5 defensive free agents Jets could target ahead of offseason start date

Jets have defensive needs in free agency
Jessie Bates could make for a helpful acquisition for the Jets
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Joe Douglas and the New York Jets might be focused solely on the quarterback position and the upcoming NFL Combine, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t players who can help the team elsewhere. 

With free agency set to begin in just a couple of weeks, the New York Jets have plenty of needs on offense and defense that need to be addressed to end a decade-long playoff drought. 

Luckily for Gang Green, there are plenty of high-priced talents that could help the team immediately in the future. 

Here are five names to keep an eye on. 

Fletcher Cox – DT – Philadelphia

The Jets are going to be focused on locking up Quinnen Williams to a long-term extension and rightfully so. He’s the face of the Jets’ defense and has been for a few years now. But with Sheldon Rankins becoming a free agent, the need to pair their All-Pro with top talent is very important. The good news is that the Philadelphia Eagles, whose defense ranked second in the league last year, have plenty of defensive free agents they won’t be able to sign. 

One of them is franchise stalwart, Fletcher Cox. Cox has been one of the most dominant interior tackles in the NFL since he was taken in the first round in 2012. Outside of Aaron Donald, Cox was arguably the second-best at his position for the better part of five seasons. He won’t come cheap and has fewer years of dominance left, but his relationship with Joe Douglas would be a major help to Robert Saleh’s defense. 

Dante Fowler Jr. – DE – Dallas 

You can never have too many pass rushers. Other names like Brandon Graham and Yannick Ngakoue had better seasons, but Fowler is younger and has plenty of potential on his resume. Fowler tallied six sacks last season with Dallas and should be an excellent depth piece for the Jets’ defensive line. 

Jessie Bates – S – Cincinnati

New York’s secondary is loaded…at cornerback. With LeMarcus Joyner heading to free agency, the Jets need to find a replacement in the secondary. The good news is that Jessie Bates is arguably the best safety in this free agent class and could be a perfect fit for what Robert Saleh wants to do on defense. Bates tallied four picks last season and would be a tone-setter on a defense full of them from last season. A move like this would turn the Jets’ secondary from great to legendary very quickly. 

Kyzir White – LB – Philadelphia

The Jets need to decide what they want to do at linebacker. They have two free agents (Kwon Alexander and Quincy Williams) that were excellent in 2022, but if they let one walk, they need to have a replacement ready. Enter, Kyzir White. White had a tremendous season in Philly and was excellent against the pass. Philly didn’t ask him to do too much against the run and that was because he’s a tad undersized, but his athleticism makes for a perfect match in a division full of top tight ends. This move would make a lot of sense for Joe Douglas and the Jets. 

Jordan Poyer – FS – Buffalo

Poyer certainly isn’t Jessie Bates but he is a great starting safety in his own right and would be an upgrade over Joyner. New York doesn’t need any corner help at the current moment so solidifying the back end is extremely important. Poyer totaled four picks with the Bills last season and getting him would weaken a rival. There’s a lot to like about this potential move. 

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