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Free Agency

Jets Free Agency: Initial grade and analysis of Avery Williamson

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 27: Josh Bellamy #11 of the Chicago Bears is dropped by Avery Williamson #54 of the Tennessee Titans after making a catch
at Soldier Field on November 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Titans defeated the Bears 27-21. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 27: Josh Bellamy #11 of the Chicago Bears is dropped by Avery Williamson #54 of the Tennessee Titans after making a catch at Soldier Field on November 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Titans defeated the Bears 27-21. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The New York Jets concluded a busy start of spending with the signing of former Tennessee Titans linebacker Avery Williamson. Williamson is just another piece in the youthful, rebuilding Jets defense.

It may not have been the flashiest signing or the most notable. It may have fallen by the wayside after a hectic day of signings all throughout the NFL. But the signing of Avery Williamson could be one of the more under-the-radar solid moves by any team this offseason.

This will signal the end of Demario Davis‘ second stint with the New York Jets and while it is certainly upsetting to see him go, they got a darn good replacement in Williamson and it could prove to be the better move long-term.

The Jets are well on their way to a very good offseason with underrated signings such as Williamson proof that they weren’t willing to overspend on older talents, something that plagued general manager Mike Maccagnan’s first go at free agency.

Contract details

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport has reported that Williamson’s deal will be for three years at the price of $22.5 million. This is a steeper price than first anticipated but given his age and improvement over the past couple years it shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise.

National reaction

The #Jets are expected to sign #Titans FA LB Avery Williamson, source said. A perfect fit for a 3-4 ILB.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2018

NFL free agents 2018: Jets to sign Avery Williamson | Will he be upgrade from Demario Davis? https://t.co/Oz134PfHIH

— Darryl Slater (@DarrylSlater) March 14, 2018

Grade

At first glance, the Avery Williamson signing seems like more of a lateral move than an actual improvement. But consider the fact that Williamson is three years younger than the aforementioned Davis and that his price tag will likely be a bit cheaper than Davis’ and this deal seems more impressive.

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Williamson is an ideal fit for the Jets 3-4 defense as an inside linebacker. He is athletic, rangy, and a superb run defender. His major struggles have come when his team relied upon him for pass coverage, something he did not fare too well in.

Go back and replace Williamson’s name with Davis in that last paragraph and it still holds true.

While not discussed as much last year, Davis is still no incredible pass defender. Rather, the Jets deployed him in ways that would emphasize his skillset instead of exposing his weaknesses. This included using him a lot more as a blizter and giving coverage responsibilities more to Darron Lee and Jamal Adams.

There is no reason the Jets can’t do the same with Williamson. At the end of the day, Williamson could be looked at as a younger and likely cheaper version of Davis, only without the leadership reputation and locker room chemistry.

Final Grade: B

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