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How Would You Like the Jets to Approach Free Agency?

As has been well documented, the Jets should have lots and lots of cap space available to them once Free Agency begins. As it just so happens to be, the Jets roster is also majorly lacking in the areas of depth and top-line talent. Thus, it is imperative to look at how the Jets might approach the offseason, as how they do so will have a major impact on the team going forward.

When looking at a team's plans for a given offseason, many things need to be taken into account. It is not as simple as just saying "Hey! We have money! Let's spend it!". It's much much more nuanced than that. Below, I will highlight a few factors the Jets will take into account when trying to figure out how they want to approach the Free Agent market.

Top-Tier Talent Vs. Solid Players

This question will mainly focus on how the Jets decide to take care of their problems. As mentioned above, the Jets not only have an extreme dearth of top talent - the DL is probably the only area of the team that currently boasts such players - but an extreme lack of depth as well. On the offensive side of the ball, the Jets maybe have 4 total players who one can easily say deserve, without question, a spot as a regular on an NFL offense (Ivory at co-RB, Kerley at slot WR, Brick at LT and Mangold at C). The Jets obviously need to fill many holes there. The question becomes whether the Jets should look to sign top free agents so that they actually have some playmakers, or whether they should focus more on plugging the many holes they have.

In the past, the Jets decided to frontload their roster by having lots of big contracts (Sanchez, Brick, Mangold, Revis, Harris) and that didn't necessarily work out so well for them. As we have seen the last few years, the Jets have been very short on depth, and when the top players don't pan out, the team is left with no top level talent and no depth.

This issue has actually come to the forefront in baseball over the past year. In 2012, the Red Sox finished in last place in their division, yet they managed to rebound and win the World Series this past year. Much of the success the club enjoyed this past season was largely due to many of the mid-level, solid players they acquired in free agency, rather than going for big stars. It's become a big topic in baseball due to that, and is fairly relevant in this case as well.

Positional Strength / Scarcity

On the heels of the discussion discussed above, is the question of whether a team should sign the top free agents at a position of need, when the top players available in free agency are not all that great. A good example here would be the Jets need at WR, coupled with the fact that the current crop of WR's available in free agency is not particularly strong. The Jets desperately need a #1 WR. However, it does not really look like there is one available in free agency. The top WR's available (Jeremy Maclin, Eric Decker, Anquan Boldin, Hakeem Nicks) all have major question marks surrounding them as to whether they'd be players capable of handling #1 receiver duty. In such a case, would it make sense for a team like the Jets to hand out a lavish contract befitting a "top free agebt" to a player who really isn't, just because the team is so short on talent at a given position?

Positional Finances

Another thing to look at is how much the top players at a given position usually make. As an example, we know that Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie have huge contracts, so the CB position is one that a top player can expect to receive an extravagant deal. Meanwhile, RB's make much less money than most other positions. The question the Jets will have to entertain is where they would like to spend their money. Do they consider pass rushing to be a big enough priority to go ahead and blow lots of their available cash on a top OLB? Do they instead try looking to get top players at positions where they might not have to pay huge sums?

Value / Risky Players

These are players that due to a bevy of possible issues, might be able to be had for a cheaper price on the market. Whether the player is perhaps undervalued due to medical issues, off the field issues, a down year, or just the fact that the player is talented but has never quite put it all together, it might behoove the Jets to look into these sorts of players. Using a baseball analogy again, the Jets should maybe try to follow the course set by Billie Beane and Moneyball and try to find the market inefficiency and exploit it. While the Jets do have lots of money available to be spent, it is always best if they decide to spend it wisely. The questions becomes, is spending money on risky players wise?

BPA vs. Need

This is a question that is always discussed with regards to the draft. The Jets have a great need at many positions. Do they decide to forego those positions if they feel players at a position that is less of a need are more readily available or do they decide that positional needs trump all else?

Draft or FA

The league year, and consequently, free agency start well before the Jets will draft players in May. This means that in a lot of ways, the Jets will have to already have a general plan of what positions they will want to take in the draft when free agency comes around. If the Jets know that they will be picking one of the many many good WR's in this years draft, they can very well decide to not go as hard after WR's in free agency.

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