Ranking the Biggest Free-Agent Priorities for the New York Jets

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IFebruary 21, 2013

Ranking the Biggest Free-Agent Priorities for the New York Jets

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    The New York Jets began one of the most important offseasons in franchise history by cutting a handful of veteran contributors, including Bart Scott and Calvin Pace. 

    The move provided much-needed financial relief for Gang Green and allowed them to move underneath the salary cap. 

    Now it's time to add to the roster.

    The Jets have plenty of needs to address through free agency, but only have limited cap space to spend. 

    Knowing their financial constraints, here are the biggest free-agent priorities for the Jets this offseason.

6. Bring in a Cost-Efficient Veteran QB to Compete for the Starting Job in 2013

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    Even with a decent starting quarterback, the Jets have too many holes on both sides of the ball to likely compete next season. 

    Additionally, the quarterback market is extremely thin this offseason. Alex Smith and Matt Flynn will be too costly, and the signal-callers on the open market are not solid starters. 

    However, signing a veteran, savvy quarterback such as Matt Moore to a cost-efficient, short-term contract could be a solid move. 

    If New York takes a signal-caller in this year's draft, the rookie would likely benefit from sitting behind a veteran for a couple seasons.  

    That veteran should not be Mark Sanchez, a mistake-prone mess. 

5. Rekindle the Safety Duo

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    LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell both had tremendous seasons in their first year in the Big Apple. 

    Unfortunately for New York, both safeties are due to become unrestricted free agents this offseason. With the current cap situation, it is unlikely that Gang Green can re-sign both players. 

    There are many elite safeties on the free-agent market this season, including William Moore, Louis Delmas and Charles Woodson. New York will have trouble affording those top-end players, though. 

    The best decision for the Jets would be to re-sign Bell to a short-term contract that does not put a strain on the salary cap, while also hoping for either Antonio Allen and Josh Bush to step in and develop significantly in their second season. 

4. Address the Lack of a Consistent Pass Rush

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    Despite all of Rex Ryan's bizarre blitz schemes, the Jets' pass rush failed to make much of an impact in 2012, even with an elite secondary playing behind them.

    The unit ranked just 25th in the league in sacks, with 30.  

    While the defensive ends, notably Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples, have developed into game-changers, the outside linebacker position needs to be seriously addressed. 

    Calvin Pace has already been released, and Bryan Thomas is likely to follow in his footsteps, leaving New York with no starters on their roster. 

    New York should target Connor Barwin and Manny Lawson to fill the holes and reinvigorate the team's pass rush.

    Barwin is coming off a down, three-sack season, so his value is low right now. In the right scheme, Barwin could explode for double-digit sacks again.

    Lawson isn't a star, but he's a solid player capable of manning the outside edge.

3. Bring Back Braylon Edwards

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    Braylon Edwards just looks right in a Jets uniform. 

    The former first-round pick is coming off of a couple of down years with the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, but he was the Jets' top receiving option in the team's final three games after being claimed off waivers. 

    Edwards has had some of his finest seasons in the Big Apple, and he was crucial in helping lead New York to back-to-back AFC Championship games in the first two years of the Rex Ryan era.

    Most importantly, Edwards will be incredibly cost-efficient for the Jets. They may even be able to bring him back on the veteran's minimum. 

2. Replace Shonn Greene with a Cost-Efficient Option

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    Shonn Greene is one of the worst starting running backs in the league. He lacks the explosiveness, vision and open-field speed to be a solid rusher in the NFL

    The Jets would benefit tremendously by letting Greene walk this offseason and replacing him with a more dynamic option. 

    Chris Ivory should be that guy. 

    The 25-year-old is an explosive runner with a brutal running style. He bowls defenders over and is incredibly hard to bring down in the open field. 

    Ivory hasn't received a big workload in his career yet, but his 5.1 yards per carry prove that he is ready for more touches. 

    The current Saints runner would be a cost-efficient option for New York and would bring a new dimension to the abysmal Jets offense. 

1. Reingivorate the Offensive Line

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    The Jets could be left with a pair of holes on the offensive line if they do not take care of the guard position this offseason.

    Both of the team's starting guards, Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson, are free agents this offseason, and both are expected to test the open market.

    Moore is 33 years old and is likely too expensive for New York to re-sign. The Jets would benefit by replacing him with a younger, cheaper option, perhaps in the draft. 

    Slauson, on the other hand, will be less costly and is only 27 years old.

    New York should sign Slauson, who has been a solid starter on the offensive line for three years now, to a multi-year contract, to help shore up the interior of the offensive front.