Free agent Preview Part 2
The Jets top two needs on defense are for a shut-down cornerback, mobile safety and a speed linebacker. The Jets are looking to replace Aaron Beasley is is a good year to be cornerback shopping. The top two players on the Jets shopping list are unavailable. Herman Edwards wanted to get his hands on one of the two top blanket cover guys available in free agency - Champ Bailey or Chris McAllister. That isn't going to happen with Bailey inking a long-term deal with the Denver Broncos, following a trade from the Washington Redskins, and McAlister being given the franchise tag by the Baltimore Ravens for the second straight year. So it's on to Plan B, and there are some very good second tier cornerback. Seattle's Shawn Springs is an extremely talented player, but has had trouble staying healthy during his first four years in the NFL. He also has been guilty of mental lapses. But when he's healthy and focused, he is considered a shut-down cornerback. "He is extremely smooth," said one scout. "He has speed, a burst and elite change of direction ability. He is good in press coverage and run support." The Jets have two excellent secondary coaches in Doug Graber and Herman Edwards, so Springs could really blossom in New York. Jacksonville's Fernando Bryant is underrated because he's played on some bad teams. The Jaguars know how good he is because they are still trying to re-sign him. While his size (5-10, 180) isn't idea, he's a superb cover guy. "Bryant is one of the league's best man-coverage guys," said one scout. "He is excellent at diagnosis and has a great feel for the position." Buffalo's Antoine Winfield is a tremendous run support safety, and a solid cover guy, but isn't very good at grabbing interceptions. He has just six picks in his five years in the NFL. At 5-9, 180 pounds he is considered undersized, but don't let that fool you, he might be the toughest cornerback in the NFL. Another excellent tackling cornerback is San Francisco's Jason Webster, but he has had a hard time staying on the field. His agent says he's healthy now, but his injury past has to be a concern. His partner in San Francisco, Ahmed Plummer is also a free agent. While he's a decent player, he has not lived up to his first round selection. He was a constant target of opposing quarterbacks last year. Another player the Jets might consider is Dallas' Mario Edwards. Bill Parcells really likes him and wants to re-sign Edwards, but he could be had for the right price. Two long-shots are Arizona's David Barrett and Kansas City's William Bartee, but they are more second or third cornerback, not shutdown cover guys.
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