New York Jets fans, Dwight Freeney was recently not resigned by the Indianapolis Colts after 11 seasons and 107.5 sacks. He is the edge pass-rusher the Jets have never had in the Rex Ryan era!
When looking at Freeney, think Michael Strahan, more on that thought in a moment.
The Jets have tried and missed on previous edge rushers in the way of Calvin Pace, who in essentially the same number of seasons (minus one; he was drafted the year after Freeney) has amassed only 42.5 sacks. The reclamation project that was Aaron 'Mayhem' Maybin; in four pro seasons he has a total of six sacks.
Vernon Gholston, drafted the season before Ryan and his staff took over, was put front and center by Ryan as "The Project" to turn him into the pass-rushing demon that his physical gifts suggested he should have become. A physical freak, Gholston was drafted with the 6th pick in the 1st round (by former GM Mike Tannenbaum), and came highly-touted out of Ohio State.
But in his brief three-year career Gholston amassed exactly zero - yes zero - sacks. The closest thing to an effective edge rusher was the Jason Taylor experiment, that is of bringing in a guy that was a specialist but at the tail end of his career (Taylor was 37 at the time) and squeezing every last ounce out of him possible.
Taylor actually did a decent job, as a third-down specialist most of the season, he totaled five sacks, 36 tackles, two forced fumbles, six passes defensed, and a huge safety to seal a game toward the end of the season. He was also a leader who his teammates rallied around and he helped to mentor the younger players.
Last season Freeney made a base salary of $14 million, and over the life of his six-year deal made an average of $12 million. The Jets are currently about $9 million under the salary cap -- would they consider offering Freeney $14 million over the course of two seasons, with incentives that can take him closer to his average?
The bigger question: does Ryan & new GM John Idzik think he can make a difference in the same way that I do, and decide to court the free agent and then offer him a two or three-year deal to entice him to Florham Park? Do Jets' fans think Freeney could make a difference?
See more on why I think he'd be a good fit in the following slide show: