Earlier in the day, the New York Jets began making moves to shore up some holes in their roster, adding running back Mike Goodson and guard Willie Colon to the offensive side of the ball. Now they are attempting to fill a big hole—literally—on defense by adding defensive tackle Antonio Garay on a one-year deal.
The signing comes after the Jets earlier released starting defensive tackle Sione Pouha and allowed Mike DeVito to walk in free agency, having signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Jets have two young players at the position that they like. However, neither is prepared to enter a starting role.
Most prominent of the two is Kenrick Ellis, a former third round pick from the 2011 draft. in two seasons, Ellis has made four starts and played in 17 games, notching 25 tackles.
The other, Damon Harrison, came in as an undrafted free agent in 2012 out of William Penn University. Although he was active in five games last year, he did not register on the stats sheet for any of those games.
Garay, a native of Rahway, NJ, was a former member of the New York Jets practice squad in 2009, but the San Diego Chargers signed him off of the practice squad in October of that year, and he has been a productive player for them since. Pro Football Focus had this to say about Garay, who is 33, after the announcement that the Jets had signed him:
We’re a little frustrated with Garay who as recently as 2010 was our second ranked defensive tackle on the year. He has the ability to generate a ton of pressure from base and nickel packages, topping the pass rushing productivity charts that year and second a year later. The problem for him has been staying on the field. He only managed 151 snaps last year.
With Garay in place, that should afford the Jets the opportunity to have both Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples in the starting lineup, but the team still has a lot of other holes to fill as safety and linebacker.
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