Free agency is underway and the Jets have already signed a few guys that Jets fans might not know too much about. Over the next week or so (and throughout the free agent signing window), I'll be taking a closer look at each of the new signings and trying to assess what they can bring to the table for the Jets in 2013.

In case you missed it, I looked at Antonio Garay yesterday. Today we move on to DE/OLB Antwan Barnes.

The 28-year old is 6-1 and 250-pounds and, like Antonio Garay, has been with the Chargers since 2009. He signed a three-year contract worth a possible $6m and looks set to compete for playing time on the outside following the departure of Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace.

Drafted in the fourth round out of Florida International, Barnes played two years with Rex Ryan's Baltimore Ravens before joining the Philadelphia Eagles and moving on to the Chargers.

After the jump, I'll be reviewing his career so far and looking in detail at how well he performed last season, before considering what he could provide the Jets with this year and going forward.

Who is Antwan Barnes?

Barnes played both as a defensive end and outside linebacker in college, where he set a school record for sacks, with 11 of his 22 career sacks coming in 2005. He rose up draft boards following a sparkling performance at the combine, where he ran a 4.43 forty and had 31 bench press reps, a 35-inch vertical and a broad jump of over 10 feet. The Ravens would eventually pick him in the fourth round.

Barnes made headlines almost instantly, as he was fined $12,500 for a vicious cheap shot on Eagles punter Sav Rocca in preseason. As a rookie he was primarily a special teamer, but did record 10 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. He first gained some recognition by schooling Matt Light for a sack on Monday Night Football as the Ravens nearly knocked off the unbeaten Patriots in the game best remembered for Bart Scott throwing the penalty flag into the crowd, then added his second career sack against Miami a few weeks later.

In 2008, he played 13 games, but couldn't add to his sack totals, although he did manage to register five tackles, two QB hits and 11 pressures, as well as a pass defensed. 2009 began well for him, as he picked up his first career interception on this play, but it wasn't until later in the season that he started to see regular time, recording three more sacks. The Eagles traded a late round pick for him in 2010, but he didn't play much over the first few games and they ended up releasing him with just two tackles in two games to his name. San Diego picked him up and he has been there ever since, although the Jets did try and sign him two years ago. In 2010, he had 4.5 sacks and then in 2011 he earned more playing time, including five starts, when Shaun Phillips got hurt. Barnes would rack up a healthy 11 sacks and a career high 39 tackles.

In 2012, the Chargers brought Jarret Johnson and Melvin Ingram aboard, which with Phillips, Barnes and Larry English all already on the team created a bit of a log jam. With his playing time down, Barnes was still productive primarily in a sub-package role, but ended up with just three sacks and nine tackles, before being placed on injured reserve when he suffered a hamstring injury in week 13. Barnes averaged about 15 snaps per game, so let's look at what he did last season.

2012 Season

Week 1 - at Oakland

Barnes got his season off to a good start with a fumble recovery on this play. He would later add three pressures, showing an ability to get to the quarterback in a variety of ways. The first saw him make a quick step to the inside of the left tackle, the next saw him bullrush to push the left tackle back and flush the quarterback out of the pocket and the last saw him drive with a good initial thrust from the left side and then get around his man's outside shoulder.

Week 2 - v Tennessee

He didn't make much of an impact in week two as he saw action on just 10 snaps, recording one tackle.

Week 3 - at Atlanta

Barnes had two sacks and a pressure in this one, although one of the sacks was negated by a defensive penalty in the secondary. That one saw him blow by an attempted chip block by the slot receiver, who then stepped back and tripped the left tackle over so that Barnes could chase down Matt Ryan close to his own goal line. The one that did count saw him get inside leverage with a strong bullrush. He recorded a pressure on a play where he was initially blocked, but came off his man to the inside when Ryan stepped up in the pocket.

Week 4 - at KC

He saw more action in week four but didn't manage to generate any pressure. However, he made a good play against the run, setting the edge well and then coming off his block as the runner cut back inside to make a tackle for a loss.

