One thing is clear: the Jets must exit this offseason with a bona-fide pass-rusher to anchor the defensive line heading into 2019.
Gang Green can address the need either through the draft in April or through free agency. And with the NFL Combine in full swing in Indianapolis, players are set to officially hit the open market on March 13 at 4 p.m. ET (teams can begin talking to soon-to-be free agents two days prior).
According to ESPN's Rich Cimini, the Jets are not being shy in their interest for a player who can hound the quarterback. The team is apparently centering its search around pass-rushers Ezekiel Ansah, Dante Fowler and Preston Smith.
Ansah has spent his entire six-season career with the Lions, although a shoulder injury limited him to seven games last season. The former No. 5 overall pick has accumulated 48 career sacks, with his highest marks coming during the 2015 (14.5) and 2017 (12) seasons.
Traded mid-season in 2018, Fowler went from a losing situation with the Jaguars to the Super Bowl with the Rams. He's notched 16 career sacks, with four last year, was a No. 3 overall selection in 2015.
Smith has been a factor in multiple facets of the game for the Redskins during his four years there. He's played all 16 games each of the last four seasons and has started each game over the last three. Last season was, statistically, his best year. Smith recorded a career-high 53 tackles, four sacks, and one interception. Over his career, the former second-round pick has 13 passes defended and four picks. His career-high for sacks in one season is eight, which he's done twice -- 2015 and 2017.
Those are the big names expected to hit the market for sure. It could be an especially deep class at the position, though, if other teams opt not to franchise tag or re-sign some of the game's most high-impact players. Dee Ford (Chiefs), DeMarcus Lawrence (Cowboys), Frank Clark (Seahawks) and Jadeveon Clowney (Texans) fall into this category.
Teams must decide to franchise tag players by 4 p.m. ET this Tuesday.