The New York Jets boast one of the best rosters they have had in recent memory. Although there are still a few areas that could use some additional love.
Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders said the “strongside linebacker” spot is the biggest roster hole remaining for Gang Green heading into the summer.
“The good news here is that this should be an easy spot to fill with a veteran signing.” The first outside name he mentioned as a possibility is former Minnesota Vikings standout, Anthony Barr.
Anthony Barr Is Exactly What Jets Need on Defense
Barr just turned 31 years of age in March. He is a four-time Pro Bowler and originally entered the league back in 2014 as the No. 9 overall pick in the first round.
The former UCLA product signed a five-year mega-deal for $67.5 million with the Minnesota Vikings after spurning the Jets at the last possible moment.
On March 11, 2019, it was widely reported that Barr was set to join the Jets on a big money multiyear deal in free agency. However, Barr got cold feet and changed his mind instead deciding to go back to the Vikings.
Due to that fun fact, some Jets fans have been burned forever and don’t want to ever see him here in New York under any circumstances. Although the Jets regime of Adam Gase and Mike Maccagnan are long gone and perhaps a new era could be a fresh start for Barr.
If the Jets can look past this, they will have a chance to make a late free-agency splash.
Barr has played nine seasons in the NFL, the first eight were with the Vikings, last season was spent with the Dallas Cowboys.
In those seasons Barr has registered over 553 combined tackles, 18.5 sacks, 48 quarterback hits, five interceptions, eight forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries, and 32 pass deflections.
Diving Into Some of the Big Questions at Linebacker for Jets
Schatz said the Jets’ base defense uses three linebackers in its 4-3 scheme. He said that formation was used on a “higher-than-average 29 percent of defensive snaps last season.”
Currently, he doesn’t believe they have a “good option” on the roster to fill that third linebacker position behind CJ Mosley and Quincy Williams.
Last season the Jets relied upon veteran linebacker Kwon Alexander to fill that role. He remains a free agent but there is still a possibility according to Rich Cimini of ESPN that the team brings him back at some point this offseason.
If they don’t bring Alexander back to the fold, Schatz believes the leftover options on the Jets roster are “very inexperienced.”
Perhaps head coach Robert Saleh who has cut his teeth developing linebackers can make something out of this group and surprise us.
Jamien Sherwood, Hamsah Nasirildeen, and Zaire Barnes are all former day three selections that are eligible to seize the role in 2023.
Sherwood and Nasirildeen combined to play 32 defensive snaps last year. While Barnes is a rookie draft pick from April’s class.
You have to feel pretty confident with Mosley and Williams as starters, but if either player gets injured the team will be in a world of trouble.