Free Agency

Grading every move the NY Jets made in the first wave of free agency

NY Jets, Tyler Conklin
NY Jets, Tyler Conklin / Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
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NY Jets
NY Jets, Blake Cashman / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages

Final analysis/grade of the NY Jets free agency

Rome wasn't built in a day, and the Jets certainly can't fix everything that ails them immediately in free agency. But there is still an incomplete feeling to the Jets' moves thus far, and that void could be filled when the draft concludes late next month. 

It's also worth noting that the Jets lost some good veteran players during the free-agency period.

Safety Marcus Maye headed down south to play for the New Orleans Saints. Jamison Crowder is now a Buffalo Bill, and he will be securely catching passes for all-world quarterback Josh Allen next season.

Defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi, a misused player in Jeff Ulbrich's defensive scheme and one of the Jets' best leaders over the last few years, will be manning the trenches for Jacksonville next season. Morgan Moses, who proved his worth last year for the Jets, is now with the Baltimore Ravens.

None of the team's departures/losses are surprising, but what is puzzling is that the Jets didn't utilize the trade market to upgrade their team with proven commodities. Notwithstanding the Jets' shocking trade of linebacker Blake Cashman to Houston for a sixth-round pick in 2023, of course. 

Perhaps the book isn't fully closed on the possibility of a major trade, with the Jets having the draft resources and cap room to execute any deal they desire. But at this stage, it doesn't feel likely that a D.K. Metcalf or Danielle Hunter are walking through the doors at Florham Park.

In their defense, the Jets were reportedly major players for Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley before he gambled away his 2022 season. 

The Jets' two biggest needs on their roster are an elite impact player on defense, preferably a pass rusher, and a centerpiece player in their passing attack on offense, preferably a physical target who can make contested catches all over the field.

Both of those types of impact players could be on the Jets' radar in the draft. 

However, an argument can be made that the Jets dropped the ball not addressing the wide receiver position in the trade market. Especially considering that established veteran options like Amari Cooper and Robert Woods were traded for practically nothing.

The salary argument doesn't hold water when the Jets are flushed with cap space and the flexibility to re-work any contract they absorb. What does, however, have merit is whether or not, a player wants to come to the Jets or is a natural fit.

I contend that Robert Woods would've been.

The same salary and age argument against such a move could be used when referring to the Jets' signings of C.J. Uzomah and Laken Tomlinson. Both players are at or in their 30s, and they were specifically brought in to aid the Jets' young nucleus at their respective positions.

That's something that Robert Woods would've done as well, not only for the Jets' young receivers but for their neophyte quarterback, Zach Wilson.

Woods is headed to an ideal situation in Tennesse, a run-heavy team that will love his elite blocking skills. And with a monstrous No. 1 receiver in A.J. Brown working with him and drawing the defense's attention, Woods will have plenty of opportunities to excel catching passes in Tennessee's offense. 

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel will love what Robert Woods brings to the table as a player and person, but the Jets would have as well, and the acquisition would not have precluded them from addressing wide receiver in the draft.

Woods made all his teammates better around him. Just ask Cooper Kupp. Both receivers had a running weekly contest with the Rams where they would compete against each other for the best routes, catches, and blocks delivered during games. 

The acquisition of Robert Woods would've been risky, based on his age and coming off an injury, but the reward was worth the risk — a missed opportunity by the Jets. However, it's a moot point now, and that ship has long since sailed.

Sometimes, the best moves in free agency are the ones that teams don't make. So there is something to be said for that, as it pertains to the New York Jets this offseason.

The moves they did make will help bolster their roster. The tight end room is vastly improved, and the offensive line will be better. Their secondary got markedly better with the acquisitions of Reed and Whitehead.

Overall, Jets general manager Joe Douglas has laid a decent foundation for what's to come.

Overall free agency grade: B

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