The New York Jets were shockingly bad in 2016 after finishing 10 and 6 in 2015. The real shock came from how poorly the Jets defense played. They finished the season ranked 28th in scoring defense along with New York having the 30th ranked scoring offense. So it really shouldn’t surprise anyone when I say they need massive help on both sides of the ball. They have the 14th highest cap space available to them so they have to be smart with their money. The question is who they should target and who can they actually afford?
- Russell Okung: Offensive Tackle – Okung is coming off a rough season but still is a great option at left tackle. The New York Jets could really use a boost at offensive line considering they have parted with both Mangold and Giacomini. Okung is a player they could get at a price that still leaves them a solid amount of cap space to sign other players. He is a talented run blocker and was considered a solid pass blocker prior to last season’s struggles.
- Jack Doyle: Tight End – Now here is a guy that will not impress you with his size or speed. But he is still a very productive player after finishing 2016 for the Colts with 584 yards and 5 touchdowns. You must also remember that he wasn’t even their starting tight end. Tight end is a position the Jets haven’t focused on improving for two years but now is the time.
- Ronald Leary: Offensive Guard – Leary was an upgrade from La’el Collins for the Cowboys when it came to run blocking. He is a good pass blocker but does have trouble at times with footwork and properly engaging to maintain his block. That being said, Leary is still a huge upgrade and could help improve the Jets rushing attack dramatically.
- AJ Bouye: Cornerback – This former Texan really put himself on the map after this last season. Now that Revis is gone, the Jets must find a legitimate starter to replace him. Bouye is that guy! He would give them a great boost at corner and by being in a division with the super bowl champion Patriots, they’ll need him. Bouye should be the Jets top target going into free agency.
- Darius Butler: Free Safety – The former cornerback increased his market value after making the switch to free safety last season for the Colts due to injury. He played well and showed that he can make the open field tackles expected from a safety. His size and durability do have some GM’s feeling cautious about signing the veteran, though. But he is versatile and the Jets could desperately use an upgrade at the position. He is affordable as well and that’s something else the Jets must consider when it comes to free agents.
I know many fans are thinking, “where’s the quarterback?!”. I understand that there has been a lot of talk about the New York Jets possibly signing Mike Glennon. But why would they sign a quarterback who has been mediocre at best throughout his career? Glennon is likely to get a contract where he will want 15 million a year which New York can’t afford. This would cripple any chance they have at signing free agents at other positions that must be addressed. Petty wasn’t anything special but he still deserves a real shot at being the guy. They must commit to building the offensive line and secondary in free agency and the draft if they truly want to improve.