Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comOver the next few days, we’re going to look at a number of options that the Jets might consider once the free agency period begins in early March.
First up, receivers. I’ve used OTC’s projected contracts where available, and assigned Bassett’s totally arbitrary and wholly bogus odds to each player.
Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
Analysis: 2013 was a worst-case scenario for the pending free agent. Maclin tore his ACL in a contract year, and watched his teammates have career-seasons in Chip Kelly’s up tempo offense. Philadelphia likely has the inside track to bring back Maclin, but the receiver might be seeking a short-term deal to prove himself for a larger payday next year now that he’s healthy again. Would Maclin’s stats benefit from being a top target in a lesser offense like the Jets, or being one of three in the turbo-charged Kelly offense? The Jets have already expressed interest and Marty Mornhinweg will know exactly how to plug his old player into the offense for best effect.
OTC Contract Range: 1 year for $5 million (short-term)
Odds: 50 percent
Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers
Analysis: Sanders is a complementary piece at receiver and it would seem that the Steelers are not at all interested in retaining him. The team is rumored to want to push Markus Wheaton into a bigger role and they have already told Big Ben the team is looking to add a taller receiver for him in 2014. Sanders is under six feet. The Jets might have some interest in Sanders, and Marty Mornhinweg’s history shows he is less concerned in having tall deep threats, as DeSean Jackson ably proved in Philly. While Sanders can be a potential vertical space stretcher, he seems destined to be a second or third receiver for the Jets offense.
TJB Contract Range: 4 years for $15 million
Odds: 40 percent
Golden Tate, Seahawks
Analysis: Due to the absence of Percy Harvin for most of the 2013 season, Golden Tate provided the Seattle offense with a dependable though not necessarily flashy receiver. Tate has yet to crest the thousand yard season, but he is extremely consistent and dependable on both offense and special-teams. Signing a player like Tate would still leave open the possibility that the Jets will draft receivers early since he wouldn’t be the sort of target to roll coverages. Still, Tate could be a productive and tenacious part of this offense. Also consider that John Idzik knows Tate from his days in Seattle.
OTC Contract Range: 5 years/$25 million ($12 million guaranteed)
Odds: 30 percent
James Jones, Packers
Analysis: The Green Bay Packers have a large number of free agents looming and it is plausible while they would like James Jones to return, he might go elsewhere due to their level of prioritization. The last time Jones was a free agent, he found a weak market and returned to the Packers thanks his quarterback urging the team’s front office to do so. This time around Jones has improved as receiver, decreased the number of dropped passes and has become a leader amidst a platooning situation. Jones might be entering the last phase of his career, but can still be a productive veteran receiver looking for leadership and discipline in the receivers meeting room.
OTC Contract Range: 2 years/$6 million
Odds: 25 percent
Eric Decker, Broncos
Analysis: While the season began quietly for Decker, he ended the year as the Broncos most reliable downfield threat and had 11 touchdowns and 1300 yards. Decker could be the highest paid player of a large free agent class filled with number two and three targets. Decker was extremely efficient with Manning and was productive dating back to the Tebow days. That said, there is a notion that Decker might have less margin for error if put in a less than favorable situation. The Broncos don’t have a lot of cap room to work with over the next three years but they still seem to be the leader at signing Decker for 2014. Decker did get a peek at the Jets facilities and his wife is a singer/actress so don’t count out proximity to a major city like New York.
OTC Contract Range: 5 years for $63 million with around $27 million in gaurantees
Odds: 25 percent
Hakeem Nicks, Giants
Analysis: Nicks has a speed, physicality and a yards after the catch that is tantalizing. He also has had production issues and durability concerns that will give many teams pause before they sign him to a serious contract. Nicks is a player who can help a team in the right place, but for a team like the Jets who are looking for dependable options to help accelerate their offense, they can’t risk a signing a player with so much risk.
OTC Contract Range: 3 years for $30 million with $13 million guaranteed
Odds: 10 percent
Add your thoughts on these players and more in the comments!