Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comOver the next few days, we’ll be revisiting a few key positions in which the Jets might invest during the free agency period. Here’s a look at the players who the Jets might be interested in with the initial period of free agency beginning Saturday morning.
Below are our non-scientific rankings of players we think can come to the Jets and most impact the team per dollar spent. Consider them a “bang for the buck” type ranking system.
1) Eric Decker (DEN) — Considered the top option in free agency, Decker will likely command close to eight figures annually. Decker knows that playing with Peyton Manning has provided him more targets and opportunities, but also knows he was productive with Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton. Decker might not be among talents like Calvin Johnson or Dez Bryant, but he seems a safe investment assuming he isn’t asked to tilt the field on every play. It makes sense that Decker would return to Denver, but plenty of teams will express interest. The Colts have been closely tied and the Jets have been considered a possible contender. With as much cap room as the Jets have, they could easily sign Decker and still sign another cheap option or draft another receiver to complement the existing crop of Jeremy Kerley and David Nelson — thereby quickly giving Decker enough room to breathe in the offense.
2) Golden Tate (SEA) — Tate isn’t the most talented or historically productive receiver in this class, but he has played in a run-heavy offense and has demonstrated an himself as an extremely aggressive receiver willing to play the possession role when necessary. With the ball in his hands he has been as tough a receiver as there is in the league and he would add a possession receiver element that the Jets have been lacking. Signing Tate would still leave the Jets plenty of other avenues to address the receiver position through free agency, let alone the draft.
3) James Jones (GB) — Earlier in his career, Jones suffered from drops, but has seemed to move past that at this stage of his career. At his age Jones could start to decline, but he is extremely smart, very tough and can still make plays after the catch. Jones should be a bargain player on the market and could be a mid-term plug and play option for the Jets.
4) Andre Roberts (ARI) — Roberts won’t set the league ablaze wherever he goes next, but he was productive (759 yards) with the Cardinals last season. At just 24 years of age, it’s hard not to think that if put in the right offense Roberts could become a productive part of a larger puzzle.
5) Emmanuel Sanders (PIT) — Sanders won’t return to Pittsburgh as the Steelers look for taller receivers to fill their offense out for 2014. The Jets are said to have expressed some interest in Sanders, who isn’t the quickest receiver but who seems to have a knack to get lost deep amongst other options. This of course helps Sanders stretch the field, but even with Big Ben — who is known to extend plays — his production seems sporadic. Beyond his downfield play, Sanders hasn’t demonstrated that he can be counted on for much more.
6) Hakeem Nicks (NYG) — Nicks was a huge part of the Giants Super Bowl XLVI season, but has since disappeared into the Giants offense. Nicks is an extremely talented player, but injuries to his legs have sidelined him and dramatically lowered his production over the last two years. He’s a short-term option and any production should be considered “found.”
7) Julian Edelman (NE) — Edelman is somewhat underrated as a player, but it is understandable considering his injury history and his inflated numbers thanks to being the last man standing on the Patriots offense. Edelman could have a role on an NFL offense, but paying him based on his 2013 production would we unwise and the Jets already have a very competent albeit sometimes injured slot receiver in Jeremy Kerley.
8) Ted Ginn (CAR) — Ginn thrived in Carolina playing with the strong-armed Cam Newton. While Ginn was a featured player in a WR needy offense, he only tallied 36 catches on 68 targets for 556 yards and five touchdowns. Ginn still can play well on special teams and while there’s a place for him in the NFL, it might not be with the Jets.