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Early Look at Top Potential Jets Free Agent Targets

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New York Jets v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Starting next week and continuing over the next few months, I’ll be running a series of “Free Agent Profiles,” taking a look at many of the prospective free agent targets the Jets could pursue with their Scrooge’s Money Bin-sized pool of cap space.

On March 11th, NFL teams are officially allowed to begin contacting and negotiating with potential free agents. Two days later, at 4:00 PM EDT on March 13th, teams are allowed to finalize deals with available players.

Via Spotrac, the Jets have an estimated $98M in cap room, second most in the NFL behind the Indianapolis Colts.

The catch is that the Jets only have 39 players under contract for next season, tied for the fewest in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams. So, because of this, the Jets’ cap room number isn’t quite as large as it might appear.

Even without taking that into account, you have to understand that cap space is not necessarily a difficult asset to acquire in the NFL. Very few contracts in this league are inescapable, and large portions of teams are made up of players on rookie contracts. Most NFL teams either have sufficient cap space to pursue 1-2 big ticket players, or have the flexibility to create it.

Also keep in mind that many of the players listed below will not even be available. I’ll list everybody whose contract is set to expire just for fun, but the majority of the legitimately good players on this list aren’t going anywhere.

The bottom line is that it is very difficult to build a team through free agency. It isn’t nearly the hotbed of talent or the quick fix fans often think it will be. The Jets will be lucky to get just one high quality starter out of this year’s free agent pool. Good players on the market are very rare and there will always be heavy competition for each one since almost all NFL teams can give themselves the space to be players on the open market.

The Draft will always be the main course, and free agency will always be the side dish. Always has been that way and always will be.

Nevertheless! The Jets do have a boatload of cap space and an even bigger boatload of holes to fill. So, here are some of the most notable names at the Jets’ positions of need that are set to see their current deals expire.

RUNNING BACK

Le’Veon Bell, Steelers (age 27 on September 1st of 2019)

Jay Ajayi, Eagles (26)

Mark Ingram, Saints (29)

Adrian Peterson, Redskins (34)

Tevin Coleman, Falcons (26)

C.J. Anderson, Rams (28)

Alex Collins, Ravens (25)

Spencer Ware, Chiefs (27)

T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars (25)

Latavius Murray, Vikings (29)

Peyton Barber, Buccaneers (25)

WIDE RECEIVER

Golden Tate, Eagles (31)

Tyrell Williams, Chargers (27)

John Brown, Ravens (29)

Adam Humphries, Buccaneers (26)

Jamison Crowder, Redskins (26)

Randall Cobb, Packers (29)

Devin Funchess, Panthers (25)

Cole Beasley, Cowboys (30)

Kelvin Benjamin, Chiefs (28)

Donte Moncrief, Jaguars (26)

CENTER

Matt Paradis, Broncos (29)

Mitch Morse, Chiefs (27)

Jon Halapio, Giants (28)

Brett Jones, Vikings (28)

GUARD

Roger Saffold, Rams (31)

Mark Glowinski, Colts (27)

A.J. Cann, Jaguars (27)

D.J. Fluker, Seahawks (28)

Matt Slauson, Colts (33)

Jamon Brown, Giants (26)

Andy Levitre, Falcons (33)

Ramon Foster, Steelers (33)

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

Trent Brown, Patriots (26)

Ja’Wuan James, Dolphins (27)

Daryl Williams, Panthers (27)

Bobby Massie, Bears (30)

George Fant, Seahawks (27)

Donovan Smith, Buccaneers (25)

4-3 DEFENSIVE TACKLES

Grady Jarrett, Falcons (26)

Sheldon Richardson, Vikings (28) (Interesting.......)

David Irving, Cowboys (26)

Dominique Easley, Rams (27)

4-3 DEFENSIVE ENDS

Jadaveon Clowney, Texans, 26

DeMarcus Lawrence, Cowboys, 27

Trey Flowers, Patriots, 26

Frank Clark, Seahawks, 26

Brandon Graham, Eagles, 31

Ezekiel Ansah, Lions, 30

Preston Smith, Redskins, 26

Derrick Morgan, Titans, 30

Randy Gregory, Cowboys, 26

Dante Fowler, Rams, 25

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

K.J. Wright, Seahawks, 30

Za’Darius Smith, Ravens, 26

Dee Ford, Chiefs, 28

Anthony Barr, Vikings, 27

Shaq Barrett, Broncos, 26

Shane Ray, Broncos, 26

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

Jordan Hicks, Eagles, 27

Denzel Perryman, Chargers, 26

C.J. Mosley, Ravens, 27

Cory Littleton, Rams, 26 (RFA)

Kwon Alexander, Buccaneers, 25

CORNERBACKS

Ronald Darby, Eagles, 25

Steven Nelson, Chiefs, 25

Bryce Callahan, Bears, 27

Pierre Desir, Colts, 28

Kareem Jackson, Texans, 31

Trevor Williams, Chargers, 25 (RFA)

Jason McCourty, Patriots, 32

Rashaan Melvin, Raiders, 29

Darqueze Dennard, Bengals, 27

Justin Coleman, Seahawks, 26


As mentioned, over the next few weeks I’ll have plenty of individual profiles focused on some of these targets who could be options for the Jets.

Outside of a tantalizing group at edge rusher (which very likely could see most of its star names retained and held back from the market), it looks like a very weak free agent class. It will likely be won by the teams who can find the most value out of unattractive options, rather than by the teams who can win melodramatic bidding wars.

Who are your favorite options? Anybody you have your eye on that wasn’t listed?