There’s a lot of hype around the New York Jets coming off of a stellar 2021 NFL draft and a juicy free agency period back in March.
With 10 new draft picks and over $75M in guarantees invested in this roster, the green, and white are expected to be a lot better.
Although there is still a slew of question marks left to be answered:
- First-year head coach: how will Robert Saleh do under the spotlight?
- Rookie quarterback: Zach Wilson is expected to be thrown into the fire in Week 1 as the starter. How will he perform?
- Oh yeah and then there’s everything else: young unproven corners? Will the Jets finally have a pass rush? Will this new offensive line live up to the hype?
In other words, despite all the positivity, there is still a lot that is unknown.
This has led several experts to suggest that 2022 will be the true year that the green and white breakout on the national scene.
If we look ahead, the Jets will have another 11 draft picks in the 2022 NFL draft including five selections in the top-3 rounds.
On top of that, according to Spotrac, Gang Green is projected to be rolling in green with over $80M in cap space (which is projected to be the second-highest total in the NFL).
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Gang Green Could Spend a Lot of That Money on a Superstar
Normally when you have a ton of money that has come your way, the normal advice you get is, “don’t spend it all in one place!”
Although it’s important to remember there are exceptions to all rules and if this dream scenario becomes available it’ll be likely too good to pass up.
Former Jets general manager and current ESPN Insider, Mike Tannenbaum, recently tweeted out a very interesting nugget about a talented player:
Sometimes Jets fans look at the world through green-colored glasses, but even the most optimistic of the bunch would stare at the current situation at linebacker with uneasiness.
CJ Mosley hasn’t played football in basically two years and is a total mystery heading into 2021. The other starter, Jarrad Davis, is a former bust with the Detroit Lions who has a ton of upside but even more questions.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner on the Jets would be a dream scenario beyond our wildest imaginations.
He was recently ranked the second-best linebacker in all of football by an ESPN panel of 50 executives, coaches, scouts, and fellow players:
“Elite instincts and awareness against the pass,” an AFC coach said to Jeremy Fowler. “Got a little bit of that Luke Kuechly in him. He knows exactly what’s coming. Long, can feel his range.”
How Likely Is This Scenario?
If we’re being honest with ourselves? Not very.
Warner is a 24-year old superstar linebacker with great measurables (6-foot-3, 229 pounds) and is a perfect fit for what they do in San Francisco.
If as Tannenbaum says “they don’t extend” him now, they could simply slap the franchise tag on him.
There doesn’t seem to be any rational explanation that would make sense for them to let him hit the open market next March. If somehow they do, the Jets would be on him like white on rice.
They’d back up the brinks truck and slide a blank check across the table to Warner and his representation.
What could that contract look like?
According to the fine folks over at 49ers Web Zone:
“A potential contract could look like a four-year deal worth $76 million with around $42 million guaranteed. If the two sides prefer a five-year deal, a potential deal could look like a five-year deal worth $92–95 million, with $50–52 guaranteed.”
Head coach Robert Saleh is a linebacker specialist and has seen every step of Warner’s career from when he was drafted (2018) to what he has developed into.
Saleh once called him “the best middle linebacker in football” and that “it’s not even close, in my opinion.”
Think back to what Rex Ryan did in 2009 with Bart Scott. The former Baltimore Ravens linebacker was heading into free agency and Ryan was waiting at his door at 12:01 am when the legal tampering period opened.
That’s exactly what Saleh would do if the opportunity presented itself in 2022.
Plus it probably doesn’t hurt that Warner is a former BYU product, so in theory, an ascending quarterback (Zach Wilson) heading into his second year could head on the recruiting trail to bring his BYU brethren to the big apple.
Ah, this article and thought process is the epitome of the offseason. It’s where we can all fold our arms behind our heads and gaze up at the stars and wonder what could happen and dream the impossible dream.