Fatukasi has developed into one of the better run-stoppers in the NFL during his time with the Jets, but with his rookie contract set to expire, it's fair to wonder if he's in their long-term plans.
According to Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network, it doesn't appear as though Fatukasi will be back with the Jets in 2022. Pauline reports that "the belief is Fatukasi will be playing for another team as the Jets are out of his market."
Now, Pauline doesn't indicate why the Jets would be "out of his market," although one could assume that finances might play a role. Perhaps Fatukasi is projected to receive more on the open market than the Jets are willing to pay.
Either way, it doesn't appear as though a return is likely.
The NY Jets aren't expected to re-sign Folorunso Fatukasi
A sixth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Fatukasi is one of the few success stories of former general manager Mike Maccagnan's draft record. The New York native essentially redshirted in his first NFL season before taking a huge leap in 2019.
Fatukasi emerged as a regular contributor in his second NFL playing primarily on early downs as a run-stuffing nose tackle. That's the role he held again in 2020 when he took over a starting role for the departing Steve McLendon.
Fatukasi finished as one of Pro Football Focus' best run-defenders earning an 80.0 PFF grade for the second consecutive season. Things changed a little in 2021, however, when he was asked to play a new role.
Fatukasi switched over to more of a 1-technique defensive tackle in the Jets' new attacking 4-3 scheme, and the change evidently took a toll on his performance.
The 27-year-old finished with by far the worst PFF grade of his career earning a lowly 61.5 grade that ranked 49th out of110 qualified interior defensive linemen. Most notably, his run-defense grade dropped to a below-average 57.3.
Fatukasi is an odd scheme fit in the Jets' defense and it showed in 2021. Perhaps that's part of the reason the Jets could be exploring other options.
The Jets have Quinnen Williams as the heart of their interior defensive line as well as 2021 free-agent signing Sheldon Rankins who underperformed in his first year with the team.
If the Jets do indeed move on from Fatukasi, they'll likely have to add some additional interior depth. That scenario seems to be more and more likely as we near the start of free agency.