4 free agents who could reunite with Robert Saleh and the NY Jets

NY Jets, D.J. Jones
NY Jets, D.J. Jones / Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
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NY Jets
NY Jets, D.J. Jones / Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

2. NY Jets target: D.J. Jones, DT

Every team seems to have at least one of these players. A former late-round defensive tackle who eventually developed into a starter and served as a vital cog in the middle of his team's defense.

For the Jets, that player is Folorunso Fatukasi. For the 49ers, it's D.J. Jones.

Jones is a former sixth-round pick who has been a regular starter for the 49ers in each of the last three seasons, starting all 17 games in 2021. With seven sacks over the last three years, he offers a bit more pass-rush upside than Fatukasi does too.

The 6-foot, 305-pound Jones is a much better fit in the Jets' attacking 4-3 scheme as it's the same one he played in while Saleh was in San Francisco. He's more of a three-technique defensive tackle while Fatukasi is more of a one/zero-technique nose tackle.

One of the sneakier needs for the Jets this offseason could be at defensive tackle. Fatukasi is a free agent, and while he still remains a stout run defender, his production took a hit last season as he clearly struggled to adapt to the Jets' new high-intensity scheme.

Meanwhile, Sheldon Rankins underwhelmed in his first year with the Jets and could be a potential cap casualty. The Jets might be in the market for a new starting defensive tackle, especially given how deep Saleh likes his defensive lines to be.

Jones would be a good fit from a schematic standpoint, and his familiarity with Saleh could go a long way. At just 27-years-old too, expect Jones to be a viable target for the Jets provided he hits the open market.