Free Agency Frenzy: Day Three
Jets have vastly improved their team, but are they done? How do the free agent signings alter the draft strategy?
It’s strange to be on day three of free agency and for there to be some big names still available. Allen Robinson has yet to sign and while I don’t think the Jets are interested in pursuing Myles Jack, his name is an interesting one. The Jets have likely done the majority of their major work, but there are plenty of routes available to continue to improve the team.
Here’s a list of free agents who could still be targets for the Jets:
Allen Robinson - WR - Chicago Bears
I can’t place Robinson’s value at the moment considering the contract handed out by Jacksonville to Christian Kirk, would he take another one year prove it deal? I haven’t heard any murmurs the Jets are interested, but that can change quickly.
Bobby Wagner - LB - Seattle Seahawks
The beat insists that the Jets are comfortable with their linebacking duo of Quincy Williams and C.J. Mosley, which is likely very true…but then nobody thought Wagner would be available. System fit, and still productive. Maybe.
Akiem Hicks - DT - Chicago Bears
I don’t love the interior of the Jets defensive line at the moment, and Hicks is best when lined up over guard. I’d be interested to see him next to Quinnen, and cutting Rankins to make room wouldn’t be the worst idea. Jets had an issue playing the run last year, Hicks is a good run defender who also had 5 sacks in 2021.
Jerry Hughes - Edge - Buffalo Bills
Hughes is in the twilight of his career and despite only having 3 sacks last season, he did register 45 pressures. The Jets signed Vinny Curry to be their veteran situational edge rusher last year and that didn’t really work out due to injury, maybe they try it again with Jerry Hughes?
Marcus Mariota - QB - Las Vegas Raiders
The Jets are in the market for a backup QB and I’m willing to bet it’ll be Flacco returning, but Mariota is a very good high end QB2 and he showed that with the Raiders. He’ll likely cost a bit more than the Jets would like to spend, but he’s an option and would be a decent QB in spot starts if needed.
Jayron Kearse - S - Dallas Cowboys
Even with the signing of Whitehead I’m still not giving up hope on Kearse. Whitehead does his best work around the line of scrimmage where as Kearse is best suited to match up with tight ends in coverage. The Jets have Joyner and Davis as their FS options at the moment and as much as I like Joyner, how much trust can you have there when he missed pretty much the entire 2021 season?
Maxx Williams - TE - Arizona
Another guy I’ve been banging the drum for all off-season. The Jets got their main guy in Uzomah, but that room still needs work and depending on the price, Williams still makes sense. He’s a very good run blocker and has very reliable hands, both traits the Jets value. I think they hit the draft for TE, but wouldn’t be shocked if they signed another in free agency.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling - WR - Green Bay Packers
The Jets still have work to do in their wide receiver room and Valdes-Scantling will provide them an option to stretch the field, playing into the hands of Zach Wilson’s strengths. Again, this comes down to money, but he’s a very interesting option for the Jets to improve a key position.
Cornelius Lucas - OT - Washington Commanders
With Morgan Moses moving on to Baltimore there is a spot on the Jets roster for a swing tackle in case George Fant or Mekhi Becton get injured. He won’t wow you but he graded out at 75.2 according to PFF in 2021, and that’s a good rate for a backup tackle. It makes a lot of sense.
David Quessenberry - OT - Tennessee Titans
If Lucas doesn’t float your boat then maybe Quessenberry will. He’s a very good run blocker and a very sketchy pass blocker. He had a tough 2021 season but he has some solid tape over the course of his career and he’s suited to a team who runs a lot of zone, like the Jets. Wouldn’t be my first choice, but he’s good depth as a swing tackle.
How has free-agency impacted the draft strategy?
At this point, it’s hard to say, but I think you can almost guarantee that the Jets will be looking at edge with one of their first two picks.
At this point the Jets also haven’t addressed their defensive tackle position, right now there is Quinnen Williams and then a lot of question marks.
Rankins is signed, but he was truly one of the worst run defenders in football last year so there is a world where he becomes a cap casualty if the jets decide to spend early on defensive tackle, someone like Jordan Davis.
JFM could kick inside if the Jets take an edge at #4, someone like Thibodeaux or Johnson. But, the Jets like to rotate their lineman and It’s my belief that they like JFM’s versatility, so he will likely move around which still leaves a little gap at defensive tackle.
At this point the Jets have yet to address wide receiver, which brings the top tier guys into play at #10 overall. Burks really hurt himself with his combine performance and I’m not sure we’d take him that high, but Garrett Wilson will almost certainly be in play there.
The offensive line is still in play at #4 overall, but the signing of Laken Tomlinson makes that less of a need. The Jets could take a long term view selecting Ekwonu, but chances are if you take an offensive lineman in the first round this year, he’s spending a year on the bench…and do you want that with a top 5 selection? If you take Ekwonu, are you cutting Fant? A player who just had the best year of his career? Are you trading Becton when his value is low? Offensive line doesn’t make sense to me.
I don’t believe the signing of Uzomah will alter the Jets need to dip into the tight end position in the draft…but it does mean the Jets can wait if they don’t want to spend a 2nd rounder on the position. Right now I believe fans are higher on McBride than teams are, with some suggesting he’ll go in the first round. Speaking to a few people in the game, I get the impression he’s seen as a middle 2nd round talent to middle 3rd round talent, so don’t be surprised if he goes later. Maybe the Jets wait and take a Kolar or Ferguson in the 4th round…the signing gives them options.
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