Jets' greatest free agency moves of all time
The new league year in the NFL officially starts at on March 15 at 4:00 p.m., at which time free agents can sign with a team.
So, now’s as good a time as ever to take a look back at some of the best free agent pickups in Jets history, including a pair of standout offseasons.
Here are some of their best free agent moves…
RB Curtis Martin, 1998
By the time Martin hit restricted free agency after his third NFL season, he was already a two-time Pro Bowler and an Offensive Rookie of the Year winner, so expectations were high when he signed with the Jets before the 1998 season.
Despite all of that, Martin was just as good, if not better, than advertised. His numbers from 1998-2004 are absurd, as he rushed for 9,567 yards with 53 touchdowns, posting five straight 1,000-yard seasons, rushing for a whopping 1,697 yards with 12 scores in 2004.
Unfortunately for Martin, a right knee injury hampered him for most of the 2005 season, and his rehab continued all the way through 2006, which ultimately ended his career. Still, Martin is a Hall of Famer, and easily one of the top signings in Jets history.
QB Vinny Testaverde, 1998
Drafted first overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1987, Testaverde had his struggles early and had become a journeyman quarterback by the time he signed with the Jets in 1998. But his tenure with the Jets turned out to be a successful one, as he went 34-23 as a starter and had a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 76:52.
Testaverde led the Jets to a playoff appearance in 1998, but then missed basically all of the 1999 season with an Achilles injury. He took the team back to the playoffs in 2001 and then split time with Chad Pennington over his final two seasons in New York.
C Kevin Mawae, 1998
Mawae started his career as a guard with the Seahawks, but found his way to New York ahead of the 1998 season, joining Martin and Testaverde as new acquisitions.
Mawae was an ironman for the Jets, starting all 112 games at center for the team from 1998-2004, earning six straight Pro Bowl appearances during that time. He ended up playing in 177 straight games in a row, dating back to his time in Seattle, before his streak came to an end because of a triceps injury in 2005.
He played four more seasons with the Tennessee Titans, and ended up in Canton as one of the best centers in league history.
WR Wayne Chrebet, 1995
Chrebet was not signed as a traditional free agent the way everyone else on this was, but he was still technically a free agent when he signed with the team following a tryout in 1995. Chrebet wasn’t much of a prospect coming out of Hofstra because of his size, but he made the team and went on to become one of the best receivers in team history.
Chrebet, a Garfield, N.J. native, played his entire 11-year career with the Jets, hauling in 580 passes for 7,365 yards and 41 touchdowns. He entered the Jets Ring of Honor in 2014, and he ranks third all time on the team’s receiving list, behind only Don Maynard and Wesley Walker.
G Alan Faneca, 2008
By the time Faneca signed a five-year deal with the Jets in 2008, he was already one of the best guards in football. As a Pittsburgh Steeler, Faneca made seven straight Pro Bowls and was either First- or Second-Team All-Pro in each of those years.
His tenure with the Jets was brief, as he played just two seasons before being released, but Faneca earned two more Pro Bowls and started all 32 regular season games during his time in New York, helping Gang Green reach the AFC title game in 2009.
Faneca played one more season with the Arizona Cardinals in 210 before calling it a Hall of Fame career.
T Damien Woody, 2008
In an effort to beef up their offensive line, the Jets not only signed Faneca at the guard position, but also added a Pro Bowl tackle in Woody. A two-time Super Bowl Champion with the New England Patriots, Woody signed a five-year deal with the Jets in 2008 and started 45 of a possible 48 regular season games during his three-year tenure.
Woody started at right tackle and helped the Jets make the playoffs in both 2009 and 2010, but he tore his Achilles in the 2010 Wild Card Round and was released after the season before announcing his retirement.
LB Calvin Pace, 2008
CB D.J. Reed, 2022
WR Eric Decker, 2014
LB Bart Scott, 2009