New York Jets: Day One of free agency a success for Mike Maccagnan
By Michael Henken
The NFL’s legal tampering period began on Monday before the new league year officially begins on Wednesday and Mike Maccagnan and the New York Jets came out aggressive.
Following a 2018 season that saw the New York Jets finish 4-12 and in fourth place in the AFC East, it was clear that the team had many holes to fill. And with the legal tampering period beginning on Monday, general manager Mike Maccagnan came out firing by addressing those needs.
In fact, Maccagnan and company began working prior to the start of the legal tampering period, as it was reported this past weekend that the team had agreed to terms with the Oakland Raiders on a trade that would send guard Kelechi Osemele to the Jets.
Despite having a down 2018 due to injuries and team issues, Osemele, a former Pro Bowler, has proven to be a high-level offensive lineman when healthy and could very well help address a glaring weakness for the Jets.
The Jets then began Monday by re-signing center Jonotthan Harrison and cornerback Darryl Roberts, two logical moves that will add depth to the Jets roster.
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Next, the Jets took to the open market, signing 25-year-old former Washington Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who was considered by many to be one of the top slot wide receivers on the market. He too dealt with an injury last season, but when healthy, he’s shown to be a valuable and versatile player.
Crowder, a fourth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, should fit well into new Jets head coach Adam Gase’s offense while also providing quarterback Sam Darnold with another much-needed weapon.
Moving on, it was then reported that the Jets had agreed to terms on a deal with former Chicago Bears wide receiver and special teams player Josh Bellamy. While he may not be a top wide receiver on the Jets next season, he could provide value on special teams, which was one of the Jets’ strong points last year, and as a strong leadership presence in the locker room.
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Following those two signings, Maccagnan and the Jets made their big splash of the day, reportedly agreeing to a deal with 26-year-old former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr, who they were supposedly quite high on.
It’s no secret that the Jets have been in desperate need of pass-rushing help and while Barr played more of an off-ball role with the Vikings, he was used as more of a pass rusher in college where he totaled 23.5 sacks over his last two years at UCLA.
Regardless, Barr, a four-time Pro Bowler, will likely become the team’s best linebacker upon his signing becoming official. With tremendous athleticism and versatility, Barr will be used in a variety of ways by new Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and he’ll be expected to provide an immediate spark to the team’s defense.
With multiple signings already under his belt, Maccagnan has gotten off to a great start this offseason. He’s come out aggressive, addressing team needs and closing deals, something that should provide Jets fans with hope as the offseason drags on.
And, Maccagnan’s likely not done just yet. In fact, the Jets are still reportedly interested in big names like running back Le’Veon Bell, center Matt Paradis, and linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Whether or not the Jets add any of those players remains to be seen, but just one day into free agency, it’s hard not to be happy with what the team has done. Hopefully, Maccagnan’s actions on Monday foreshadow more to come.