4 overrated free agents still available NY Jets must avoid

The Jets should stay away from these free agents
Justin Simmons
Justin Simmons / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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1. The NY Jets should avoid signing safety Justin Simmons

Perhaps the most common name bandied about by Jets fans as a potential late-stage free agent addition is former Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons. A two-time Pro Bowler and four-time second-team All-Pro selection, Simmons might be the biggest name left on the market.

He's also notable because he's a free safety who can man centerfield and erase the back end, which makes him a perfect complement to the Jets' glut of box safeties, at least on paper.

All of that said, Simmons is on the wrong side of 30, turning 31 in November which is an age where athleticism can fall off a cliff — something that is particularly important in the defensive backfield.

More importantly, Simmons has also shown signs of decline. Per Pro Football Focus, he posted his lowest overall grade (67.9) and lowest coverage grade (63.4) since the 2018 season.

A normally sure-handed tackler, Simmons has also seen his missed tackle rate spike. After posting only one season with a missed tackle rate over 10% (10.9% in 2020) from 2018-2021, he's taken a serious step back the last two seasons. In 2022 he whiffed on 17.3% of his tackle attempts and 11.8% this past season.

While 2023 was a bit of a rebound, it's still a step back from his prime and his 2022 missed tackle rate is reminiscent of former Jets safety Jordan Whitehead, who cost the Jets dearly last season with poor tackling, posting an 18% missed tackle rate in 2023.

Promising young Jets safety Tony Adams even graded out slightly better overall (68.0) and in coverage (65.2) per Pro Football Focus. Since the descending Simmons would most likely replace the ascending Adams in the lineup it becomes questionable as to whether or not he'd even be an upgrade.

With the quartet of Jets safeties Chuck Clark, Tony Adams, Ashytn Davis, and Isaiah Oliver accounting for a combined cap hit of just $6.6 million this season, it's questionable if any free agent safety addition can provide the return on investment that those four incumbents can.