Positional analysis: Special teams

February, 14, 2013
2/14/13
9:04
AM ET
This is the final part in a nine-part analysis of the Jets -- a position-by-position breakdown as we head toward the scouting combine and free agency:

SPECIAL TEAMS

2012 depth chart: Nick Folk (PK), Robert Malone (P), Joe McKnight (KR), Jeremy Kerley (PR), Tanner Purdum (LS).

Overview: Mike Westhoff's swan song as special teams coach turned into a sad song -- and that's putting it kindly. The Jets were an absolute train wreck, committing almost every mistake imaginable -- fumbles, blocked punts, blocked field goals, touchdowns allowed, you name it. Some of them were mental mistakes, but many of the blunders could be attributed to the utter lack of talent at the bottom of the roster. The bottom-10 players on the roster comprise your "teams," and the Jets' bottom 10 -- undermined by injuries and poor personnel evaluations -- was a revolving door of ineptitude.

Free agents: Folk, Purdum (restricted).

2013 personnel preview: The skill positions are set, as McKnight and Kerley are keepers. The Jets should re-sign Folk, who doesn't get enough credit for his consistency. He made 78 percent of his field-goal tries, his best mark in three seasons with the Jets. Look for them to bring in veteran competition; Folk responds well to kicking duels. Little-known fact about Malone: He set a team record for best gross punting average (45.8) in a season. His net (38.8) wasn't all that great, but he's a young player who should improve. New special teams coach Ben Kotwica will need a personal protector to replace Tim Tebow, who will be taking his sideshow elsewhere.

Salary-cap situation: The Jets have a terrific long snapper in Purdum, but how much are they willing to pay for that peace of mind, knowing virtually every snap will be on the money? In other words, do they give him the lowest tender for an undrafted player ($1.3 million, right of first refusal) or turn him loose? Purdum made $540,000 last season; that's a pretty big raise for a team with cap problems. As insurance, they signed Travis Tripuka last month.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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