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As we wait poised on the start of free agency, I asked the editorial staff to send me answers to the following question.

Name me one free agent that you (desperately?) hope the Jets sign next week to a contract? Tell me why you think he could have a big impact for the Jets.

Here's their answers with mine at the very end, enjoy!

You should know by now that you can't fence me in and make me commit to one choice.

I assume we're talking about external free agents, but I'm usually more invested in which of the team's existing free agents will be back.  Still, I remember back to 2011 where I wanted everyone back and wrote in detail about how they should be able to afford that, contrary to expectations...and that's essentially what they did and it was a DISASTER.  So what do I know?  I honestly don't know that there's any one move which would excite me, I'm much more concerned with the overall approach, which I'm hoping is measured and value-driven rather than desperate and extravagant.

Still, while I've never been a fan of his, there's one guy out there who, better than anyone else, would fit the Jets' system and open things up for Rex Ryan to do some of the things that either he couldn't do last year or that were ineffective when he did them: Aqib Talib.  Talib's ability to track the opposing team's number one receiver and to play physical press coverage at the line would make him a better fit than Antonio Cromartie was while playing hurt last year.  If the Jets don't target Talib, I'd see this as a sign that they're grooming Dee Milliner to be "the Revis" of this defense going forward.  (Note: When I refer to "the Revis" I don't mean "transcendent hall-of-fame level talent", I just mean that he'll be the guy to track the opposing team's number one receiver, much as he did at the end of last season against the likes of Josh Gordon and Mike Wallace.)

I'd stop short of "desperately" and even "hope", but this is a move not many people are talking about that makes a lot of sense.

I thought this would be easy. It’s Jairus Byrd, right?

A difference-making coverage safety would solidify the Jets’ defense down the middle, and with Nick Mangold at center, they’d be a Geno Smith progression way from being set down the middle for at least the next two years. But then I started to think, what if Geno doesn’t progress? What if he can’t pick up zone or corner blitzes or if he keeps panicking in the pocket?

Michael Vick is bar-none the best quarterback on the free agent market and he’s miles ahead of any other option. If the Jets don’t pay for Byrd, there’s Chris Clemons, Antoine Bethea, Mike Mitchell or maybe Malcolm Jenkins. Bottom line, while Byrd is a pie-in-the-sky difference-maker, there’s decent depth behind him. There’s no depth behind Vick and if the Jets are serious about 2014 being a playoffs-or-bust type of season, they need a quarterback they can rely on. Vick would seriously challenge Geno and would force him to either step his game up or Vick could win the job and, if healthy (a huge IF, I know), play well enough to keep the team in the playoff race.

I like the answers of the guys above, but for the sake of going another way, my secret binkie of free agency will be Seahawks WR Golden Tate.  Golden Tate? Yes, Golden Tate.  Tate has never developed into the receiving threat that Seattle hoped he would be.  Last year the team paid a king's ransom to bring in Percy Harvin and as he demonstated in the Super Bowl, when healthy he can have a devastating effect on the team.  Both sides have paid lip service to bringing Tate back, but Seahawks GM John Schneider has some tough decisions ahead of him and bringing back Tate might not be high on his list, despite what he told reporters at the Combine.

From a numbers standpoint, Tate has never wowed anyone.  Even so, by going to the advanced metrics sites Tate is efficientlty effective (ranking 25th in FO) and solid on film (22nd on PFF) despite being statistically buried on a run-heavy Seahawks team.  Tate is no choir boy, but he's a gritty player who has no fear in going across the middle or getting physical with defensive backs.  Tate has been one of the best receivers after the catch and after contact in the league.  While Tate might not be the flashiest signing, he'd be a big help to whoever lines up under center for the Jets in 2014.

Tags: NYJets , Brian Bassett
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