Ranking the 2014 Impact of New York Jets' Free-Agent Signings so Far

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IMarch 24, 2014

Ranking the 2014 Impact of New York Jets' Free-Agent Signings so Far

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    The New York Jets' quiet free-agency approach, despite the team having one of the largest cap spaces in the NFL, has shocked most of the football world, as Gang Green has plenty of need positions throughout the roster. 

    But while the Jets haven't made many front-page signings, they've still brought in (or brought back in some circumstances) a multitude of players. 

    But will these acquisitions make an impact next season?

    Click through to see which free-agent signings will make the most impact in 2014.

7. Breno Giacomini

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    General manager John Idzik and Co. raised some eyebrows by replacing Austin Howard with Breno Giacomini at right tackle. 

    Howard is 27, has two years of starting experience and was perhaps New York's most consistent offensive lineman last season. 

    Giacomini is 28, has struggled at times in the starting role and is known to commit too many penalties. 

    The obvious reason the Jets chose Giacomini over Howard was money. The former Seattle Seahawk signed for just $18 million over four years.

    Giacomini will make a profound impact in 2014 (he could potentially be in charge of handling Michael Vick's blind side), but whether it'll be positive or negative is hard to predict.

6. Willie Colon

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    The Jets have some serious question marks on the offensive line, as Austin Howard is now in Oakland, Breno Giacomini is a question mark, D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold are getting up there in age, and Brian Winters is yet to show that he can be a solid NFL starter. 

    However, the re-signing of Willie Colon should alleviate at least some of those concerns. 

    Colon is coming off a serious injury and is about to be on the wrong side of 30, but he was very solid in the starting role last season and is a good locker-room leader. 

    The former Pittsburgh Steeler was also a low-risk acquisition, as he signed just a one-year, $2 million deal

    Colon wasn't a flashy signing, but expect him to play an important role in the trenches next season if he recovers from his injury as expected.

5. Calvin Pace

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    While New York's pass rush was inconsistent at times last season, Calvin Pace had a career renaissance. 

    The veteran outside linebacker recorded double-digit sacks for the first time in his 11-year career. 

    Most people would argue that Pace's career year was a result of an outstanding supporting cast—and rightly so, as teams were consistently forced to double-team the likes of Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, which allowed Pace to sneak into the backfield unblocked. 

    However, Pace was still solid, and he was fully deserving of the two-year, $5 million contract New York handed him last week. 

    The 33-year-old will be returning to the same exact situation he thrived in last season, so there's no reason not to believe he can be successful rushing the passer once again in 2014. 

    Another double-digit-sack season could even be in the cards.

4. Nick Folk

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    The signing of Nick Folk wasn't met with overwhelming praise from Jets fans, as many expected a more substantial signing in the first couple of days of free agency. 

    However, Folk has emerged as one of the most accurate and clutch kickers in the NFL over the last couple of seasons. 

    He is coming off a terrific year in which he hit 33 of 36 field-goal attempts and nailed three separate game-winners against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots, respectively. 

    It's important that the defensive-minded Jets have a trusted kicker, as most of the games they play are tightly contested and low-scoring.

    The 29-year-old could determine several of New York's outings again next season.

3. Jeff Cumberland

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    Jeff Cumberland has never emerged as anything more than a secondary target in the passing game. 

    He's never caught 30 passes or surpassed 400 receiving yards in a given season. 

    However, Cumberland has immense physical potential, and if the Jets don't acquire another tight end besides him, he could become a focal point in Gang Green's passing attack. 

    The Illinois product has a rare combination of size and speed, and he could become a dangerous vertical threat for either Geno Smith or Michael Vick. 

    If New York drafts a tight end such as Eric Ebron or Jace Amaro, Cumberland's impact will be limited. But if it doesn't, expect him to break out in a big way.

2. Eric Decker

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    Everyone and his mother knows how weak New York's receiving corps has been in recent years. 

    That's why the signing of Eric Decker was so significant. 

    Decker may not be a true No. 1 receiver, but he is a huge step up from anyone on the Jets roster. 

    The Minnesota product has a fantastic combination of crisp route-running ability, good size, great hands and underrated speed. 

    According to USA Today's Lindsay H. Jones, owner Woody Johnson confirmed the team was looking at DeSean Jackson. If New York goes out and signs Jackson, Decker's impact may be slightly diminished. 

    However, its hard to envision any other scenario in which the 27-year-old isn't one of the most important and productive players on Gang Green's offense in 2014.

1. Michael Vick

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    I'm going to say it right now—Michael Vick will start for the Jets in 2014. 

    Since the beginning of free agency, many pundits predicted that New York would be a perfect landing spot for the former Philadelphia Eagle. 

    And last week, that scenario became a reality, as Vick signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Jets. 

    While New York's front office has already publicly expressed its confidence in Geno Smith, per the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta, it's obvious that the Jets don't see Vick as a backup. 

    My belief is that Vick will see significant time under center in 2014, whether it be in Week 1 or Week 6, and that he will decide how successful the Jets will be next season. 

    Jets owner Woody Johnson perfectly stated why Vick is in New York on Sunday, per Mehta. The Jets are in win-now mode. And they believe Vick is the man to help them win right now.