Everyone knows the straws that stir the drink for the New York Jets, but now it’s time to get familiar with some of the lesser-known names on the roster.
NFL Network Analytics Expert, Cynthia Frelund, recently revealed her full list of the most underappreciated players on each NFL team heading into 2021.
She determined which players were the most underrated based on a variety of factors including salary, contribution metric (NFL’s equivalent of MLB’s WAR stat that correlates player’s contributions to wins and losses), and their original draft status.
When you throw all of those data points in the blender it spits out a very interesting name on the Jets roster.
John Franklin-Myers Appreciation Day
John Franklin-Myers is the definition of underappreciated.
He’s on the last year of his deal which is worth $920,000. Per Spotrac, JFM is the 358th highest-paid defensive lineman in the NFL.
The Jets took a flier on the young defensive stud in 2019. In September of that year, Gang Green claimed him off of waivers from the Los Angeles Rams. A month later he was placed on injured reserve and never ended up suiting up.
As a wise man once said, good things come to those who wait.
In 2020 JFM got healthy and delivered on his potential by playing in 15 games, starting two of those, and had the best year of his career:
- Three sacks
- 13 quarterback hits
- Two fumble recoveries
Those numbers were all career highs, but it’s the advanced metrics that suggest he’s on the precipice of truly breaking out and getting some real respect put on his name.
“My computer vision measures that his recover rate (measured by when he’s contacted by an offensive player, then maneuvers around them, continuing his path to the quarterback) at 11th-best in the NFL in 2020.”
JFM Is Set for a Career-Defining Season in 2021
In 2021 head coach Robert Saleh is implementing his 4-3 scheme he learned from Seattle and developed in San Francisco.
Most of the starters and big-time role players are set with Williams, Sheldon Rankins, Foley Fatukasi, and Carl Lawson in the fold. Although opposite of Lawson there’s a gaping hole in the starting lineup.
Right now it appears that void will be filled by a committee of talented EDGE rushers:
- Vinny Curry
- Bryce Huff
- Kyle Phillips
- Hamilcar Rashed Jr
- Jabari Zuniga
Saleh’s bread and butter is utilizing a solid rotation on the defensive line to keep everyone fresh. Although like any coach he’s open to changing his philosophy if someone steps up to the plate.
JFM is young (24 years of age) and is in a contract year. A player not even in his prime with all the motivation in the world to cash in on his outstanding potential? That sounds like a winning recipe.
Last season the Jets were 24th in the NFL in sacks (31). They haven’t had an EDGE rusher that opponents have had to gameplan for in a long time.
Heading into 2021 there are two players on the roster that fit that profile in Lawson and Williams. That should open the door for Franklin-Myers to take advantage of one-on-one matchups.
If he’s able to successfully pull that off he could have one of the most remarkable turnaround stories in recent NFL memory. A big year in 2021 could lead to a long-term deal with the Jets and life-changing money for JFM and his family.