One of the biggest areas the New York Jets have to address in 2022 is their defense.
It was abysmal by every definition of the word this past season finishing 32nd in essentially every major defensive category.
Fortunately, they have a lot of opportunities to add some real talent to this unit this offseason. One analyst predicted them to land some big-time help on the backend of their defense.
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Gang Green Can Land a Big Time Name
During his calculations, O’Leary projected the Jets to land Pittsburgh Steelers starting cornerback Joe Haden.
“This is an older veteran and someone that has held their own and that is Haden. I know, he is 33, and corners over 30 I normally don’t like to touch but remember last year people were banging the drum for Richard Sherman and this is kind of the same concept here.”
He handed him a one-year deal for $6 million in free agency. Haden has made plenty of money during his career raking in over $121 million in career earnings, per Spotrac.
The former Florida product originally entered the league as the No. 7 overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns.
He developed a reputation as one of the NFL’s feistiest and best cornerbacks enjoying two Pro Bowl campaigns during his seven years with the Browns. After being let go by Cleveland, Haden found a new home with the rival Steelers and has enjoyed a nice second act to his career.
All-in-all the talented corner has put up some really solid numbers during his career with 29 interceptions, over 155 pass deflections, and 615 combined tackles.
A Stabilizing Presence on the Backend
You may say to yourself, the Jets don’t need an older veteran like Haden, they have a great youth movement going. While the corners certainly played well above expectations in 2021, they need a stabilizing presence on the backend.
The Jets had the youngest roster in the NFL this past season and it would do them some real good to mix in some veterans to balance out the unit.
One of the things O’Leary really liked about him is his abilities as a sure tackler, even at this stage of his career.
The Jets had a slew of issues with tackling and that is how solid plays turned into explosive plays for an opposing offense. According to Statmuse, the Jets had 770 missed tackles this season which was the third-most in the NFL.
This wouldn’t be a long-term solution, Haden is 32 and will be 33 by the start of the 2022 season, but he could be a nice placeholder for this season. The Jets can then follow that up in the upcoming draft by selecting another young guy to groom under Haden until they’re ready to fly out of the nest.