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Three Available Free Agent Defensive Linemen for Jets to Consider

With Rankins and Shepherd having signed elsewhere, Gang Green has a hole to fill up front
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The New York Jets still have multiple free agent options capable of plugging the hole on their interior defensive line.

All Pro Quinnen Williams has one spot held down, but the rotation will no longer feature Sheldon Rankins or Nathan Shepherd. The former signed a one-year deal with the Houston Texans while the latter is headed to the New Orleans Saints on a three-year contract.

The Jets did re-sign Solomon Thomas, who played in all 17 games for Gang Green in 2022, but they still need more bodies up front. Rankins totaled 31 appearances for the Jets over the past two seasons while Shepherd didn’t miss a game during that two-year period.

As to who the Jets bring in to offset the Rankins and Shepherd losses, the Calais Campbell possibility is no more. The Atlanta Falcons reached a one-year deal with the former NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year on March 29.

Hours after news of Campbell's signing was reported, another free agent defensive tackle was taken off the market. The Buffalo Bills re-signed ninth-year pro Jordan Phillips, a former second-round pick of the Miami Dolphins.

In the aftermath of Wednesday's free agent activity, here are three available interior linemen that make sense for Gang Green...

DT Poona Ford

Last Team: Seattle Seahawks

The stout 5-foot-11 nose tackle has been a productive NFL starter for Pete Carroll’s defense. Starting all 50 games over the past three seasons, Ford has accounted for 128 combined stops and 7.0 sacks during that time span.

Ford, a former undrafted free agent out of Texas, made the Seahawks’ 53-man roster as a rookie in 2018. The 310-pounder has logged 76 regular season career appearances (64 starts), totaling 28 tackles-for-loss and 27 quarterback hits.

The 27-year old Ford has reportedly drawn interest from the AFC East rival Bills.

DT Matthew Ioannidis

Last Team: Carolina Panthers

The New Jersey product appears to be a #JetsTwitter favorite now that Campbell is no longer available. Ioannidis started all 13 appearances he made in 2022, which was his first season with Carolina.

The 6-foot-3 defensive tackle spent the first six years of his NFL career with Washington. Ioannidis, who has played 86 regular season games (53 starts), can provide the Jets with experienced rotational piece on the defensive front. The versatile interior lineman has recorded 212 combined tackles and 25.5 sacks since 2016.

DT Matthew Ioannidis pursues Bills' QB Josh Allen

DL Matthew Ioannidis pursues Bills' QB Josh Allen

Ioannidis starred at New Jersey’s Hunterdon Central High School before moving on to Temple University, which is also where Canton-bound Joe Klecko competed collegiately. The former fifth-round draft pick gained notoriety when he put up 32 reps on the 225-pound bench press during combine testing.

DT A’Shawn Robinson

Last Team: Los Angeles Rams’s Gregg Rosenthal appropriately compared Robinson to Rankins in his Top 101 Free Agents article. The 6-foot-4 Robinson has played alongside All Pro Aaron Donald for the past three years with the Los Angeles Rams (35 games).

Robinson has notched 93 regular season career appearances (61 starts) since being drafted at No. 46 overall by the Detroit Lions in 2016. The defensive tackle totaled 293 combined stops while forcing five fumbles over seven NFL seasons.

The 28-year old Robinson has participated in seven career postseason games, including Super Bowl LVI.

DL A'Shawn Robinson won Super Bowl LVI with the LA Rams

Free Agent DL A'Shawn Robinson

Robinson made at least three tackles in each of the Rams’ four postseason victories en-route to the 2021 World Championship. He accounted for a memorable Super Bowl performance, logging six tackles (5 solo), 1.0 sack and one quarterback hit in the 23-20 triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals.

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