The NY Jets have decisions to make on 21 unrestricted free agents this offseason. What will they decide to do with punter Lachlan Edwards?
Edwards has served as the Jets’ punter for the past four seasons after originally being drafted in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The Australian-born punter excelled as a three-sport athlete in his home country before emigrating to the United States.
And after a decorated career at Sam Houston State that saw him earn All-Southland Conference First-Team and Sports Network FCS All-America Third-Team honors, Edwards was one of just three punters selected in his draft class.
His rookie season was a bit of a rollercoaster as Edwards had a yards-per-punt average of just 43.1 courtesy of multiple shanked kicks. But after struggling in his first season, Edwards has turned it around and churned out three quality years of production.
His best of which may have come this last season in which the 27-year-old averaged 45.9 yards per punt and led the No. 4 ranked Jets punt unit in DVOA as ranked by Football Outsiders. That was a steep climb from the previous season in which the team’s unit ranked 12th in the NFL.
But now that he’s a free agent will the Jets opt to bring him back?
Should the Jets re-sign him?
Lachlan Edwards has been a capable, reliable punter over the last three seasons. While he’ll never be confused with one of the elites in the league, he’s a solid specialist whose probably slightly above league-average in terms of production.
The Aussie punter is no coffin-corner connoisseur, but he rarely boots the ball into the end zone and has incredible hang time on his kicks. That, in turn, helps keep his net yardage numbers down.
In a weak free-agent class of punters, it might make sense to re-sign Edwards and keep him around for the time being. The likes of Sam Martin, Matt Bosher, and Britton Colquitt are set to hit the market, but there’s no sense in paying more for a minimal upgrade (if it even is an upgrade).
Edwards is dependable and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be brought back.
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Will the Jets re-sign him?
It’s always difficult to predict which players will be kept when a new regime comes in. Edwards has only played one season under Adam Gase now and he’s an inherited member of the Mike Maccangan era.
For that reason, there stands a chance that the Jets will let him walk and opt to bring in a new guy.
But Edwards does have one member of the coaching staff who will likely vouch for him — special teams coordinator Brant Boyer. Edwards and Boyer came to the Jets together in 2016 and the latter has helped him develop throughout his NFL career.
There’s a sense of familiarity between Boyer and Edwards and it’s unlikely they want to depart from that familiarity, especially with the four-year pro performing well.
It’s not a lock and the Jets will likely bring in competition in the preseason, but expect the Jets to re-sign Edwards this offseason.
Odds of re-signing: 75%