New York Jets: Top 3 potential replacements for Jordan Jenkins in 2020
By Paul A. Esden Jr.
New York Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins is a pending free agent in 2020. Here are the top 3 potential replacements via free agency, trade, and the Draft.
The New York Jets have over 30 pending in-house free agents heading into 2020. It’s impossible to retain all of them so ultimately the Jets are going to have to make some tough decisions in the next handful of months.
One of the biggest decisions on the docket involves linebacker Jordan Jenkins. The Georgia Bulldogs product has played four seasons for the green and white and has far exceeded his original draft position (third-round pick, 83rd overall in the 2016 NFL Draft).
Jenkins is in the midst of a career year in 2019. He has seven sacks (tied for a career-high), seven TFLs (career-high), and has 12 quarterback hits. All of that would be impressive under any circumstances when you realize Jenkins has missed two games this season it makes his feats even more impressive.
The green and white would like to retain him ahead of free agency, but it’ll likely cost them some serious dough. If the team does decide to move on we dug up the top three options they could add to potentially replace him.
Next: 3. Free agency replacement
Signing a potential replacement may be the most prudent option for the New York Jets this offseason. Out of the three potential options (trade, the draft, and free agency), this option will only cost you money. The other two options will additionally cost you assets (via players or draft picks).
Jadeveon Clowney is a freak of nature at 6-foot-5, 255 pounds. He’s a former No. 1 pick by way of the Houston Texans but hasn’t always played like it. In his six-year NFL career he has never recorded a double-digit sack season (neither has Jordan Jenkins for context), but he has all the potential in the world.
In the last three years, he has combined for 21.5 sacks, which is far more than any Jets player over that same span. On top of his pass-rushing prowess he’s one of the best linebackers in the league against the run.
Jadeveon is 26-years old but will be 27 by the start of the 2020 NFL season. Right before the 2019 season started Clowney was traded from the Texans to the Seattle Seahawks. The Jets were heavily involved in those trade discussions but couldn’t finalize a deal. Now they’ll get their chance in free agency.
To acquire him it’ll cost a pretty penny from the Jets in a bidding war with the other 31 teams in the league, but it would be worth it to add a talent of that caliber to the defense.
Next: 2. Trade replacement
The next opportunity to possibly replace Jordan Jenkins is via the trade market. Scanning across the league turned up several intriguing options from veterans, to star players, to role players. What we must keep in mind here is the Jets have limited assets via the draft and via their roster.
With that being said it somewhat limits the kind of player they could acquire in a potential trade. Although general manager Joe Douglas going back to his roots with the Baltimore Ravens could prove quite fruitful.
Tyus Bowser is a third-year linebacker out of Houston. His stats won’t wow you overall, but he’s coming off of his best season as a pro (five sack campaign in 2019). This 24-year-old would be a gamble worth taking a chance on.
If the Jets were to acquire him for their lesser of two third-round draft choices in 2020 (they snagged another one from the New York Giants in the Leonard Williams trade) it wouldn’t be too cost-prohibitive.
Speaking of not costing a ton, his contract is super manageable as well. Tyus has one-year left on his deal for $1.7 million. The team can acquire him, watch him mold and improve in 2020 and hopefully he earns a long-term deal from the green and white.
Next: 1. Draft replacement
The final option would put the Jets in the best position in the present and moving forward. It’s cost-effective because it’s simply cheap labor for multiple years (typically a four or five-year deal) and you add a young building block for the future.
This is a name that isn’t currently considered a consensus first-round pick, but that could change after the Reese’s Senior Bowl in January. Alton Robinson has had an unusual path to stardom.
After being a star in Texas he planned on going to college at Texas A&M but it all fell through due to some off the field issues. Then he ended up going to Syracuse to rebuild his reputation and he did that and some.
Off the field, he’s had zero issues and on the field, he’s put up video game numbers in the ACC. In three seasons with the Orange, he has put up 19 sacks including a 10 sack campaign in 2018.
While on the surface his 2019 campaign was a bit of a debbie downer (four sacks, lowest of his college career), when you’re in a war room you’re drafting traits, not college production. He’s got twitch and an explosive first step.
A player who checks off all the boxes and could be a pass rusher to fear for the next decade. The last time the Jets had that was when they drafted John Abraham. Right now drafting Alton Robinson could cost a second or one of their 2 third-round picks, again that draft status could change based on how he performs at the Reese’s Senior Bowl.