Predicting the New York Jets' Free-Agent Signings
While the New York Jets opened up a ton of cap space by cutting underperforming and costly veterans Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Jason Smith and Eric Smith earlier this offseason, they still have limited financial flexibility in free agency.
With so many need positions, including quarterback, running back, wide receiver, guard and outside linebacker, it is critical that New York find appropriate and cost-efficient fits.
The Jets simply cannot afford to sign top-of-the-line free agents, so smart shopping will be highly significant to the future of the team.
Here are predictions for each of the Jets' free-agent signings this offseason.
*Current Jets unrestricted free agents are not included on this list. I expect the Jets to re-sign Yeremiah Bell, Mike DeVito, Braylon Edwards, Nick Folk and Chaz Schilens.
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In a free-agent class with limited quarterback options, Garrard is a solid choice for New York.
Garrard is an experienced signal-caller with plenty of starting experience. Although he hasn't played a down in the league in two years, he is highly capable of challenging Mark Sanchez for the starting job in 2013.
Garrard is a savvy player who makes solid decisions and limits crucial mistakes. His career completion percentage and quarterback rating are 6.5 points and 14 points higher than Sanchez's career totals, respectively.
The 35-year-old is exactly what the Jets need at this point; a cost-efficient, veteran leader who can be manage the offense with limited difficulty and avoid making backbreaking mistakes.
Contract: One year, $3 million
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Manny Lawson has never lived up to the hype of his first-round draft status, but he is still a decent starter at the NFL level.
Lawson would be a huge upgrade over Calvin Pace at outside linebacker, as he provides solid pass-rushing skills and innate tackling ability.
The 28-year-old would also be a cost-efficient fit for New York, further increasing his value to the team.
While he is no Clay Matthews, Lawson would immediately upgrade the Jets' shallow linebacker corps.
Contract: Two years, $4 million
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The Jets need an infusion of talent at the running back position, and Chris Ivory would do exactly that.
Ivory is a talented runner with superb strength and above-average vision. The only thing that has prevented him from breaking out is his lack of carries in the crowded New Orleans backfield.
The 24-year-old has been phenomenal with limited carries in his career, though. In just over 300 touches, Ivory has averaged 5.1 yards a carry.
The Tiffin University product would immediately upgrade New York's previously pathetic offensive unit, and he could do so at a limited financial cost.
Contract: Four years, $11.7 million
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Dallas Clark is a long way from his talent level when Peyton Manning was throwing him the ball, but he would still provide New York with a solid receiving and blocking option.
The 33-year-old would be extremely cost-friendly, as he is coming off a quiet 435-yard season with the Buccaneers.
While Clark would be a downgrade over the more expensive Dustin Keller, he and former backup Jeff Cumberland would provide a decent tight end duo for the Jets in 2013.
Clark's leadership in a tumultuous Jets locker room is also of huge value.
Contract: One year, $1.1 million
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Brandon Gibson arguably possesses the most upside of the second-tier free-agent wide receivers this offseason.
The former sixth-round draft pick has all the physical traits necessary to be a solid wideout with the Jets; good hands, solid size (6'0", 204 pounds) and decent speed (4.59 40).
Gibson isn't an unproven commodity either. He is coming off an impressive season in which he recorded 51 catches, 691 yards and five touchdowns, despite being in a largely ineffective Rams offense.
The 25-year-old would immediately fill out the No. 2 wide receiver role opposite Santonio Holmes in 2013 and beyond.
Contract: Three years, $14 million
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Doug Legursky cannot be relied upon to succeed in a starting role, but he would add solid depth to the Jets' shallow offensive line.
Legursky has plenty of experience in his four years as a pro since going undrafted in 2009. He has received playing time in 50 games, even starting 17. In fact, Legursky even started Super Bowl XLV with the Steelers.
The 26-year-old is a decent run-blocker, but his most valuable asset is his versatility. Legursky has the ability to play both guard positions and center.
The German native wouldn't be a trendy free-agent signing, but he would be a significant one.
Contract: One year, $800,000