The New York Jets have a ton of decisions to make on their pending free agents. Here are the 4 they should keep and the 4 they should move on from.
The New York Jets have a lot of money and it’s burning a hole in their pocket. Although before they can go on another free-agency spending spree, they’ll have to make some key in-house decisions on several of their pending free agents.
All-in-all per Spotrac, the Jets have 31 pending free agents. Some are stars, some are key starters, others are role players, and some are bottom feeders.
A good winning organization evaluates its roster and decides which talent is worth keeping and which talent the team can do without every offseason.
We selected eight players overall from that list and revealed which are the four the Jets should build around and which four the team should cut ties with moving forward.
Next: 4. Time to go back to the couch
In theory, the addition made a ton of sense, in practice? The move proved ineffective, insulting, and downright terrible.
The New York Jets gave a huge vote of confidence to Jonotthan Harrison by not improving the center position through free agency, the draft, or trade. While he didn’t enter this season with a ton of experience, he showed flashes at the end of 2018.
So much so in fact that it appeared Harrison was going to be the starting center. That was the plan until new general manager Joe Douglas convinced former All-Pro center Ryan Kalil out of retirement. It was a strange move that seemingly came out of nowhere, but with Kalil’s track record was highly intriguing.
Although in the back of everyone’s minds it felt wrong that Kalil showed up off his couch late in the process and stole Jonotthan’s job without a competition. Although the NFL is a cold-hearted business if Ryan delivered it didn’t matter how it went down.
The only problem is he was terrible. The Jets’ offensive line chemistry was thrown off and due to injuries they could never gel together and Sam Darnold suffered. Then Kalil was eventually placed on injured reserve, Harrison was inserted in and then suddenly the Jets looked respectable.
Kalil signed a one-year deal with the Jets and it obviously didn’t work out, it’s time for Ryan to go back to the couh.
Next: 3. A new QB should enter the mix
This was another move that on paper seemed to make a lot of sense. Siemian has experience in the type of offense Adam Gase likes to run and he has starting experience in this league. Sadly his brittle ankle couldn’t even make it through a game.
The story of the Jets weird season started during game planning for the Cleveland Browns when the bombshell story dropped: Sam Darnold has mononucleosis and he’s out indefinitely.
Trevor Siemian was inserted into the starting lineup and was expected to hold down the fort for the foreseeable future, but he got sacked, broke his ankle and his Jets’ tenure was over.
Then the Luke Falk era started and it’ll be an unforgettable chapter in the New York Jets’ history books. The bigger crime is that the Jets refused to bring in a viable option after Trevor was banged up, but I digress.
It’s time for the Jets to find a long-term backup option for Sam Darnold. They need someone who can serve spot duty when the Jets are blowing teams out and a reliable voice in the room to help his maturation. Siemian ain’t it.
Next: 2. Didn't use him enough
Ty Montgomery was an under the radar signing and according to all the people we spoke with in camp and around the team, it looked like he was going to be a steal for the team. Montgomery looked great in camp and with Le’Veon Bell expected to get a huge workload, it would be paramount to get him rest so he’d be ready when it matters.
In theory, Ty provided versatility at both running back and wide receiver. With Adam Gase’s playcalling, this should’ve been a match made in heaven when you consider his athleticism, explosion, and in the process providing a reliable rotation running back who could contribute 10 snaps per game.
Although for whatever reason, Gase never maximized his talents. If you don’t use it, you lose it as the kids say. No point in retaining his services if you aren’t going to use him appropriately. The Jets would be better served investing in other positions of need that they’ll actually use.
Next: 1. Toughest free agency decision
This is the toughest decision facing the New York Jets as they head into the offseason. On one hand, the No. 1 task for the Jets this offseason is to build around their franchise quarterback Sam Darnold. On the other hand, there are limited assets available to make that happen, so the Jets have to carefully micro-manage every decision.
Robby Anderson has been accused of being a one-trick pony. He has a troubled history off the field with an issue at a concert, an incident in the back of a police car, to name a few. Some of the off the field issues seem minor, but it’s still a factor.
On top of that if the Jets want to retain him it’s going to cost some serious coinage. Robby seems to have a good rapport with Sam Darnold, but as we mentioned before assets are limited, so it may behoove the front office to fill their wide receiver void through the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft.
