NY Jets: Joe Douglas is effectively finding free agent bargains
By Chris Stephano
Facing the dual challenges of a weak roster and limited resources, NY Jets general manager Joe Douglas is winning NFL free agency by shopping for bargains.
The 2019 NY Jets were a mediocre team (7-9) with a litany of deficiencies and roster holes. Now that NFL free agency has begun, Jets general manager Joe Douglas has his work cut out for him.
Although the Jets have a fair amount of cap space and draft picks, they also have tons of roster holes at multiple positions (i.e. offensive line, cornerback, wide receiver, edge rusher).
With only so many available resources, Douglas simply can’t afford to overspend (in terms of money or draft capital) on any one player.
Fortunately for the Jets and their fans, Douglas seems to understand this. As evidenced by the franchise’s early offseason moves, it is clear that the Jets are prioritizing finding as many potential starting players as possible.
Jets GM Joe Douglas:
We need to have a strong offensive line. We have to do a good job of protecting Sam.
— Eric Allen (@eallenjets) February 25, 2020
Take the offensive line, for instance. Douglas has consistently said that upgrading the offensive line would be a top priority this offseason.
Douglas has held true to his word, as the early moves he’s made have almost exclusively addressed the offensive line.
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Over the past few days, the Jets have:
- Signed George Fant (T) to a 3-year/$27.3 million contract
- Signed Connor McGovern (C) to a 3-year/$27 million contract
- Re-signed Alex Lewis (G) to a 3-year/$18.6 million contract
Meanwhile, some of the higher-ranked free agent offensive linemen have been flying off the shelves at much higher prices. Consider Jack Conklin, who signed with the Cleveland Browns for a whopping three-year/$42 million contract.
No on would argue that any of the Jets’ new offensive linemen are as good as Conklin, but getting bogged down in that discussion is missing the larger point.
The Jets need to add lots of decent and good players, not one or two great players. By finding multiple offensive linemen at discount prices, Douglas has potentially filled multiple roster holes. He also has minimized risk by not “putting all his eggs in one basket” for any one player.
In addition to the offensive line, Douglas has begun to use his bargain shopping approach to address other team needs.
Jets and CB Brian Poole agreed to a 1 year, $5 million deal, per source #nyj
— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) March 18, 2020
Today the Jets re-signed Brian Poole, their best cornerback, to a one-year, $5 million contract. There is no other way to slice it. This deal is an absolute steal for Douglas and the epitome of the kinds of moves that the Jets need to be making.
Poole may not be a Pro Bowler, but he is a solid starter acquired at a bargain-basement price.
Douglas still has a long way to go. The Jets need at least one more starting cornerback. And with Robby Anderson and Jordan Jenkins among their remaining high profile free agents, their need at wide receiver and outside linebacker may only be exacerbated in the days ahead.
The Jets are still far away from being a contender. However, between Tom Brady leaving the Patriots and Douglas making solid roster moves, the future is beginning to look bright for the Jets.