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, Joe Flacco / Elsa/GettyImages

NY Jets Re-signings 

Joe Flacco, QB, NY Jets: 1-year, $3.5 million

Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh have been huge supporters of Joe Flacco for quite some time. Douglas brought in Flacco before the 2020 season and attempted to bring him back last offseason in free agency. The Jets then raised eyebrows when they traded a conditional late-round pick for Flacco during the 2021 season. 

Despite reports that Flacco didn't want to be a placeholding veteran backup with the Jets, this is his third go-around with the franchise, and the 37-year-old former Super Bowl MVP might still want to be a starter. But Flacco has chosen the Jets for the second time in free agency. 

Money talks and is certainly a deciding factor why Flacco has re-signed with the Jets, but Saleh and Douglas have openly raved about his value to the team. Saleh has gone out of his way to praise and hype up what Flacco brought into his locker room last season.

The Jets have a ton of uncertainty attached to Zach Wilson, but their QB room is pretty strong from top to bottom, even more so now that Mike White has signed his fifth-round tender. New York is walking into 2022 with a solid trio of signal-callers. The Jets brass loves their structure at QB.

The ultimate measure of Joe Flacco's value will come from Zach Wilson's growth from year one to year two. Many believe that the notion of having an experienced veteran to assist young quarterbacks in the growth process is overblown.

But the Jets are betting against that line of thinking by bringing back Flacco on a good backup deal.

Grade: B

Braxton Berrios, WR/KR, NY Jets: 2 years, $12 million

You could argue that paying a fourth WR and kick returner an average of $6 million per season is a bit of reach. But sometimes, rewarding a homegrown player has added value. Berrios' price tag may seem excessive, but it has positive long-term effects on team chemistry and the Jets' loyal fan base. 

For too long, the Jets franchise has undervalued their own players by using an imaginary chart of what players you are supposed to pay and those you are not. The Jets, in the past, have let quality players walk because they were deemed as replaceable or unimportant.

If the Jets are truly about building a strong culture in their locker room, then rewarding a player like Braxton Berrios is a form of practicing what you preach.

The contract itself is not a crippling one. People are reaching by griping about the money involved. The 26-year-old brings value to the locker room and the Jets offense as a useful role player and is coming off of being awarded first-team All-Pro honors as a kick returner.

Last year, Berrios showed great chemistry with Zach Wilson and is one of Brant Boyer's best players on special teams. If for whatever reason Berrios can't match what he did last year, the Jets won't be hamstrung by Berrios's short-term deal.

This was a win-win situation for the team — a necessary move. 

Grade: A