With the NFL scouting combine (Feb. 17-23) and free agency (March 10) approaching, we take a position-by-position look at the New York Jets as they head into the offseason. This concludes the series.
Position: Special teams
2014 snaps (special teams only):
Key stat: When it comes to returning punts, the Jets have ranked consistently near the bottom of the league. In the Rex Ryan era, from 2009 to 2014, they finished 30th in punt-return average (6.35).
Pending free agents: Purdum (unrestricted)
2015 cap hits (position rank):
Folk: $2.65 million (No. 10)
Andrew Furney (PK): $435,000
Jacob Schum (P): $435,000
Money matters: Folk, who received the franchise tag a year ago, is entering the second year of a four-year, $12 million contract. There is no remaining guaranteed money left in the deal, meaning that security blanket is gone. Purdum was the 17th-highest paid long snapper last year ($795,000 cap charge), and he should draw a fair amount of interest if he hits the open market.
Big picture: The Jets endured some rough moments last season, but they actually finished 14th in the ESPN Stats & Information special-teams rankings. Folk made only 82 percent of his field-goal attempts, nearly a 10-point drop from the previous season. He may have been affected by a hip injury, which bears watching. He's still a reliable kicker, but he lost distance and accuracy as the season progressed. The Jets are happy with Quigley, who showed improvement in his second season with the team. The big problems are the return units. Jeremy Kerley is a surehanded punt returner, but he's not a home-run threat. Saalim Hakim has the speed to be an electric kickoff returner, but he has bad hands and poor instincts. Percy Harvin offered a ray of hope as a kickoff returner late in the season, but his future is up in the air. Linebacker Nick Bellore, their second-leading tackler, will be an unrestricted free agent.