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New York Jets: 2019 free-agent signings already living up to the hype

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 08: Jamison Crowder #82 of the New York Jets is tackled by Tremaine Edmunds #49 and Matt Milano #58 of the Buffalo Bills during second quarter the at MetLife Stadium on September 08, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 08: Jamison Crowder #82 of the New York Jets is tackled by Tremaine Edmunds #49 and Matt Milano #58 of the Buffalo Bills during second quarter the at MetLife Stadium on September 08, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
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The New York Jets made a few blunders with their free agents in 2018, but their 2019 class is already living up to their hefty expectations.

The New York Jets are fresh off an embarrassingly devastating loss at the hands of their Week 1 opponent, the Buffalo Bills. In reality, there were probably few worse ways to start a season than what we saw unfold on Sunday afternoon.

The offense was anemic, the coaching and special teams were subpar, and worst of all, the team lacked the killer instinct that has eluded them in recent years. They couldn’t put their opponents away, even with all the help in the world.

But while it certainly wasn’t an ideal start to the year, the season is far from over. Week 1 overreactions are real and it’s best not to overreact just yet. That doesn’t mean that things don’t need to be fixed, because they most certainly do.

However, it does mean that we could take some of the good with the bad. And in this case, the good came with a select group of players who all made their presence felt in Sunday’s game.

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The Jets were major players in free agency this offseason spending the most out of any team — upwards to $230 million in total — over $40 million more than the next organization. As such, the team undoubtedly had high expectations for their prized signings.

And after just one week, it appears that their free-agent moves are already paying off.

Superstar running back Le’Veon Bell, who was signed to a four-year, $52.5 million contract in the offseason, finished his first game in green and white with 93 total scrimmage yards and a receiving touchdown.

He was also the beneficiary of a miraculous two-point conversion that saw quarterback Sam Darnold evade would-be tacklers only to eventually find Bell in the corner of the endzone.

More. New York Jets: Kaare Vedvik experiment fails in epic fashion in Week 1

Linebacker C.J. Mosley was the clear MVP on defense in his Jets debut forcing two turnovers — one of which was an interception returned to the house for a touchdown.

But there was no greater indicator of his value than when the four-time Pro Bowler went down with a groin injury midway through the third quarter. The Jets defense folded in his absence as the Bills opened up their ground game and torched Gregg Williams’ unit.

With Mosley on the field, the Jets defense was dominant, in no small part thanks to No. 57 roaming the middle of the field.

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Finally, wide receiver Jamison Crowder tied the Jets franchise mark for receptions by a wide receiver with 14 grabs for 99 yards on the day. Amazingly, Crowder became the first player in NFL history to haul in 14 or more catches and not total 100 yards.

The former Washington Redskins receiver was the team’s primary target on offense and established himself early on as a favorite target of Darnold’s and a third-down menace.

In actuality, these three were likely the team’s top performers on Sunday — not a bad start for the Jets 2019 free-agent haul. And given the results of last year’s class, this is certainly a welcome sign.

Just like this past offseason, the Jets went into the 2018 offseason with a ton of cap space and they were looking to spend it. But instead of landing players like Bell, Mosley, or Crowder, the Jets came away with a much more disappointing haul.

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Players such as Trumaine Johnson, Avery Williamson, Spencer Long, Morris Claiborne, Isaiah Crowell, and Terrelle Pryor highlighted what turned out to be an extremely underwhelming crop of free-agent signings.

Out of all of them, Williamson is the only one that is still on the team and has played up to the dollar figure of his contract. Johnson has been a complete bust, Long couldn’t even last more than a season, and Claiborne, Crowell, and Pryor were never intended to be long-term fixes.

But this season, it appears that the Jets have found true difference-makers in free agency. And for the money that they’re paying them, the team will surely hope that their level of play will remain high throughout the season.

Next. New York Jets: Top 5 takeaways from Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills

It isn’t always wise to build through free agency, but it’s hard to argue with the results the Jets have gotten thus far.

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