New York Jets: 5 Under-the-Radar Free Agents Team Should Consider

Travis WakemanCorrespondent IIFebruary 19, 2014

New York Jets: 5 Under-the-Radar Free Agents Team Should Consider

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    Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

    Coming off an 8-8 season, the New York Jets have plenty of reason for optimism.

    Rex Ryan will be back as head coach and Geno Smith will have the entire offseason to prepare for his second year in New York.

    The team was able to get big wins over the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints while going 6-2 at home. Yes, this squad could be one to watch in 2014.

    Here are five under-the-radar free agents that the Jets should consider adding to get to the next level.

Brandon Myers, Tight End

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    There is no question that the Jets need to upgrade the tight end position. They need to find a player that can help stretch the field.

    Brandon Myers spent last season with the New York Giants, so he already has experience playing in New York. He also posted 522 receiving yards with four touchdowns. 28 of his 47 receptions resulted in a first down.

    Myers would bring a solid target for Geno Smith, who seemed to form a connection with Kellen Winslow before he was suspended last season.

    Myers has good hands and can run after the catch. Plus, he would come much cheaper than a guy like Jermichael Finley, another potential free agent.

Scott Chandler, Tight End

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    Bill Feig/Associated Press

    At 6'7", Scott Chandler is one of the biggest tight ends in the NFL. Despite his size, however, he has great athletic ability.

    Chandler caught 53 passes in 2013 and has 14 touchdowns over the last three years. Playing in Buffalo, he is familiar with the AFC East.

    Chandler would give Smith or whoever plays quarterback for the team a big target to look for down the field. Chandler is especially dangerous in the red zone, where he can use his size to get position on defenders and make plays.

Dexter McCluster, Wide Receiver

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    Dexter McCluster is not an every-down player, but the Jets need someone with versatility.

    At 5'8", McCluster can create matchup problems all over the field and do a little bit of everything. Whether it be catching the ball, running the ball, lining up in the Wildcat formation or returning kicks, he has done it.

    In Kansas City, McCluster has had at least 46 receptions in the last three seasons, but also has an average of 20.9 yards per kickoff return over his career and has returned three punts for touchdowns.

    When the Jets had Brad Smith, it gave the offense an element of unpredictability. They've missed that since he left following the 2010 season. Signing McCluster would allow them to get that quality back.

James Jones, Wide Receiver

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    James Jones flies under the radar because of all the weapons Green Bay has had on offense over the last several years. Now, he might want to see what he can do in a new offense.

    If that's the case, the Jets would be a perfect fit.

    Jones could come in and start at one of the wide receiver positions, giving the team an experienced veteran to throw to.

    Jones has spent his entire seven-year career in Green Bay, catching 310 passes. In 2013, he led the NFL with 14 receiving touchdowns.

    If the price is right, Jones would be an excellent addition to the roster.

LaRod Stephens-Howling, Running Back

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    Don Wright/Associated Press

    Much like Dexter McCluster, LaRod Stephens-Howling would give the Jets a versatile player on passing downs and kick returns.

    Stephens-Howling was signed last offseason by Pittsburgh after spending four seasons in Arizona. However, his 2013 season ended after just six carries due to a torn ACL suffered in the season opener.

    What if the Jets could swoop in and land him this offseason? Sure, he would have to show that he has fully recovered from the injury and can still be a force in the league.

    The biggest benefit to bringing in Stephens-Howling would be his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.

    Bilal Powell caught 36 passes last season, but averaged just 7.5 yards per catch. Stephens-Howling has the ability to turn each reception into a huge play. He has averaged 9.3 yards per catch over the course of his career, including an 18.0-yard average in 2011 in Arizona.

    As a return man, Stephens-Howling is as dangerous as anyone in the league. On 164 career kickoff returns, he has a 24.9-yard average with three touchdowns.