Per Cimini: Jets likely to make a pre-draft splash with free agency or trade;
New York Jets likely to make a pre-draft splash with free agency or trade; plan to sign Neil Rackers
The Jets have gone three weeks since their last significant player move - the signing of LaDainian Tomlinson. In their world, that's an eternity, but it doesn't mean they're out of tricks.
They're not planning to go peacefully into the April 22 draft. League insiders believe ever-aggressive GM Mike Tannenbaum may have a surprise or two before the Jets shift into draft mode. Considering the timing - 10 days before the deadline for signing restricted free agents - it's possible the Jets are preparing to plunge into the RFA market.
That is sure to ratchet up the speculation regarding Brandon Marshall, but league sources continued to maintain yesterday that the Jets aren't interested in signing or trading for the Broncos wide receiver.
One move that could happen this week involves the kicking situation. Now that Jay Feely has signed with the Cardinals, the Jets are planning to visit with unrestricted free agent Neil Rackers, who spent the last seven seasons with the Cards.
Rackers, 33, is scheduled to arrive tonight and will meet tomorrow with Jets officials, sources confirmed. The Jets already have recently signed veteran Nick Folk on the roster - he signed Feb. 23, when talks with Feely hit an impasse - but Folk is coming off a bad year and they may want to add a more reliable kicker to compete with him.
Rackers is a 78% career field-goal kicker (not counting two big misses in last season's playoffs) and is widely regarded as the top kicker remaining on the market. The Ravens and Bengals also are believed to be interested.
By rule, the Jets now are eligible to sign an unrestricted free agent to replace Feely, but as a "Final Eight" team, they can't sign a player to a greater first-year salary than the one they lost. Based on Feely's contract, that means they have about $1.25 million to play with. It's not enough to make a huge splash, but it should be enough to secure Rackers or another kicker.
The Jets have needs at wide receiver, defensive line and quarterback (a veteran backup), so it's possible Tannenbaum is plotting a pre-draft move to plug one or more holes with a trade and/or free-agent signing. The team has acknowledged an interest in former Bengals and Jets wide receiver Laveranues Coles, a free agent.
The Jets are also interested in locking up two of their young stars, cornerback Darrelle Revis and center Nick Mangold, to long-term deals.
The Jets own the 29th pick in the upcoming draft, but that doesn't mean they will pick in that spot.
Tannenbaum has traded up in two of the last three drafts to select Revis and quarterback Mark Sanchez, and he won't hesitate to move up for an elite player.