People that have spoken to the Jets' contingent believe new GM John Idzik will limit his free-agent shopping to players in the $1 million-to-$2 million-a-year range. Makes sense, considering the Jets' tight cap situation. The feeling among league insiders is the market will bottom out as soon as the upper-tier free agents land their big contracts. Remember, the salary cap is expected to remain relatively flat. Cap space is an issue for most teams. The Jets might be able to find some good bargains. Their top needs are outside linebacker, safety, guard and running back.
And so that jives with the name that Tony Pauline gave us last week that might be a possible line replacement, Jeff Schwartz from the Vikings. Vikings would fall in the $1-2 million range and only come on a one year deal. If that is the case for the Jets, then the question becomes if that is all they will pay for all their free agents? Or are the low-level signings able to give the Jets more room in for one or two players in particular?
Of course, for $1-2 million per year ... the Jets are going to get what they pay for. Back in 2007 when the Jets needed some fill-in players on the line, they signed low-level money guys like Adrien Clarke (LG) and Antony Clement (RT) who were both terrible and were part of the reason that Chad Pennington was injured that year.
My thought is that this will put more emphasis on drafting players that might compete for starting spots, hopefully as least as deep as the fourth round and maybe even further. If the Jets are going to put that sort of emphasis on the draft, then you can understand why signing free agents at high dollars in the midst of a cap crunch won't be the right move.