Week 5 - at NO

In this game, Barnes saw a season high 31 snaps (in 2011, there were six games where he played more than 40). He got pressure on a number of occasions. First, he dipped his shoulder to the inside and then blew by the right tackle on the outside (although Drew Brees threw a touchdown pass on the play anyway). He then blew by the left tackle and chased Brees from behind as he rolled out to the right, hitting him as he threw a dump off for a short gain. Finally, he again got round the outside and Brees stepped up and rushed his throw, which was intercepted.

Week 6 - v Denver

Barnes was only on the field for seven snaps in this one, although he did make one good play, reacting well on a 3rd and 11 draw play to come off his block on the edge and make the tackle.

Week 8 - at Cleveland

In this game, he was only on the field for 12 snaps, but did make a couple of impact plays. He was able to hit the quarterback, coming off his man as the QB looked to escape pressure off the edge and he reacted well to blow up an attempted draw play on 3rd and long for no gain. There was also a short yardage play where they exploited him in the running game. This was well-designed, with the tight end coming back to block Barnes from the side to set the edge, something he obviously wasn't expecting.

Week 9 - v KC

Barnes got some good pressure in this one, although he also jumped offside on a key 3rd and five play. Again, he showed a variety of different ways of getting to the quarterback. First of all, he was standing up in the middle of the line and used his quickness to avoid the center on a blitz up the middle. Then he made an inside move from the right defensive end position - this pressure led to a pick six. Finally, he got to the quarterback cleanly on a well-exectuted stunt to the inside, but the quarterback was able to get rid of a quick throw.

Week 11 - at Denver

In Denver, he only saw action on six snaps, but did make an impact with a fumble recovery on a play where the halfback caught a pass and then the ball squirted out to Barnes. This might actually have been an interception rather than a fumble, but since the ball never hit the ground, the Broncos had no reason to challenge it.

Week 12 - v Baltimore

This was Barnes' most productive game of the year, with two sacks and a pressure. His first sack saw him size up the right tackle and get him on his heels, then just blow by him. His second saw him blow by the left tackle on the outside and strip the ball loose from Joe Flacco. There was one short yardage play where he was unable to set the edge. Again, this was a well designed play where the receiver motioned to his outside shoulder and then blocked him to the inside to prevent him from getting outside.

Week 13 - v Cincinnati

Barnes left the game early with a hamstring injury. In 14 snaps, the only thing of note he did was to commit a neutral zone infraction penalty. Barnes was then placed on injured reserve for the rest of the year.

Conclusions

Let's summarize my observations into categories:

Position

While Barnes is listed as a DE/OLB, he has played the majority of the time with his hand down (and made most of his better plays in that role). He only played 24 snaps from a standing position in 2012. However, he did play 203 snaps standing up in 2011 (out of 485 total). He played mostly on the right in 2012, although he did make some plays on the left. He played both sides in 2011.

His position in the Jets' system will most likely be Rush Linebacker, which is Terrell Suggs' role with Baltimore. Suggs also plays that position with his hand down the majority of the time and rarely drops into coverage, so Barnes would appear to be well equipped for this. He could also get some reps as a DE from a three-man front in pass rushing situations.

Pass rush

The best thing about Barnes' pass-rushing is his terrific production. He's been in the top 20 for pass rushing productivity at his position in each of the last five seasons, including 2nd and 3rd in the NFL in 2010 and 2011. Over those five years, he's generated 21.5 sacks, 15 hits and 80 QB pressures in just over 800 pass rush attempts. By way of a comparison, six Jets outside linebackers combined for just under 800 pass rush attempts last year and they generated nine sacks, 10 hits and 45 pressures between them.

Moves

Barnes is not really a technician like Garay, but he sure knows how to use his speed and size to get into the backfield. His best moves are straightforward drive ahead and then change direction type moves, whether that be via a dip of the shoulder, a jab-step or using leverage to create an angle and some separation. The bottom line is that he can win one-on-one matchups better than the Jets' starters at OLB throughout Ryan's tenure.

Run defense

Barnes didn't play against the run much in 2012 - about 20% of the time - but he did play the run almost 40% of the time in 2011, grading positively per PFF, so he has shown the capability to do that. Where Barnes does get caught out in the running game, it's usually by some kind of misdirection. On one play in 2011, he overpursued and got caught on the inside and the runner bounced the run to the edge. On another, he nailed the running back in the backfield, but the quarterback had kept the ball and was able to run for a first down to the outside. There were two examples noted above where he was in position to get outside leverage and set the edge on his man, only for another man to come down the line and surprise him by forcing him to the inside.

