Analyzing the NY Jets' most underrated need with possible free-agent targets

The Jets have built a stacked roster, but safety remains a glaring hole
Tony Adams
Tony Adams / Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
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6. Potential free agent reinforcements for the NY Jets

As luck would have it for the Jets, the free-agent safety class was and still is pretty loaded. The release of several high-profile veterans, combined with regular unrestricted free agents, and the overall devaluation of the position have put Joe Douglas and company in a position to get an impact safety at a very reasonable cost.

The headliner and top prize is former Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons. Simmons has been one of the premier safeties in the league for several years and can legitimately do it all. Most importantly, he can be a true eraser while playing the deep middle of the field.

On the other hand, Simmons is on the wrong side of 30 and posted a Pro Football Focus grade lower than Tony Adams last season. If the price is right he's more than worth the gamble, but it's not a given that some other team won't swoop in and overpay.

Another notable name is former Seattle Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs. A three-time Pro Bowler and true free safety, Diggs has made a name for himself as a ball-hawking centerfielder capable of patrolling the back end and eliminating big plays.

However, Diggs is 31 and his play tailed off to the point that Seattle decided to release him. As a body to compete for a role he might make sense, but overpaying and handing him a starting role would be foolish.

Former Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson is another interesting name. A free safety by trade, Jackson has a skill set that complements the more box-oriented safeties on the roster nicely.

The downside is Jackson is another guy on the wrong side of 30 and is years removed from his most productive seasons. He's another guy who might be an interesting addition to compete at the right price, but paying any significant money would be paying for past performance rather than who he is currently as a player.

Lastly, a pair of former Jets are sitting out on the free-agent wire. The once-dynamic duo of Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye are available, but should the Jets be interested?

Adams is a box safety whose best attribute is his blitzing ability, which makes him an odd fit. Injuries have really slowed the soon-to-be 29-year-old down. More importantly, it's questionable if either side would want this reunion.

As for Maye, the 31-year-old hasn't played close to a full season since 2020 making it wholly unreasonable to believe he can be a reliable contributor at this late stage in his career. It's a shame because prime Marcus Maye is exactly the player this safety room needs, but at this point, the Jets are better off standing pat.

Calling the Jets safety room the weakest position group on the team is really more a testament to how strong the rest of the roster is.

There's a lot of potential here and the investment with no contracts much greater than the minimum is very small. Aside from Clark, who is a steady veteran most teams would be lucky to have, this is a young group with a lot of potential.

The question will be whether or not Saleh and Ulbrich can maximize this group's potential, or if their shortcomings sink the team during this make-or-break season.