dating back to the beginning of the Rex Ryan era, they have drafted numerous skill players on offense to help Mark Sanchez put some points on the board.
Looking back to the past four drafts, the team has spent nine picks on WR/RBs and yet the offense lacks any big play potential and has found it very difficult to avoid three-and-outs at times. Jeremy Kerley has come on as of late, but no one is rolling out the carpets in Canton, OH quite yet.
This upcoming offseason, the Jets will take a long look around the league and search for talent that has already succeeded at the NFL level. Luckily for them, this year's free agency class can offer the Jets a lot of what they are looking for at these skill positions.
Mark Sanchez has seen constant change at the WR position since his arrival in New York, a factor that many believe can stunt a young quarterback's growth, but this WR unit is the worst he has had since coming here.
It is early in Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley's career, but the team could add some serious playmakers this offseason in Steve Smith or Greg Jennings. Jennings has had a bad year where he cannot get healthy enough to get on the field, and this may affect his market value. A team could get him at a discounted rate, and it seems unlikely Green Bay can resign him.
A cheaper alternative could be long-time Cleveland Brown, Joshua Cribbs, who is exactly the type of playmaker the Jets lack on the outside. The Jets have been linked to Percy Harvin numerous times in the past, and Cribbs could be a similar target for Sanchez, making for high percentage throws and a huge threat for Yards after the catch.
Another player to watch is Tennessee Titan Chris Johnson, who is actually not a free agent but has had a rather inconsistent year and is owed a lot of money moving forward. It has been rumored that the team could potentially cut Johnson at the end of the year if they feel he is not worth the contract, this could be something to monitor as the Jets try to improve their ground and pound philosophy.