Despite these errors, I never saw any evidence that teams were able to exploit him in the running game. He is quick to get off blocks and explode to the ball and seems to hold his ground and read plays pretty well. This enabled him to make plenty of positive plays in the running game too. He also a pretty consistent tackler, with just four missed tackles in the last three seasons.

Coverage

Barnes doesn't drop into coverage very often - approximately once per game over the last five years - but seems capable enough of dropping off into an area to mix up the pass rush looks. You can see that he did that on the fumble and interception videos linked above - and then showed good reactions to the loose ball each time. I've seen concerns expressed that he isn't capable of covering a tight end in a man-to-man assignment, but that's not really something I'd expect him ever to do. He's been targeted in coverage twice in his career, giving up one catch for nine yards.

System Familiarity

As with Garay, the similarities between the Chargers' system and that of the Jets should prepare him well for the Jets' system. However, instead of a couple of months on the practice squad, Barnes has three years of experience playing for Ryan in Baltimore at the beginning of his career, so this should definitely ensure a smooth transition.

Batting passes

Unlike Garay, Barnes does get his hands up on the pass rush. He's been credited with four passes defensed in his NFL career, all of which were either batted at the line or deflected in the passing lane.

Athleticism

Barnes' combine workout numbers are outstanding ... and remarkably similar to those of a guy named Bryan Thomas. However, unlike Thomas, he does display that kind of athleticism on the field - even as he enters his late-twenties. Granted, Thomas was a good 15 pounds and four inches bigger than Barnes, but he was a more pedestrian run-stopping specialist in comparison to the more dynamic Barnes.

Penalties

Barnes has committed 14 penalties in five years, including six in 2011. Most of these are offside or encroachment penalties and - as I mentioned in the context of Garay - it could be a product of the fact that the Chargers get their defensive linemen to try to figure out the snap count and gamble to try and get a jump at times.

Instincts

As noted above, there were a couple of plays in the running game where he was caught out, but he does seem to have good reactions and made some good reads in the running game. Scheme familiarity will help with this.

Motor

Barnes seems to play hard and is capable of handling starter reps. In 2011, he had three games in a row where he was on the field for more than 50 snaps and played well.

Demeanor

Barnes is an excitable player, as shown by his reactions to some of his big plays. This hurt the team in 2011 when he got himself ejected against the Raiders - see footage here. Like Garay and Willie Colon, this could be another player who plays with a chip on his shoulder, which might be just what this team needs.

Overall

Unlike the other players the Jets just acquired, Barnes is entering his prime and hasn't had many injury issues. Even though he was placed on injured reserve late in the season, I get the impression he could still have played, but the Chargers opted to deactivate him to give some reps to young players like Bront Bird and Andrew Gachkar.

One outside-the-box thought I had was that maybe they could develop him into an inside linebacker to play some reps in the JACK role alongside David Harris. This wouldn't necessarily require him to read-and-react as much as a traditional inside linebacker, since his primary objective could still be to attack the line of scrimmage and take out a designated lead blocker. Players like Bart Scott, Adalius Thomas and Mike Vrabel have made such a transition in the past.

While his drop-off in playing time and total production last year is a concern, he still had four sacks (one negated) and likely would have amassed more in the Chargers' last five games, which featured some poor teams (including the Jets, who of course surrendered 11 sacks against them). Although his playing time dipped, his production as a pass rusher was still pretty good, although not as good as in 2010 and 2011 where he was producing at an elite level.

His role with the Jets will depend on how well he can perform against the run, but his performance in that discipline has been pretty consistent, with positive run defense grades for each of the last five years, albeit sometimes in a limited role. With the Jets expected to add at least one more outside linebacker, either via free agency or a high draft pick, Barnes looks set to contend for a starting role, but will certainly be expected to be productive in sub-packages.

There's no reason to believe he won't contribute, even if it's only as a designated pass rusher, but this is another move with upside. If he produce anywhere close to what he did in 2011, this could prove to be a bargain.

