Top free-agent linebackers for the New York Jets

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If there is any unit on the New York Jets that doesn’t need any upgrades for next season it’s the front seven.

Muhammad Wilkerson has become a top-tier NFL defender. Sheldon Richardson is fresh off his Rookie of the Year award. Damon Harrison and Kenrick Ellis are one of the best nose-tackle tandems in the league. Davis Harris is coming off a revival season. Calvin Pace is a double-digit sack artist. And DeMario Davis has become one of the fastest linebackers in the NFL.

The Jets front seven doesn’t need much help now. But it is getting older.

The linebackers are still effective, but they’re aging. And it may be happening quicker than we all realize.

Harris is a seven-year vet on the wrong side of 30. Pace will be 34 soon. Even someone like Garrett McIntyre is approaching the 30-year marker all too soon. Maybe it’s not a first-round priority, but the Jets could use some reinforcements at linebacker.

Over at the main site, Buck Stanton ranked the top free-agent linebackers for this offseason. Here’s an excerpt of the piece:

10. O’Brien Schofield

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Schofield’s timing was perfect.

Being a player on the Super Bowl champions has made Schofield a semi-attractive option for teams looking to add a pass-rushing outside linebacker. Everyone is looking to pick up a bit of Seattle’s defensive mojo. But there’s a reason the Cardinals were willing to part with Schofield; he’s had a fairly pedestrian four-year career.

9. D’Qwell Jackson

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Jackson is a tackling machine.

When Jackson is able to stay on the field, he’s been a tackling machine during his time in Cleveland. Last year, the Browns defensive captain racked up 140 total tackles, par for the course during his full seasons. And after missing the entire 2010 season, he’s played and started all 48 games in the three years since.

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