Free Agents the Jets Should Check Out

SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 14: Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams throws the ball as he is hit by Manny Lawson #99 of the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on November 14 2010 in San Francisco California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Believe it or not, we are going to take a break from Tebow Mania to talk about other parts of the team. The Tebow trade has camouflaged the reality that the team has addressed very few of its needs. The Jets still have significant question marks at many positions, namely free safety, outside linebacker, wide receiver, and right tackle. There does not seem to be much of a sense of urgency from the front office to address any of these, but that might change as attention in free agency turns to players who will not command monster salaries. Here are a few guys I think the Jets should look at. This is important. Teams should go into the NFL Draft with as few needs as possible. What if Trent Richardson falls, but the Jets still are in desperate need of a pass rusher? I think they should still take Richardson, but you don't want to be in that position.

O.J. Atogwe (S-WAS)

Since the safety class in the Draft is so weak, addressing free safety in free agency is of the utmost importance. Atogwe is far and away the best option so the Jets should be all over him. He is not an ideal candidate. His play has fallen off in recent years. At his best, he was always a chance taker who made big plays but also gave up big plays. In Rex Ryan's attacking defense, a safety needs to be rock solid in the back to cover for his teammates if a blitz fails. Beggars cannot be choosers, though.

Vernon Carey (T/G-MIA)

He has familiarity with Tony Sparano. He would be an upgrade, even if a small one over Wayne Hunter at right tackle. He would be an excellent backup guard. The Jets really, really need depth on the offensive line. They have done nothing to improve it so far.

Andre Carter, (NE-DE)

I was initially leery of Carter because of his age, 32, and the serious quadriceps tear that ended his 2011 season early. The market seems hollow for him, though, so he could end up being a bargain. Carter was really bad as a standup linebacker in a 3-4 defense for Washington in 2010. He had 10 plus sack seasons in 2007, 2009, and 2011, though as a 4-3 defensive end. The Jets use a lot of four man fronts. Carter would probably become the best pass rusher on the team the moment he signed. The Jets could use him in a part-time role to keep him fresh.

Manny Lawson (OLB-CIN)

Lawson had to wait a long time last year as a free agent and take a cheap one year contract. There does not seem to be much of a market for him this year either. I do not understand why. He is a good player, a solid run stopper, pass defender, and pass rusher with experience in both a 4-3 and 3-4. He did not play a big pass rushing role in 2011, but when he did with the 49ers in 2010, he disrupted a pass with either a sack, a hit, or a pressure on an elite level 15% of his rushing attempts. Now he was not the primary pass rusher who drew the attention of defenses, but those numbers are still good. He would probably be the best linebacker the Jets have in coverage also.

Marcus McNeill (T-SD)

It has been odd how little attention the Jets have paid to the right tackle position. McNeil was once thought of as a top tackle in the league. He was slowed by a neck injury in 2012. He is an athletic 6'7" 336 pounder. Because of the injury, he might be willing to take a cheap one year deal to prove himself and get a big payday in a year.

Steve Smith (WR-PHI)

Smith had a redshirt year in 2011 as Philly's fourth receiver coming off mircofracture surgery. Perhaps a year further removed from the injury he can regain his 1,220 yard form with the Giants in 2009.

Casey Wiegmann (C-KC)

Wiegmann is not a great schematic fit. The Chiefs only averaged 3.1 yards per carry on runs up the middle. He is a nimble, smaller center for a team shifting to a power run game. He is still a capable pass blocker, though, and could help avoid Mark Sanchez getting annihilated if Nick Mangold gets hurt again.

What players would you like the Jets to look at?

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