Tags: BGA, Editorial Aside, Bent Double

Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Wesley Johnson (76) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Wesley Johnson (76) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: When the Jets start their sales pitch to Kirk Cousins, he's going to want to know about more than just the size of their check. He's going to want to know, among other things, how they plan to protect him.

That's a project they can get started on right now.

The Jets should begin by re-signing center Wesley Johnson before the free-agent market opens on March 14, and solidify what was a young and better-than-you-think offensive line last season. Together with right guard Brian Winters and right tackle Brandon Shell, it would give the Jets a strong young corps on the line to build around. And with two solid veterans on the left side -- tackle Kelvin Beachum and guard James Carpenter -- it's a line that could actually be pretty good.

Tags: Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

In ESPN Insider Mel Kiper's eyes, "Broadway Baker" will find his way to the Jets in his latest mock draft. 

Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, has seen his draft stock significantly rise all season. After leading his Sooners team to the College Footbal Playoff with gutsy drives and precision passing all season long, Kiper thinks he is the starter -- and leader -- the Jets need under center. 

READ KIPER'S ANALYSIS BELOW

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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GEICO SportsNite: Cousins 00:02:18
The Jets hope to be in the mix to land highly touted free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins in order to provide stability at the QB position.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The entire Jets offseason will be played out in the shadow of Kirk Cousins -- the biggest name on the free-agent market, and the franchise quarterback they so desperately need. And that's even true right now, as the NFL's 15-day "franchise tag" window opens on Tuesday.

The Jets aren't likely to use the tag, but the Washington Redskins are reportedly considering using it on Cousins.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Demario Davis, Morris Claiborne, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sep 4, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Quenton Nelson (56) during the game against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports  (Kevin Jairaj)
Sep 4, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Quenton Nelson (56) during the game against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports (Kevin Jairaj)

The offensive line was a huge disappointment for the Jets in 2017, especially on the interior. In 2016, Wesley Johnson started eight games for the injured Nick Mangold, and the line didn't seem to suffer too badly. However, he struggled throughout the 2017 season after moving into the full-time starter role.

Guards Brian Winters and James Carpenter also failed to play as well as they had in 2016, although that may partly have been caused by Johnson struggling on their inside shoulder.   Injuries were also an issue here, with Winters in particular playing most of the season hurt, and eventually requiring surgery on an abdominal issue.

Dakota Dozier's performances in relief of Winters over the past few years have some people wondering if it was really wise to give Winters a big money extension, when Dozier doesn't appear to be much of a downgrade. However, he's out of contract now, so the Jets may need to replenish their depth.

Tags: Brian Winters, Dakota Dozier, James Carpenter, Nick Mangold
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Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon (99) sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium.  (Brad Penner (USA Today))
Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon (99) sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner (USA Today))

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets exercised their options on two defensive starters on Tuesday, ensuring that defensive tackle Steve McLendon and linebacker Josh Martin will both be back for the 2018 season.

The Jets were facing a deadline of Tuesday on both players, but the decision likely wasn't difficult, especially with the team likely to have nearly $100 million in salary cap space to spend this offseason. McLendon is due a salary of $3.125 million this year and has a salary cap number of $4.25 million. Martin is due a salary of $1.8 million, with a cap number of $2.1 million.

The moves come one day after the Jets declined their 2018 option on tackle Ben Ijalana, making him an unrestricted free agent...

Tags: Steve McLendon, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Kelvin Kuo)
(Kelvin Kuo)

It is no secret the Jets wants top free-agent QB Kirk Cousins on their roster next season, and it came out Monday that they are "willing to pay whatever it takes." But what if Cousins decides to sing elsewhere? What is the Jets' next move from there?

According to SI's Peter King, the Jets should be high on bringing back Josh McCown, and drafting Heisman Trophy Award winner Baker Mayfield ahead of next season. Though the jets are expected to have a pretty healthy cap situation, McCown could come back for cheap, and Mayfield will obviously be on a rookie contract. 

King doesn't deny that Cousins could certainly be a Jet, but this situation could also work with McCown mentoring Mayfield as he did Johnny Manziel back in 2014. 

