A few weeks out from 2021 NFL training camps getting underway, every ESPN NFL Nation Reporter shared their take on which veteran could be on the roster bubble for their respective team they cover.
Every roster has 90 players at the start of camp and by the time the season gets here in early September, those will be shaved down to the final 53.
This presents a unique opportunity to find some diamonds in the rough. One man’s trash can often become another man’s treasure.
When the New York Jets hired general manager Joe Douglas back in 2019 he preached about using every possible resource as an opportunity to improve his team. Whether that’s by trade, free agency, the NFL draft, or on waivers.
ALL the latest Jets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Jets newsletter here!
Several Tantalizing Offensive Players Could Shake Free
Andre Smith, offensive tackle, Baltimore Ravens
The Jets added Morgan Moses in June to fortify their starting offensive tackles and their depth on the offensive line. Although you can never have enough protection up front.
Smith is getting up there in age (34), but he got a lot of bonus rest after opting out last season. He’s mostly played on the right side since entering the league back in 2009, but has some experience at left tackle as well.
Mark Ingram, running back, Houston Texans
The Jets backfield features a ton of inexperience and one proven veteran in Tevin Coleman. Although the former San Francisco 49ers stud has been unable to stay healthy during his professional career.
This should make Douglas at least consider adding a proven commodity to the backfield that can provide a legitimate punch. Mark Ingram has entered the chat.
The former Alabama star is a tough in between the tackles runner that can provide some thumping chutzpah to this backfield. The Jets have a ton of different kinds of options but they lack a bruiser. Ingram is a touchdown machine with 26 combined scores over the last four years.
Nick Foles, quarterback, Chicago Bears
This is a name that we’ve beaten like a dead horse throughout this offseason. The Jets have an obvious need for a proven backup quarterback and Foles has a direct line to Douglas from their time together in Philadelphia.
In this ESPN column talking about potential veterans on the chopping block, Foles was labeled as “expendable” with Andy Dalton and Justin Fields sharing the quarterback room.
Benny Snell Jr, running back, Pittsburgh Steelers
We already talked about adding a proven running back in Ingram, but adding Benny Snell Jr would be much more than that.
For those who don’t know, Snell is the great-nephew of former Jets running back Matt Snell.
Snell was the unsung Super Bowl III hero that led Gang Green to the Super Bowl. He carried the rock 30 times for a then Super Bowl record 121 yards and scored the only touchdown of that championship game.
If ‘Broadway’ Joe Namath didn’t make that guarantee prior to the game, Snell would’ve been the clear MVP favorite after this one.
This signing would be a cool nostalgic add and plus Snell has proven himself in limited opportunities with the Steelers.
Some Defenders That Could Add Some Juice to Defense
Aldon Smith, EDGE rusher, Seattle Seahawks
Out of all the players on this list, Aldon Smith is the most intriguing. He’s a former first-round pick that dominated the first two years of his career totaling 33.5 sacks with the San Francisco 49ers.
Then his play started to dip with a mix of injuries and off-the-field issues. Ultimately he left the game in 2015 and finally made a surprising return with the Dallas Cowboys in 2020 and made an instant impact.
No one has ever denied his talent, but he’s always had to have his head screwed on right to be effective. Smith is dealing with another legal issue, but if that gets figured out he would be a potentially interesting add for the Jets late in this process.
You can never have enough pass rushers and pairing Smith with what the green and white already have upfront would be spicy.
Jordan Hicks, linebacker, Arizona Cardinals
Jordan Hicks is a super talented player that is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Arizona Cardinals are overflowing with linebackers and Hicks seems destined for a new team in 2021.
Over the last two years, he has started every game (32-for-32), registered four interceptions, has 268 combined tackles, and 22 tackles for loss.
The Jets are incredibly thin at linebacker and more depth and experience wouldn’t be a bad thing. Especially if this team deals with the injury bug at any point during 2021.
Mack Wilson, linebacker, Cleveland Browns
The Jets are utilizing a 4-3 base heading into 2021 and we don’t know who the starting weakside linebacker will be. If there was a gun to my head right now it’s probably Blake Cashman but he’s been unable to stay healthy.
Mack Wilson is an ideal scheme fit that is buried on the depth chart in Cleveland. Not only is he a fit for the specific scheme but he’s an ideal linebacker in today’s game with his ability to pursue, coverage skills, and his raw unadulterated speed.