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The NY Jets have made a total of seven signings over the first four days of free agency and added quite a bit of depth to their roster.
They made a couple of major splashes on the first day of the legal tampering period signing both wide receiver Corey Davis and defensive end Carl Lawson to three-year deals.
Both players figure to play major roles in 2021 and it’s easy to argue that each of them are the best players the Jets have had at their respective positions in a couple of years. In Lawson’s case, maybe in close to two decades.
They also added linebacker Jarrad Davis and then signed cornerback/special-teamer Justin Hardee on Tuesday. And after a quiet Wednesday in which no moves were made, general manager Joe Douglas returned to sign a few more players on Thursday.
The Jets added wide receiver Keelan Cole to provide further depth to a suddenly deep receiving corps and signed former Los Angeles Chargers’ guard Dan Feeney to bolster the offensive line depth.
The night concluded with the addition of safety Lamarcus Joyner who could play a vital role in new head coach Robert Saleh’s defense — a defensive system that likes to make use of three-safety sub packages.
Despite all these signings, the Jets are still equipped to make a few more moves.
It’s been a few days, but a host of notable free agents still remain on the market. Some of these players were free agents to begin the offseason while others have found their way to the open market after being cut by their former teams.
Either way, let’s take a look at three high-profile free agents the Jets could still sign as of Friday morning.
Next: 3. JuJu Smith-Schuster
3. The NY Jets could still sign JuJu Smith Schuster
It’s a little bit surprising to see JuJu Smith-Schuster still on the market come Friday, but the entire wide receiver market has been a slow-developing process.
After all, Kenny Golladay, one of the top free agents heading into the week, remains unsigned at the time of writing. Will Fuller received just a one-year prove-it deal. The market hasn’t been particularly kind to wide receivers.
Meanwhile, the Jets have added two wideouts of their own in Corey Davis and Keelan Cole. But could they look to add a third in the form of the former Pittsburgh Steelers’ second-round pick?
Rumors emerged on Thursday morning that the Jets were inquiring about Smith-Schuster and even had talks with him. But after nothing came about, they inked Cole later in the night.
However, the Cole signing doesn’t necessarily mean the Jets are out on Smith-Schuster.
If signed, Smith-Schuster would likely take the place of Jamison Crowder in the Jets’ offense serving as the team’s primary slot receiver. Crowder could easily be cut for a cap savings of around $10 million.
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That money could be used to sign Smith-Schuster perhaps giving the Jets an upgrade in a younger, higher-upside player on a longer-term contract.
At just 24-years-old, Smith-Schuster is one of the most intriguing free agents on the market. We’ve seen the elite production from him in the past, and he would be an ideal fit in Mike LaFleur’s offense.
Even after the signings of Davis and Cole, don’t rule out the Jets adding a third wide receiver in free agency.
Next: 2. Kyle Fuller
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2. The NY Jets could still sign Kyle Fuller
The Chicago Bears shockingly released former All-Pro cornerback Kyle Fuller on Thursday after six seasons with the organization. While still playing at a high level, the Bears were strapped for cap space.
As controversial as it may be, Fuller is now available to sign (sort of) and the Jets could make a move. Technically, Fuller has not officially been released at the time of writing, but unless someone makes a last-minute trade for him, he will hit the open market on Friday.
A former first-round pick, Fuller has been one of the better cornerbacks in football over the last half-decade and while his play has slipped a little, he’s still a very good player.
The 29-year-old earned a stellar 81.4 Pro Football Focus grade in 2018 en route to being named first-team All-Pro. He followed that up with his second consecutive Pro Bowl appearance a year later.
His PFF grade was down slightly in 2020 (only 64.0), but his overall grade was hurt by his atrocious run-defense grade of 38.7. Whereas his coverage grade of 70.2 ranked 28th at his position.
Signing Fuller would give the Jets a player who’s still a borderline No. 1 cornerback on most teams and provide some extra depth and experience to a secondary that’s desperately in need of both.
His price tag might not be cheap, but at 29-years-old, he isn’t going to reset any markets. The Jets have a chance to land a true star at the cornerback position in Fuller, and they should do what they can to make that happen.
Provided no other team beats them to the punch in a trade.
Next: 1. Adoree' Jackson
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
1. The NY Jets could still sign Adoree’ Jackson
Fuller wasn’t the only high-profile cornerback released over the last few days. A day earlier, the Tennessee Titans made the equally shocking decision to release former first-round pick Adoree’ Jackson in another cap-saving move.
It’s not often you see a young player still on his rookie contract released to create cap space, but the Titans were desperate. And their desperation could benefit a team like the Jets.
Jackson is just 25-years-old and the last time we saw him on the field, he was playing at a very high level. The former USC star put together three consecutive seasons with a PFF grade north of 73.0, including his rookie year.
He capped it all off with a standout 2019 season that saw him finish with a near-elite PFF grade of 79.9 that ranked eighth at his position. Jackson was a bonafide top-10 cornerback in 2019, unfortunately, he couldn’t follow up on that success in 2020.
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The California native was limited to just three games in 2020 after suffering a knee injury before the start of the regular season. Injuries could be a concern after he missed five games the year prior as well, but it’s hard to question his talent.
That’s what made his release all the more surprising. Sure, injuries have been an issue for him, but at just 24-years-old, Jackson was a top-10 player at one of the most important positions in football two years ago.
Not only would Jackson give the Jets a ready-made No. 1 cornerback from day one, but he would hardly be a stop-gap either. Sign him to a three or four-year deal and watch him flourish on Robert Saleh’s defense — provided he stays healthy.
The Jets should be all over Jackson’s market.