The Jets were nothing short of a disaster last season due to injuries and lack of talent on the offensive line. General Manager Joe Douglas has the power to turn the Jets from pretenders to contenders through free agency. Here’s how he can do it, starting with who to resign.
Assuming the Jets release Trumaine Johnson, saving $3 million in cap space, the Jets will have $68.3 million to spend. So let’s start at that number: $68,300,000.
Notable Jets set to walk this year (2019 starters bolded):
-C Ryan Kalil
-WR Robby Anderson
-LT Kelvin Beachum Jr.
-NCB Brian Poole
-WR Demaryius Thomas
-FS Rontez Miles
-DE Brandon Copeland
-RB Bilal Powell
-RB Ty Montgomery
-QB Trevor Siemian
-ILB Neville Hewitt
-G Tom Compton
-G Alex Lewis
-OLB Jordan Jenkins
-P Lachlan Edwards
-T Brandon Shell
-ILB James Burgess (RFA)
-CB Arthur Maulet (RFA)
-TE Daniel Brown
So, which of these should they keep?
WR Robby Anderson. Estimated 4 yr, 48 m. 16 guaranteed with team option sounds plausible. Anderson is a vertical threat who has been critical to Sam Darnold’s development, and unless Joe Douglas pursues Amari Cooper in Free Agency, Robby should stay. Deal is similar to Sammy Watkins’s deal. Would be Robby and CeeDee Lamb for Darnold.
NCB Brian Poole. Poole’s PFF Grade was 79.0, the 10th-best among CBs. He stayed healthy for most of the year. He was one bright spot in a lackluster secondary. Let’s give him 2 yr, 14-16 m. 5 guaranteed.
FS Rontez Miles. “Tez” was the special teams captain before injuries cut his season short. He’s a leader. He makes the plays that save touchdowns. Try a 1 yr, 1.8 m deal. 500k guaranteed.
DE Brandon Copeland. Copeland was suspended for accidental usage of PEDs. Copeland is a smart guy, went to uPenn. Ivy leagues. Makes plays, a really good player and a better person. How about 2 years, 2.8 m. 250 guaranteed.
G Alex Lewis. I’m on the fence with this one, due to a 55.0 PFF grade. But Lewis proved a valuable signing for the mangled offensive line, only allowing 2 sacks for 764 snaps played. Lewis has a cheap deal, so we’re bringing him back. 2 years, 6.7 m, 500 guaranteed.
OLB Jordan Jenkins. Jenkins is a great rush edge and it’s criminal if the Jets let him walk. He’s a budding star in the making. The breakout season is very close. Pay the man. 3 years, 15 m, 1.5 guaranteed.
ILB James Burgess Jr. Burgess was the unsung hero of the linebacking core this season, stepping up from an early point in the season and through the rest of the games. He’s 25. Give him 2 years, 3.4 m. 250 guaranteed.
P Lac Edwards. Edwards has been my personal favorite punter, mainly because he’s Australian. Edwards punted a league-high 87 times this season, with a net gross average of 45.9 yards (16th). 33 of his punts were pinned inside of the 20-yd line, T-12th highest. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 1 year, 1.1 m. 250 guaranteed.
RB Ty Montgomery. If the rumors are true that the Jets wish to part ways with RB Le’Veon Bell, Montgomery was an asset that was massively underused. The WR-turned-RB only had 32 carries this season. He also had 13 receptions for 90 yards. His talent is still unproven, and NYJ should treat it as such. Give him a low deal, like maybe 1 year, 850K.
CB Arthur Maulet. Maulet stepped up in the absence of Trumaine Johnson, posting a solid 65.2 PFF grade. He’s a restricted FA, so NYJ can choose his price. Try 1 year, 1.8 million.
After the resigning period, the Jets will have about 39.7 million dollars in cap space.
Part 2 will come with the draft, a detailed 7-round mock. For now, the Jets have the ability to turn the franchise around.