New York Jets Adding Depth, Increasing Flexibility in Free Agency

Andrew Kaufman@akaufman23Senior Analyst IMarch 31, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 25:  Antwan Barnes #98 of the San Diego Chargers sacks Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens during the second quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on November 25, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The New York Jets have had an expectedly rough offseason, losing several starters and failing to make any large acquisitions due to salary cap limitations.

It will be hard for Gang Green to immediately overcome these losses, and the team's overall talent level is certainly diminished from where it was a season ago. But the Jets' individual moves have not been all that bad.

The team has not fallen off nearly as much as it seems on the surface.

For one, several of the starters the Jets lost were not all that critical. Mike DeVito and Brandon Moore are important role players and LaRon Landry is solid, but players like Shonn Greene and Dustin Keller hadn't made tremendous contributions in recent seasons.

Then there are the players the Jets have added. John Idzik has signed five players this offseason. While none will make a dramatic impact, all five should be solid, cheap contributors.

David Garrard is clearly the biggest variable, as he may not end up playing a single meaningful snap for the Jets. But he was a low-cost acquisition and the Jets need more competition in quarterback. Otherwise, Mike Goodson, Willie Colon, Antonio Garay and Antwan Barnes will all play meaningful snaps at positions where the Jets needed additional depth.

A few of these players may be solid backups at best, but they are being paid like solid backups. Colin and Garay received one-year contracts, and Barnes' three-year deal comes at a very team-friendly salary.

Adding this cheap depth and restructuring a few contracts has the given the Jets a fair amount of cap space, something that appeared very unlikely heading into the offseason. While it remains to be seen what Idzik will do with this flexibility, it is important for a new general manager to have at least a semblance of a clean slate.

The Jets lost several contributors this offseason, and the players they have added will not fully replace those who have departed. But Idzik has been smart to focus on depth and roster flexibility instead of splurging for a quick fix.