The New York Jets were a team many expected to be spenders in the NFL free agency market this offseason. However, that has not materialized, as they have remained relatively quiet so far. On the March 17 episode of Draft Insiders, Tony Pauline and Trey Wingo took a look at why the New York Jets have been seemingly hesitant so far this offseason.
Why are the New York Jets seemingly hesitant in the free agency market?
Entering free agency with one of the largest numbers in available salary cap, a lot was expected from the Jets.
However, they have bucked the trend from previous years and been somewhat quiet so far in free agency. Pauline shed some light on what he was hearing as to why things have been relatively quiet in New York so far.
“I had a conversation about this, literally a few hours before the show. And they basically told me this, Joe Douglas does not want to spend big money, and that is the way it is. He’s from the Baltimore Ravens system, with Ozzie Newsome, where you build through the draft. That’s Joe Douglas’ M.O., that is the way he believes in doing things. I agree, I thought they should have signed Hendrickson, they signed Carl Lawson. OK, that’s a solid swap. I would have preferred Hendrickson. They took Corey Davis, because he is a system fit. He is a better system fit than Kenny Golladay. But it comes down to, from what I have been told, Douglas just does not want to spend the big bucks.”
Could the Jets be biding their time to see how the QB market plays out first?
The New York Jets have continuously been involved in the QB rumors this offseason. However, speculation linking Deshaun Watson to the Jets has cooled in recent weeks. Trey Wingo discussed why it might be the case that this speculation has reduced.
“First of all, if you are Deshaun Watson, am I going to leave the Texans and go to the Jets, really? That is like when Archie Manning was traded away from the Saints and they traded him to Houston, which was the only worse team than the Saints at the time. Trade me anywhere than that. If you think Deshaun Watson is gonna come in and be the savior of the Jets, I have some land I want to sell you. That’s not going to happen.”
Are the New York Jets waiting for the Sam Darnold situation to resolve itself?
The Jets may not be waiting for the Watson. Wingo discussed how the reason for the Jets’ slow playing of free agency could actually be due to uncertainty around the future of Sam Darnold.
“But I do think that they are waiting to see what kind of cash, and haul, they will get if someone makes a play for Darnold. If I’m Joe Douglas, I am not going to go out there and show my hand in free agency until I know what I have to deal with in terms of potential capital in a trade for Sam Darnold, if someone comes in and blows me away. I think that if the Jets just try and bring in Zach Wilson and don’t surround him with talent, well, then, you are essentially doing the same thing you did with Sam Darnold. Unless you have picked the Josh Allen metric, which is to draft a guy, believe in him, and then surround him with talent, it doesn’t matter. If the Jets just keep revolving and changing the quarterback, then nothing is really going to change. For me, Joe is keeping those cards close to his vest because he wants to know how much he can have to do some wheeling and dealing around the draft should someone make a big bid for Darnold.”
It would certainly make a lot of sense for the New York Jets to keep their QB options open. However, as Wingo alluded to, it is a surprise they haven’t been more active in trying to upgrade a couple of areas of their roster in free agency.
Which positions could the New York Jets still bolster in free agency?
The Jets have made quiet upgrades to a couple of areas of their team. Corey Davis and Carl Lawson are both moves to upgrade key positions. On the other hand, there have been some notable positions the Jets have not looked to upgrade. On the show, Pauline discussed both of these areas.
The offensive line was one of the positions that were heavily criticized for the New York Jets last offseason. Pauline discussed the concerns with the line during Draft Insiders.
“Not only surround him with talent, you’ve got to protect him. The Jets offensive line is miserable. They look like they hit a home run with that [Becton]. The rest of the offensive line has been a shambles. They didn’t want to pay the bigger money to sign Jack Conklin last year. I think that turned out to be a mistake. I think that also had something to do with the fact that Adam Gase didn’t want Jack Conklin. He wanted more of an athletic right tackle.”
Could the Jets look to add a veteran on the offensive line in the coming weeks? Or could the lack of ambition in free agency indicate the Jets are targeting the offensive line in the draft? With multiple picks in the top 50, the Jets could add some talented offensive linemen in April.
The defensive back situation is a glaring concern for the New York Jets. Pauline discussed how it is surprising they have not targeted certain players in the past few days.
“I think the one thing that I am surprised about is that they have not approached or signed any of the free-agent defensive backs from the San Francisco 49ers. Because the Jets basically need two or three corners and a safety. The Niners had a bunch of defensive backs who were free agents, you would have thought that they would have gone out there and brought them back east to play for Robert Saleh.”
One name still available, somewhat surprisingly, is former Titans corner Adoree’ Jackson. Could Jackson be a player the Jets target in what has been a somewhat slow cornerback market so far?
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