NEW YORK (AP) — After a few days of watching several veterans leave, the New York Jets had their busiest day yet of free agent signings.
The Jets signed running back Mike Goodson, offensive lineman Willie Colon and nose tackle Antonio Garay on Friday, the fourth day of the NFL's free agency period. The team announced the deal with Goodson, along with the re-signing of fullback Lex Hilliard.
Two people familiar with the situations told The Associated Press that the Jets had signed Colon, a former favorite of Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, and Garay, who spent the last three-plus seasons in San Diego. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the signings.
Since free agency began, the Jets have lost several starters, including running back Shonn Greene (Tennessee), tight end Dustin Keller (Miami), safeties LaRon Landry (Indianapolis) and Yeremiah Bell (Arizona), defensive lineman Mike DeVito (Kansas City) and nose tackle Sione Po'uha (released).
Goodson signed a three-year deal with the Jets, and he will help offset the loss of Greene. Goodson is a former fourth-round pick of the Carolina Panthers, who has played in 40 games, rushing for 722 yards and three touchdowns on 160 carries. He also has 59 receptions for 524 yards and a score.
He spent last season with Oakland as a backup to Darren McFadden. Goodson will compete for playing time with Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight, and should be an asset in new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's West Coast system because of his speed and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
Hilliard was signed in the middle of last season to replace John Conner. He finished with eight carries for 31 yards, and four catches for 23 yards and also contributed on special teams. The former sixth-round pick of the Miami Dolphins has played in 62 NFL games, rushing for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries.
Colon, a fourth-round draft pick by the Steelers in 2006, was signed to a one-year deal worth $1.2 million. He will add depth to the Jets' offensive line and could potentially fill one of the guard spots with Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson free agents.
Moore is likely to sign elsewhere, while there remains a possibility Slauson could re-sign with the Jets.
Colon, a 29-year-old Bronx native who played at Hofstra, was an offensive tackle from 2006-11 but moved to guard last season. Colon missed all but one game in the 2010-11 seasons due to a torn Achilles' tendon in 2010 and a torn triceps tendon the following year. He was sidelined for five games last season with a knee issue.
Garay, 33, spent the past three-plus seasons with the Chargers after being signed off the Jets' practice squad in December 2009. He was scheduled to make $3.5 million plus a $1.5 million roster bonus this season, but was released by San Diego earlier this week.
The signing was first reported by WFAN Radio and ESPN.
Garay is a native of Rahway, N.J., who was a popular player in San Diego for his solid play — and his unique and colorful hairstyles. He played in just eight games last season, but will add depth to the Jets' defensive line after they lost DeVito and Po'uha.