According to multiple draft experts, this upcoming class is expected to be one of the deepest and richest wide receiver draft classes in recent memory. The NFL Draft provides young, cheap options to fill voids on your roster. The team may be too tempted by this
Next: 4. Time to lock him in long term
We’ve seen the New York Jets overpay for a free agent and for it to blow up in their face (Trumaine Johnson). Although in fairness we’ve seen them do the opposite, sign an under the radar player who ends up blowing up (in a good way).
That player in 2019 is slot corner, Brian Poole.
In every metric, he has excelled and talk about value (the Jets paid him around $3.5 million which would make him around the 57th highest paid corner in football). Although they won’t get him at that discount for long, he’s a pending free agent who can make an argument that he should be the highest-paid slot corner in football.
This Jets secondary late in the season has been filled with no-name players like Bless Austin, Arthur Maulet, and Brian Poole. Although after the success they’ve had recently they may start becoming house hold names.
The Jets should do everything in their power to keep the band together and run it back in 2020. It may cost a pretty penny to keep Poole but he’s earned it and some in 2019.
Next: 3. Talented pass-rusher stays home
Jordan Jenkins is a blue-collar linebacker who rarely talks but always balls out. That’s been the case since his days back at Georgia. Due to his lack of talking and making a name for himself, his pass-rushing brother who was a tad flashier Leonard Floyd went top-10 in the 2016 NFL Draft while Jordan Jenkins stumbled to the third round.
Fast forward four years and they’ve had nearly the same production since entering the league.
Floyd with the Chicago Bears has 18.5 career sacks, but he has gotten worse every season since getting drafted. His sack totals have exponentially dropped each of his four seasons in the league.
While on the other side of the coin Jordan Jenkins has seen the opposite trajectory with his career.
Each year he’s gotten even more sacks and in 2019 he’s on pace to have a new career-high in that category that pays the bills.
The No. 1 need for the Jets for much of the 21st century has been pass rusher, while Jenkins hasn’t been a double-digit sack guy, he has been their most effective pass rusher in years. It’d be smart for the team to lock him in and keep surrounding him with talent.
Next: 2. Trusty veteran stays in green
You don’t know what you’re missing until it’s gone. That’s how most New York Jets fans feel about their left tackle situation.
In 2006 the Jets committed to investing in the trenches and double-downed on the offensive line with two first-round picks. Both of those players are future Ring of Honor members in Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson.
Ferguson was never a flashy guy and often flew under the radar, but he was just super solid. You barely noticed him in the lineup which is the ultimate compliment for an offensive lineman.
When he left, the void in the trenches was palpable.
It was a game of musical chairs at the position for a few years and then the team stumbled into veteran tackle Kelvin Beachum.
He has had his fair share of struggles, but for the most part, has been captain consistency. Kelvin is an average tackle and too often that gets overlooked.
But recently he’s been playing better than average.
Kelvin Beachum has been keeping Sam clean: just 3 pressures allowed over his past 4 games (no sacks or hits), in which the Jets are 4-0. None allowed against the Raiders pic.twitter.com/7D0WhyRvQm
— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) November 27, 2019
He’s a pending free agent and the Jets have no clear ‘gameplan’ to replace him, they should re-sign him to another one or two year deal and ride him until they draft a long term replacement.
Next: 1. A surprising name has found a home
On September 10, 2019 history was made when the New York Jets and the New England Patriots agreed to terms on a trade. It was the first time Bill Belichick had ever traded with his AFC East rival during his tenure.
Every time the Patriots trade a player, the rest of the league immediately raises an eyebrow and utters to themselves, “What do they know that we don’t?”
Because historically the Patriots NEVER lose trades or give up on a guy that still has gas in the tank, so much of the NFL was skeptical when Demaryius Thomas was dealt with an in-division trade.
Initially, it appeared that the Patriots did know something the rest of the league didn’t, DT was banged up and barely contributing. It seemed like the Jets were bamboozled once again and would be the laughing stock of the league, then DT got healthy and showed why he still has plenty left in the tank at 31 years of age.
Demaryius still has wheels and perhaps most importantly would be a cost-effective piece to the puzzle for the Jets offense. On top of what he brings to the filed, he was voted on as a captain mid-season by his teammates. For a guy who was thrown into the mix, that certainly speaks volumes about his leadership abilities.