NY Jets front office looks clueless again after letting Bryce Huff walk for free

The Jets messed this one up

Bryce Huff
Bryce Huff / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The NY Jets found their best pass rusher in two decades in the unlikeliest of places. Bryce Huff developed from an unknown undrafted free agent into one of the best pure pass rushers in the NFL.

At just 25 years old, Huff hit free agency with a chance to secure life-changing money following a stellar 2023 season. He got his wish, inking a three-year, $51.1 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles on the first day of the legal tampering period.

For the Eagles, they're landing one of the best pass rushers in football at a very reasonable price and are willing to move their current staring edge rushers in a trade to make room. They won't be disappointed with their decision.

The Jets likely won't feel the same way. This isn't a situation where the Jets couldn't afford Huff. They could have restructured two or three contracts and paid for Huff's entire contract.

No, the Jets didn't sign Huff because they couldn't afford him. They didn't sign him because they don't believe he's worth the money he received.

The NY Jets messed up the entire Bryce Huff situation

The Jets see Huff as a rotational player. They see him as little more than a situational pass rusher whose numbers were inflated by the system he played in. While there may be some truth to the latter statement, Huff has already proven the first part of that false.

The former Memphis standout forced his way into an increased role in 2023, playing more of a three-down role as the season went on. Despite his increase in playing time, Huff's efficiency didn't drop.

No player in the NFL has a higher pressure rate than Huff over the last two seasons. The only player with a higher pressure rate in 2023 than Huff was Micah Parsons. By every metric, he's one of the best pass rushers in football.

But this goes beyond the Jets simply undervaluing Huff. Maybe they're right in their evaluation. Maybe Huff was a product of the system. Maybe he won't hold up in a three-down role.

Even if all of that is true, the Jets still messed this situation up.

The Jets have been receiving trade calls on Huff for the last 12+ months. They had numerous opportunities to send him to another team and recoup assets and multiple chances to extend him before his price tag got this high.

They balked at every trade offer, insisting that they wanted him to be a part of their core. This is, of course, despite the fact that this was never the plan. Huff's fate was sealed the moment the Jets spent a first-round pick on Will McDonald.

McDonald is now under immense pressure to fill Huff's role — an unfair situation to put a young player like him in. Meanwhile, the Jets could have simply used that pick to address an actual position of need instead.

Imagine if the Jets had Jordan Addison or Zay Flowers on a rookie contract and were able to use that money to re-sign Huff. They wouldn't have a hole at wide receiver, and they would have extended one of the best players on their roster instead of letting him walk for free.

There is a chance the Jets get something for Huff. Most projections currently predict the Jets will receive a fourth-round compensatory draft pick in 2025 for losing Huff in free agency. But that also isn't a guarantee.

If the Jets sign a decent starting offensive lineman to a sizable contract, that compensatory pick will immediately be canceled out. On top of that, it's far from a guarantee that Douglas is even around to capitalize on that comp pick if the Jets even receive one.

The Jets had multiple opportunities to extend Bryce Huff at a lower price. They had multiple opportunities to ensure he didn't walk for free and that they received some sort of asset in return.

In the end, not only did the Jets part ways with their best edge rusher in two decades, but they did so for nothing. That is terrible asset management. That is a massive blunder on the part of Joe Douglas and the Jets.