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Which Free Agent Are You Most Afraid the New York Jets Will Overpay?

Many guys who hit the open market get too much money. That happens when you auction talent in front of needy teams. Of the free agents the Jets have, though, to which one are you afraid they will give way too much money?

I do not think it will be either starting wide receiver. This is going to be a buyer's market for receivers. Vincent Jackson and Sidney Rice will be available. Terrell Owens and Randy Moss will be cheap short term options for a team looking to upgrade its situation. Chad Johnson and Steve Smith also appear likely to be available for a reasonable price on the trade market. It might be tough for free agent receivers to get teams to pay too much with all of these backup options available. I understand the school of thought that Braylon Edwards' and Santonio Holmes' respective histories of off field trouble makes them riskier signings, but a team can structure a contract to protect itself financially. You will have to pay more for Holmes or Edwards than Moss or Owens, but you will get production for a longer period of time.

I am afraid the Jets will overpay for Antonio Cromartie. Teams tend to get crazy with cornerbacks and give shutdown corner money to guys who are talented but not shutdown corners. Make no mistake about it. Cromartie is not a shutdown corner. He is a limited guy who pretty much plays well against one type of receiver in one type of coverage. Because of the Jets' scheme, though, he plays against that one kind of receiver in one type of coverage a lot, though. Cromartie is also inconsistent. He tends to either play lights out or miserably. As little as I want the Jets to break the bank for him, though, he is a talented guy. I think it would probably be a Bart Scott type contract where the guy is definitely getting overpaid but is at least a very good player who contributes a big net positive.

After taking a pair of early defensive linemen in the Draft, the Jets probably will fold if Shaun Ellis costs too much.

I worry more about giving big money to part time players for whom a replacement can be found for minimum wage. I think of a guy like Brad Smith, who is a useful gadget and return player. The thing is it is not terribly difficult to find a guy who is dangerous in space. The Jets seemed to take Jeremy Kerley as a potential replacement, though.

My choice is the other Smith. He fits a similar bill in that he is a part time player. He does enough well and played well enough in the Playoffs that he could have some suitors. He is a tweener, though. He covers better than the average linebacker and plays the run better than the average safety. He is not big enough to play linebacker full time or fast enough to stick at safety. He is limited to particular packages. The coaching staff seems to love him. The Jets could look elsewhere for cheaper safety depth, though. It would not be the end of the world if the Jets gave one part time player too much money. Teams get into big problems doing it frequently. This would be a starting point for a trend like that.

I do not really want to see the Jets give insane money to anybody, but doing so for a guy like Smith whose contract will be relatively modest would be the most troubling. What do you think?