Go East 49ers! Jets Could Find a Free-Agent Gold Rush

Robert Saleh is with the Jets and a few of his ex-players could follow him across the country to Florham Park.


Beginning Wednesday afternoon with the start of free agency, Saleh may have the eastern version of the 49ers.


Remember when Rex Ryan brought a few of the Ravens with him, notably Bart Scott?


Saleh and GM Joe Thomas quickly could fill some of their many holes with a handful of players Saleh certainly knows well.


Don’t forget former Niners running back coach Mike LaFleur who is now the Jets’ offensive coordinator.


Thomas has the second largest free agent cap space with nearly $68 million, and most early indications have Thomas not wildding the big contract like his predecessor did to Le’Veon Bell and CJ Mosely.


Instead, Thomas will spend wisely keeping in mind the amounts hw will need for his draft picks.

There could be a maximum of eight ex-49ers who could be wearing green next fall if Thomas simply went that route.


That likely won’t happen as the Jets need to reach out in other areas, one being wide receiver where Pittsburgh’s JuJu Smith-Shuster continues to be a prime target on their radar.


Yet, the Jets could solve their long overdue secondary problem by inking either K’Waun Williams and/or Ahkello Witherspoon, both of whom could fill a void. Rookie Bryce Hall made an impact last season, and he’ll certainly get a long look.


Safety Jaqusiki Tartt could be the team’s next strong safety and form a strong tandem with recent franchise tagged Marcus Maye.


Up front, Kerry Hyder Jr. would be a more reasonable option than Tampa Bay’s Shaq Barrett among some other edge rusher who likely will land big deals. Hyder did register 8.5 sacks and can be a strong presence among their young core.


Richard Sherman would bring a veteran, seasoned presence as a starter or nickel back. Sherman is being courted by Las Vegas, but Saleh could push to add him as a strong locker room mentor.


Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne is viewed as a third or fourth option, but he could spell Denzel Mims or Jamison Crowder as well as provide valuable veteran depth.


Fullback Kyke Juszczyk doesn’t quite fit the bill, but LaFleur could find a way to utilize him.


There’s also quarterback CJ Beathard, who could be a starter or backup depending on what happens, but he’s in the Bengals’ sights.


Thomas, Saleh, and Lafleur could solve some of the Jets’ problems with a familiar approach at an affordable price.


It’s not an end-all option, but it’s one to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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