The NY Jets exacting leverage over their players
As was the case with Jamison Crowder and Alex Lewis, two veteran starters from a year ago, the Jets had leverage against both players and used it to their advantage.
Both Crowder and Lewis are back, fighting for their supper in 2021, but under the team's terms only, and the likelihood is that this could be their final season wearing the green and white.
The Jets can take the same approach with Maye that they did with Lewis and Crowder if they choose to. The franchise could force Maye to play at a high level again in 2021, tag him again next year, or let him walk if he doesn't repeat his efforts from a year ago.
Letting Maye go would create additional cap space in 2022 and help the team refocus their top resources on other areas. Another option could be tagging Maye again but this time trading him away for draft capital.
General manager Joe Douglas, Marcus Maye, and his camp have been in contract talks since early in 2021. But, unfortunately, the two sides couldn't come to a long-term agreement before free agency started back in March.
So rather than lose their team MVP in 2020, the Jets wisely protected themselves by franchising arguably their best player.
The impasse and franchise tag led to some contentious moments where Maye's agent Erik Burkhardt publicly criticized the Jets for not rewarding his client and failing to take care of their best player.
For their part, Douglas, new head coach Robert Saleh, defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich, and anyone associated with the Jets didn't take offense to Maye's representation public griping. On the contrary — the Jets brass has been nothing but complimentary towards Maye and his camp.
Despite the growing tension by Maye towards the Jets, he has signed his franchise tender ($10.6 million) and showed up for last week's mandatory three-day minicamp after skipping voluntary workouts.
They say actions speak louder than words. Maye staying silent to the media last week spoke volumes about how he feels about the Jets' actions towards him this current offseason.
Marcus Maye is not happy. It's a situation that could linger in the locker room, affecting team chemistry and unity during the season. It's not the type of seed you want to plant in your team's growth, particularly when the player disgruntled, in this case, is a team captain.
This is a scenario that the Jets should be looking to avoid, especially with an entirely new coaching staff led by Saleh that is looking to build a new culture.