NY Jets should reunite with this former fan favorite draft-day gem

Bring him home!

Jets helmet
Jets helmet / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Defensive tackle is one of the more underrated needs on the NY Jets roster entering the 2024 offseason, and what better way to address that need than by re-signing a former fan favorite?

The Jacksonville Jaguars officially released former Jets defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi on Monday — mere hours after wishing him a happy birthday. It's a cold business, but it might be for the best for Fatukasi and his former team.

The only defensive tackles under contract for the Jets entering the offseason are Quinnen Williams and Tanzel Smart. Quinton Jefferson and Solomon Thomas are both free agents, and it's no guarantee the Jets are able to bring both of them back.

The Jets should be looking for ways to bolster their interior run defense and fill a need at defensive tackle. Fatukasi might legitimately be one of their best options.

A Foley Fatukasi reunion makes a lot of sense for the NY Jets

A sixth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Fatukasi spent the first four years of his career with the Jets, developing from a nondescript late-round pick into one of the better nose tackles in the league.

Fatukasi posted a career-high 86.2 Pro Football Focus run defense grade in 2020 with the Jets, ranking second among all interior defensive linemen in the NFL. He left in the 2022 offseason to sign a three-year, $30 million contract with the Jaguars.

Unfortunately, Fatukasi's two years in Jacksonville weren't particularly great. He finished with an abysmal 44.5 PFF grade in his first season with the Jaguars, and while he was marginally better in 2023, he never reached the same heights he did with the Jets.

Still, at just 29 years old, the Far Rockaway, NY native should have plenty left in the tank. It's worth wondering how productive he would be in a Robert Saleh defense in 2024. His 10.5 run-stop rate last season ranked ninth among all interior defensive linemen — proof that he can still be an effective run-stopper.

At the very least, Fatukasi would undoubtedly be a sizable upgrade over someone like Jefferson in run defense. The Jets don't have a capable interior run defender on their roster that's not named Quinnen Williams.

Fatukasi could essentially fill the Al Woods role from last year, only he'd offer a bit more as a pass rusher and would be almost a decade younger.

The Jets likely won't make defensive tackle a top priority this offseason, but Foley Fatukasi is one to watch if the team is committed to improving their interior run defense. A reunion is very plausible.