4 positions Jets still need to address this offseason -- and who can fill those voids

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San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman

After spending a ton of money and draft picks to overhaul their roster over the last three months, the Jets are still sitting on a mountain of salary cap space. They have about $26.5 million to spend – second most in the league.

That puts them in a good position for some important late additions – either through trades, picking up some of the post-June 1 cuts, or just signing a pricey veteran. And they probably will, considering they still have some glaring holes to fill.

Here’s a look at a few of their areas of need, and who might be available to help them out:

Veteran cornerback

Given the youth and inexperience in their cornerback corps, the most likely veteran addition would seem to be at this position. But Jets coach Robert Saleh made it clear last week that the time for adding a veteran isn’t now.

“Right now the focus completely is on the guys we have," he said last week. " We'll cross that bridge with regards to veterans when we get to that bridge, but right now, the sole focus is just on our guys.”

In other words, he wants see what he has in Bryce Hall, Bless Austin and rookies like Michael Carter II and Jason Pinnock, and he wants them to get all the practice reps in the spring. At some point, though, it will make sense to add veteran insurance.

Most of the offseason speculation has surrounded veteran Richard Sherman, who loves Saleh. But at this stage of his career, many around the NFL believe Sherman is much more likely to wait out training camp and hope to sign on to a contender. A better bet for the Jets might be the return of slot cornerback Brian Poole, if and when he’s fully healthy from the shoulder and knee injuries he suffered last year.

Backup quarterback

The Jets are obviously going with Zach Wilson as their starter, but every young quarterback needs a mentor to help show him what he doesn’t know. And there seems to be no way the Jets will send the 22-year-old Wilson into the season with Mike White and James Morgan as his only backups, considering neither has thrown an NFL pass.

The Jets did make a telling run at Brian Hoyer before he signed with New England. Beyond him, though, the market is very thin.

Nick Mullens, who made 16 starts for the San Francisco 49ers over the last three years, looms as the likely backup for the Jets. He’s a free agent and has no room to return to the 49ers after they drafted Trey Lance and signed both Josh Rosen and Nate Sudfeld this offseason.

And there’s also Nick Foles, the former Eagle, who’s the odd man out in Chicago behind Andy Dalton and Justin Fields. The Jets can afford his $4 million salary if the Bears decide to trade him. More likely they’d be interested if the Bears cut him, which certainly could happen at any point.

Offensive tackle depth

George Fant returns as the Jets’ starting right tackle, but there’s little depth or competition behind him – only Chuma Edoga and Cameron Clark. So it’s no surprise that the Jets reportedly hosted RT Morgan Moses on a visit last week, just days after his surprising release in Washington.

The 6-foot-6, 330-pound Moses started every game the last six seasons, mostly at right tackle but filling in on the left on a few occasions. If the Jets sign him, he’d likely be the new starter. He’s also reportedly visited the Bears.

The problem with most of the available veteran tackles is they have issues with age and injuries (Mitchell Schwartz, Russell Okung). Most of the younger, healthy ones have already signed elsewhere. So the Jets’ best bet for help, if they don’t land Moses, is to watch the post-June 1 cuts and the training camp cuts. At some point they’ll likely find a surprise.

Tight end

Chris Herndon is, remarkably, still the Jets’ No. 1 tight end, and all they did to address the position in the offseason is sign veteran Tyler Kroft. It’s hard to believe, given how important the tight end was in the 49ers offense that the Jets will try to recreate.

That makes Zach Ertz, whom Jets GM Joe Douglas knows well from his Philadelphia days, so interesting. The Eagles are widely expected to trade or release Ertz in a cost-cutting move at some point, and he’d certainly be an upgrade for the Jets. At the moment, though, there’s no indication of their interest. Much of the speculation with Ertz is centered around the Buffalo Bills. The Cardinals and Colts are thought to be contenders for Ertz, too.

The Jets might be more interested in him if he’s released. In trade, they’d still owe his $8.5 million salary, which is a lot for a 30-year-old who was battered by injuries last season. Of course if he is cut, there’s no guarantee his next contract would be less than that.

The only other intriguing tight end on the market is Tyler Eifert, who wasn’t re-signed by the Jaguars. He’s had an injury-plagued NFL career, but he did manage to stay mostly healthy and catch 79 passes for 785 yards over the past two years.