In two years under head coach Rex Ryan, Gang Green has aggressively acquired marquee players through free agency and trades. Last offseason, the Jets signed former Chargers great LaDainain Tomlinson to add depth and experience to the rushing attack.
Former Pro Bowlers Braylon Edwards and Antonio Cromartie, and Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes came to New York via trades. All three played important roles in the team's run to the AFC Championship game last season.
Sanders, 30 and injury prone, appeared in just nine games since signing a five-year, $37 million contract in 2007 with the Colts. When healthy, offenses not only have to account for his whereabouts on the field, but often game plan around him.
Given the Jets' needs at safety, Sanders was a natural fit. A secondary consisting of Sanders, Cromartie Darrelle Revis and a healthy Jim Leonhard would be formidable. It would also mitigate concerns about the lack of a pass rush that plagued the unit a season ago.
Instead, the Jets will have to wait. The NFL and players are working to avoid a work stoppage, and when both sides decide on a new collective bargaining agreement, Gang Green can work on re-signing the players it wants to keep (Holmes, Edwards and Cromartie appear to top of the list), and pursuing free agents who could help Ryan achieve his ultimate goal: winning the Super Bowl.
Another possible safety target, A.J. Atogwe, formerly of the Rams, signed a five-year, $26 million deal with the Redskins Thursday, which means the Jets might have to fill that need through the draft, or if they think Brodney Pool is capable, they will need to re-sign him this offseason.
In other Jets personnel-related news, Revis appeared on ESPN's "First Take" Friday and lobbied to bring good friend Chad Ochocinco to New York.
"We're good friends off the field, and you're always trying to better your team and trying to get over that hump," Revis said of Ochocinco. "We lost in the last two AFC championship games, and we need to get over that hump."
Never say never. With Ryan, anything is possible, especially if Edwards or Holmes sign elsewhere this offseason.