Allen Robinson Among Jets’ Top Options After Franchise Tag Deadline

Allen Robinson

Getty Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson has not been franchise tagged ahead of NFL free agency.

The NFL’s franchise tag deadline has officially cleared and several potential New York Jets targets in free agency were wiped from the board. They were:

  • Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers.
  • Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (extension).
  • Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys.
  • Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins.
  • David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns.
  • Orlando Brown Jr., LT, Kansas City Chiefs (not a Jets target).
  • Cam Robinson, LT, Jacksonville Jaguars (not a Jets target).
  • Jessie Bates III, S, Cincinnati Bengals.

Although some of these announcements hurt after months of speculation, the bright side is that we finally know the names of the players that will be available in free agency — barring last-minute extensions. Here are some of the Jets’ top options next week.

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Areas of Need

A couple of free-agent classes at Jets’ positions of need got obliterated by the franchise tag once again. The major two were wide receiver and tight end.

We’ve heard about how this was one of the strongest free-agent WR classes in years for a while now and that all changed on March 8 after the top three playmakers — Adams, Godwin and Williams — were retained via one method or another.

It’s now arguable who the best wide-out on the open market will end up being, but it’s probably one of three question marks:

  • Odell Beckham Jr., 29, LAR. Based on his injury history, desire to play for a contender, and bitter exit out of New York with the Giants, this seems very improbable.
  • Allen Robinson, 28, CHI. Possibly the best buy-low candidate if the Jets want to get bigger at the wide receiver position.
  • Michael Gallup, 26, DAL. Expected to re-sign with the Cowboys.

From there, you have clear secondary weapons that come with pros and cons. The most intriguing name might be Christian Kirk, a 25-year old talent who could help open up this offense. The versatile former second-round pick would fit Mike LaFleur’s system but does not add any height or size.

A flyer that would bring those physical attributes is DJ Chark Jr. at 6-foot-4. Injury-ravaged veterans like A.J. Green, Will Fuller V, JuJu Smith-Schuster and T.Y. Hilton are also available.

An outside-the-box option could also be do-it-all playmaker Cordarrelle Patterson and don’t forget about the Jets’ impending FAs like Braxton Berrios, Jamison Crowder, Keelan Cole and Jeff Smith.

The tight end situation could be the larger issue, as this major weakness will now most likely be addressed in the draft. uSTADIUM shared a list of the next best free agents at the position on Twitter.

It included a couple of NFL greats like Rob Gronkowski and Zach Ertz, but it’s more likely the Jets sign a sturdy blocker and look for their pass-catching dual-threat of the future in April. A couple of potential blocking targets I’d keep an eye on are Hayden Hurst, Maxx Williams, C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin.

Other fits might be Robert Tonyan Jr. (similar scheme in Green Bay), Evan Engram (NYC connection), or a Tyler Kroft reunion for depth. One last buy-low candidate is O.J. Howard. The former first-round talent desperately needs a fresh start and the Jets have a hole at the position.

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Silver Linings After the Deadline

Don’t despair, there were plenty of high-profile players that did not get tagged and one position that went untouched was cornerback. A recent report suggested that the Jets will not attempt to sign J.C. Jackson, the No. 1 CB on the market, but a few others may pique their interest.

The Bucs chose Godwin over Carlton Davis — expected to be available — and there is a wide range of experience and talent set to join him on the open market. I’ll split them into two major categories:

  • Younger long-term signings: Davis, Charvarius Ward, Darious Williams, Levi Wallace, Desmond King, Kevin King.
  • Short-term veterans: Stephon Gilmore, Casey Hayward, Kyle Fuller, Chris Harris, Xavier Rhodes, Steven Nelson, Joe Haden, Desmond Trufant, Jason Verrett, Patrick Peterson.

Speaking of Tampa Bay, they’ll also allow Ryan Jensen to test free agency. The Jets have been heavily connected to the experienced center.

Three other interior offensive linemen joined Jensen after rumors they might be tagged. They were Washington Commanders guard Brandon Scherff, San Francisco 49ers guard Laken Tomlinson and Dallas Cowboys guard Connor Williams. All have been linked to the Jets this offseason at some point or another.

The final major non-tags came on the defensive side. Rising talents at pass rusher like Haason Reddick and Harold Landry may be out of the Jets price range at the position, but the big news comes at safety as Marcus Williams, Tyrann Mathieu and Justin Reid should all reach free agency.

The fan-favorite target is probably Williams from New Orleans, but don’t overlook Reid who should cost at least five million less per year with plenty of room to grow outside of Houston.

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