The new league year is almost upon us, and the Jets are gearing up for what is expected to be a very busy free agency period for the organization. There are numerous holes to fix on the roster, and that includes finding more pass rushers on the defensive side of the ball.
The Jets were in the middle of the pack last season with 39 team sacks, which was a three-way tie at 16th in the league. Henry Anderson (who they could bring back in free agency) and Jordan Jenkins led the team with seven sacks, while Brandon Copeland and Leonard Williams collected five apiece.
But being mediocre in pass rushing isn't something new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is about, so changes are sure to come to compliment his aggressive play-calling. Though many believed Williams coming aboard meant the Jets converting from a 3-4 base to a 4-3. However, head coach Adam Gase said the Jets will be sticking with the 3-4, which Williams has experience in as well.
So, with that in mind, here's who the Jets could target on the free agent market to boost their pass rush next season (all market values are provided by Spotrac)...
DE Dante Fowler
In a 3-4 scheme, speed is favored versus pure strength when it comes to rushing the passer. Fowler fits the bill, which is why SNY's Ralph Vacchiano is hearing the Jets will be targeting him this offseason.
At the trade deadline last year, the Jets made a "very competitive" offer for Fowler, but the Jaguars ended up sending him to the Rams fora third-round pick and 2020 fifth-round pick. In fact, Gang Green even had Fowler on their radar before the season began, with CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora saying back in November that Teddy Bridgewater was offered to the Jags in exchange for the edge rusher.
Fowler's production picked up with the Rams, as he totaled two sacks, five quarterback hits, four tackles for loss, and 21 total tackles through eight regular season games. He also had 1.5 sacks and three quarterback hits in Los Angeles' Super Bowl run.
DE Trey Flowers
The Patriots only produced 30 sacks during the regular season, but Flowers was one of their biggest producers in that category. The 26-year-old collected 7.5 sacks and 20 quarterback hits as well as three forced fumbles.
Flowers another speedster off the edge, and can not only disrupt the passer, but also the run game. There is also his two Super Bowl rings that showcases his valuable playoff experience.
Vacchiano is being told the Jets have interest in Flowers, and his market value is higher than most edge rushers at $15.7 million per season, according to Spotrac. But a player with his skillset at his age is worth that type of money, and even better, the Jets would be stealing a valuable defensive piece to their division rival.
DE Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah"
The 29-year-old Ansah didn't get the chance to showcase his talents over a full season in 2018, as the Lions were forced to place him on the IR after just seven games. But he was still able to display his pass rushing abilities with four sacks and seven quarterback hits over that span.
Health is the biggest kicker for Ansah, so the Jets could be taking a chance with his market value set at $13.6 million. That is a few million less than the $17.1 million he made with the Lions last season, and if Ansah can stay healthy, they could be getting a bargain for the veteran.
DE/OLB Preston Smith
Smith only collected four sacks in 2018 compared to eight sacks in 2017, but he consistently pressured the quarterback with 16 quarterback hits to boot. He also had 53 tackles on the season.
At age 26, Smith's market value falls at $11.1 million, which wouldn't be a bad deal for the Jets. At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, he has shown his length and speed can be a major asset on defense to truly set the edge and disrupt an offense.
DE/OLB Markus Golden
Golden made a name for himself in 2016 when he tallied 12.5 sacks and 51 total tackles with the Cardinals. But the past two seasons has seen anything close to that production, with 2.5 sacks coming in 2018 following an injury-riddled 2017 campaign.
Golden is about to turn 28 years old, and he's coming off his rookie deal with the Cardinals. He would fall in a lesser financial tier, and could be a high-risk, high-reward target for the Jets as they would bring him on hoping a fresh start on a new squad would generate those sack totals again. He also switched from a 3-4 to a 4-3 last season, so going back to the 3-4 may get him back in the groove off the edge.