The NY Jets are not expected to re-sign punter Lachlan Edwards per multiple reports with the Australian specialist looking for a new deal this offseason.
Edwards has spent the past four seasons as the Jets’ punter after originally being drafted in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The Sam Houston State product by way of Australia has developed into a quality NFL punter over those years.
But the Jets seem ready to move on.
Multiple reports have come out in the last few days insisting the Jets’ desire to find a new punter in the offseason. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News first reported last Tuesday that “Gang Green does not plan to re-sign punter Lachlan Edwards.”
He speculated that the Jets could look to the 2020 NFL Draft for his replacement or simply find one in free agency. Either way, he made it clear that Edwards was unlikely to play for the Jets in 2020.
Then on Friday, Connor Hughes of The Athletic reported that Edwards was one of a few players who were not expected to be back with the Jets next season. Others he named included Demaryius Thomas and Brandon Copeland.
But Edwards is certainly the most surprising.
The 27-year-old has spearheaded what has been a very impressive Jets special teams unit of the last two seasons. After years of having one of the worst units in the league, the Jets’ special teams surged to No. 1 in DVOA rankings in 2018 and followed that up with an excellent No. 4 ranking in 2019.
Only the team’s subpar kicking game held them back from being even higher up on Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings.
The Jets’ punt game was actually one of their strongest as it ranked fourth in the NFL behind only the Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, and Houston Texans. And Edwards was obviously the leader of the pack.
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The Australian native punted a league-leading 87 times in 2019 racking up just shy of 4,000 punt yards. He finished with a career-high 41.6 net yards per punt while booting just three touchbacks — a new career-low despite leading the league in punts.
By most measures, Edwards is a solid, reliable NFL punter. But the Jets clearly feel that there’s some room for growth.
Edwards isn’t the most accomplished coffin corner punter and he rarely boots kicks for an insane amount of yardage. Instead, he makes his living on lengthy hang times allowing gunners to get down the field and limit returns.
It’s effective, but it’s not typically going to be a game-changer.
The Jets likely want a punter with a big leg who can flip field positions if the time calls for it. And they also want someone who could pin opponents inside the five-yard line in the right situation.
Edwards hasn’t shown that he could do either of those two things consistently.
On one hand, the Jets choosing to move on from Edwards is surprising given their success in that department over the last two years. But on the other hand, the organization recognizes that they can upgrade at the position and that’s exactly what they want to do.
Edwards has served the Jets well over the last four seasons, but his time in New York appears to be all but over.