Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network recently identified Hendrickson as the “best fit” at pass-rusher for the Jets this offseason and that certainly could be the case.
Hendrickson was somewhat quietly one of the breakout stars of the 2020 season. After three relatively uneventful seasons as a reserve pass-rusher for the New Orleans Saints, Hendrickson exploded onto the scene with 13.5 sacks this past year.
In a full-time starting role for the first time in his career, Hendrickson thrived leading a stout Saints defense in sacks, tackles for loss, and QB hits.
Trey Hendrickson would be an excellent signing for the NY Jets
His Pro Football Focus grade was excellent too at a very solid 70.9 which ranked 28th out of all edge defenders. But his calling card was clearly his pass-rushing as he received a pass-rush grade of 77.0 which ranked 17th at his position.
In many ways, his rise to stardom resembled that of Shaquil Barrett a year ago, although maybe not to the same degree. And at just 26-years-old, the former third-round pick is preparing to earn a sizable payday on the open market.
The Saints are in a tricky cap situation making it highly unlikely they’re able to re-sign their budding star. That means a team like the Jets could swoop in and steal him away.
There are a number of promising pass-rushers set to hit free agency this year. Guys like Carl Lawson, Romeo Okwara, and Yannick Ngakoue could be high atop the Jets’ wish list — expect Hendrickson to be right up there with them.
That said, Hendrickson’s market value could exceed that of all three of the others. Given his combination of age and 2020 production, Hendrickson could earn up to $14-15 million per season when all is said and done.
The Jets, while desperate for pass-rush help, might not be willing to pay that.
There will also be concerns about how one-dimensional Hendrickson is as compared to a player like Lawson who excels both against the run and as a pass-rusher. And it was only two years ago that he was a healthy scratch for much of the season.
Nonetheless, the former FAU star would be a perfect fit in Robert Saleh’s defense as a prototypical five-technique defensive end making him even more valuable to the Jets.
Hendrickson is going to earn a hefty paycheck this offseason — whether it’s from the Jets or another team. There are reasons to believe he would be a perfect fit for the team, but there are also reasons to be concerned.
Either way, expect the Jets to at least show some interest in Trey Hendrickson.