We are less than a week away from the NFL’s legal tampering period from starting on March 14. This will open the gateways for teams to legally speak with players and their agents ahead of the new league year on March 16.
The entire terminology is an oxymoron, but nonetheless, it will accelerate this offseason into hyperdrive.
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Free Agency Rumors
1. Are you buying or selling the recent rumors that the Jets are interested in adding a center this offseason and moving on from Connor McGovern?
Ever since I first heard this rumor I didn’t buy it whatsoever, although one new piece of information makes me unsure. If this was based on talent and price tag alone, McGovern has no shot at getting cut.
Joe Douglas doesn’t just release quality offensive linemen. Heck, he doesn’t even release bad ones — I’m looking at you Chuma Edoga, and Greg Van Roten. The Jets could just as easily extend McGovern to lower his cap number and then you have a solid center/guard under contract at an affordable rate, problem solved.
The only reason I’m starting to buy it is because of the rumors that they’re looking to replace the O-linemen that didn’t stand up for Zach Wilson when he was knocked around a few times. If you’re looking to send a message of unity and brotherhood, that’s the only way I see McGovern getting cut after a career season. I’ll still answer selling but I’m less confident than I was two weeks ago.
Yeah to me all of this noise is just weird.
The Jets had this opportunity last year and I advocated for them to do so but they passed. They could’ve signed a stud center in free agency or drafted one, but each time they said no and they believed in their guy.
Now fast forward a year later coming off his best season as a member of the Jets and now they’re going to do it?
Sorry but this is going to be one of those situations where I’ll have to believe it to see it.
2. If you had to predict it right now, who will be the starting right guard on opening day for Gang Green?
If the Jets do stick with McGovern at center, they could just as easily continue their youthful reconstruction of the O-line. I’ve already voiced on record that Ikem Ekwonu will get drafted No. 1 overall and I don’t think Gang Green goes OL at No. 4 if he’s gone. That sets up a potential trade down from 10, in which they eventually draft Johnson — a player they fell in love with at the Senior Bowl.
My backup prediction is a Tomlinson signing based on scheme familiarity.
I’m going to go with McGovern, let me explain. Back during his time with the Denver Broncos, he had experience at right guard.
General manager Joe Douglas has been adamant throughout his time here that he would play “the best five guys” regardless of position and now it’s time to put that theory to the test.
If the Jets wanting to add a center this offseason talk is true, I don’t think they straight up cut McGovern, instead I think they kick him to guard. Another possibility is asking him to take a pay cut, similar to Jamison Crowder last year.
McGovern could cut his salary in half and fully guarantee it. Help out both sides: Jets get some cap relief and the veteran gets some financial security.
NFL Combine Ripple Effects
3. Who is someone the Jets met with at the NFL Combine that you could see them selecting in the NFL draft?
It may be the obvious answer but I still feel it’s the most likely, Kayvon Thibodeaux. Unless his combine performance pushed him back into the top three, I just don’t see the Oregon edge rusher getting drafted before the Jets’ first pick at four.
Honestly, I’m not 100% sure whether this will end up being the correct selection but I still believe that Gang Green takes Thibodeaux at No. 4 if he’s there and his interviews helped with that.
The pass rusher told Robert Saleh what he needed to hear, that he loves ball and he’ll never quit on getting better.
Give me Georgia wide receiver George Pickens.
As intriguing as adding a wide receiver in the first round would be, I think the Jets end up waiting until day two to address this position.
If they do, Pickens could be a very nice dart throw that could have an Elijah Moore-like second-round impact on the offense. The position is deep this year so it would behoove Gang Green to exercise patience.
4. Who is someone at the NFL Combine that struggled that you’re still all-in on as a prospect?
I’m no combine expert but I see George Karlaftis listed as a loser and I’ll back the Purdue product despite that at edge rusher.
This is a strong, high-motor guy that learned the game later in life and has gotten better and better every year he’s spent playing it. The Jets need a power rusher that can play the run just as well as he pressures the quarterback and Karlaftis is that type of prospect long-term.
I’d still be grateful for the Greek scheme fit in round one at No. 10 or lower (via trade down).
I’m sad to say that player was Treylon Burks out of Arkansas.
I had people texting me saying they thought he’d run a 4.3 40-yard dash so you can understand my disappointment when the official numbers came in and he provided a 4.55.
That is still impressive at his size (6-foot-2, 225 pounds), but not quite the numbers people were expecting. Also his 33 inch vertical was also surprisingly underwhelming.
He was recently labeled an NFL combine loser by Sportsnaut, here is what they said:
“Is Burks the next A.J. Brown, who ran a 4.49 with a 36.5-inch vertical? Or the next N’Keal Harry who ran a 4.53 with a 38.5-inch vertical? It’s tough to say, but Burks likely will stick in the back half of the first round or slide to the second round as a result.”
Despite the bad taste in the mouth coming out of Indy, I’m not giving up on my WR1 in this draft class. The tape never lies and he has way better game speed than he showed 40 straight-line speed at the combine.
5. Any early free agency predictions for the Jets you care to share?
The Jets will NOT sign J.C. Jackson or any big-money cornerback to a long-term deal.
Much of the fanbase is divided on this one but overall, this just makes no sense to me. Yes, he’s 25 but he’s asking for $20 million per year, maybe more. Douglas and Saleh will not spend that at cornerback, especially on an athlete that has a good deal of risk attached.
First red flag, he’s coming from a Bill Belichick system that produces defensive free agency busts like an Amazon factory produces packages. Second, some have questioned whether or not he leaves everything out there on the field and that’s before getting paid. Third, this is not the position I would allocate the majority of my money into for the next four to five years.
I believe the Jets will make a splash on both sides of the ball in free agency.
When I say that I’m not talking about a tadpole-sized flip into the pool, I’m talking tidal wave-like impact.
Target positions to watch include tight end, wide receiver, and right guard on offense. While on defense keep a close eye out at cornerback, pass rusher, and of course the safety spot.
Douglas has usually been pretty conservative in the free agency period, but he realizes time is of the essence and free agency presents an opportunity to get a lot better very quickly.