NY Jets: 3 players to sign in the second wave of free agency
By Justin Fried
The NY Jets were relatively quiet during the initial wave of free agency. But with plenty of worthwhile targets still available, the second wave could prove more fruitful.
The NY Jets and the NFL world have seen the first wave of free agency come and pass. The initial thrill of seeing countless players find new homes has subsided and fans can finally take a deep breath and take in everything that has occurred.
From star-studded trades to big-name free-agent signings, the first few days of the free-agency period certainly lived up to the hype. But now that the dust has settled, it’s clear that there is still work to be done.
That’s especially true for the Jets who remained mostly dormant throughout the first few days of free agency. The team added just two external free agents and a pair of re-signings, but it’s been a quieter offseason than in recent years.
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That said, the bargain-hunting Joe Douglas could still have a chance to land some impactful players in the so-called “second wave” of free agency. With a number of roster holes still in need of filling, these next few days should be crucial for Gang Green.
Let’s take a look at three second-wave free agents the Jets should look to sign.
Next: 3. Greg Van Roten
3. Greg Van Roten, OG
After missing out on the likes of Joe Thuney and Graham Glasgow, the Jets quickly had to shift their strategy to some of the tier-two interior offensive linemen.
One of which — and perhaps the best of the tier-two group — was Denver Broncos center Connor McGovern who the Jets inked to a three-year, $27 million deal on Tuesday. But their work is far from over.
Re-signing Alex Lewis helps, but the Jets could still stand to upgrade on the interior. That’s where a player like Greg Van Roten could come into play.
The Jets have been linked to Van Roten even before missing out on Glasgow and the fit makes sense. A Long Island native, Van Roten has had a long and winding journey to get to where he is now.
After going undrafted back in 2012, the Penn product spent a couple of seasons with the Green Bay Packers primarily on their practice squad or their game-day inactive list. And after just two seasons in Green Bay, he was released.
It would take Van Roten four years to see NFL action again after spending some time in the Canadian Football League. Van Roten became a full-time starter at left guard for the Carolina Panthers in 2018 — a role he surmised in 2019.
The 30-year-old finished with a respectable 65.6 Pro Football Focus grade last season which would be an upgrade over both Lewis and Brian Winters.
The two sides have been talking for days, perhaps soon they will finally pull the trigger and come to terms on an agreement.
Next: 2. Prince Amukamara
2. Prince Amukamara, CB
The Jets have been in the market for a cornerback this offseason, but they’ve yet to land one. The team did, however, re-sign slot corner Brian Poole to a team-friendly one-year, $5 million deal, but they still need help on the boundary.
Gang Green was reportedly in the mix for both Byron Jones and James Bradberry but ultimately struck out. They had interest in signing players like Chris Harris and Trae Waynes, but both were given deals with different teams.
Many of the top options on the market or gone, but there are a few who still warrant a closer look.
One of those players is veteran Prince Amukamara who has quietly been a very solid cornerback over his career. The 2011 first-round pick never lived up to expectations with the New York Giants, but he’s been a quality starter since leaving the Big Apple.
Amukamara has spent the last three years starting on a very impressive Chicago Bears defense and he finished the 2019 season with a very solid 68.2 Pro Football Focus grade.
PFF rated Amukamara as the No. 13 overall free agent this offseason one ahead of former Pro Bowler Desmond Trufant. With coverage grades north of 70.0 in each of the last three seasons, Amukamara would be a perfect target at this stage of free agency.
He will turn 31-years-old in June so he isn’t getting any younger, but as a two-year stop-gap to hold down the fort for a couple of years, the Jets could do much worse than Prince Amukamara.
Next: 1. Robby Anderson
1. Robby Anderson, WR
In one of the most surprising developments of the 2020 free-agency period, wide receiver Robby Anderson is still available as we move towards the weekend.
Not only is he still available, but there has been dead silence regarding his future.
Connor Hughes of The Athletic had the following to say about the lack of interest from other teams. “No one’s heard of any team making a legitimate run at him,” Hughes said. “No one’s heard of any type of salary coming his way.”
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The lack of a market is stunning considering Anderson’s body of work and anticipated contract demands. However, a stacked 2020 NFL Draft class of receivers has seemingly stunted the wide receiver market for the time being.
The Jets, who at one point seemed like longshots to match other offers for Anderson, could be the beneficiaries of such.
Every day that passes makes it more and more likely that Anderson ends up back in New York in 2020. The Jets like Anderson and they genuinely want to keep him. But Joe Douglas has remained steadfast on what he’s willing to pay.
And much like he’s been doing all offseason, he isn’t going to waver.
If Anderson’s price tag comes down to $11 million or below, the Jets will have a hard time passing on the speedy wideout. And with the way his market is shaping up, that figure seems very reasonable.
Back from the dead, Robby Anderson might be a member of the Jets in 2020 after all.