NFL Network's Mike Garafolo spoke on Thursday about a number of free agents who will have bigger markets than most expect and Fatukasi was among the players he mentioned.
He detailed how teams around the league see Fatukasi as one of the best run stoppers in the NFL, and that while the Jets will "try to retain" him this offseason, it seems unlikely they will be able to do so.
Garafolo insisted that Fatukasi will likely receive a contract worth at least $10 million per season which is certainly more than the Jets are likely to pay. And at that point, it's hard to blame them.
Don't expect the NY Jets to re-sign Folorunso Fatukasi
A sixth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Fatukasi didn't play much as a rookie only suiting up for one game. It wasn't until his second year in the league that he began to emerge as a regular contributor on defense.
Fatukasi has developed from a little-known sixth-round pick to a solid defensive contributor to legitimately one of the best run stoppers in the league. He earned back-to-back Pro Football Focus run-defense grades of 80.0-plus in both 2019 and 2020.
However, Fatukasi took a step back in 2021. With the Jets switching to more of a 4-3 attacking scheme on defense, Fatukasi was asked to play a role he really hadn't before. The result was his production and effectiveness taking a significant hit.
The 27-year-old finished with the worst PFF grade of his NFL career — a lowly 61.5 grade that ranked 49th out of 110 qualified interior defensive linemen. It was clear that Fatukasi wasn't a great fit in the Jets' high-intensity scheme that asked a lot out of their defensive linemen.
That's one of the biggest reasons the Jets are likely to move on. They just don't value Fatukasi as much as other teams will — rightfully so. His effectiveness will be greater on a team that employs a true 3-4 run-stuffing nose tackle.
Foley Fatukasi is a local product from Far Rockaway who developed from a sixth-round pick into someone who is days away from a hefty payday. He's been one of the most respected players in the Jets' locker room and a leader on and off the field.
It likely won't be the Jets, but he deserves whatever money he gets. His success should be celebrated.