Free Agency

Power ranking the Jets 2019 free agent acquisitions

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Telvin Smith #50 of the Jacksonville Jaguars tackles Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Telvin Smith #50 of the Jacksonville Jaguars tackles Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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PITTSBURGH, PA – JANUARY 14: Telvin Smith #50 of the Jacksonville Jaguars tackles Le’Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. New York Jets free agency (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – JANUARY 14: Telvin Smith #50 of the Jacksonville Jaguars tackles Le’Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. New York Jets free agency (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The New York Jets made numerous excellent signings this free agency period but which one was the best? Here are our power rankings of each of the significant free agent acquisitions the Jets made in 2019.

The New York Jets have only begun to lay the groundwork for future success. Through their two most recent drafts, the Jets have acquired franchise cornerstones in Sam Darnold and Jamal Adams who will serve as foundational building blocks for the near and distant future.

That future looks a lot brighter after the team’s most recent free agent haul.

The Jets were able to land playmakers on both sides of the ball who will join Darnold and Adams to hopefully be true mainstays for the franchise for years to come. This will hopefully push the whole concept of “the future” much closer to the present day.

In essence, the future is now.

For these power rankings, we will be taking a look at the five most impactful free agent signings for the Jets this offseason. Unfortunately, not all signings could make the list so the likes of Josh Bellamy, Tom Compton, and Daniel Brown didn’t quite cut it.

Furthermore, we will only be looking at players who were signed as free agents from other teams. We will not be looking at re-signing so Henry Anderson, Steve McLendon, and co. will not be a part of these rankings.

Everything about the signing will be considered from player ability to contract details meaning that this isn’t simply a list organized on a performance basis, it’s much more analytical. With that, let’s jump in and power rank the five best free agent signings the Jets made this offseason.

TAMPA, FL – OCTOBER 21: Chandler Catanzaro #7 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicks the game-winning field goal in a 26-23 overtime win against the Cleveland Browns on October 21, 2018 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. New York Jets free agency (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL – OCTOBER 21: Chandler Catanzaro #7 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicks the game-winning field goal in a 26-23 overtime win against the Cleveland Browns on October 21, 2018 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. New York Jets free agency (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

5. Chandler Catanzaro, K

The Jets decision to essentially reshape their special teams unit following an incredible 2018 campaign has been one of the more puzzling directions taken by the organization all offseason long. But one area of change that makes sense is what they’ve done with the kicker position.

Last year, the Jets picked Jason Myers up off the scrap heap just prior to the start of the season. After three seasons of mediocre-to-below-average play with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Myers put together a career year breaking records on his way to a Pro Bowl appearance, the first ever by a Jets kicker.

Still, given his track record and shaky conclusion to the 2018 season, there are no guarantees that Myers puts up the same numbers in 2019. In fact, regression should very much be expected.

That’s why allowing him to walk in free agency and sign a sizable four-year, $15.45 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks makes sense. In his place, the Jets opted to bring back their kicker from 2017 in veteran Chandler Catanzaro.

Catanzaro did an admirable job kicking for the Jets two seasons ago but struggled in his year away from the team. After a disappointing tenure in Tampa Bay, Catanzaro was released and picked up by the Carolina Panthers midway through the season where he fared much better, albeit with limited sample size.

The Clemson product was brought back on the cheap so if it doesn’t work out the Jets could simply cut ties with him prior to the season with little-to-no damage. Letting Myers go stings a bit, but it could ultimately prove to be the smart move in the long run.

After all, kickers are like a Katy Perry song. At the end of the day, they’re “Hot ‘N Cold,” but Catanzaro could be the “Dark Horse” signing that no one saw being successful.

As long as Myers doesn’t become “The One That Got Away.”

Next: 4. Brian Poole

ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 16: Brian Poole #34 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates after the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 16, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. New York Jets free agency (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 16: Brian Poole #34 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates after the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 16, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. New York Jets free agency (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

4. Brian Poole, CB

Cornerback still remains one of the weaker position groups on the Jets roster heading into late March, but the addition of Brian Poole helped to stabilize the position a bit.

Poole was signed away from the Atlanta Falcons after the team opted not to tender Poole, who was a restricted free agent. Although the Falcons tried to bring him back, the Jets swooped in and offered him the three-year NFL veteran a one-year, $3.5 million contract to come play in East Rutherford.

The Jets opted to finally move on from secondary mainstay Buster Skrine allowing him to depart via free agency to the Chicago Bears. In his place, the team signed the younger, cheaper Poole to be his replacement at the nickel corner position.

Poole is four years younger than Skrine will be at the start of the 2019 NFL season, but does present a very similar skill set to the former Cleveland Brown. Poole is an excellent blitzer who excels in run support but can struggles from time to time with his coverage assignments.

Much like Skrine, Poole can get over-aggressive and commit foolish penalties while trying to remain stride-for-stride with an opposing receiver. Still, the Florida product is younger and cheaper and likely possesses a significantly higher upside than the frustrating Skrine.

For the price that the Jets got him, it’s hard to argue with the Poole signing even if a player like Bryce Callahan would have been more appealing.

Next: 3. C.J. Mosley

ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 02: C.J. Mosley #57 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts after a defensive stop against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. New York Jets free agency (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 02: C.J. Mosley #57 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts after a defensive stop against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. New York Jets free agency (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

3. C.J. Mosley, LB

The Jets made their first big splash of free agency when they announced the signing of former Baltimore Ravens All-Pro linebacker C.J. Mosley.

While off-ball linebacker wasn’t exactly the biggest need for the Jets heading into free agency, Mosley is one of the very best at his position in the league and his presence is more than enough to make any defense better. The Alabama product has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last three years and in four of his five NFL seasons.

So why does he only rank third on this list?

Although Mosley is an incredible player, the dollar figure that the Jets handed over for a player at a low impact position that also isn’t a need has to work against them in some way. Not to say that it was a bad signing, far from it.

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But in terms of getting the best bang for your buck, this isn’t exactly it. This is more getting a major bang for a premium buck, which is still alright in my book.

Mosley will step in and immediately be one of the team leaders on an already talented Jets defense. Pairing him up with the solid Avery Williamson in the middle of the defense creates a very formidable one-two punch for the team at linebacker.

Where this leaves Darron Lee, nobody knows. But Mosley was one of the most notable names to changes teams this free agency season and the Jets are sure glad that they were the beneficiaries of such a switch.

Next: 2. Jamison Crowder

LANDOVER, MD – DECEMBER 09: Wide receiver Jamison Crowder #80 of the Washington Redskins runs for a touchdown after a catch in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at FedExField on December 9, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. New York Jets free agency (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD – DECEMBER 09: Wide receiver Jamison Crowder #80 of the Washington Redskins runs for a touchdown after a catch in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at FedExField on December 9, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. New York Jets free agency (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

2. Jamison Crowder, WR

Jamison Crowder comes in a slot (no pun intended) ahead of Mosley not because he’s a better player, but because of his contract value and schematic fit.

Crowder signed a three-year, $28.5 million contract with the Jets giving the team their much-needed slot receiver for a very respectable $9.5 million per year. Per Spotrac, that values him as the No. 22 receiver in the league in terms of average yearly salary sandwiched in between fellow free agent signings Devin Funchess and Golden Tate.

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Given that the Jets desperately needed a slot receiver, this is very fair value for a player of Crowder’s age and caliber. At just 25-years-old, Crowder is just entering his prime and should hopefully remain a fixture in the Jets offense for the entirety of Sam Darnold’s rookie contract, a strategy that the Jets evidently employed this offseason.

The Duke product spent the last four seasons with the Washington Redskins serving as the team’s primary slot option after entering the league as a fourth-round pick in 2015. It will be interesting to see how new head coach Adam Gase makes use of Crowder in the passing game as his skill set is a perfect fit for Gase’s offense.

Gase runs an offensive scheme that emphasizes getting receivers in open space with short and underneath patterns. That perfectly aligns with Crowder’s core skill set which is likely why the Jets made such a concerted effort to land the North Carolina native.

A trio of Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, and Crowder has a ton of promise and could go a long way towards allowing Darnold to take his next step towards greatness in 2019.

Next: 1. Le'Veon Bell

PITTSBURGH, PA – DECEMBER 10: Le’Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs into the end zone for a 20 yard touchdown reception in the first quarter during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on December 10, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. New York Jets free agency (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – DECEMBER 10: Le’Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs into the end zone for a 20 yard touchdown reception in the first quarter during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on December 10, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. New York Jets free agency (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

1. Le’Veon Bell, RB

Who else could it be?

There was no other viable choice for the No. 1 entry on this list than perhaps the Jets most high-profile free agent signing in team history. Le’Veon Bell is now a member of the New York Jets, and the team’s 2019 free agent haul will always be highlighted by that.

After months of speculation, the long-lasting free agent saga involving Bell finally came to an end shortly after midnight on Wednesday morning when it was reported that the Jets had, indeed, agreed to a deal with the former Pittsburgh Steelers running back.

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They had done it; they had won the star-studded sweepstakes and finally closed the deal.

Bell brings with him three prior Pro Bowl appearances, two First-Team All-Pro honors, and a whole lot of talent that could transform the Jets offense in 2019. He is a true do-it-all back who can run just as effectively as he could catch and block.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Bell is the most talented skill position player that the Jets have had on offense since the days of Curtis Martin, a player who Bell coincidentally idolized growing up. The talent that Bell brings to the table will not only make the Jets offense significantly better in 2019, but will also help in the development of the young Darnold who will benefit from a player of Bell’s talent.

When we look back at this free agent class a year or more down the line, this will be the signing that fans talk about as the make-or-break move of the offseason. Jets fans will undoubtedly be hoping for the former as opposed to the latter.

Next. Re-ordering the Jets draft needs after free agency

But for now, it’s hard to see this move as anything but the team’s best free agent acquisition of the 2019 offseason.

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