NY Jets: Top 3 free-agent signings of the offseason so far

NY Jets (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
NY Jets (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets have made a number of signings so far this offseason, primarily offensive linemen. Let’s take a look at the top three moves the team has made to this point.

The NY Jets have followed through on their promise to address the offensive line in free agency as the position makes up the vast majority of the team’s signings so far this offseason.

While the Jets have stayed away from big names like Byron Jones, Jack Conklin, and Amari Cooper, they have still managed to come away with a few decent players.

This strategy is vastly different from the strategy employed by former general manager Mike Maccagnan. Whereas Maccagnan was willing to pay top dollar to land high-profile names on the market, new general manager Joe Douglas has taken a different approach.

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Douglas has remained steadfast in his initial valuations, refusing to pay more than necessary. It’s led to the team missing out on some highly-touted free agents, but maybe that’s for the best.

It’s hard to be displeased with the free-agent haul the Jets have landed so far — even if it isn’t a flashy group. On top of that, the team has also made a few key re-signings which helps keep the best of last year’s roster in green and white.

For this list, we will be considering both external signings and internal re-signings as we take a look at the top three moves the Jets have made through the first week of free agency.

Next: 3. Greg Van Roten

NY Jets (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

3. Greg Van Roten, OG

The Jets’ most recent signing was also one of their better ones this offseason as they continued to sure up their offensive line with the addition of veteran guard Greg Van Roten.

After re-signing Alex Lewis, it was unclear if the Jets would make another guard acquisition in free agency — especially with Brian Winters still holding down the starting right guard position.

But the team was persistent in their pursuit of the former Carolina Panthers guard and they landed their guy after a few days of contract negotiations.

Van Roten is expected to take over the starting right guard spot with the release of Winters all but certain at this point. The 30-year-old veteran has started the last two seasons for the Panthers and has put up very efficient numbers.

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Pro Football Focus gave Van Roten a 74.3 pass-blocking grade which ranked 17th out of all guards in the NFL. On top of that, he allowed just 17 pressures on 446 pass-block snaps.

In five years in the NFL — two as a starter — Van Roten has been flagged just once. And for a Jets team that finished with the seventh-most holding calls last year, that’s a pretty valuable trait.

As an added bonus, the Long Island native grew up a Jets fan and has now completed his long, winding football journey from undrafted rookie to Canadian Football League, and finally back where it all started.

The Jets snagged themselves a starting-caliber guard and even if he isn’t the long-term solution at the position, he should still be able to hold down the fort for the time being.

Next: 2. Brain Poole

NY Jets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

2. Brian Poole, CB

Yes, we’re including re-signings on this list. And when talking about internal moves the Jets made, there is perhaps none better than the move to bring back Brian Poole.

Poole was signed to a meager one-year, $3 million deal last offseason after spending the previous three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. And it’s safe to say that he quickly outplayed his salary.

The 27-year-old finished as PFF’s No. 9 rated cornerback in the entire NFL earning a stellar 79.0 grade. In a cornerback group full of washed-up veterans and unproven youngsters, Poole managed to stand out and be one of the team’s most consistent producers.

Many expected Poole to cash in this offseason as one of the top nickel cornerbacks on the market. But the Jets somehow managed to re-sign him to another one-year deal — this one worth $5 million.

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A $2 million pay raise hardly seems fair given how well Poole played in 2019, but Douglas managed to get a deal done and it’s fair to see the Jets came away with a steal.

Poole was arguably the team’s most important player in need of a new contract and the Jets were able to re-sign him for a fraction of what most assumed he would get paid.

That’s a testament to Douglas and the front office for sticking to their guns and re-signing a player who’s value last season can’t be understated.

Poole will be with the Jets again in 2020 and that’s something fans should rejoice about.

Next: 1. Connor McGovern

NY Jets (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

1. Connor McGovern, C

After multiple low-key moves to start free agency, Jets fans were growing impatient with their team’s lack of notable additions. But the signing of center Connor McGovern on Tuesday helped appease the masses for the time being.

McGovern wasn’t the Joe Thuney or Graham Glasgow signing that many Jets fans were hoping for, but he was likely the next best interior option.

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The 26-year-old started the last two seasons for the Denver Broncos after playing sparingly over the first two years of his career. Originally a starter at right guard, McGovern took over for the injured Matt Paradis — a name Jets fans might remember from last offseason — in 2018.

After Paradis departed in free agency, McGovern remained the Broncos’ starting center establishing himself as one of the most unheralded players at his position in the NFL.

A pass-blocking specialist, McGovern was ranked as PFF’s 11th overall center in 2019 and despite starting all 16 games and playing all 1,014 offensive snaps, the Missouri product wasn’t flagged a single time.

McGovern allowed just one sack and three quarterback hits leading the way for what was an improved Broncos offensive line.

Out of all the second-tier offensive line free agents, McGovern was likely the best and the Jets managed to land him on a three-year, $27 million contract giving him an AAV of less than $10 million per season.

That’s great value for one of the most underrated free agents in this year’s class.

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Here’s to hoping that McGovern could be the Jets’ best center since Nick Mangold and we could put the days of Wesley Johnson, Spencer Long, Ryan Kalil, and Jonotthan Harrison swiftly behind us.