On June 1st, salary cap constraints for NFL franchises were eased. Teams can now trade or release players, spreading cap hits across two years.
A large group of trades are expected in the coming days, and many talented players have already been released. With over $27 million in cap room, third-highest in the NFL, the Jets still have the ability to make significant improvements to their roster before the season begins.
New York already signed former 49ers defensive tackle Ronald Blair on Monday, bolstering their pass rush on the interior. What other positions can general manager Joe Douglas target in the coming weeks, either via trade or free agency?
Corner is arguably New York’s weakest position as far as depth is concerned.
Among the Jets’ top six cornerbacks on their depth chart, no one is older than 25. There are no proven commodities in the defensive backfield, with inexperienced players like Bless Austin and Bryce Hall looking to show they belong as NFL starters. A veteran presence on the back end would be a huge boost, if only to help the young players on the unit develop.
Although he is likely only interested in signing with a contender, bringing in Richard Sherman, who thrived in Robert Saleh’s system in San Francisco, would be huge. Dre Kirkpactrick is another example of an experienced player who could provide leadership, while also making a strong short-term impact in the secondary.
This may be the year that Chris Herndon blossoms. However, it also might not be.
Bringing in an established veteran who can man the tight end position, a key facet of Mike LeFleur’s offense, would be a smart move.
Even if Herndon is primed for a strong season, having a teammate who can take some of the burden off his shoulders and continue to foster his development is certainly not a bad idea. Free agent Trey Burton could be a great solution, bringing his championship experience with the Philadelphia Eagles to the Big Apple.
Zach Wilson is the clear starter for the Jets, who are hopeful he will be under center for years to come.
Gang Green would benefit from a more reliable backup, though.
In the case that Wilson gets hurt, or struggles mightily early on, being able to insert a veteran signal-caller is essential. The season cannot be lost simply if Wilson goes down with an injury or is not yet up to the task.
Without a competent quarterback, other players cannot develop, a key part of this upcoming season for the Jets. As a security blanket, Joe Douglas ought to consider bringing in another option under center.
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