Tags: Josh McCown
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New York Jets tackle Ben Ijalana blocks during the second half of the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets tackle Ben Ijalana blocks during the second half of the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports Images)

The Jets made offensive tackle Ben Ijalana a free agent on Monday after they failed to exercise his player option.

New York did not exercise Ijalana's $500,000 option bonus that would have activated his $4.5 million base salary for the 2018 season. By doing so, the Jets will save a total of $4.6 million.

Tags: Ben Ijalana
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Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

The Jets know they need a quarterback, and in particular, free-agent QB Kirk Cousins. That is why the team is "willing to pay whatever it takes" to employ him next season, per ESPN's Rich Cimini

New York has failed to find their franchise quarterback for years now, as fill-ins, so to speak, continue to come to town with Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg failing to show they are the guy the Jets need. Josh McCowwas the latest of those rentals, and he had a career year before an injury unfortunately ended his season. 

This offseason, though, GM Mike Maccagnan has no excuse in Cimini's eyes. He currently has over $70 million in cap space, and could have more than that by the time they can grab Cousins. The Redskins can still franchise tag him, so they could use him in a trade, but that is unlikely. 

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Josh McCown
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In 2017, the Jets' running game struggles probably had more to do with the offensive line being overmatched than the performance of the backs.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Matt Forte
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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron throws against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. (David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports)
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron throws against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. (David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets reportedly turned down a Cincinnati Bengals trade proposal that would have sent quarterback AJ McCarron to New York last season, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini.

Cincinnati, according to Cimini, called the Jets organization at the start of free agency and offered McCarron in a trade, however the Jets turned it down to focus on free agency. It is unclear what Cincinnati requested in the deal.

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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets started over last offseason and actually built themselves a nice core of talent. They have many young, inexpensive players they can build around this spring.

They certainly have the tools to build around them - perhaps as much as $100 million in cap room, the sixth overall pick in the draft, and some extra picks too. And that's good, because even though the Jets exceeded expectations last season, they were still 5-11, and have plenty of holes to fill.

Now, as they get ready to begin Phase 2 of their rebuilding project, here's a look at their biggest needs.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brian Winters, James Carpenter, Juston Burris, Leonard Williams, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Trevor Ruszkowski)
(Trevor Ruszkowski)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter: Cornerback is one position where the Jets obviously need to upgrade.

They opted not to pick up a corner from last year's deep draft class until they took two project players - Jeremy Clark and Derrick Jones - in the sixth round. The coaching staff claimed to like the upside of these players along with Juston Burris and Darryl Roberts as well as Rashard Robinson, who was added via trade at the deadline.

However, none of these players stepped up as hoped.

Tags: Derrick Jones, Jeremy Clark, Juston Burris, Morris Claiborne
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

"Broadway Baker" has a nice ring to top prospect QB Baker Mayfield

The 2017 Heisman Trophy Award winner sat down with The Post's Steve Serby to talk about the prospect of playing in the Big Apple, and if he has what it takes to succeed in a market that isn't friendly to anyone. 

Simply put: Mayfield loves the spotlight...

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New York Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

The Jets have officially announced the hiring of Jeremy Bates as offensive coordinator/QB Coach, and announced the hirings of Rick Dennison as offensive line coac/run game coordinator and Steve Jackson as assistant defensive backs coach.

"Jeremy is a talented coach who has a sound understanding of what it takes to build a successful offense," head coach Todd Bowles said in a press release. "Having spent last season with us, he offers continuity and has a good sense of what we need to do to improve. I look forward to him working together with our offensive coaches."

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: When Todd Bowles decided to fire offensive coordinator John Morton, he always had quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates in mind as a replacement...

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 (Jeremy Brevard)
(Jeremy Brevard)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

The Jets have been a team whose defense has been built around their interior linemen for a long time, but Muhammad Wilkerson's anticipated departure could be an opportunity to reinvent themselves by finding a difference-maker who can create constant pressure off the edge.

The Jets haven't really had an elite edge rusher since John Abraham, who was traded before the 2006 draft. They've tried drafting one high (Vernon Gholston), converting an interior lineman into one (Quinton Coples), and bringing in an established veteran (Jason Taylor). But none of these have been successful. None of their low-cost free agents, reclamation projects, or later draft picks have stepped up either.

