Ranking the Top 5 Free Agents the New York Jets Should Look at in 2013
The Jets are a mess right now.
New York sits at just 5-7, well out of playoff contention, and a quarterback controversy is brewing.
The Jets will have to upgrade the most important position on the field through the draft, but several of their most gaping holes can be fixed in free agency.
Entering the offseason, New York's biggest need positions to solve in free agency are right tackle, outside linebacker, running back, wide receiver and safety.
While safety can be solved within the organization by re-signing both Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry, who have both had solid years with the team, the other positions need to be addressed from outside the organization.
Here are the five players that the Jets should look into this offseason.
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With a sudden litter of talent at the wide receiver position, the Packers are likely to let Greg Jennings walk this offseason.
Jennings, 29, would be an ideal fit in New York, and he and Santonio Holmes would form one of the most explosive receiving duos in the league if healthy.
Jennings has been an intregal part of Green Bay's offense for years, as his top-notch speed and steady hands made him one of Aaron Rodgers favorite targets.
From 2007-11, the Western Michigan product was one of the NFL's most consistent targets, as he averaged over 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns a season.
So, shouldn't the Pro Bowler be too expensive for a salary cap depleted Jets team?
There are several reasons why the Old Spice cover boy won't get top money in free agency.
Firstly, Jennings is yet to prove that he isn't just a system wide receiver. A plethora of wideouts have succeeded with Aaron Rodgers throwing them the ball. Secondly, Jennings has dealt with his share of injuries in recent years. He has played in only four of his team's last 16 games.
Jennings will still cost a lofty margin, as wide receiver has become a hugely valuable position in such a pass-heavy league, but he is worth the risk for the Jets.
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Manny Lawson would reinvigorate the Jets' sorry outside linebacker corps in a big way.
The 28-year-old has been a solid starter for an underrated Bengals defensive unit since 2011.
Lawson dosen't stack the stat sheet, but he can seemingly do it all on the field.
The North Carolina State product can drop back in coverage with the best of them, stuff the run and even rush the passer.
Lawson has recorded a solid 18 sacks, seven forced fumbles and two interceptions since debuting for the 49ers in 2006.
Lawson is a perfect fit in New York's blitz-happy defense, and he comes at an extremely affordable price.
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Andre Smith has quietly emerged as one of the elite right tackles in the NFL, and we all know the Jets are in desperate need of a franchise player at that position.
Smith, 25, was the sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft, and he is due to hit free agency this offseason.
While the Bengals will attempt to re-sign him, he may try to test the open market in pursuit of a bigger deal.
If he chooses to decline Cincinnati's offense, the Jets need to pounce on the big man.
Smith would provide New York with a solid presence at right tackle for years to come. He can both contain opposing pass rushers and block in the running game, and he would help lead a balanced offensive attack.
The former Crimson Tide star will require top dollar, but he is worth every penny.
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Daryl Smith was on the road to becoming one of the best outside linebackers in the game before a groin injury derailed him.
Smith has missed every game thus far this season, but the 30-year-old still has the ability to be an elite player once he returns.
Smith is due to hit the open market this offseason, and he will most likely be looking to move out of Jacksonville after spending his first nine years in the league with the Jaguars.
Smith has been a monster over for Jacksonville over the last three years, recording a combined 311 tackles, 8.5 sacks, six force fumbles and three interceptions.
The Georgia Tech product would greatly improve New York's defense and provide newfound life into outside linebacker.
It seems as Felix Jones has been in the league forever, but the Arkansas product is just 25.
Jones has been a solid threat out of the backfield for the Cowboys' offense for half a decade, but it seems like the two will part ways this offseason.
Dallas has young superstar DeMarco Murray developing, and Jones may be looking for a more steady role.
Jones would be a perfect fit in New York. He would add a level of explosiveness that the current corps of Jets running backs lack, and he could even compete for the starting job with the disappointing Shonn Greene.
Jones has enjoyed a lot of success at the NFL level, averaging 4.8 yards per carry for his career. He is also a dynamic threat in the passing game.
Jones would provide a spark to a Jets' offense currently in disarray, and the price tag to get him would not be substantially high.