The Jets enter free agency with approximately $100 million of cap room and are expected to be in the mix for some of the biggest names on the market. However, that doesn't mean they won't also be on the lookout for some bargain pickups. We've identified some potential bargains they might be wise to add to their shopping list.
CB: Jason Verrett
Verrett is a former first-round pick who looked like he was on the way to becoming an elite player after his first two seasons. However, he's been plagued by injuries over the past two years.
For 2019, Verrett might be prepared to sign a short-term, prove-it deal, perhaps with incentives. It could still be expensive but wouldn't require a long-term commitment. Furthermore, if Verrett can get healthy and play at an elite level again, it will still be a lot cheaper than other players at that level.
Another low-cost option at cornerback could be Cleveland's EJ Gaines, who has played four of his five seasons with current Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as his defensive coordinator or head coach.
DL: Zach Kerr
Having already declined Mike Pennel's option, the Jets will have a need for a run stuffer on the defensive interior if veteran Steve McLendon is allowed to hit the market. Other than Foley Fatukasi, who barely played as a rookie, the Jets currently don't have anyone ideally suited to take reps at nose tackle, which may be required in some of Williams' defensive packages.
Kerr is coming off a two-year, $3-million deal with the Broncos, for whom he was a useful rotational role player, albeit not enough of an impact player to warrant starter-level money. Kerr isn't the only affordable run-stuffing option, either.
Bennie Logan or Al Woods could also be valuable low-cost additions, although Logan might cost a little more and Woods is three years older than Kerr.
Slot CB: Briean Boddy-Calhoun
The Jets look set to try and replace nickelback Buster Skrine this year but may lack faith in Parry Nickerson's readiness to take over that role. Boddy-Calhoun was effective in that role for Williams in Cleveland last year, but the Browns opted not to tender him as a restricted free agent.
One thing that's appealing about Boddy-Calhoun is that he's also capable of filling in as a deep safety. That would give the Jets some extra cover in case Marcus Maye misses time through injury again.
As an alternative, Brian Poole is another experienced slot corner that was not tendered as a restricted free agent. He's also an effective blitzer.
Edge Rusher: Shaquil Barrett
Barrett is a player the Jets have reportedly shown interest in trading for previously, but the Broncos now seem prepared to let him walk because they already have Von Miller and Bradley Chubb as starters. The 26-year old Barrett has typically been productive but has never managed to earn himself a full-time role.
If the Jets miss out on the top pass rushers in the draft, Barrett could be a cheaper stop-gap who might thrive in a full-time role. This would probably increase the urgency to select an edge rusher with their first pick in April's draft, though.
Kerry Hyder, who was originally signed by the Jets as an undrafted free agent back in 2015 but didn't make the team, could be a low-cost reclamation project for someone this year. In his first season as an edge defender in 2016, Hyder had eight sacks but has played just seven games and recorded just one sack in the past two seasons as he was held back due to injuries.
OL: Ted Larsen
Larsen was inconsistent over the past two years, as he started 22 games at left guard for Adam Gase's Dolphins. However, he had a solid year for Dowell Loggains' offense in Chicago in 2016, starting eight games at right guard.
The recently-released 32-year old would not be an ideal starter but could be a useful reserve, as he has starting experience at all three interior positions. The Dolphins also had three ex-Jets offensive linemen on their roster last year -- Wesley Johnson, Travis Swanson and Jesse Davis -- each of whom could also become available. However, Larsen would seem to be a more desirable depth option than any of these players.
WR: Charles Johnson (AAF)
Thinking outside the box, Johnson has been one of the most dominant players so far in the Alliance of American Football, leading the league in pass receptions and receiving yards. Johnson almost made the Jets' roster last season and seemed to have some good chemistry with Sam Darnold, so perhaps they could bring him back on a veteran's minimum deal to compete for a roster spot again.