Jets Free Agency Preview: Defensive Backs

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OverviewIn terms of total pass defense, the Jets numbers weren't significantly different from 2015 to 2016. They dropped a bit in terms of yards per game, yielding 8.4 more yards a contest while finishing 17th in the league (243.6) after ranking 13th (235.2) in 2015. But despite improving against the big play after a slow start, the Jets never found a cure for their takeaway woes. A year after placing fifth in interceptions with 19, the Green & White finished tied for 29th with eight thefts. And opposing quarterbacks, who struggled with a collective 79.0 passer rating against the Jets in 2015, found the airwaves less turbulent in 2016 while posting a passer rating of 98.5.

Future Hall of Famer Darrelle Revis didn't meet his own expectations on the outside and the Jets struggled to find consistency elsewhere as the DBs seemingly never completely turned the collective corner. But there were encouraging signs late with a pair of young corners flashing in limited playing time. Juston Burris, a fourth-round pick from NC State, and Darryl Roberts, a waiver claim from the Patriots, recorded six PDs and eight PDs respectively. Those totals ranked tied for third and tied for first on a team that finished with 59 PDs in all.

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Jets Free AgentsS Antonio Allen (UFA): Primarily seeing action on special teams, Allen had four tackles on kick coverage last season.

CB Marcus Williams (RFA) In 34 career games with the Jets, the North Dakota State product has totaled nine interceptions. Early last season, Williams became the guy opposite Revis when Buster Skrine shifted inside in sub packages.

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Since being selected No. 10 overall by the Buffalo Bills in the 2012 NFL Draft, Stephon Gilmore has recorded 14 INTs and 62 PDs. The 6'1", 190-pounder, who is still just 26 years old, battled inconsistency in 2016. But Gilmore led the Bills with a career-high five interceptions and he is considered one of the best man-press corners in football. An undrafted free agent out of UCF, A.J. Bouye (Houston Texans) is a versatile performer adept at lining up outside and inside. CB Trumaine Johnson (Los Angeles Rams) has 16 interceptions in his five pro seasons including a career-high seven in 2015. Just like Gilmore, Jets fans have gotten used to facing Pats CB Logan Ryan as the Rutgers product has spent a lot of time in recent years playing opposite Malcolm Butler. After a prove-it one-year deal with the Jags, former Giants CB Prince Amukamara is scheduled to hit the open market. Morris Claiborne (Dallas Cowboys) was selected No. 6 overall by the 'Boys back in 2012 and he's showed flashes of thriving in press situations. This free agent safety class could be headlined by Eric Berry, but the Chiefs would like him to stay in Kansas City. Tony Jefferson, coming off a 96-tackle campaign with the Cardinals, could be in demand if Arizona is not able to strike a deal before free agency commences. A few other prominent safeties with expiring contracts include John Cyprien (Jacksonville Jaguars), Jahleel Adams (Los Angeles Chargers) and Micah Hyde (Green Bay Packers).

SynopsisTodd Bowles already made one significant change in the backfield, adding Dennard Wilson to be the team's defensive backs coach. Serving in the same capacity with the Rams last season, Wilson oversaw the NFL's No. 10 pass defense (233.2 yards per game). They also finished tied for fifth and sixth in terms of 20-plus yard completions (41) and 40-plus yard (6) completions allowed. Bowles will be looking for big plays from his unit, creating extra possession for the offense. After tying for sixth with 30 takeaways in 2015, the Jets tied for 28th with 14 last season. Revis will turn 32 in July and FS Marcus Gilchrist (60 tackles) is recovering from knee surgery. After manning the nickel spot in 2015, veteran Buster Skrine saw a lot more time on the outside in base looks.  The unit will be in rebound mode in 2017 and it will be interesting to see how the Jets tinker with the defensive backfield this spring.

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