As the offseason begins, Gang Green Nation will take a look at potential ways to improve the club. Today we will explore signing Bryant McFadden.
Profile: The Steelers selected McFadden in the second round of the 2005 Draft after a decorated career at Florida State. He struggled to crack Pittsburgh's deep secondary lineup in part due to a history of injuries in recent seasons. When he has seen the field, McFadden has acquitted himself well, probably best remembered for knocking a ball away from Reggie Wayne while on an island in the final minute that saved a 2005 AFC Divisional game against the Colts. He was considered a future number one corner when the Steelers picked him, and he still possesses those same tools that make him a high ceiling player.
Why It Makes Sense: McFadden has all of the physical ability necessary to be a starter in the league. He possesses top notch athleticism, plays with physicality, has good ball skills, and is solid in run support. Due to his physical style of play and speed, his strength is press man coverage, of which Rex Ryan's blitzes require much. He has struggled to crack the lineup in Pittsburgh in part because of injuries and in part because the Steelers have good depth at corner with Ike Taylor, DeShea Townsend, and William Gay on the roster. Pittsburgh's organizational philosophy for years has been to let their free agents walk and replace them through the Draft. Considering what is already at corner, they probably will not be determined to retain him.
The Jets can offer him the starting job he covets. In New York, there will be no immediate pressure. Darrelle Revis will automatically have the other team's best receiver. McFadden will only have to play adequately as a starter right off the bat. He can develop at his own pace. Potentially if McFadden develops the way he is capable, he could combine with Revis to form an elite tandem. At the very least, he should represent a sizable upgrade from what Ty Law and Dwight Lowery provided.
Odds of Happening: If the Jets elect to grab a starting corner in free agency, it will probably be somebody like McFadden. He will not command a monster contract but still has untapped upside. The Jets now have a coach who prides himself upon developing raw but high ceiling defensive players. He is familiar with McFadden's skills from facing him in AFC North battles with Baltimore over the past four years. There have been no news stories linking the Jets to McFadden, but it would make sense if the team ended up targeting him.