INDIANAPOLIS — This is another huge draft and free agency period for the New York Jets, as they must improve upon consecutive seasons that yielded miserable results. Here are a few notes on the latest Jets news from the past week at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
New York Jets’ free agency plans
The Jets go into yet another free agency period hoping to land a pass rusher. For a short time, it looked as though they hit a home run with the signing of Carl Lawson last year. But the defensive end tore his Achilles shortly after training camp began.
This is not a good free agent class for pass rushers, though it will get an immediate injection of talent once Za’Darius Smith is set free by the Green Bay Packers — and I’m told the Jets are likely to show interest once this happens. Word here at the Combine is that Smith’s old Ravens teammate, linebacker C.J. Mosley, will help recruit him.
How New York will attack the receiver position this offseason
As far as additional free agent news relevant to the Jets, I’m told they’re likely not to have any interest in receiver Davante Adams, which is a bit of a surprise. They’re also likely to show little interest in receiver/return specialist Richie James — another surprise considering both Braxton Berrios and Jamison Crowder are due to hit the free agent market unless the team re-signs one of them.
James, from what I’ve heard, is likely to get a lot of free agent interest. Additionally, the Jets seem to be out of the market to re-sign defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi, who is expected to sign a big deal in free agency.
Several people tell me the Jets have Treylon Burks rated at the top of their receiver board. I have a hard time believing this since New York’s offense is one that requires receivers to run quick, precise routes to separate from defenders — and that’s not Burks’ game. His Combine workout left a lot to be desired as well.
And while many predict the Jets will use one of their first-round picks on center Tyler Linderbaum, it looks like they will attempt to address the position in free agency. They have shown a lot of interest in Baltimore Ravens center Bradley Bozeman, who is set to become a free agent. Word last night is the team is also interested in eight-year veteran Ryan Jensen, who is expected to garner a large free agent contract.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh absent from NFL Combine
What to make of Robert Saleh not showing up at the Combine? According to league people I’ve spoken with, it’s not a good look or a smart move, and I agree.
The Jets are trying to compare the Saleh situation to Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan not showing up at the Combine, but there’s no comparison. McVay just won the Super Bowl. Shanahan was one game away from reaching the Super Bowl. Saleh could be looking for a new job in 2023 if the Jets don’t perform well in the upcoming season.
The other excuse being passed around is that Saleh didn’t need to be at the Combine since he coached the Senior Bowl. Let’s put aside the fact that the Detroit Lions, who also coached at the Senior Bowl, sent a full complement of coaches to Indianapolis for the Combine. The bigger issue is that the highest-rated player at the Senior Bowl was either Malik Willis or Trevor Penning. Neither grades as a top-10 prospect, and the Jets presently own the No. 4 and No. 10 selections in the draft.
The overriding feeling is that Saleh not attending the Combine was an unnecessary and unforced error for an organization that could again clean house in less than a year if it doesn’t show major progress on the field.