The New York Jets made some key additions so far this off-season, but if they want to remain competitive, these youngsters need to breakout.
By Jeff Jarboe
Though the team didn’t have $40 million+ in spending money this off-season, like they did last year, the New York Jets still managed to make some big splashes in free agency.
With limited cap space, New York Jets GM Mike Maccagnan managed to sign running backs Matt Forte and Khiry Robinson, as well as former Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon to multi-year, team friendly deals. Maccagnan was also able to bring back fan favorites Bilal Powell (3-years/$11.25m) and Muhammad Wilkerson ($15.7m franchise tag) in the process.
These signings came shortly after the team lost several of their starters on both sides of the ball–nose tackle Damon Harrison, who signed with the New York Giants; running back Chris Ivory, who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars; and linebacker DeMario Davis, who signed with the Cleveland Browns.
While the additions of Forte, Robinson and McLendon will certainly help fill the voids left by Ivory and Harrison, they can’t do it alone. Forte and McLendon both just hit the 30-year-old mark, which is typically the age at which most NFL players begin declining in production (excluding quarterbacks and kickers/punters), so if this team is going to maintain the high level of production they had last season, they’re going to need some of their younger players to step up.
Based on the way the roster looks right now, here are five players who are in the best position for a breakout season in 2016: