3 burning questions the Jets face after the 2019 NFL draft
By James Cunningham
The Jets filled several holes through free agency and the NFL Draft, but they still face several questions regarding the 2019 season.
The bulk of the offseason is complete. Free agents have been signed, players have been drafted, and voluntary team workouts have begun. Believe it or not, we’re only three months away from preseason New York Jets football.
With that being said, rosters are beginning to take shape. Few viable free agents remain on the market. Teams are running out of time to fill holes on their roster. The Jets are among the teams that still have spots to fill, and the clock’s ticking.
The Jets still face several questions heading into the season after the draft. Are there still upgrades to be made? Mike Maccagnan and Co. will have to give us answers eventually. Here are the questions the Jets have yet to answer through free agency and the draft.
Who Will Play Center?
The Jets went into the offseason with this question, and they’ve yet to answer it. Jonotthan Harrison remains the only viable center on the roster. Harrison isn’t a bad option at center at all, but the Jets shouldn’t feel overly comfortable with him lining up at center for every down.
Maccagnan decided to skip on aggressively pursuing the top free agent centers in March. He didn’t give Mitch Morse or Matt Paradis a strong offer, and they both decided to sign elsewhere. They later decided to not draft a center either. Do I think anyone the Jets could have drafted after round two would be a day one starter? No. But was it worth a shot? Probably.
May has come and the Jets have just two centers on the roster, Harrison and Jon Toth. The center market is extremely thin, as no centers have been notably on the trade block, and the only decent option left in free agency is Stefen Wisniewski. By the looks of it, Harrison will be snapping Sam Darnold the ball for the 2019 season, and that’s not something to be happy with as a franchise.
Should the Jets be Satisfied With Their Cornerbacks?
Another position the Jets basically ignored this offseason was the cornerback position. They let former starters Morris Claiborne and Buster Skrine walk in free agency, and they didn’t fill the void that they left. Daryl Roberts was re-signed to a three year deal, and he’s currently the favorite to be the Jets No. 2 cornerback. The Jets also drafted Rutgers cornerback Blessuan Austin, but there’s no sign of him being healthy for the 2019 season.
Roberts played well in the absence of Trumaine Johnson, but he’s never been a full-time starter in his career. Similar to Jonotthan Harrison, he’s not a bad option for the Jets. But if the Jets really want to be a top defense in the league, they’ll need stellar cornerback play. Can Roberts, Johnson and Parry Nickerson lock up receivers on a weekly basis? That remains to be seen.
Maccagnan has said he’s open to re-signing Claiborne, but there’s been no reported conversations between the two sides. The Jets defensive rebuild is almost complete, and the cornerback position may be the last piece they need to become elite again.
Will Darron Lee Be a Jet by Week One?
After signing star linebacker C.J. Mosley, the Jets have been trying to trade 2016 first round pick Darron Lee. They haven’t struck a deal yet, and the biggest window they had closed when the draft ended.
The Jets have had suitors for Lee in the past, but they just haven’t found the right offer. The Jets can decline Lee’s fifth year option and let him walk after this season and walk away with a compensatory pick. Could they be keeping him in hopes of getting production in 2019 and a draft pick a year later?
Maccagnan’s probably keeping his mind open, and will listen to offers for the entire season. He may even call a few teams to see if they have serious interest. But if it’s for anything less than a valuable asset or a day two pick, he’ll probably say no. He won’t be getting paid much, so the Jets have nearly nothing to lose in keeping Lee and getting a third round compensatory pick for the 2021 draft.