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Three Coverage Linebackers the Jets Should Sign in Free Agency

New York should consider signing one of these linebackers in free agency, defenders that excel in pass coverage.
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Last offseason the Jets were one of the NFL’s biggest spenders in free agency, rolling out almost $135 million in contracts to 23 players across 9 different positions. The majority of that money went toward the wide receiver and defensive end positions, with a little bit extra spent across the offensive line and secondary.

One area in which they spent very little in was the linebacking room, where former Lion Jarrad Davis received a one-year, $5.5 million contract in what was hopeful to be a “prove-it” deal. Change your scenery, reclaim the hype you once had flashed, and a new and pretty contract will be waiting for you on the other end.

The former first-rounder did not rediscover his potential, and with little else to show amongst the unit, it is yet again another need an offseason later. While Davis was a flop, not every linebacker signed that offseason was.

Denzel Perryman, another free agent that year, received $6 million to play in a similar defense in Las Vegas and flashed as a top-25 linebacker in the sport. His $6 million was also spread across two years. Kyle Van Noy, another free agent, returned to New England at $6 million a year two seasons and graded out as the 16th-best linebacker in football.

Anthony Walker Jr. was given $3 million to play in Cleveland’s defense and was the fifth-best linebacker in pass coverage, and Kwon Alexander was given just over $1 million to be the 16th-best linebacker in pass coverage. All were gambles, but only the Jets dealer hit 21. Now they’re in the search for linebacker help again.

READ: Where Do the Jets Stand on Defense Entering the Offseason?

Fortunately for New York, I feel a bit better about this crop than the group from a year ago. It features a 2021 All-Pro at the top in De’Vondre Campbell from the Packers, a young former Pro-Bowler in Leighton Vander Esch, and then a mix of old Pro-Bowlers, solid starters and another crop of “prove-it” deal guys.

They may try to splurge on one of the more expensive options, but the need to bring in high quality players at expensive positions like cornerback, safety, wide receiver and tight end may push that likelihood aside. It might be risky for the Jets to dip their toes into the “prove-it” pool two years in a row, but let’s discuss some of the hotter names if that does end up being the plan of attack.

Los Angeles Chargers LB Kyzir White celebrates tackle
Cleveland Browns LB Anthony Walker intercepts pass
Tennessee Titans LB Jayon Brown celebrates tackle for loss

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