Tags: Dylan Donahue, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin
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Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets are in position to be the kings of free agency, with potentially more salary cap room to spend than any team except for the Cleveland Browns. They are already projected to have about $75 million in salary cap space, and that's if they don't make another move.

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New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne breaks up a touchdown attempt to Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne breaks up a touchdown attempt to Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When the free agency frenzy finally begins, the Jets figure to be at the center of the storm. And all eyes will be on how hard they go after the quarterback they so desperately need.

But they have a ton of salary cap space to spend in other areas, including maybe on the 24 players they have on their roster who are approaching free agency. Here's a look at all their free agents-to-be, and their prospects of returning or finding potential riches somewhere else around the league:

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brent Qvale, Chandler Catanzaro, Dakota Dozier, Demario Davis, Josh McCown, Morris Claiborne, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Rontez Miles, Wesley Johnson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Mark J. Rebilas)
(Mark J. Rebilas)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

There are always plenty of receiver prospects who make an immediate impact as a rookie, even in the later rounds. However, the Jets haven't had much success in recent years despite selecting seven wideouts in the last four drafts.

While four of those seven are under contract for 2018 and a fifth -- restricted free agent Quincy Enunwa -- also figures to be back, the Jets got just 15 catches of production from that group in 2017.

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Daily News Live: Jimmy Garoppolo 00:03:54
The Daily News Live crew discusses the impact Jimmy Garoppolo's new contract will have on the deal Kirk Cousins will want.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jimmy Garoppolo just became the NFL's highest paid player, even though he's only started seven NFL games and thrown 12 touchdown passes in four seasons. He reportedly agreed to a monster, five-year, $137.5 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers -- a record average of $27.5 million per season. That record will be very short-lived.

It's a simple fact of the NFL that the price of franchise quarterbacks only goes up, and in less than five weeks another one will be on the open market. And when Kirk Cousins officially becomes free on March 14 you can bet his deal will eclipse what Garoppolo just got...

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 (Glenn Andrews)
(Glenn Andrews)

In NFL.com's latest mock draft, Chad Reuter forecasted the first three rounds for all teams. With the Jets first selection at no. 6 overall, Reuter has them taking Wyoming QB Josh Allen.

The Jets take Allen over Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, who fell to the Cardinals at no. 15. USC QB Sam Darnold went no. 1 to the Browns and UCLA QB Josh Rosen went no. 2 to the Giants.

Allen threw for 3,202 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his sophomore season. However, his production dropped this season to 1,812 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also suffered a shoulder injury, and was forced to miss the final two regular-season games this year...

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 (Chuck Cook)
(Chuck Cook)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Most of the draft discussions surrounding quarterback prospects have been focused on the consensus top five prospects: UCLA's Josh Rosen, USC's Sam Darnold, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, Wyoming's Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson from Louisville.

However, depending how the offseason goes, the Jets might end up in a situation where they're not in the market for one of the top prospects.

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Nov 26, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) (Jay Biggerstaff)
Nov 26, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) (Jay Biggerstaff)

The Chiefs have released former Jet Darrelle Revis, the team announced. 

Revis, 32, would have been owed a $10 million contract guarantee if he was still on the roster on March 18. He was signed by Chiefs in November, playing five games, including two starts. 

After the Chiefs' season ended, Revis admitted he wasn't at his best.

Tags: Darrelle Revis
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New York Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers responds to questions from media during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)
New York Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers responds to questions from media during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: Kacy Rodgers never got a chance to play in the NFL before he turned to coaching. But now he might be able to give his son the shot that he never had.

The Jets will be signing Kacy Rodgers II, the son of their current defensive coordinator, according to his agent, David Canter. Rodgers II will join the Jets for their offseason program, at least, after two years with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.

Rodgers II is a 6-2, 208-pound defensive back out of the University of Miami. In 2014 he was a tryout player at the Kansas City Chiefs rookie minicamp, but didn't stick. He then signed with the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos and spent a year on their practice squad before joining the Roughriders...

