The New York Jets finished 10-6 last season but missed the playoffs. They are heading into the 2016 season with high expectations and most online betting predictions have them ending their five year playoff drought next season.
While the Jets have improved their roster with the addition of players like Matt Forte, they still have some holes that need to be filled before the start of the season. The team and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick are still far apart on a long-term deal, since most of the top free agent quarterbacks have been signed, the team either has to come to terms with Fitzpatrick or draft a franchise quarterback in the draft.
Since the Jets don’t have a high draft pick in the first round, they might be better off signing Fitzpatrick to a long term deal.
LB Bruce Carter – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
The linebacker position is another one of the issues the Jets have to address this offseason because they lost their starting middle linebacker Demario Davis to the Browns in free agency. After losing Davis, many experts expected the Jets to address the position in the upcoming draft, but the team recently signed former Tampa Bay linebacker Bruce Carter, who will get the first shot to be New York’s new middle linebacker.
Carter, who signed a one-year deal, showed a lot of promise when he was a member of the Dallas Cowboys. He parlayed his success in Dallas into a four-year $17 million contract with the Bucs. Unfortunately for Carter, he couldn’t translate his success in Dallas’s 4-3 scheme to the 4-3 defense employed by Tampa Bay.
A big road block for Carter last year was the surprising emergence of rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander, who was a force to reckon with, as he quickly took over Carter’s position in the starting lineup. With Alexander’s unexpected rookie season, the Bucs felt Carter had become expendable and gave him his walking papers when the season was over.
Carter how has a chance to resurrect his career in New York because he will be playing in a defense that he is used to and has had success playing in the past. As a 3-4 middle linebacker, he also won’t have to worry about having to put pressure on the quarterback because that is what the outside linebackers do in the system.
Head Coach Todd Bowles will likely use Carter in pass coverage against tight ends and running backs because that is what he does best. Carter finished with a career high five interceptions in the 2014 season, which is one of the reasons the Bucs signed him as a free agent.
Bowles is hoping that Carter will be able to disrupt their opponents passing game with his pass covering skills. Since the Jets play in the same division as the New England Patriots, having Carter in the lineup will give them a linebacker to put on Rob Gronkowski when they meet in the regular season.
Before signing with Tampa Bay last season, Carter was regarded as one of the most athletic linebackers in the league because of his ability to make big plays. Despite the disappointing 2015 campaign, Bowels is confident Carter can regain his form if he signs with the Jets.
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