Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
There are certainly more important things to think about at the moment with coronavirus concerns taking priority around the country. Other major sports leagues like the NBA, NHL, and MLB have suspended or delayed their seasons, while the NFL might be making moves that could impact important parts of the offseason.
Several NFL agents and league insiders told SNY's Ralph Vacchiano that there seems to be at least a possibility of a delay to free agency. The negotiating window is scheduled to open at 12 p.m. ET on Monday.
But, in the case that free agency does in fact start on time next week, the Jets might look at last year as a blueprint to spending their cap room.
Last year, most of the focus for the Jets was on the likes of Le'Veon Bell, CJ Mosley and Jamison Crowder. These big money additions were expected to spearhead the team's rebuilding effort under new head coach Adam Gase.
However, their best signing was probably Brian Poole, whom they signed to a one-year deal worth just $3 million plus incentives. Poole had a terrific season at the slot cornerback position.
Can they find some similar bargains in free agency this year, though? Let's look at some possible targets for the 2020 offseason:
OG Ronald Leary
The 30-year-old Leary has a history with Jets' offensive line coach Frank Pollack, who was on the Cowboys' coaching staff for four of Leary's five seasons with the team. Having missed the final four games of last season and 10 starts in 2018, Leary is likely to be available on a considerably cheaper contract than his previous one which expired at the end of the season. He had been earning $9 million per season.
The Jets would be gambling on the fact that Leary still has something left in the tank, but he's been a reliable pass blocker and should fit their system well.
Alternative option: Daniel Kilgore
EDGE Aaron Lynch
Lynch should be available on a low-cost veteran deal after only having posted 7.5 sacks over the past four seasons. However, he's still only 27 and has shown the ability to generate pressure when given regular playing time. He had 12.5 sacks over his first two seasons in the league and generated multiple pressures in seven of the last 10 games in 2019, despite seeing limited action.
Lynch is not very good against the run, but if the Jets target him primarily for a pass-rush specialist role, he should provide them with an upgrade over what they currently have.
Alternative option: Robert Quinn
WR Damiere Byrd
Entering last season, Byrd -- who is small but plays mostly on the outside -- had just 12 career catches. However, he broke out to an extent with 32 receptions in 11 games. This is unlikely to be enough to earn him a big money deal on the open market, but he could get a short-term prove-it deal and the opportunity to establish himself as a starter-level contributor.
In addition, Byrd brings some value as a special teamer who has experience returning kicks and punts. He had a 103-yard touchdown on a kickoff return for the Panthers in 2017.
Alternative option: Chester Rogers
OT George Fant
While they've expressed interest in the top tackles on the market, Fant could be someone the Jets could turn to if those signings don't happen. The converted basketball player was thrown into the fire by Seattle in 2017 and initially looked out of his depth but has slowly improved over the past couple of seasons.
In the past two years, Fant has started 16 regular season and postseason games and given up just four sacks. Also, with his length and athleticism, he could be a candidate to keep improving.
Alternative option: Darryl Williams
DL Beau Allen
The Jets don't need an interior defensive lineman, but if they want to add rotational depth, the 29-year-old Allen could be a good option. Allen, who began his career with the Eagles while Joe Douglas was still with the organization, contributed mostly as a run-stuffing nose tackle last season.
The 327-pounder earned $4 million last season but is unlikely to command that much having only played about 10 snaps per game in a rotational role.
Alternative option: Shelby Harris
DB Sherrick McManis
McManis is 32 and didn't play much on defense last year, but he's an excellent special teamer and has links to both Gase and Rex Hogan having been with the Bears since 2012. The Jets could look to target him as a leader on that unit and possible special teams captain with Rontez Miles out of contract.
In 2018, McManis also performed well on defense as he saw considerable action playing multiple rotational roles. He therefore could also bring some versatility and depth to the secondary if called upon.
Alternative option: Will Parks
RB Theo Riddick
The 28-year-old Riddick missed the entire 2019 season with a shoulder injury but is still only 28 and caught more than 60 passes in 2018. He's since been medically cleared.
Riddick could be an excellent third-down back option that shouldn't cost too much coming off an injury. The team continues to insist that Bell will be back in 2020, but whether or not he is, Riddick could be a good pick-up with Ty Montgomery and Bilal Powell both out of contract.
Alternative option: Lamar Miller