Posted by Rick Laughland Posted on 1:03:00 PM with No comments
With 18 upcoming free agents, New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan will have some big decisions to make this offseason. Thankfully, we at Fans' Favorite will not have to make any of these personnel decisions, but we offer up a handful of viable free agent targets for Gang Green’s sore spot, their defensive line.
Defensive End Haloti Ngata, Baltimore Ravens
Ngata can provide a spark to a defensive line that failed to unleash a consistent pass rush for the majority of the season. A fifth year defensive end out of Oregon, Ngata stands six foot four coming in at a beastly 350 pounds. #92 will help fortify a top flight run defense that broke down week 16 against the Bears and in the AFC title game against Pittsburgh.
Haloti Ngata played in the 3-4 defensive formation in Baltimore and would thrive in a Jets system that is eerily similar. Ngata tallied 5.5 sacks last season with Baltimore and is deceptively agile despite his bulky physique. With 34 year old Shaun Ellis entering free agency, Ngata would serve as the ideal replacement infusing youth and power into a patchy defensive line.
Defensive End Cullen Jenkins, Green Bay Packers
Not only is Cullen Jenkins a Super Bowl champion, but he is the younger brother of Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins. In his seventh year out of Central Michigan, Cullen Jenkins had a strong campaign with the eventual champion Packers amassing seven sacks on the season. Jenkins did turn 30 in January, but certainly has a few more productive years ahead of him.
The Jenkins brothers would forge a dominating force for New York with Kris blasting through the interior and Cullen rushing around the edges. Cullen Jenkins brings championship pedigree to a Jets squad that is desperately trying to get over the hump and make their first Super Bowl appearance in 43 years.
Defensive End Ray Edwards, Minnesota Vikings
Edwards would infuse speed and athleticism to a defensive line that is lacking in both departments. In his fifth year out of Purdue, Edwards had a productive 2010 season amassing 10 sacks including 1.5 sacks of quarterback Mark Sanchez in week five. Ray Edwards is clearly on the rise increasing his sack total the last three seasons and at 26 years old, could energize a geriatric Jets defensive line.
Edwards fills a tremendous void in the Jets line, but will need to adjust from Minnesota’s 4-3 base defense to Rex Ryan’s intricate 3-4. New York may have to work Edwards into the rotation so he can become acclimated to a new defensive system. Once Edwards grasps his role and assignments, the sky is the limit for this up and coming pass rusher.
Mathias Kiwanuka, defensive end, New York Giants
Mathias Kiwanuka has been the odd man out with the New York Giants. Plagued by injuries, the 27 year collected four sacks in merely three games in 2010. Big Blue elected to draft Jason Pierre-Paul with the 15th pick in the 2010 draft; the Giants basically showed Kiwanuka the door entering 2011 free agency. Kiwanuka’s slew of injuries is a concern, but his upside is tremendous.
Kiwanuka is a pure pass rusher, a guy that wreaks havoc on opposing quarterbacks. #94 can command a double team, paving the way for Rex Ryan’s blitz package to intensify in pressure. Mathias Kiwanuka has the rare combination of speed and power, and if he can stay healthy could be a productive game changer for New York.
Richard Seymour, defensive end, Oakland Raiders
Most Jets fans recall Seymour as a centerpiece to a Patriots defense that brought them three titles in four years. Seven years removed from a title, Seymour is hungry for another ring, after enduring the last two seasons with a Raiders squad that failed to make the postseason. Seymour is a consummate professional and would provide veteran leadership to a team that may lose their longest tenured player, Shaun Ellis to free agency.
Seymour is arguably one of the most well-rounded defensive linemen league-wide. With ten years experience out of the University of Georgia, Seymour is the ultimate team player deflecting personal glory in favor of team accomplishments. #92 would bring the intangibles and a strong locker room presence which could instrumental in the Jets securing that all-elusive Super Bowl berth.