When it comes to NFL free agency, there tend to be more misses than there are success stories.
Due to the nature of the sport, many players suffer injuries and typically, veterans get hurt more often than youngsters. Mix that all together and you have the humongous risk that is free agency.
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‘I Avoid Him Like the Plague’
During a segment of “Heavy Presents: I’m Just Saying With Brian Mazique,” the crew of reporters discussed who the Jets should steer clear of in free agency.
While names like Evan Engram and Raheem Mostert came up, perhaps the most interesting recommendation was the former $82.5 million edge rusher. This was Mazique’s suggestion, which he explained in detail:
I’m gonna avoid Chandler Jones… I am not going near that at all if I am the Jets. Reason being — Chandler Jones is 31 years old, coming off of a season where he missed a game because of COVID but if you look at what he did he had 10.5 sacks, but I believe he had five of those in the first game of the season. Which means for the rest of the season, he was fairly ineffective for the type of pass rusher that you would consider him to be. Also, because of his age and because of where [the Jets are] as a franchise, his window does not match the Jets window. The Jets are not going to be ready to win in the next two seasons… You’d be looking at a massive turnaround for them to be anything close to a contender in 2022. 2023 is probably a little early too, so we’re looking probably 2024. So [the Jets are] going to invest a fairly considerable amount of money in Chandler Jones when there are young offensive linemen, young wide receivers, young linebackers who you could be locking up [in] what would turn into bargain contracts… I just don’t think that is the most efficient way to go at all… No way in the world I’m going after Chandler Jones, I avoid him like the plague.
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Verdict on Jones
Those were some strong statements for a pass rusher that is as accomplished as Jones. The soon-to-be 32-year old has had seven campaigns with 10 or more sacks and 107.5 sacks over his illustrious career. He also totaled 118 tackles for a loss and 195 QB hits according to Pro Football Reference.
Having said that, Mazique makes some very wise points. The Jets have many needs and although edge rusher is certainly one of them, they already have players like Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers that are being paid to fill that veteran pass-rusher role.
Cap space should either be used on rising talent as Mazique alluded, or veterans that can assist Zach Wilson in his development. Unless there is a gaping hole somewhere on the roster — like safety for example — spending big money elsewhere doesn’t really make sense.
No one is saying the Jets shouldn’t add a pass rusher but adding a younger EDGE in the draft seems like a smarter plan. As the Heavy analyst noted, you want a player that can grow with this core, not leave his prime once the franchise is ready to win.
Spotrac projects that Jones will make $14.5 million on the open market this spring. If Gang Green were to ink the Arizona Cardinals star, they would have almost $53 million in cap sunk on four defensive linemen — Lawson, Jones, ‘JFM’ and Quinnen Williams — not exactly a balanced approach.