First Day of Free Agency: Jets Recap

The first day of free agency is always a busy one, and the Jets made several moves.

+ First things first: with the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins losing cap space due to violations in 2010, each NFL team, minus  the Saints and raiders, are picking up an extra $1.6 million in cap space. This, along with D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Mark Sanchez restructuring their contracts, means the Jets will have $15 million in cap space to spend on free agents and rookies this off season.

[caption id="attachment_526" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Bryan Thomas // Photo by Al Bello, Getty Images."][/caption]

+ The Jets have agreed to a one year deal with outside linebacker Bryan Thomas, who missed most of 2011 with a torn Achilles tendon. The Jets desperately needed an outside linebacker, and Thomas, who is 32, has been with the Jets since they drafted him in 2002. The financial details of the deal weren’t immediately available.

+ Kris O’Dowd, an undrafted free agent, tried out with the Jets today and was immediately signed. O’Dowd plays center and played with quarterback Mark Sanchez at USC.  He had tried out with the Cardinals last year but was cut.

+ The Jets are reportedly in former Patriots & Bears safety Brandon Meriweather. Safety is supposedly one of the positions that the Jets will look to upgrade via free agency. Jim Leonhard, who missed the stretch run of 2010 and 2011, is an unrestricted free agent. The team is also reportedly interest in Reggie Nelson and LaRon Landry.

+ Other players the Jets are looking into: quarterbacks Chad Henne and Drew Stanton (as a legitimate back up to Mark Sanchez), and wide receiver Laurent Robinson and Chaz Schilens. The Jets need a #2 wide receiver to stretch the field.

+ The Jets tendered restricted free agent linebacker Aaron Maybin. Neither linebacker Jamaal Westerman nor cornerback Marquice Cole were tendered. Westerman becomes an unrestricted free agent. Cole may return, Westerman will probably not. Tight end Matthew Mulligan was also not tendered. Hopefully he goes. The only time Jets fans heard Mulligan’s name being mentioned last season was when he was being penalized.

+ Unrestricted free agents (not including Sione Pouha and Bryan Thomas, who were signed earlier):

QB Mark Brunell: The Jets are looking at other QBs to back Sanchez. Brunell is about 200 years old. He won’t return.

WR Plaxico Burress: He’s dying to play in Philly and has privately expressed that he’s not a believer in Sanchez. He won’t be back.

PK Nick Folk: He might be back. The Jets are interested, but he will be looking for the best deal, wherever that is.

S Jim Leonhard: The Jets might be interested in him this summer, but it’s too early to tell how his recovery from knee surgery is shaping up.

QB Kevin O’Connell: May be around this summer. Knows new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano’s system from time in Miami.

S Brodney Pool: If the Jets are looking to upgrade at safety, they probably won’t keep Smith, Leonhard, and Pool. Pool may be left in the cold.

CB Donald Strickland: cornerback for the minimum? 50/50 on whether he stays or goes.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson: He’s considering retirement but still thinks he’s still an option out of the backfield. His comments after the season ended on the state of the Jets mean he won’t be in green.

OL Rob Turner:  Uncertain if he’ll be back.

+ It’s being reported that the Bills are expressing serious interest on DE/OLB Mario Williams, which is going to mean huge problems at right tackle for Wayne Hunter and Vlad Ducasse.

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