The NY Jets will enter the offseason with a ton of in-house free agents to re-sign. One player they might decide to bring back is linebacker Neville Hewitt.
Hewitt had filled in briefly in 2018 when Darron Lee was suspended for the final four games of the season and he performed admirably in his place. His play was enough to convince the Jets to bring him back in 2019 as the team’s primary backup linebacker.
And after Avery Williamson‘s season-ending torn ACL suffered in the preseason, Hewitt was once again thrust into the spotlight. The 26-year-old would make 12 starts in 2019 finishing with career-highs in tackles (75), sacks (3.0), interceptions (2), and pass deflections (5).
Hewitt would struggle mightily in coverage, but serve as a reliable run-stopper playing on first and second down. However, his poor pass coverage tanked his Pro Football Focus grade as he finished with a downright abysmal 40.4 grade.
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In reality, there was absolutely a steep drop-off in talent level between Williamson and Hewitt, but the latter did his job and helped solidify an overachieving Jets defense.
But with his contract expiring, will the Jets opt to re-sign the special teams ace?
Should the Jets re-sign him?
Hewitt isn’t a starting-caliber linebacker. Some fans may feel that he is, but the stats and analytics don’t lie. It was nearly impossible to rely on him in coverage and he was truly more of a liability than an asset when on the field.
But that doesn’t mean he isn’t a valuable player.
Hewitt is a stellar special teams contributor who doubles as a dependable backup off-ball linebacker. While his play was nothing special, he should be praised for how quickly he was able to adapt as the team’s defensive play-caller and MIKE linebacker.
Assuming his market isn’t crazy, Hewitt is good depth and it would be wise of the Jets to try and bring him back.
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Will the Jets re-sign him?
The Jets seem to be high on Hewitt and it’s obvious that he has a big fan in special teams coordinator Brant Boyer. Not to mention his prior relationship with head coach Adam Gase with the Miami Dolphins.
Hewitt has connections and seems to have plenty of supporters on the coaching staff. For that reason, it seems likely that the Jets decide to bring him back.
Moreover, Avery Williamson could be a possible cap casualty this offseason meaning that the Jets will need all the depth at linebacker that they could get. 2019 fifth-round pick Blake Cashman is still on the roster, but he probably isn’t ready for an increased role just yet.
It would make sense for the Jets to bring back Neville Hewitt and a reunion seems about as probably as it could be for a reserve special-teamer like himself.
Odds of re-signing: 65%