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NY Jets: 4 starters from 2019 that remain unsigned into July

NY Jets (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
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NY Jets (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)

These four former NY Jets starters remain unsigned by any team into the month of July.

The NY Jets experienced plenty of roster turnover in the offseason as general manager Joe Douglas decided to mold the team’s roster into his own in his first offseason with the organization.

That turnover brought a number of new faces who will lead the next era of Jets football starting in 2020. However, turnover also means that an abundance of players departed the roster as well.

It was clear that the Jets’ roster needed a ton of work in the offseason so seeing that type of turnover was hardly unexpected. And what’s also pretty expected is the fact that many of the players who the Jets moved on from in the offseason remain unsigned into July.

And we’re not talking about just reserves/backups either. Sure the likes of Rontez Miles and Albert McClellan remain free agents, but that isn’t exactly too surprising.

But a few players who started for the Jets in 2019 remain on the open market as well.

Be it because of an unpredictable and contentious offseason or simply their declining abilities. Either way, it doesn’t appear as though the Jets were wrong for moving on from these players seeing as though the league appears to have little interest in them as well.

Honorable mentions include players like Bilal Powell and Ryan Kalil who played sizable roles in 2019 for the Jets and are also still free agents at the time of writing.

With that, let’s take a look at four 2019 starters who remain unsigned into early July.

Next: 4. Demaryius Thomas

NY Jets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

4. Demaryius Thomas, WR, NY Jets

Needing help at wide receiver following a season-ending injury suffered by Quincy Enunwa, the Jets shipped a 2021 sixth-round pick to the New England Patriots for the aging Demaryius Thomas in early September of last year.

It was obvious upon his arrival that this wasn’t the Thomas of old. Gone was the five-time Pro Bowler who once was one of the league’s best wide receivers and instead the Jets saw a sluggish, over-the-hill veteran who was nothing more than adequate depth.

But he was never meant to be a huge upgrade at the position. Thomas was there to serve as reliable depth and as a team leader. And it’s safe to say that he did both of those things quite well.

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Thomas finished the year starting 10 of 11 games he played while hauling in 36 catches for 433 yards and a touchdown. Modest numbers to say the least, but no one was putting up impressive stats in the Jets offense.

Still, the Jets opted not to re-sign the 32-year-old after the season and he’s received little interest since. However, if any team is going to sign him, it appears to be the Jets who reportedly have shown interest in bringing him back.

For the time being, however, he remains unsigned. And given his age and rapidly declining play, that’s hardly a surprise.

Next: 3. Lachlan Edwards

NY Jets (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

3. Lachlan Edwards, P, NY Jets

Lachlan Edwards had a good four-year run with the Jets and many were surprised to see the team let him walk in the offseason. A seventh-round pick in 2016, Edwards improved his game and developed into a pretty reliable punter by the end of his time in New York.

But the Jets clearly felt that they could do better and decided to replace him with Texas A&M standout Braden Mann in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Mann put together an illustrious college career that saw him break FBS records and win the 2018 Ray Guy Award given to the nation’s top punter. Edwards was a serviceable option, but the Jets clearly fell in love with Mann’s huge leg.

The Aussie’s calling card has always been his impressive hang time, but Edwards has never been known for his leg power or directional skills. Mann, on the other hand, is the exact opposite.

It isn’t hard to see why the Jets moved on, but it is a little surprising to see how little interest Edwards has received since hitting the open market. There has been seemingly no reported interest from any team in Edwards.

Now, it’s not as if there are an abundance of punter jobs open for grabs every offseason, but one would think that teams would be willing to at least bring Edwards in for a tryout in training camp.

Perhaps he’s gotten offers and he just hasn’t accepted anything yet. Regardless, it is a little confounding to see him still on the market well into the summer.

Next: 2. Trumaine Johnson

NY Jets (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)

2. Trumaine Johnson, CB, NY Jets

Out of all the players on this list, it is by far the least surprising to still see Trumaine Johnson on the open market in July. In fact, it would be mildly surprising to see him even land with another team again — even on a tryout basis.

Johnson was a disaster in his short two-year stint with the Jets and his contract will undoubtedly go down as one of the worst free-agent signings in franchise history, perhaps even in NFL history.

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The Jets’ resident $72.5 million man was a complete flop from his first day with the organization and the former Los Angeles Rams standout would play just 17 games of his original five-year deal he signed with the team back in the 2018 offseason.

Even after his abysmal 2018 campaign, the Jets brought him back as a starter in 2019, mostly because they really didn’t have much of a choice. It would have cost them more to take him off the roster than to have him on it.

Alas, Johnson would play just seven games in 2019 giving Jets fans one final streak of terrible play before an ankle injury ended his season prematurely. But given how his replacements in Blessuan Austin and Arthur Maulet played, it was absolutely for the best.

Johnson has garnered seemingly no interest on the open market and it’s likely that this is the end of his NFL career. At 30-years-old and with his play resembling nothing more than a practice-squad-caliber player, it’s hard to see any team willing to give him another chance.

And thus, Johnson’s career will end mercifully following his infamous tenure with the Jets.

Next: 1. Kelvin Beachum

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

1. Kelvin Beachum, OT, NY Jets

While it’s certainly unsurprising to see Johnson still on the market, one player who has shockingly drawn little interest from NFL teams is Kelvin Beachum.

Beachum spent the last three years serving as a very reliable starting left tackle for the Jets. And while he is far from an All-Pro, his play over those three years as certainly been starting-caliber.

He’s been durable (only missed three games during his Jets career), an incredible veteran leader, and a solid starting tackle. So what gives?

Honestly, I have no idea.

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Beachum was given a very respectable 67.1 Pro Football Focus grade last season which ranked 39th at his position. Seeing as though there are 64 starting tackles in the leagues, that would seem to indicate that he’s a solid starter.

While his run-block grade was fairly low (56.6), his pass-bock grade was actually right around league average for the position at 72.7.

Beachum is a starting-caliber veteran tackle who is a fairly reliable pass-blocker and a below-average run-blocker. Combine that with his highly-regarded off-field leadership and you’d think teams would be jumping to give him a contract this offseason.

But evidently that hasn’t been the case.

I’m willing to bet that Beachum has gotten some interest, but just turned down contracts waiting for the best offer. And I’m sure the tricky cap situation this offseason hasn’t helped matters.

At worst, Beachum can be excellent depth as a swing tackle for a contending team. And at best, he’s an average/below-average starter on a middling team.

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For that reason, it’s pretty stunning that he remains unsigned into the month of July.

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