On a routine play, New York Jets safety Marcus Maye backpedaled as he had done 1000 times before, except this time he crumpled to the ground.
The coaching staff’s worst fears were realized very quickly, a ruptured Achilles tendon that would put the talented defensive back on the shelf for the rest of the year.
Heading into a pivotal offseason where Maye is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent once again when the franchise tag expires, it’s fair to wonder if he has played his final down with the Jets.
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An Ugly & Disappointing End
Maye was originally selected with the No. 39 overall pick in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft out of Florida.
He was supposed to be a long-term building block for this organization, but sometimes things happen in life that change the game plan.
In this particular case, there were a few items that have arisen over the last calendar year that put that plan seriously into question.
The first of which is this injury that would be compromising at any point during an NFL player’s career, let alone at the age of 28.
Maye is going to have a “nine-month rehab for an Achilles rupture” so he won’t be ready for training camp next year and now we’re talking about into the preseason and portions of the 2022 regular season, per Rich Cimini on the Flight Deck podcast.
Maye already successfully had surgery this week and faces a long recovery to get back to true form.
“I think the Jets will start from scratch at safety,” Cimini on the Flight Deck podcast. “They’ll ride with Ashtyn Davis if he shows anything and they’ll attack the position in the 2022 NFL draft.”
1 Final Chance to Return Seems Unlikely
The dreams of signing a juicy contract extension that would make him among the highest-paid safeties in the league are “dead” according to Connor Hughes of The Athletic.
Cimini said emphatically that the Jets “will not” use the franchise tag on Maye again next year, especially coming off of this serious injury.
The best he can hope for is a one-year prove-it deal.
In that situation, Maye would have to bet on himself, prove he can stay healthy, and hopefully earn that impressive payday in 2023.
At that point, he would be on the wrong side of 30 with a very serious lower-body injury recently on his resume.
Someone is going to take a chance, Maye is too talented not to, but it doesn’t sound like that team will be the Jets.
The relationship between the player and the team is fractured. The contract negotiations last offseason went poorly and led to a social media spat from Maye’s agent where he called out the team.
Then we found out mid-season that Maye had hidden a DUI arrest from the team that they didn’t learn about until the media reported on it in October.
For all of those reasons, Shark Tank style, the Jets will likely be out on this player and will be searching for new safety solutions this offseason.
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