Jets free agency needs

Admin - March 13, 2012

NFL Free Agency will start today at 4PM ET with about 600 free agents hitting the open market. The New York Jets currently have around $14M of salary cap space, following the contract restructures of QB Mark Sanchez and OT D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and quite a few needs that have to be filled this offseason.

Both safeties: S Jim Leonhard, who was the leader in the Jets' secondary, was lost for season and will not be back. S Eric Smith started in his place but was burned too many times to consider him as a starter. So, the Gang Green will need to fill in both free and strong safety positions, as they currently don't have anyone there. Washington's LaRon Landry could be a potential target here at then right price. He has started in every NFL game he played but missed 15 games over the last two seasons. Former Jet Dwight Lowery, who started in 11 games for the Jaguars last year, could be another player worth taking a look at. Oshiomogho Atogwe, a 7-year veteran who was recently released by the Redskins after being benched late last season, is another player who's definitely better than anyone the Jets currently have on their roster at free safety. Then, there's also Reggie Nelson who started all 16 games for the Bengals last season, recording 85 tackles and picking off 4 passes.

Right tackle: OT Wayne Hunter was the weakest link on the offensive line that allowed 39 sacks last season. The Jets were reportedly looking to trade him this offseason, although his $2.45M base salary for 2012 became guaranteed last month. In case if the team does decide to part ways with Hunter, Eric Winston, who was cut by the Texans on Monday, could fit the bill. Kareem McKenzie, a former Jet, and Miami's Vernon Carey could also be on the radar.

Wide receiver: The Plaxico Burress experiment pretty much failed last season and the former Giants' Super Bowl hero is not expected to be back with the Gang Green. Former Jet Braylon Edwards could be back in New York after having a miserable year in San Francisco where he was cut following a serious injury. Mario Manningham of the Giants would be a nice addition but he will most likely demand too much money for the Jets to afford him.

Pass-rush: This has been the weakest link of Rex Ryan's defense, as the Jets simply can't pressure the quarterback consistently without an all-out blitz. Atlanta's John Abraham, who played the first six years of his career for the Jets, could be a nice addition despite his advanced age of 33. But he reportedly wants around $10M, putting him out of the Gang Green's range at least for now.

Running back: Although the Jets have plenty of running backs on their roster, they could definitely add another one in an attempt to create competition for RB Shonn Greene. Cleveland's Peyton Hillis or New England's BenJarvus Green-Ellis would fit the bill here.

Quarterback: Mark Sanchez's spot on the roster is safe for now but the Gang Green could use an experienced backup who knows Tony Sparano's system. Former Dolphin Chad Henne is expected to land in New York as Sanchez's backup.