Jets need to improve through free agency
For a team that has been within a Super Bowl twice within the past three years, the Jets sure have plenty of question marks heading into free agency. Some of those issues were addressed over the past 72 hours when quarterback Mark Sanchez and nose tackle Sione Pouha both re-signed to new deals.
A look at the Jets area of needs:
Wide Receiver – The consensus is that Plaxico Burress will not be back with the Jets, meaning that they need a target wide receiver in a major way. Two years ago, the offense was in the bottom five in red zone scoring, but with Burress’ big frame last season, the Jets were tops in the league.
Running Back – After comments critical of the team were made during an appearance on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL,” it would be shocking to see LaDainian Tomlinson back with the Jets. While Shonn Greene carries the load and Joe McKnight can change the pace, the Jets still need a veteran ball carrier who can step up at crucial times.
Linebacker – Pick a spot along the linebacker rotation and chances are the Jets need depth or a starter there. Bryan Thomas is rehabbing well, but may not be back if the Jets want to go younger and cheaper. There’s a lack of depth here and the Jets need to address their lack of speed at the position.
Safety – In his first year starting at safety, Eric Smith was good in stopping the run, but was repeatedly exposed when teams went over the top. Brodney Pool struggled with consistency and Jim Leonhard again missed the second half of the season to a knee injury. The Jets need to get better here.
Possible Jets Targets
Dan Connor – He didn’t get the chance to shine with the Panthers, but this under-rated inside linebacker would be solid depth and a player who could start for the Jets. Perhaps he will look at the success his former teammate at Penn State, Aaron Maybin, has had with the Jets and will be intrigued.
Desmond Bryant – At 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds, he isn’t the typical behemoth to play nose tackle in the Jets’ 3-4, but Bryant is fantastic at defending the run and athletic enough to play at the end position as well.
Jason Campbell – It might sound ludicrous after giving Sanchez that big contract on Friday, but Campbell is on his way out of Oakland and after the Peyton Manning dominoes fall, he might not be able to find a starting job anywhere. He’d take a pay cut to come here, but he certainly could press for a starting job.
Mario Manningham – It’d be a move tailored for the Jets to snap up a Super Bowl wide receiver from their crosstown rival. Manningham never lived up to the hype with the Giants, but perhaps he’d get more of a chance with the Jets. He’s young and has the potential to excel, but would come at a steep price. Maybe too steep to consider.
LaRon Landry – Injuries are a concern, but this safety is a complete player in the secondary and the type that could turn the Jets into a team that’d be impossible to pass against. He’d be pricey, but the payoff might be worth it.
Jarrett Jackson – Given the Ravens connections on the Jets’ coaching staff and on the field, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Jackson head up I-95 to the Jets. Outside linebacker is an area of need and this veteran can help solidify the position. He already knows the 3-4 system, which is a major plus.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for the latest news on the team’s moves in free agency.