The New York Jets have a ton of cap space and understandably the hype around their potential free agency spending spree has grown. While that money certainly helps. who should the team avoid so it’s spent right? Let’s break it down.
1. Trumaine Johnson, CB, Los Angeles Rams
The Jets need to revamp their cornerback depth chart, but spending big at the position isn’t necessarily the way to go. Johnson turned 28 years old in the beginning of January and as New York fans know quite well, corners often hit a wall the closer they get to the age of 30.
After back to back years of being franchise tagged, it’s safe to say Johnson will be looking for a long-term deal. He has the desired length and cover skills for Todd Bowles system (which relies heavily on the position), but this is the type of contract that could look very bad halfway through year number two of the deal.
With a loaded draft class at the position and younger, potentially cheaper options such as E.J. Gaines from Buffalo on the market, this is a no-brainer situation to avoid.
2. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Detroit Lions
I’m not sure there is anyone on the planet that bangs the table for the Jets to land a pass rusher more than me, but here we are. Ansah has battled injuries and will turn 29 in May. Sinking money into a player that is a question mark to consistently be on the field is how teams find themselves in salary cap hell.
It’s been an interesting last couple of seasons for Ansah, who had 14.5 sacks in 2015 but then just two in 2016. This year he had six going into week 16, but had three sacks in each of the final two games to finish strong. When he’s on, he’s a dynamic threat to get after the quarterback. The problem is, he’s simply not a reliable option for a team that will need to hit home runs in free agency this year.
3. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
This is very similar to the Trumaine Johnson situation, but rather than age it’s Bell’s workload in recent seasons that is the concern. He’s expected to have gigantic contract demands that could have long-term guaranteed money tied to them.
Since tearing multiple ligaments in his knee two years ago, he’s had 742 touches in just two seasons. He’s a great player and the most complete running back in the NFL, but will he slow down soon? That’s the gamble teams are wondering about and with an abundance of other running back options both in the draft and free agency, it’s not a risk worth taking.<
4. Sam Bradford, QB, Minnesota Vikings
Let’s say the Jets miss out on landing Kirk Cousins. At this point, prepare yourselves for every other free agent quarterback being tied to the team. Sam Bradford unfortunately can’t stay on the field, no matter how much he flashes when he does play.
Option B should be to bring back Josh McCown and draft a quarterback for the future. It’s that simple.
5. Terrelle Pryor, WR, Washington Redskins
After a breakout year in 2016 where he had over 1,000 yards in Cleveland, Pryor was a free agent dud for the Redskins last year. It’s hard to believe he’ll already be 29 this upcoming season, but for most teams he’ll still be worth taking a one year flyer on.
The Jets are not one of those teams. They have a deep threat in Robby Anderson (even if he’s suspended, it won’t be beyond three or four games) and Quincy Enunwa will be returning to a core that also includes Jermaine Kearse, Chad Hanse and ArDarius Stewart.
There are much better options heading into the free agent market that include Allen Robinson, Jarvis Landry and Sammy Watkins. If the team wants to tone the spending at the position, Paul Richardson could be an option as well as a trade for a more productive veteran that hits the block.