By now, every Jets fan can recite what the team needs to add through free agency and the draft this offseason.
We all know general manager Joe Douglas must remake the offensive line, find an edge rusher, a cornerback and a wide receiver or two. But the Jets’ needs extend even beyond that.
When the free-agency negotiating window opens March 16 and signings begin March 18, the Jets will be casting a wide net to reshape their roster. We all know what the top needs are, but what else will they need to add?
Here are four areas of need flying under the radar:
No, the Jets have not given up on Sam Darnold, but they need to find someone to play behind him. Both Trevor Siemian and David Fales are set to become free agents. Mike White is the only other quarterback on the roster, and he spent last year on the practice squad.
Backup quarterback is easy to overlook until you need one. The Jets must find someone who can keep the offense moving if Darnold is out. Last season, they fell apart after Darnold contracted mononucleosis and Siemian broke his ankle. Over Darnold’s first two seasons, he has missed six games. The Jets are 0-6 in those games.
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The veteran-quarterback market should be an active one. Case Keenum, Marcus Mariota, Chase Daniel, Colt McCoy and A.J. McCarron all are experienced players who are not going to have opportunities to start. Matt Moore also could hit the market and has familiarity with Adam Gase from their two years in Miami together.
We know Le’Veon Bell will be back in 2020, but the situation behind him is murky. The Jets also could move on from Bell after this season and should be lining up someone who can be with them for a few years.
They need to add speed all over the field, but particularly at running back. If they can find a speed back, that will provide a nice complement to Bell and give Darnold and Gase someone who can turn short plays into long gains.
To me, this is a spot you are more likely to fill on the second day of the draft than in free agency. The model in my mind is what the Bills did last year when they took Devin Singletary in the third round out of Florida Atlantic. He ran for 775 yards and two touchdowns and had another 194 yards receiving and two receiving touchdowns as a rookie.
Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery, last year’s backups, are scheduled to hit free agency. The Jets could bring one of them back as an insurance policy before seeing what they can get in the draft.
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This was one surprising thing I heard at the scouting combine last week: The Jets were talking to agents about defensive linemen. This may be because Gregg Williams loves to rotate linemen so much that they figure they can’t have enough. Right now, they have Authentic Quinnen Williams Jersey, Authentic Henry Anderson Jersey, Authentic Steve McLendon Jersey, Foley Fatukasi, Authentic Kyle Phillips Jersey , Authentic Nathan Shepherd Jersey and Authentic Jordan Willis Jersey. That is a pretty deep group.
Don’t be surprised, though, if they add another. Douglas knows free agent Timmy Jernigan from his time with both the Eagles and Ravens, so he makes some sense. Jets director of player personnel Chad Alexander came from the Ravens, so keep an eye on another former Raven here in Michael Pierce.
It may be time for a total overhaul of the Jets’ kicking units. Sam Ficken made 70 percent of his field-goal attempts last year, and the Jets are likely to move on. Punter Lachlan Edwards has been inconsistent and is an impending free agent. There are veteran options at both positions (Greg Zuerlein is an intriguing free-agent kicker), but the Jets could try to find someone from the college ranks. They only had two coaches at the Senior Bowl in January — their special teams coordinator and his assistant.