The NY Jets bolstered their youth with nine selections in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, that could mean bad news for these three veteran players.
The NY Jets experienced a bit of a youth overhaul in the 2020 NFL Draft selecting nine players who they envision having key roles on the team for years to come.
But as with every draft class, those same rookies will have to fight for playing time.
That playing time, however, often comes at the expense of other more established veterans on the roster. After all, there are only so many snaps to go around.
The Jets were evidently in rebuild mode as despite the fact that some of their picks will obviously be expected to contribute immediately, some are being groomed for future roles down the line.
That’s bad news for the players who could be set to lose those roles in the near future. Some will lose their position on the team as soon as this upcoming season while others might be jettisoned in the next year or two.
Either way, a new collection of rookies is never a good thing for the established members of the roster. And given the apparent depth in this year’s class, it’s reasonable to see some of these young players taking over for veterans in the near future.
With that, let’s take a look at three veterans whose stock is falling following the 2020 NFL Draft.
Next: 3. David Fales
3. David Fales, QB
It always seemed likely that the Jets were going to upgrade their backup quarterback position before the end of the offseason. But while many expected the team to do so in free agency, there were some rumblings about the team drafting a quarterback.
But few likely expected the team to take one as early as they did.
Fales was signed by the Jets on multiple occasions last season and he ended up serving as the team’s primary backup for a majority of the season once Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk were no longer on the active roster.
The Jets re-signed Fales on April 23rd, also known as Day 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft. Just two days later, the team seemingly drafted his replacement.
While Morgan will undoubtedly require some development, the Jets will certainly be hoping that he’s ready to fill the backup role right away. And if that’s the case, don’t expect the Jets to carry three quarterbacks.
Perhaps an even worse scenario would be for the team to sign a veteran quarterback — something they’ve shown interest in — even after drafting Morgan. In that case, there is no chance Fales would make the roster barring injury.
While it always seemed likely that Fales would be replaced this offseason, the drafting of Morgan solidified that notion.
Next: 2. George Fant
2. George Fant, OT
The Jets signed veteran swing tackle George Fant to a pretty hefty three-year, $30 million contract in the offseason with the expectation that he could fill in as a starter if need be.
The former Western Kentucky basketball star had spent the first four years of his career with the Seattle Seahawks playing a part-time role as a spot starter at offensive tackle. And given the Jets’ lack of depth at the position, it seemed like he could be in-line for a bigger role in 2020.
However, the selection of Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton changed that.
There was some speculation that the Jets could take a wide receiver with their first-round pick in this year’s draft. Instead, the team opted to address the offensive line and perhaps leave Fant without a starting job.
The Jets are still high on 2019 third-round pick Chuma Edoga who struggled in his rookie season. But the plan is still for him to be the long-term starter on the right side of the offensive line. And with Becton holding down the left tackle position, that leaves Fant without a defined role.
Fant will likely compete with Edoga for the starting right tackle job, but it’s likely the Jets will give Edoga every opportunity to win it. Combine that with the fact that Fant’s deal is essentially a one-year commitment and the former Seahawks lineman may not have much of a future in New York.
The Jets signed Fant as a contingency plan, and it’s very possible that he never gets the chance to prove himself with his new team.
Next: 1. Marcus Maye
1. Marcus Maye, FS
The writing was already on the wall for the other two players on this list. But with Marcus Maye, there were few that didn’t see him as a long-term fit heading into the 2020 NFL Draft.
But after the selection of Cal safety Ashtyn Davis in the third round, it’s hard to imagine him being on the roster past this upcoming season.
Maye returned to a clean bill of health in 2019 playing in all 16 games for the second time in his first three NFL seasons. And it clearly paid off as the former second-round pick put together the best year of his career to his point earning a 74.6 grade from Pro Football Focus.
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Despite this, it seems as though the Jets drafted his replacement in the aforementioned Davis.
The Cal product is a rangy, versatile, and athletic safety who excels in single-high coverage where he could use his speed to cover from sideline-to-sideline. That certainly sounds a lot like Maye.
The Jets are still in the process of working on an extension for superstar safety Jamal Adams — and the hope is that a deal will get done before the start of the season. But it doesn’t appear as though they’re willing to spend big money on two safeties.
Maye’s contract is up at the end of the year and if he has another season as he did in 2019, it’s very likely he’ll be demanding a sizable chunk of money. The Jets are aware of that and that’s the reason Davis was selected.
You don’t draft a player in the third round with the expectation of him being a long-term backup. The Jets plan for Davis to be a starter and that will likely come as soon as 2021.
And for that reason, no player finds himself as a bigger loser coming out of draft weekend than Marcus Maye.