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Brandon Spikes: Potential Jets

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Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Spikes has already played for two AFC East teams. The linebacker is set to become a free agent. Could the Jets be the third? Gang Green might be in the market for a new inside linebacker. David Harris is set to hit free agency, and it is not clear what his price will be. Spikes is a logical possible replacement with a skillset that overlaps to a certain degree.

After four years with the Patriots, Spikes signed a one year contract with the Bills, registering 54 tackles in 2014. He is primarily a run stopper and a very good one. He does his best work playing downhill and is capable of playing in traffic and getting off blocks.

In coverage, Spikes was only responsible for 134 yards in 222 snaps this season. That average of 0.60 yards per play in coverage rated fourth among linebackers who played at least a quarter of their team's coverage snaps according to Pro Football Focus. Does this mean Spikes is a shutdown cover guy? I don't think so. He isn't very nimble. The Bills protected him by playing him in zone. He does a solid job of getting the proper depth on his drops, reading the quarterbacks eyes, and understanding his assignments, but he doesn't have the athleticism to run step for step with the best backs and tight ends in the league. The fact he was held to 222 coverage snaps suggests the Bills saw his limitations. Spikes is probably best used as a two down linebacker.

While limited, the free agent pool is not particularly deep at inside linebacker this year. Spikes might be one of the best options should Harris depart. Spikes is younger than Harris, only 27. If he would be interested in a multiyear deal in the neighborhood of his Buffalo $3 million cap hit, he could make some sense. With the top notch defensive line, merely quality starters at linebacker could make the front seven difficult for opponents.