SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 24: Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England scrambles with the ball against pressure from the pass rush of Antwan Barnes #98 of the San Diego Chargers during their NFL game on October 24 2010 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego California. Barnes sacked Brady on the play. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
The Jets don’t have an endless supply of cash to throw around, and while Manny Lawson makes some sense, I’m going to direct your attention elsewhere: Antwan Barnes. Barnes saw limited snaps with the Ravens under Rex Ryan in ’08, but he was a real force last season as a pass rush specialist in San Diego. Ryan is the right man to make the most of someone with specialized skills like Barnes and he would immediately give the Jets a guaranteed pass rush presence.
Barnes had 4.5 sacks, 5 hits, and 18 pressures in just 157 rushes last year. He is not very versatile. At 251 pounds, he is a bit small to be a three down player. This could help make him cheaper. My first preference is to see the Jets grab some bargain pass rushers. I would love to see the Jets sign Barnes and Matthias Kiwanuka. Improving the pass rush makes cornerback play less critical since corners do not have to cover as long when the quarterback is pressured, and allows the team to blitz less and help more in coverage. That could help the Jets save money for the two big guns at wide receiver and not have to pay big for Antonio Cromartie.