New York Jets need to be active in free agency


2015 could be the year of the New York Jets. You probably think that I’m insane, and that’s probably true, but hear me out for a second. What is really wrong with this team? They seem to have hired a competent head coach, as well as a general manager that doesn’t just know how to manage the books. Obviously the biggest areas of need for New York are at the quarterback and cornerback positions, but those can very easily be addressed if GM Mike Maccagnan isn’t afraid to open his check book.

On Tuesday, via the Jets, Maccagnan said, “Building through the draft is ideally what I’d like to do, but we’ll be very active in free agency,” Now the new man in charge must hold up his end of the bargain. The Jets will roughly have $40 million in cap space this offseason, meaning that they have more than a sufficient amount of funds to bring in multiple high-profile names and fill various voids. New York also need to spend a large sum of that money because of the current collective bargaining agreement. Teams are required to spend at least 89% of the salary cap over a four year span (2013 to 2016 and 2017 to 2020).

Let’s revisit where the Jets stand as a team, and what they need to do to become formidable in the AFC East.

Offensive line

In addition to quarterback and defensive back, the Jets need upgrades on the offensive line. D’Brickishaw Ferguson won’t be around forever, and New York needs to start looking for an offensive lineman that can come into the team and solidify the right side, until Ferguson is no longer an All-Pro caliber lineman.

The Jets conceded 47 sacks in 2014, so no matter who comes in at the quarterback position, something will have to change up front in order for a signal-caller to have any success. Names like San Francisco’s Mike Iupati and Green Bay’s Bryan Bulaga should be on Gang Green’s radar this offseason, unless they decide to address the offensive line early in the draft.

There are as many as seven possible first-round talents at the offensive tackle, according to’s latest prospect rankings. At the offensive guard position, there are several highly-scouted players as well, including South Carolina’s A.J. Cann. Regardless of whether or not the Jets add a lineman in free agency, look for them to add a few players at tackle and guard in the draft as well.


This is the most important position in all of football, and even though it’s likely that Geno Smith will be back in 2015, I don’t see him being the long-term solution for the Jets. While I don’t necessarily believe that there are any mind-blowing prospects in this year’s free agent class, there are certainly a few names out there that can be significant upgrades at the position.

Tennessee’s Jake Locker isn’t an All-Pro talent, but he is a more than capable NFL quarterback. Obviously the big flaw with him is that he is very injury prone, but I think that the Jets need to bring in two quarterbacks this offseason, one in free agency and another in the draft.

It may be unrealistic for the Jets to expect Marcus Mariota or even Jameis Winston to fall into their laps with the sixth pick, but players like Baylor’s Bryce Petty and Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson should be on their radar in the later rounds. New offensive coordinator Chan Gailey has liked to work his offense out of the spread in the past, and both Petty and Grayson make sense in a shotgun offense. If by some chance Mariota does slip to the Jets though, look for them to bounce on him.

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Of all the team’s needs, this is arguably the biggest. Going into 2014, the Jets had the same need at corner, but former GM John Idzik did little to nothing to help improve New York in this area. Idzik’s lone move in free agency in 2014 at the cornerback position was acquiring Dimitri Patterson, who didn’t play a single regular season snap last season. The biggest flaw in Idzik being GM was the fact that he didn’t want to spend money over the offseason, which is something that Maccagnan can’t be worried about.

There was no hiding the fact that Darrelle Revis was seriously considering a reunion with the Jets last offseason, and again this year he could be on the market. New York needs to make a splash, signing one or possibly even two cornerbacks in free agency. The crop of defensive backs is pretty strong, featuring names like Revis, San Diego’s Brandon Flowers, and former-Jet Antonio Cromartie.

Wide Receiver

Of all things this offseason, getting a wide receiver would just be an added bonus. Last offseason, the Jets added Eric Decker from the Denver Broncos, and had a very successful first season, despite the instability at quarterback. The biggest flaw about Decker is that he isn’t a true number 1 target. He isn’t slow, but he won’t beat you deep more often than not, and that’s what this team needs. Amari Cooper would make sense at the sixth pick in the draft if he’s still available, but there will be plenty of big-name free agent targets as well this spring.

Jeremy Maclin of Philadelphia and Denver’s Demaryius Thomas should be on New York’s radar if they become available by their respective teams. With Decker, the possibility of re-signing Percy Harvin, Jace Amaro, and Jeremy Kerley, the Jets’ receiving corps could become very good in the blink of an eye. Again though, adding another receiver won’t be a necessity, at least not in front of the other three positions the team needs this offseason.

Next: New York Jets: 5 players to consider with sixth overall pick