WATCH: Where Jets turn in aftermath of Brandon Copeland's four-game suspension
On Wednesday, the New York Jets announced that the NFL has suspended linebacker Brandon Copeland four games for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs. The news comes on the heels of losing linebacker Avery Williamson for the season and signing veteran journeyman Stephone Anthony on Tuesday.
Copeland, 28, started 10 games for the team in 2018, compiling 35 tackles, five sacks and two passes defended from his outside linebacker spot.
While on the surface Copeland's extended absence comes as a blow, he may not be relied on as much on defense in 2019. Playing deep into the Jets' latest preseason bout, the fourth-year linebacker may have suddenly found himself on the outside looking in, due in large part to their current group of youthful talent at the position.
Jordan Jenkins, Blake Cashman and Frankie Luvu have all shown promise throughout the preseason. All three present the team with younger, more cost effective options that can be vital pieces to their future success. Cashman, the team's fifth-round pick, has particularly stood out amongst the group, earning some first-team reps during training camp.
The Jets could also opt to look for outside help prior to Week 1. Earlier in the offseason, it was reported that the Browns were shopping 25-year-old Pro Bowl linebacker Joe Schobert, who is in a contract year.
Looking at free agent options, one of the more attractive candidates still on the market is former Washington Redskin Mason Foster. The 30-year-old has played in 107 games, starting 92 of those contests.
What the Jets decide to do may hinge on what they see from their most recent addition, Stephone Anthony, whom I explore in detail here. If Gregg Williams can manage to rekindle some of Anthony's rookie season magic, the team should be able to stay afloat in the interim -- or at least wait until the trade deadline.
I wouldn't anticipate a splash move right away, though I do expect them to add a mid-level free agent for depth purposes.