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New York Jets: Offensive Needs & Potential Targets Heading into Free Agency
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12 Mar 2018 01:55 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Quarterback Kirk Cousins attempts pass with Washington. (Image Source: Rich Schultz/AP Photo)

The New York Jets enter free agency with around $90 million in cap space, an NFL record. Teams can begin to negotiate with free agents today, but cannot officially sign them until 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Here’s a look at the NYJ's biggest needs on offense heading into free agency, as well as some potential targets:

1. Quarterback: Christian Hackenberg, Bryce Petty, Joel Stave

Key Free Agent: Josh McCown

The Jets have all the cap space in the world and this isn’t the strongest free agent class, which is why quarterback Kirk Cousins is their No. 1 target. It’s not often that a quarterback of his caliber becomes available. With holdovers Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty likely to duke it out for the third-string job, the Jets could be in the market for two quarterbacks. If they bring Josh McCown back (or sign someone similar) it’s probably an indication that the team is strongly considering drafting a quarterback with the sixth overall choice.

Potential Targets: Kirk Cousins, Sam Bradford, Case Keenum, AJ McCarron, Mike Glennon, Teddy Bridgewater

2. Center: None

Key Free Agent: Wesley Johnson

The Jets tried to replace Nick Mangold with Wesley Johnson and it didn’t work out well. The team desperately needs an anchor to lead the O-line, which makes signing an experienced proven center a top priority. Ryan Jensen would be a huge upgrade and they might not have to break the bank to sign him.

Potential Targets: Weston Richburg, Spencer Long, John Sullivan, Travis Swanson, Ryan Jensen

3. Tight End: Jordan Leggett

Key Free Agent: Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is their top priority among their own free agents on offense. He can catch the football, still has upside, and is young. Seferian-Jenkins is trending in the right direction and was the team’s most productive tight end in years. They would be wise to keep him.

Potential Targets: Jimmy Graham, Tyler Eifert, Trey Burton, Martellus Bennett, Luke Wilson, Richard Rodgers

4. Running Back: Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire, Jeremy Langford, Akeem Judd

Key Free Agent: None

With Matt Forte retired and Bilal Powell approaching 30, the Jets will need to add a running back to the rotation. They could very well wait until the draft, which is deep in runners with an eye towards Penn State’s Saquan Barkley if he falls to them at No. 6 overall.

Potential Targets: Carlos Hyde, Isaiah Crowell, Dion Lewis, Jerick McKinnon, DeMarco Murray, Doug Martin, Jeremy Hill

5. Offensive Tackle: Kelvin Beachum, Brandon Shell, Ben Braden, Korren Kirven

Key Free Agent: None

They return starters Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell. They both showed progress last season, but still have work to do, especially as run blockers. You can believe the Jets will check out the offensive tackle market to see if they can make an upgrade at the right price, especially considering there is no elite tackle in the upcoming draft.

Potential Targets: Nate Solder, Justin Pugh, Chris Hubbard, Cameron Fleming, LaAdrian Waddle

6. Wide Receiver: Jermaine Kearse, Robby Anderson, ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen, Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall, Lucky Whitehead, JoJo Natson, Damore’ea Stringfellow, Tre McBride, Daniel Williams

Key Free Agent: Quincy Enunwa (Restricted)

Expect Quincy Enunwa to return. Along with Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson that gives the Jets three starting caliber receivers as long as Enunwa is healthy and Anderson stays out of trouble. They have some youth in ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen, a pair of 2017 draft picks who did little as rookies. They have depth and I like the talent they have here. What the Jets lack is a true No. 1 wide out, which could be part of the plan when it comes to luring a big-ticket quarterback. However, is there a No. 1 WR available other than Allen Robinson (coming off injury)?

Potential Targets: Allen Robinson, Sammy Watkins, John Brown, Paul Richardson, Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief, Jordan Matthews, Terrelle Pryor

7. Offensive Guard: Brian Winters, James Carpenter

Key Free Agent: None

Similar to tackle, the Jets return their starting offensive guards, but if we’re being honest they could get better. James Carpenter in particular is coming off a disappointing season. However, if the Jets are going to make a big splash move at guard, it might not come until the draft, when Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson might be the best player on the board at No. 6. Former Panther Andre Norwell is tempting and would immediately make the O-line better.

Potential Targets: Andre Norwell, Justin Pugh, Jack Mewhort, Josh Sitton, Jonathan Cooper

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: danmogollon@gmail.com.

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