What’s the best way for the Giants and Jets to catch up to the Patriots and Rams? Stealing some of their players would be a pretty good start.
While they won’t be able to poach Tom Brady, Todd Gurley, or any of the real elite players on either of the Super Bowl LIII teams, both of teams have a long list of intriguing players who are currently scheduled to become free agents on March 13.
Here are 10 – five from the Rams, and five from the Patriots – who should interest the New York teams the most:
DE/LB Dante Fowler, Rams
The Jets have tried several times to trade for him, so they almost certainly will be interested when the market opens. He instantly improved the Rams’ pass rush when he was acquired from the Jaguars mid-season. He’s probably more suited to the Giants’ scheme as a 3-4 edge-rusher, but new Jets coordinator Gregg Williams surely could find ways to use him in his 4-3.
Pass rushers cost a lot, though. The Jets, with their $100 million in cap space, have the advantage there.
DE Trey Flowers, Patriots
Once teams start using the franchise tag on some of the top pass rushers, Flowers could end up being the best one on the market. The Patriots aren’t likely to pay him, so he should be free.
His versatility makes him a fit for both New York teams. He has 21 sacks the last three seasons and he’s terrific against the run, too.
LT Trent Brown, Patriots
He filled in wonderfully after the Patriots let Nate Solder go to the Giants, and now he’s in an interesting situation. His contract is up, he’ll likely command big money, and next season the Pats will get back LT Isaiah Wynn, the 23rd overall pick in the 2018 draft who tore his Achilles last summer.
The Pats won’t pay big money to Brown if Wynn is ready to step in. He was a right tackle with the 49ers, and could be a fit there for either the Giants or Jets. But he may cost as much as Solder did last spring.
WR Chris Hogan, Patriots
He’s not the No. 1 receiver the Jets so desperately need, but he’s an outstanding deep threat which should interest the Giants. He’s basically a 35-catch, 450-yard player, though he was on his way to bigger numbers last season until a shoulder injury derailed him.
He’s a New Jersey native and shouldn’t cost a lot. Imagine his speed drawing attention away from Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard.
G Rodger Saffold, Rams
A terrific guard, even at 31. The Jets probably want to go younger to replace James Carpenter, but the Giants could use him if they don’t re-sign Jamon Brown. Saffold wants to stay in L.A., though, and has signaled a willingness to return there for less money.
DT Ndamukong Suh, Rams
The Jets looked into him last year, though that may have been more Todd Bowles than Mike Maccagnan. Suh comes with a lot of baggage, but he’s a lock for 4-5 sacks per season, and plenty of pressure and pass deflections.
The Jets may need defensive tackle help as they transition to a 4-3. Wouldn’t hurt the Giants either as part of a D-line rotation. The price will have to be right, though.
CB Jason McCourty, Patriots
A very solid cornerback who likely won’t attract top money on the market. The Giants have flirted with the McCourty family in the past, and the Nyack natives and Rutgers grads have long dreamed of a reunion on their hometown teams.
They finally played together in New England this season, but Devin, the safety, is still a year ahead of free agency. Giants definitely need help at corner, especially if they part ways with Janoris Jenkins.
RB C.J. Anderson, Rams
Notice how the Rams haven’t missed much of a beat since Gurley got hurt? That’s the value of a player like Anderson, who is still only 27. At 5-foot-8, 224 pounds and with only one full season as a starter (in his six NFL seasons), he’s not a No. 1 guy. But neither New York team needs him to be. He’d be a great backup to Saquon Barkley, or whomever the Jets make their top running back (like, say, Le’Veon Bell).
S LaMarcus Joyner, Rams
He was terrific in 2017, so the Rams hit him with the franchise tag, but he wasn’t nearly as good this past season. That makes his free agent value a little murky.
The Jets, with two young safeties, have no use for him, but the Giants could use someone to either play with S Landon Collins, or to replace him if they don’t franchise him or able to sign him to a long-term deal.
RT LaAdrian Waddle, Patriots
He’s had an injury-filled career, but he’s 6-foot-6, 315 pounds, started three games for the Patriots this season, and don’t forget how desperately both New York teams need help on the offensive line.
He shouldn’t cost much – far less than Brown, certainly — and he’d be an upgrade over Chad Wheeler at right tackle for the Giants. he could also be insurance for the Jets at right tackle in case Brandon Shell can’t make it all the way back from the “complicated” knee surgery he had in December.