Many of you may disagree with me, but the Jets have a big hole at free safety.
Kerry Rhodes was supposed to become a superstar under Rex Ryan’s defensive system, but his mediocre season in 2009 leaves the Jets looking for a free safety, cornerback, and an explosive pass rusher.
The Jets can essentially solve all three problems if they sign Antrel Rolle.
Though restrictions on the playoff “elite eight” leave the Jets unable to sign a big-name free agent, they are free to spend as much money they want on players who were released.
Rolle was released today by the Arizona Cardinals and will reportedly test the free agency market. The Jets need to seriously consider making him an offer worth taking.
He was a Pro Bowl alternate this past season and could thrive in Ryan’s defense. If the Jets bring him in, they could use Rhodes as trade bait to bring a top cornerback to play across the field from Darrelle Revis.
As crazy as it may sound, that cornerback could very well be Nnamdi Asomugha. I explained in a previous article that the Raiders are looking to trade him, and Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum openly stated that he is going to look into an Asomugha deal.
The Jets could give Oakland two big-name players in Rhodes and Braylon Edwards, accompanied with a conditional draft pick, for Asomugha.
Obviously the contracts of Rolle and Asomugha would be a lot to take on, but with an uncapped 2010 season, the Jets could sign Rolle to a front-loaded contract and restructure Asomugha’s contract to do the same. If they were to do that, these players would get the larger portions of their salaries in 2010, leaving the Jets plenty of cap space in the future.
If the Raiders were looking for a filler player in the trade, the Jets could throw in either Kellen Clemens or Vernon Gholston. As mentioned in my article on the Jets and Asomugha, I explained that Clemens is better than any quarterback on their roster, and Gholston would be a typical Al Davis draft bust project.
With holes at free safety and cornerback filled, the Jets’ No. 1 defense would go from being the best right now to one of the best ever, just one pass rusher away from potentially being etched in stone as better than the 1985 Chicago Bears.
Calvin Pace is the Jets’ best pass rusher right now, and while he isn’t even remotely bad, he isn’t explosive either. He is pretty consistent at picking up sacks, but the Jets could use a player like Julius Peppers to pressure quarterbacks. Obviously, that isn’t going to happen, so there is always the draft to turn to for top prospects.
The only noticeable holes in the team at this point (assuming they could fill FS and CB) are at wide receiver and the defensive end the Jets were hoping Gholston would be.
Their first round draft pick could be used on either of these positions. I would rather the Jets draft Golden Tate in the first round, especially if they trade Edwards to Oakland. At that point they could draft a DE in the second round
Whether or not either of these players will pan out is yet to be known, but the additions of both Antrel Rolle and Nnamdi Asomugha to the team would bolster the defense enough that the Jets’ offense wouldn’t need to put many points on the board to win football games.