Setting Odds for the New York Jets Signing Their Top 5 Free Agent Targets
Free agency kicks off in less than a month, and the New York Jets are widely expected to be very active.
Gang Green's current roster is on the rise, but it is littered with holes at a wide array of positions, including wide receiver, tight end, safety, guard and cornerback.
John Idzik and Co. have the money to make the Jets serious contenders this offseason.
However, since there have been few reports about who New York is targeting in the open market, its difficult to project the odds they sign certain players.
Nevertheless, here are five players the Jets are sure to target, and the odds they snatch each up.
A few years ago, Austin Howard was a backup to the much-maligned Wayne Hunter and was struggling to separate himself from the rest of the depth chart.
Today, Howard is an important cornerstone on New York's offensive line.
Howard has shown the ability to excel in both pass protection and run blocking, and at 26, he's one of the few right tackles in the league with heavy starting experience and room to grow.
Howard will likely be looking for a multi-year deal that promises upwards of $5 million a year.
Given New York's cap space and the importance of a franchise right tackle in today's NFL, Howard and the Jets should have no problem coming to an agreement.
Nick Folk wasn't a very good kicker in his first three years in New York.
In fact, in those three years, he ranked among the worst kickers in the NFL in terms of field goal percentage.
However, Folk broke out in a major way this past season, hitting 33 of his 36 attempts and nailing three game-winners.
The Jets aren't known for giving kickers big contracts, so it's hard to be confident about Folk receiving a multi-year deal from the team this offseason.
However, given Folk's emergence as a consistent force on special teams, his clutch factor and his age (29), Gang Green may choose to deviate from their usual ways.
Given New York's desperate need for an influx of talent in the receiving corps, the team's financial flexibility and Jeremy Maclin's familiarity with Marty Mornhinweg's offensive scheme, Maclin was long considered one of the Jets' top targets this offseason.
That widespread belief was confirmed when Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported that the Jets are very interested in signing Maclin in free agency.
Maclin is coming off a major ACL injury, so it'll be interesting to see how NFL teams, especially the Jets, value the Missouri product's services.
However, with the whole country buzzing about Maclin to the Jets, one has to be pretty confident that John Idzik and Co. will do whatever it takes to attract the 25-year-old to the Big Apple.
In a bit of a surprise, Manish Mehta of the NYDN also reported that the Jets are very interested in acquiring Emmanuel Sanders' services in free agency.
Sanders is a talented player, but he hasn't done anything to warrant such intense interest from New York.
The SMU product is coming off a 740-yard, six-touchdown season, which looks decent on paper for a No. 2 receiver in a mediocre passing offense.
However, Sanders' season was incredibly disappointing considering he recorded just 114 more yards in 2013 than he did in 2012, despite receiving 38 more targets.
The 26-year old has a lot of potential, but he's yet to live up to it.
It'd be best if the Jets can pair Sanders up with a top-tier receiver like Maclin. Otherwise, his past production doesn't warrant a long-term deal.
The Jets haven't been reported to have been interested in Eric Decker, but it doesn't take much knowledge to realize that the two are well suited for each other.
Decker has emerged as one of the NFL's most productive wideouts in recent years, having recorded consecutive 1,000-yard, double-digit touchdown seasons.
Decker has phenomenal hands. His route-running is crisp, and his speed and acceleration off the snap are underrated.
The 26-year-old will be looking for a huge deal in free agency, but no matter how you slice it, he will be a huge upgrade to New York's offense. It's up to John Idzik and the Jets' front office to realize that.
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