Key Free Agents New York Jets Should Target This Offseason
The New York Jets will need to put some pieces together during free agency after their 6-10 finish in 2012.
The team’s cap restrictions entering the offseason have been well documented and will limit what they can do in terms of picking up players.
The Jets cleared some cap space Tuesday by cutting veteran linebackers Bart Scott and Calvin Pace, so they can be more aggressive in free agency.
New York was only a few skill players away from being a legitimate threat for postseason contention in 2012, and will be contenders for the playoffs with the right additions.
Some of the following players are cost-effective needs that the Jets may target when free agency begins on March 12.
Jets' Free Agents
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The Jets have two important players they need to re-sign for 2013: wide receiver Braylon Edwards and safety LaRon Landry.
Edwards is the more logical choice, because he will be relatively cheap. The Jets claimed Edwards off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks late in the season. He would have been more effective if he was given more time with the team.
Edwards is everything the Jets need at the wide receiver position. He’s a physical playmaker (6’3”, 214 pounds), and fights for every yard.
Landry will be more difficult to re-sign after his Pro Bowl selection in 2012.
Landry is a dominant safety and brings an aggressive style of play to the secondary.
If the Jets are able to keep these two players, they will be well on their way back to playoff contention.
Mohamed Massaquoi, Wide Receiver
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Even though he is a bit of a risk, he’ll come relatively cheap. He’s a great second option for an outside receiver if the Jets are unable to re-sign Braylon Edwards.
His stats can be misleading because of injury and, well, because he played for the Browns.
Per KFFL.com, in nine games last season, Massaquoi caught 17 passes out of 33 times targeted, which means he caught 51.5 percent of passes intended for him.
If given the right instruction Massaquoi can be an effective outside threat.
This does not mean he will be the next Calvin or Andre Johnson, but he can give quarterback Mark Sanchez another big option to throw to.
Felix Jones, Running Back
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There’s no doubt that the Jets need a running back.
Shonn Greene, the team’s feature back the last two seasons, has been the most consistent offensive player for the team, not counting offensive linemen.
Despite that consistency, Greene will probably not return as he lacks big-play ability and explosiveness in the open field.
Felix Jones could be a decent signing for the Jets, especially with incoming offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and a new West Coast offense.
Jones would give the team a playmaker in the backfield who can bust a long run and catch out of the backfield.
He would fit what the Jets are trying to do offensively and could come relatively cheap if the Jets attempts to sway him from Dallas.
Cliff Avril, Defensive End
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The lack of a pass-rusher is the one thing that held the Jets back defensively last season.
If the Jets are going to go all-in on one player, it should be Cliff Avril.
He’s solidified himself as an excellent pass-rusher over the last two seasons, recording 20.5 sacks.
Avril would be a welcome addition, and would give budding defensive linemen Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples a mentor to learn from and look up to.
Avril is one of the most sought-after free agents on the market. If the price is right, the Jets should look into bringing Avril over.
Dwight Freeney, Linebacker
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Since we're talking about pass-rushers, Dwight Freeney would bring instant veteran leadership to the Jets’ front-seven.
With the recent roster cuts of linebackers Bart Scott and Calvin Pace, the Jets will definitely be looking for a replacement in the linebacking unit. Freeney, who has amassed over 105.5 sacks in his career, might come cheap after an ankle injury affected his play in 2012.
The 11-year veteran would bring experience and a consistent pass-rusher to an underachieving Jets front.
He may not be as quick or as powerful as he once was, but Freeney is still a threat to get past the offensive line for a sack.
James Ihedigbo, Safety
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With uncertainty in the secondary for the Jets, James Ihedigbo is a smart option.
He was with the Jets from 2008-10, serving mostly on special teams. Since the Jets let him walk after the 2010 season, Ihedigbo has been part of consecutive Super Bowl teams with the New England Patriots and most recently the Baltimore Ravens.
Ihedigbo would bring experience and a familiar face should the Jets elect to sign him.
He does not have the skills of LaRon Landry or Yeremiah Bell, but he would be a logical choice because he is familiar with Rex Ryan’s defense. He’s the type of player to bring a consistent force on special teams and the ability to play safety and give other guys a rest.
He’s a low-risk guy the Jets could sign to a cheap deal.