With a sizable amount of salary cap space, the New York Jets need to go big game hunting during the upcoming free agency period to make their team better.
The New York Jets have some work to do this offseason.
Gang Green may have finished the year on a high note, but a rough start to the season had them finish 7-9 overall and out of the AFC playoff picture yet again. Though they have plenty of picks to use in the upcoming NFL Draft, New York would be in its best interest to rebuild on the fly through free agency.
The Jets have a top-10 salary cap situation in the league with roughly $56.1 million to work with. New York has glaring needs along the offensive line, out on the edge and at cornerback. Who should the Jets target in free agency to make them a few wins better so they can get back to contending in the AFC East?
Along the offensive line, players like Indianapolis Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo and Tennessee Titans right tackle Jack Conklin could be big gets. When looking at the guards, Brandon Scherff of the Washington Redskins or Stefen Wisniewski of the Kansas City Chiefs make some sense.
General manager Joe Douglas is familiar with Wisniewski from their time together in the Philadelphia Eagles organization. Obviously, Douglas will have his hands all over the Jets’ offseason plans this cycle, as this will be his first full year with the team since leaving Philadelphia.
If the Jets want to improve out on the edge they could look at landing Jadeveon Clowney of the Seattle Seahawks or Yannick Ngakoue of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Clowney will not be franchise tagged by the Seahawks. Ngakoue is expected to be tagged by Jacksonville, but he wants out of Duval, so he may be dealt after being slapped with it like Frank Clark was an offseason ago.
And then at cornerback, it gets a little dicier, but why not shoot for a player the caliber of Byron Jones of the Dallas Cowboys? Odds are, he’s not going back to Dallas on a new contract, so the Jets could be a beneficiary of the Cowboys’ trying free-agency situation? Chris Harris Jr. of the Denver Broncos is another option, especially after Denver traded for A.J. Bouye on Tuesday.
Overall, the Jets are closer to contending for a playoff spot than we think. Had Sam Darnold not succumbed to mononucleosis, maybe New York would have been a Wild Card team instead of the Buffalo Bills or the Tennessee Titans last year? Ultimately, New York has to get better faster and there is no better way for the Jets to do this than to take a few big swings in free agency.