Jets sign Goodson, could be No. 1 RB

Mike Goodson brings much-needed speed to the Jets' backfield. Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY Sports

After losing four players at the outset of free agency, the Jets finally made an aggressive move. They signed former Raiders running back Mike Goodson to a three-year, $6.9 million contract, a league source said Friday.

Goodson, who also attracted interest from the Bengals, will have a chance for a significant role. The Jets lost leading rusher Shonn Greene to the Tennessee Titans, leaving a gaping hole in the backfield.

The holdovers are Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight, neither of whom has experience as an every-down back. The last time the Jets went into a season without a 1,000-yard rusher on their roster was 1994.

The Jets believe Goodson was one of the top sleepers in free agency. He has some big-play ability (he averaged 6.3 yards per carry last season in a small role) and he can catch the ball out of the backfield (40 receptions for the Panthers in 2010).

Goodson flashed some upside in 2010. With DeAngelo Williams injured, he rotated with Jonathan Stewart and finished with 452 yards and a 4.4 average. He also had five fumbles. He was a fourth-round pick out of Texas A&M in 2009.

The Panthers traded him to the Raiders in 2012 and he sat behind Darren McFadden. He didn’t see much action at all – about 10 snaps per game – primarily in a third-down role. His best moment was a 64-yard touchdown on a screen pass against the Miami Dolphins.

The Jets needed to stop the bleeding after a rough start to free agency. They lost Greene, safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell and defensive tackle Mike DeVito. They re-signed fullback Lex Hilliard, but made the most noise when signing former Jaguars quarterback David Garrard to a one-year contract.