On Tuesday the NFL's version of Christmas begins as the free agent signing period begins at 4 p.m. EST. In years past the New York Jets were big spenders during free agency but unfortunately for the team and its fans the opportunity to splurge has been eliminated due to the lack of salary cap space. The Jets will not only be limited in terms of acquiring new talent but will more than likely lose several of their own free agents as well. Here is a quick list of Gang Green's free agents.
Shonn Greene- With the transition to the west coast offense I have a hard time believing that Shonn will be re-signed. I could see Greene going to a team like Pittsburgh or Green Bay with an inexpensive deal.
Mike Devito- A valued member of the defensive line there could be a decent market for Devito. The Jets are reportedly trying to get Mike re-signed but his price tag could be too high. If Devito returns it could be at the expense of Sione P'ouha.
Dustin Keller- Dustin's days as a Jet are over as there will be several suitors for a tight end with good hands. It is going to be interesting to see what Keller can do in a true passing offense with a legitimate quarterback.
LaRon Landry- The Jets took a chance on Landry and it paid off as he played at a Pro-Bowl level. Now the question is can the team find a way to re-sign the hard hitting safety? My guess is that the Buffalo Bills will overpay for Landry stealing him from Gang Green.
Brandon Moore- There are early reports that the Chicago Bears have their eyes set on signing Moore. The veteran lineman has a couple of years left in the tank and will have some value on the open market.
Braylon Edwards- I think that the Jets get a deal done with Braylon as he appears to just love playing for Rex Ryan in New York. My prediction is a contract a little over the veteran minimum.
Yeremiah Bell- As with Braylon I believe that Gang Green will bring back Bell with a cap friendly contract. Bell was very consistent in 2012 and will be a great mentor for the younger players.
Chaz Schilens- Schilens did some good things in 2012, but not enough to warrant a return in 2013.
Matt Slauson- For whatever reason the Jets are convinced that Vlad Ducasse can replace Slauson. Yes the same Vlad Ducasse that looked lost against certain linemen.
Bryan Thomas- Thomas will not return as the Jets need to add explosive players to the linebacker group.
Nick Folk- I think that the Jets will try to bring back Folk with his return contingent on his contract demands.
As you can see there is a good chance that the New York Jets will lose several valuable players from their roster. In my eyes the Jets enter free agency with holes at the following positions:
Outside linebacker (2)- An explosive pass rusher than can disrupt an offense.
Safety (2)- Landry and Bell both free agents.
Tight end- Is Jeff Cumberland an NFL starter?
Offensive guards (2)- Maybe Moore returns?
Running back- An explosive back that can catch the ball out of the backfield. Felix Jones? Leon Washington?
Quarterback- Even though the team signed David Garrard I would not be surprised to see Gang Green try to sign a guy like Brady Quinn or Kevin Kolb. I would not be against pursing a trade for Nick Foles either.
It is going to be interesting to see how the Jets new general manager replaces up to 8 starters with limited resources. My hope is that John Idzik drafts well and can find some "under the radar" players via free agency.
My the times have changed Jets fans.