I love the moves the Jets have made so far. In the span of 72 hours they've gone from a team with enormous holes to one that at least on paper looks like one more talented squads in the AFC. The front office has aggressively addressed its weakest units, Oline and Dline, and has upgraded each with the likes of Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, Kris Jenkins, and Calvin Pace. The offensive line, which was one of the most porous in memory, now is arguably the team's strongest unit(again on paper). With the addition of Pace and Jenkins, the front seven should be able to generate consistent pressure on the opposing QB, something they couldn't do outside of freak one game against Big Ben Homothug. Jenkins, who has ideal 3-4 NT size should theoretically be able to tie two blockers every play, allowing Harris, Jenkins, and an underrated Eric Barton to make plays all over the field. Unlike the offense, there is a lot of young talent on the defensive side of the ball as Derrelle Revis, David Harris, and Kerry Rhodes all look like Pro Bowl caliber players.
Offensively, the talent infusion on the line should pay dividends on multiple levels. D'Brickashaw Ferguson should be much more effective playing next to Faneca rather than the turnstyle known as Adrian Clarke. A line that can actually, run block, pass block, and pick up the blitz should create holes for Thomas Jones and provide Kellen Clemens with a pocket, throwning lanes, and time to actually make it through more than one of his progression reads.
These four signings also provide the Jets with great flexibility in the upcoming NFL Draft. Prior to the onset of free agency, it seemed the Jets were destined for Ohio State's Vernon Ghoulston, as an edge rushing linebacker was a pressing need. Now Ghoulston may still be the pick (and a good one at that), but with the acquisition of Pace the Jets are free to go after the one offensive playmaker in the draft, Darren McFadden. Drafting RunDMC would be the piece de resistance of the offseason and generate a genuine buzz around the Jets, the likes of which have not been seen or heard since 1999.
If you read this post carefully, or at all, you'd have noticed that I through a lot of qualifiers in my analysis such as "should" or "on paper". That's because it is very difficult to build an NFL team via free agency. (See Redskins, Washington) Perhaps it stems from a lack of motivation after getting handed a large chunk of money or the short shelf life of NFL players, but there are many instances where teams simply do not get great value from their free agent signings, especially at the back end of the deal. Nevertheless, free agency breathes hope into distraught fan bases every year, inflating expectations to lofty levels, leading to inevitable disappointment. From that last line, I'm sure you can safely guess that I'm a Jet fan who lived through initial optimism and eventual depression of the Neil O'Donnell era.