Though NFL owners waged a bitter fight against free agency, a number of teams are determined to turn the sudden availability of veteran talent to their advantage. One team that clearly sees opportunity is the New York Jets, who have prepared a seven-minute video pointing out the myriad benefits of playing pro ball in the New York area—the excitement of the city, the nearby fishing and beaches, the fine schools. And Jet coach Bruce Coslet, under the gun after last season's 4-12 finish, has a nice little speech prepared for all recruits. "I tell them we're going to win, and they're going to help us win now," he says.
The Jets have identified their weaknesses and are moving aggressively to fill them. At left tackle, long a trouble spot, the Jets are interested in the Bills' Will Wolford, a designated transition player. New York has lacked a big-name pass rusher since the early days of Mark Gastineau, so the Jets have entered the Reggie White sweepstakes. The club lost free safety Lonnie Young to a major knee injury last year, which is why they signed Ronnie Lott from the Raiders on Monday. Bengal Tim McGee and Cowboy Kelvin Martin are possible replacements for the retired Al Toon, and the Giants' Leonard Marshall flew in Monday from his home in Boca Raton, Fla., ready to step into Dennis Byrd's spot.
The Jets are also intent on landing a quarterback. Insiders say they have offered Cincinnati a third-round pick for Boomer Esiason, but if that trade fails through, they will pursue Giant Jeff Hostetler or 49er Steve Bono.
"We learned in Plan B free agency that the earlier you jump out there and do something, the better chance you have to sign people," Jet general manager Dick Steinberg says. "So we're jumping out there."