The NFL Draft is coming up and free agency is essentially in the rear view mirror. There are still signings to be made and they will happen over the next few months but for now, teams are likely focused on the incoming rookies and which ones they'll be able to land.
Thus far, we've taken a pre-draft look at the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, and Arizona Cardinals. Today we take a look at the New York Jets.
The Jets have been fairly quiet the last couple weeks, but they had a busy weekend at the left tackle position. D'Brickashaw Ferguson announced his retirement, and a few days later, the team traded their fifth round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to the Denver Broncos for Ryan Clady and their seventh round pick. The Ferguson retirement cleared just under $9.1 million in cap space prior to the team getting back $5 million in prorated bonus money. The Clady deal added $9.5 million in cap space, pending any potential contract restructuring.
That cleared one area of concern, but leaves one more area, quarterback. The team has been negotiating with Ryan Fitzpatrick, but nothing has come of it. Their quarterback depth chart currently consists of Geno Smith and Bryce Petty. They had been briefly connected to Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III as landing spots, but RG3 signed with the Browns, and Kaepernick's most likely destination still seems like the Broncos.
For now, with free agency mostly a wrap, it's time to take a look at where the Jets stand, and what's next for the 2016 NFL Draft. First up, some of their more notable free agents:
DL Muhammad Wilkerson: Franchised
LB Demario Davis: Signed with Browns
DL Damon Harrison: Signed with Giants
RB Chris Ivory: Signed with Jaguars
RB Stevan Ridley: Signed with Lions
RB Bilal Powell: Re-signed
TE Zach Sudfeld: Re-signed
TE Kellen Davis: Re-signed
LB Erin Henderson: Re-signed
S Antonio Allen: Signed wth Texans
CB Antonio Cromartie: Cut
Free agency recap
The Jets lost a big name on the defensive line, with nose tackle Damon Harrison joining the Giants. That one stings for the line, but the Jets did have a plan to replace him. They signed Steve McLendon, and while he is not quite on the level of Harrison, he could be a very capable replacement.
The team lost Chris Ivory and Stevan Ridley, but the run game got interesting with the addition of Matt Forte. The Chicago Bears are going younger at the position, but Forte is still a solid option. They also added Khiry Robinson and re-signed Bilal Powell, which helps with the depth.
2016 NFL Draft needs
Ryan Fitzpatrick remains the big question for the Jets. But whether or not they get him re-signed, it seems likely they will be looking at quarterbacks in the draft. If they don't re-sign Fitzpatrick, that need bumps up significantly higher. At No. 20 in the first round, Paxton Lynch could be in play. If Connor Cook is on their radar, they might need to climb up from their second round pick. And if they want to go for a big splash, moving from No. 20 into the top six will not be easy.
Beyond quarterback, their defense needs to be further developed. They released Antonio Cromartie, and Darrelle Revis is not getting any younger. They also need more help in their pass rush. Look for them to hit those two areas pretty hard later this month.