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Former Jets C Nick Mangold was thinking about starting his political career, and running in his local GOP primary, according to Politico's Matt Friedman.

However, Mangold said Thursday that he will not be running.

Mangold would've been running to replace the retiring Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, who represents the 11th District of New Jersey. Essex County Republican Chairman Al Barlas has spoken with Mangold, and he appears to be serious about running for the position.

Tags: Nick Mangold
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Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) rushes the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Jacksonville won 45-42. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) rushes the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Jacksonville won 45-42. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)

After saying he wouldn't join the Jets for $60 million, Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell, a pending free agent, told TMZ exactly what it would take to secure his services.

"A hundred Ms," Bell said, referring to $100 million. "Hey, listen to me: I play running back, but they've got to respect me like I am, man." 

Bell, 25, responded to a fan's tweet last week asking what amount of money it would take for him to join the Jets.

 

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Another year has come and gone without the Jets winning the Super Bowl. Even the Philadelphia Eagles now have ended their forever Super Bowl drought. If you're counting, that's 49 straight Super Bowls that have been played without the Jets.

Can the 50th time be their charm?

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Leonard Williams, Matt Forte, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Two years ago, the Jets drafted Darron Lee with their first pick, hoping to shore up one of their inside linebacker positions for the foreseeable future. Over the course of his first two seasons, he's been up and down, but he has retained an every-down role.

Last year, he struggled initially, then played the best football of his career in the middle of the season, only to regress down the stretch. However, there are no indications that the Jets intend to move on from Lee.

Tags: Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Jamal Adams
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Jan 27, 2018; Mobile, AL, USA; North Squad quarterback Josh Allen of Wyoming (17) throw a pass during the second quarter of the 2018 Senior Bowl against the South Squad at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports (Glenn Andrews)
Jan 27, 2018; Mobile, AL, USA; North Squad quarterback Josh Allen of Wyoming (17) throw a pass during the second quarter of the 2018 Senior Bowl against the South Squad at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports (Glenn Andrews)

In his latest mock draft, Todd McShay changed his pick for the Jets, and has them taking Wyoming QB Josh Allen with the sixth overall pick. 

McShay originally had New York taking LSU DE Arden Key. However, he had a change of heart as the Jets desperately need to find their franchise quarterback. But he warns not to forget about free agency, where GM Mike Maccagnan will have about $100 million to go after high-profile QB Kirk Cousins.

"Yes, it's a running theme -- this is another landing spot for Cousins," McShay writes. "If the Jets don't sign him in free agency, Allen makes a lot of sense if Mayfield is off the board. There is a significant drop-off in talent after the first four QBs in this draft, so the Jets need to make sure they grab one here. Allen had an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, showing off his arm and his mobility. There are still concerns about his accuracy and ability to make multidimensional throws consistently, but all the tools are there. And he has the prototypical QB build (6-foot-4 7/8, 237 pounds)."

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 (Matthew Emmons)
(Matthew Emmons)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Philadelphia Eagles would be absolutely crazy to get rid of Nick Foles now after he slayed the mighty Patriots, and was rightfully named the Super Bowl MVP. Yes, they have Carson Wentz, a legitimate MVP candidate, before he got hurt. And yes, Foles will likely be Wentz's backup again next season.

But didn't Foles just prove to everyone how valuable a backup quarterback on a contender really is?

Tags: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

In last year's draft, the Jets used their first two picks on safeties, and Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye started every game alongside one another in the secondary. Those starting roles seem settled for the next few years, but the Jets like to operate out of packages with three and even four safeties, so Todd Bowles may be keen to add some depth.

Last year, Rontez Miles and Terrance Brooks each saw regular playing time, often playing together as the Jets used a four-safety dime package in passing situations. Also, Doug Middleton, who missed the season due to injury, was expected to contribute. All three are now out of contract though, so the Jets may look to fortify their depth in the draft.

While it seems unlikely the Jets would select another safety with their top pick, Alabama's Minkah Fitzpatrick is a possible consideration due to his versatility. Could Fitzpatrick be like Jalen Ramsey -- a hybrid cornerback/safety who has developed into one of the league's better cornerbacks?

Tags: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Rontez Miles
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