NEW YORK (AP) — The Jets addressed a couple of their major needs in free agency Friday, signing wide receiver Chaz Schilens and backup quarterback Drew Stanton.
The 6-foot-4 Schilens, who spent the last four seasons with the Oakland Raiders, gives New York a much-needed big and speedy target. He’ll likely be given the chance to win the No. 2 starting job opposite Santonio Holmes since Plaxico Burress is a free agent and is unlikely to be re-signed.
Terms of the deal with Schilens were not immediately disclosed. Stanton told The Associated Press that he agreed to a $1.25 million, one-year contract a day after he arrived to meet with team officials.
Schilens, a seventh-round draft pick out of San Diego State in 2008, has 72 catches for 902 yards and seven touchdowns. He has dealt with a few injuries that limited him to 13 games from 2009-10 before playing in 15 last season — but in a limited role with just 23 receptions. Schilens also could serve as a goal-line threat, as Burress did last season, because of his size, but also possesses good breakaway speed.
“It was just too good a place to leave (without signing a deal),” Schilens said. “It was a combination of everything that impressed me. The two most important things were the mindset of the coaching staff on where the team is going, and the overall feeling of the commitment of the team to want to win with this great facility.”
Schilens’ position coach in Oakland the last three years was Sanjay Lal, who’s now serving in the same role with the Jets.
“I just always liked playing the Jets,” Schilens said. “It always seemed to be a big-time game. I always liked the type of players they have on their team. And I like Rex Ryan’s mentality.”
The Jets’ revamped receiving corps now includes Schilens, Holmes, Jeremy Kerley and Patrick Turner, but New York could still have interest in bringing back Jerricho Cotchery or Braylon Edwards, who both played elsewhere last season.
New York was also interested in free agent quarterback Brady Quinn, but chose to sign Stanton to be the primary backup to Mark Sanchez, who signed a three-year contract extension last week.
Stanton, a second-round draft pick out of Michigan State in 2007, made the most of limited opportunities during his first three seasons in the NFL with the Lions. He was 2-1 as a starter in 2010 with four touchdowns, including one on the ground, and two interceptions. Stanton didn’t play last year as Detroit’s third-string quarterback behind Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill.
He has completed 56 percent of his passes in 12 career games, including four starts, for 1,158 yards with five TDs and nine interceptions.
“The nice thing is we’re all going to be learning Tony Sparano’s offense together,” Stanton said, referring to the Jets’ new offensive coordinator. “My goal is to help Mark produce on the field and to help this organization win football games.”
Stanton will replace veteran Mark Brunell, a free agent who is likely to retire, as the team’s No. 2 quarterback. The Jets also have Greg McElroy, a seventh-round pick who spent his rookie season on injured reserve after dislocating his right thumb in the preseason.
New York will now likely focus its attention in free agency on the safety position, with Reggie Nelson and LaRon Landry both visiting the Jets this weekend. Starter Eric Smith and backup Tracy Wilson are the only safeties on the Jets’ roster.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)