The New York Jets entered free agency with 90 million dollars in cap space. General manager Mike Maccagnan went to work on Wednesday as the Jets were set to sign Trumaine Johnson (cornerback), Isaiah Crowell (running back), Avery Williamson (linebacker), Spencer Long (center), Teddy Bridgewater (quarterback), and were also able to bring back quarterback Josh McCown on a one year deal. Even with having Bridgewater and McCown on the roster, don’t be surprised if the Jets draft a quarterback at number six. They could possibly take Heisman trophy winner Baker Mayfield. After the flury of moves made so far, here are five more moves that could still be made in free agency to help the Jets have a successful 2018 season.
1. Addressing the Offensive Line
The offensive line did play surprisingly well in 2017 with Kelvin Beachum and James Carpenter on the left side. Signing Spencer Long will help fill a void at center. Brian Winters has been one of the best guards in the NFL since entering the league. The issue they need to address is right tackle as Brandon Shell played decent in 2017. However, making a move for a right tackle should be something Maccagan looks at in free agency. Cameron Fleming, the 6’5 230 pound right tackle, had a very good season on the New England Patriots offensive line and the biggest thing about Fleming is that he is only 25 years old. Austin Howard, the 6’7 333 pound right tackle, would be a solid pick up as the former Jet was released by the Ravens after one year with Baltimore. Another veteran tackle the Jets could look at in free agency would be Andre Smith, but he has battled tons of injuries.
2. Adding a Tight End
One position the Jets have struggled with over the years is finding a tight end that can produce. The last good Jets tight end would have to be Dustin Keller who played with the Jets from 2008-2012. The have other tight ends that have been decent after Keller were Jeff Cumberland and last year Austin Seferian-Jenkins played well. The Jets did draft Jordan Leggett in the fifth round out of Clemson. With Seferian-Jenkins being a free agent, here are few names they could look at in free agency if ASF doesn’t return.
Eric Ebron was released by the Detroit Lions and he had 53 receptions for 574 yards and four touchdowns in 2017. Tyler Eifert is a tight end that has battled a lot of injuries since coming into the league in 2013 for the Cincinnati Bengals. He had his best season in 2015 where he had 615 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns. Martellus Bennett was very productive in 2016, helping the New England Patriots win the Super Bowl. During that 2016 season, Bennett had 701 yards and seven touchdowns. He battled injuries in 2017, but even at 31 years old he still can be a very productive tight end.
3. Replacing Mo Wilkerson
With the release of Muhammad Wilkerson, New York will need to look for a replacement at defensive end. This could be accomplished by re-signing Kony Ealy who made an immediate impact. Adrian Clayborn had 9.5 sacks last season for the Atlanta Falcons, including six in one game against the Dallas Cowboys. Dion Jordan was once considered a draft bust, but last season in Seattle he showed signs of what made him the third overall pick in 2013, recording four sacks in five games. Being released by Kansas City, Tamba Hali would be a good fit with the Jets, he did only play in five games for the Chiefs last year, but he has always been productive.
4. Kicking Game
With Chandler Catanzaro leaving the Jets for the Buccaneers in free agency, the Jets are on the look out for a new place kicker in 2018. Matt Bryant displayed accuracy as he went 34-for-39 on field goal attempts and was perfect on extra point chances. Caleb Sturgis lost his job in Philadelphia, but has a career 81 percent field goal percentage. Kai Forbath who was 32-for-38 on field goal attempts and did struggle on extra points, but does have a strong leg. That is something that could be a mirror image of what Catanzaro brought to the Jets. If you they are looking at a veteran kicker like Bryant or the leg strength of Forbath, they should look at Sebastian Janikowski who is known for his big boot.
5. Fixing the issues during the draft
Mayfield, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, and Sam Darnold could all be available at six when the Jets pick. If the they are looking to add another receiver, they could add quite possibly the best wide receiver in the draft in Calvin Ridley out of Alabama. Defensive end could also be addressed with a guy like Bradley Chubb. The Jets could look at corner with their first pick in the draft with the top corner in the draft Minkah Fitzpatrick.
With all the cap space the Jets have, Maccagnan could look to bring back guys like Ealy, ASF, and Claiborne. Tyrann Mathieu, Ndamukong Suh, Jordy Nelson, and Jeremy Maclin are guys that just hit the market that could all provide some productivity in positions of need. Mathieu has experience in Bowles’ defensive scheme as he played for him in Arizona. As you can see above, Jamal Adams has already started recruiting. The Jets were surprisingly good last season even though they went 5-11, but the building blocks are in place for a promising team.