ESPN's Rich Cimini reported on Thursday that the Jets "want to keep both players and have been talking to their agents — for several months, in Fatukasi's case." However, just because they want them back, doesn't mean it's going to happen.
Free agency is more complicated than that, and Cimini also reported that despite mutual interest, "there's a good chance they get to market."
This confirms a uSTADIUM report from last month that indicated that the Jets and Berrios had already begun contract negotiations. It seems that same is true for Fatukasi, and they've seemingly been discussing an extension for even longer.
The NY Jets want Braxton Berrios and Folorunso Fatukasi back, but there's work to be done
Just because two sides are interested in a return, doesn't mean that the two sides will agree on terms. The Jets want Berrios and Fatukasi to be back in 2022, but finances are a tricky thing.
Do the Jets see Berrios as a legitimate starting-caliber wide receiver or do they see him more as a depth piece and special-teams ace? If it's the latter, there's a decent chance some team might be willing to offer Berrios money in line with the former.
Berrios' strong finish to the 2021 season saw him emerge as one of the only reliable playmakers in a Jets offense decimated by injuries. He developed a strong chemistry with quarterback Zach Wilson and it would hurt to see him depart in free agency.
However, the Jets can't afford to overpay for a player who probably wouldn't be more than their WR4 and kick returner in 2022. Berrios is a good player, but some team might be willing to pay more.
As for Fatukasi, he's coming off his least productive year as a starter, but he's still a valuable player. He's easily the Jets' best pure run defender, but there's something to be said about his lack of fit in the Jets' defensive scheme.
There really isn't much room for a two-down run-stuffing nose tackle in the Jets' attacking front-four, at least not at the price he might be asking for. The Jets evidently have interest, but it remains to be seen if the two sides will see eye to eye.
On the surface, it might seem encouraging that the Jets have been having ongoing negotiations with these two players. But in reality, there's a strong chance that both Braxton Berrios and Folorunso Fatukasi are playing elsewhere in 2022.