With former Jets RB Lamont Jordan on the Raiders chopping block, could a reunion in NY be in the future? (Jets Insider.com Photo)
With the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl now over, it is only a matter of time before unrestricted free agents can officially test the waters. After coming off a dismal 4-12 season, the Jets have a lot of areas where they need improvement. While Gang Green will look for the NFL Draft to fill holes, free agency will be vital for the Jets if they want to make it back into the playoffs in 2008-2009.
On the defensive side of the ball, one player that will draw some attention from the Jets will be Patriots CB Asante Samuel. Samuel has a clause in his contract that says the Patriots cannot franchise him for a second year. The talented CB has a very good relationship with head coach Eric Mangini, which dates all the way back to their time together in New England. Mangini would love to pry away Samuel from Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
If the Jets can land Samuel, he and second-year CB Darrelle Revis would give the Jets one of the best pair of corners in the NFL. Signing Samuel would probably mean the end of CB Andre Dysonís career with the Jets. Dyson found himself on the inactive list a few times last season. Aging CB David Barrett could also be a casualty.
If Samuel is not in the picture, another FA who could be in the mix is Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha. Asomugha, the Raiders first round draft pick of 2003 out of Cal, has quietly become a very good cornerback on a bad team. With the chance of being on the hook for around $9.5MM if heís franchised, itís unlikely the penny pinching Raiders will tag him. So, unless they can sign him to a long term deal, heíll be available.
Like many teams, the Jets also were showing interest in Ravens LB Terrell Suggs. Since Suggs will reportedly be franchised by the Ravens, the Jets might look into acquiring Detroit Lions DT Shaun Rogers. Rogers has been rumored to be on the way out of Detroit, is perfect person to run Manginiís 3-4 defense. If the Jets could get their hands on Rogers, they might look to the draft Ohio State DE/OLB Vernon Gholston, who has been rising up many draft boards even before the combine started.
Offensively, the Jets are looking at a major makeover. Rich Cimini, of the Daily News thinks that WR Justin McCareins, OL Adrien Clarke and P Ben Graham are on the chopping block. While the Jets will probably be able to find a tall wide receiver in the draft (Limas Sweed-Texas, Early Doucet- LSU and James Hardy-Indiana, all might be available when the Jets pick in the second round), the team could also draft some offensive line help as well as addressing the need in free agency.
At the top of the OL free agent list is Steelers G Alan Faneca. Faneca has expressed his displeasure on how the Steelers are treating him and all indications are he will likely leave Pittsburgh. Despite being 31, Faneca is still a stud at 6-5 and 312 Lbs. Heís just what the Jets need to bolster their sub-par run and pass blocking. The Steelers, under the lead of Faneca have been ranked in the top 5 in rushing yards since 2001. He wonít be cheap but could easily put the Jets offensive line in a different stratosphere if heís brought aboard.
Other possible free agents on the offensive line the Jets could be interested in are Dallas Cowboys OL Flozell Adams, Indianapolis Colts OL Jake Scott and Carolina Panthers OL Jordan Gross.
Looking for depth behind RB Thomas Jones? How about former Jets RB Lamont Jordan making a comeback to the Metro area? Jordan, who is rumored to be on Oaklandís chopping block after they signed RB Justin Fargas to a long term contract yesterday, turns 30 this year but could be a nice compliment to Jones and Leon Washington despite never living up to expectations in the Bay Area. Jordan only rushed for 549 yards and 3 TDís last season for the Raiders. Another thing to think about is that the re-signing of Huggy Bear Jr. by the Raiders means that thereís more of a possibility that Arkansas RB Darren McFadden could fall to the Jets at pick 6 in April's draft.
The biggest question on the offensive side of the ball is at quarterback. Chad Pennington, who lost his job to Kellen Clemens, is still on the roster. Just yesterday the Miami Dolphins released the face of their franchise, LB Zach Thomas, will the Jets follow in their footsteps and let go of the face of their franchise? Only time will tell.
For those who are on the bandwagon to release Pennington and trade for soon to be tendered Browns QB Derek Anderson, not so fast. ESPN rated him as one of the most overrated players last season. Although, he did lead the Browns to 10 wins, his passer rating was just over 80 and he also threw 19 interceptions. Another full season should determine if heís the real deal.