NY Jets: Joe Douglas free-agent signings have disappointed

NY Jets
NY Jets /

NY Jets’ general manager Joe Douglas’ first free-agent class has disappointed.

The NY Jets‘ organization doesn’t have a lot going for it at the moment. The roster is abysmal, the coaching staff is a mess, and there are few saving graces with this franchise in 2020.

But at the very least, many individuals — both fans and members of the NFL — seem to have confidence in the team’s general manager, Joe Douglas.

Douglas was widely believed to be a top-tier candidate when he was hired to become the Jets’ new GM in June of 2019. And around a year and a half later, he’s still held in high regard around the league.

His first draft class has already shown significant promise with the likes of Mekhi Becton, Denzel Mims, and Ashtyn Davis — among others — all indicating that they should be a part of the organization’s future plans.

But while his draft class has looked promising, the same can’t be said for his first class of free agents.

Joe Douglas’ first draft class with the NY Jets has underwhelmed.

Douglas and the Jets were rather quiet in free agency this offseason and didn’t come away with any of the top names on the market. While this was by design, the players the team settled for have hardly lived up to expectations.

Arguably the Jets’ most notable free-agent signing, center Connor McGovern, has taken a major step back in his first season with the team. Pro Football Focus currently ranks him as the NFL’s 33rd-best center after ranking top-10 at his position in 2019.

Meanwhile, fellow offensive linemen Greg Van Roten and George Fant have been nothing more than replacement-level players at best. That’s fine and, in all honesty, not much more was expected.

But it is true that neither of them has impressed enough to convince the organization that they’re anything more than that.

Perhaps the biggest mistake that Douglas has made during his time with the Jets was the belief that he could adequately replace Robby Anderson with former draft bust Breshad Perriman.

Anderson was signed to a dirt-cheap two-year, $20 million contract and has gone on to be a top-five receiver in the NFL this year. Perriman, who was given a one-year, $6.5 million deal, has barely even played.

And when he has taken the field, aside from this past week, he hasn’t shown anything that would indicate that he’s even starting-caliber. If the Jets could pay Perriman $6.5 million in a season, they could have paid $3.5 million more to land Anderson.

That’s a blunder on Douglas’ part.

On defense, perhaps Douglas’ most important addition was the signing of veteran Pierre Desir. While Desir is still in the starting lineup at the time of writing, his struggles have been evident.

It would be wise for the Jets to give young players like Bryce Hall playing time moving forward with Desir clearly not a part of the future plans.

Douglas and the Jets hoped that Desir would be a serviceable No. 1 cornerback in 2020. Instead, he’s been a massive liability as a starter.

As far as outside additions go, that was pretty much it. If we’re not talking about offseason re-signings, those are the most notable free-agent signings that Douglas made.

Of them all, perhaps Van Roten and Fant are the only two who have lived up to expectations. And it’s not as if either player had sky-high expectations, to begin with.

The Jets will likely be much more active in free agency this coming offseason. With over $100 million in cap space, Douglas will hopefully be given more flexibility when it comes to spending.

Rather than bargain-hunting, perhaps he’ll actually be given free rein to make a few necessary splashes.

Next. NY Jets: 3 possible cap casualties for the 2021 offseason

But for now, it’s clear that his “smart-shopper” approach from this past offseason was a complete bust.