The Jets have officially lost their first free agent.

Special teams maven Wallace Wright, who has finished among the top three on the team in special teams tackles in all but one of his first four seasons with the Jets, has signed with the Panthers. It's a great move for Wright, a North Carolina native who walked on in Chapel Hill at the UNC.

But it's a tough blow for the Jets, who decided not to tender Wright. I'm still not quite sure why they would let a player of Wright's caliber walk away scott free, especially after we've seen the Jets lose a couple of games this past season due to poor special teams play.

Remember the Jets' brutal 30-25 loss to the Dolphins at the Meadowlands on Nov. 1, when they let Ted Ginn motor right through their kickoff coverage team on touchdown returns of 100 and 101 yards? Wright was one of the few who took the blame squarely on his shoulders because he cared about his job as a special teamer that much.

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He was genuinely disappointed, so much so that once he left the stadium, he stopped by The Hangar after the game to watch the footage again just because he knew he wasn't going to be able to sleep.

At all.

So replacing someone like Wright won't be easy believe me, no matter what the Jets think.