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The Jets made a couple of big splashes in free agency, just like everyone expected. They got their top receiver on the market (Corey Davis) and one of the top pass rushers (Carl Lawson) filling two of their biggest holes.
But they did so much more, signing nine players in all to contracts worth more than $125 million, with about $70 million guaranteed. They found new starters at linebacker and defensive tackle, along with depth at receiver, guard, in the secondary and on special teams.
They still have plenty of cap room left, too, including enough for at least one more moderate free-agent splash. So what’s left for the Jets to shop for in Wave 2 of the free-agent frenzy? Here’s a look at some of the players they could still sign:
CB Richard Sherman – The ex-49er has loomed as a possibility since the offseason began, due to his love of new Jets coach Robert Saleh and the Jets’ need for a veteran presence at cornerback. So far, though, they have not shopped in that market. And to be honest, Sherman, who turns 33 next week, probably would be better off with a contender at this stage of his career. But as long as he’s available, don’t completely dismiss this, especially if it looks like his other options dry up.
DE Jadeveon Clowney – The shine has come off the star of this 28-year-old former No. 1 overall pick, which could make him a bargain. He’d have to be, because he’s been plagued by knee issues that cost him eight games last season, so he’s a medical risk. He’s also never had a 10-sack season and has only three sacks over the last two years. Still, the 6-5, 255-pounder is a disruptive force and the Jets have built a dangerous front with Lawson and defensive tackles Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins. What’s missing is a pass rusher off the other edge. If the cost is low enough, he could be worth the risk.
DE/LB Melvin Ingram – He’s be 32 in April, coming off a knee injury, but if he’s healthy the 6-2, 247-pounder is still a productive pass rusher. He really thrived playing second fiddle to Joey Bosa with the Chargers, and had seven sacks in each of his last two healthy seasons. It’s unclear what kind of market he’ll find, but a one-year deal at this stage of his career seems likely. And, like Clowney, he could be the missing piece on the Jets’ line.
G Trai Turner, Chargers – The Jets made a run at Joe Thuney, but he was lured to the Kansas City Chiefs instead. They still want to upgrade the interior of their offensive line, though, and the free-agent market is pretty thin. The 6-3, 315-pounder wasn’t very good last season and missed nearly half the year with a groin injury. But he went to the Pro Bowl in each of the previous five seasons and he’s still only 27. He’s the best available option, other than the draft.
RB James Conner – The Jets offense, like the Kyle Shanahan offense in San Francisco, is going to be run-based. But right now they are a little thin on capable running backs (La’Mical Perine, Josh Adams, Ty Johnson). Conner, the ex-Steeler, has battled injuries throughout his career and his production dipped the last two seasons. But he’s only 25, won’t be expensive, and could be part of a deep rotation in New York. That could ease the wear and tear on his body and make him more productive.
RB Mike Davis – He was decent as a runner filling in for Christin McCaffrey in Carolina last season. He was reliable as a receiver with 59 catches, though those only went for 373 yards. He’s not much of a big-play threat, but the 5-9, 221-pounder is good at getting the tough yards. As part of a rotation with the more explosive Perine and maybe a pick from the draft, the Jets could have a nice backfield committee.
DE Kerry Hyder – When the 49ers’ injuries became an epidemic last season and especially after Nick Bosa went down, the 6-2, 270-pound Hyder stepped up and had the best year of his career. In Saleh’s defense he had 8 ½ sacks while making 14 starts. He’ll be 30 in May more of a rotational player than a full-time starter, but he could definitely be effective opposite Lawson. Plus, Saleh knows how to use him best.
CB Brian Poole – The Jets still desperately need cornerback help and once again, despite being one of the better slot corners in the league, Poole doesn’t seem to have found much of a market. So it’s not crazy to think the Jets would bring him back for third straight one-year deal. The key would be his health. He missed seven games with a shoulder injury last season. But if he’s healed, he can definitely help a very young cornerback group.
CB K’Waun Williams – He was said to be one of Saleh’s favorites in San Francisco and the Paterson native seemed like a good bet to join his old coach in New York. But as of late last week, the Jets hadn’t reached out except to express a very preliminary interest. That could still change. The 29 -year-old would bring some experience to the secondary. And like Poole, he’s considered one of the better slot corners in the league.
QB CJ Beathard – The Jets probably aren’t going to sign a backup quarterback until they’ve sorted through their starting quarterback issue. For the moment, though, it doesn’t appear they plan to bring Joe Flacco back. Adding the 27-year-old Beathard makes sense because he spent the last three years in San Francisco learning the offense the Jets are going to run under new offensive coordinator Mike La’Fleur. He also has some playing experience, starting 12 games over those seasons, though the results weren’t particularly good.