Well, that was easy.
Morgan Moses is a Jet and it only cost Joe Douglas the amount of money he gained from the Jamison Crowder restructuring. That’s some high-quality general managing!
Since we are New York Jets fans, it’s only right that we immediately ask the all-important question that follows every big-name signing — what’s next?
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Housekeeping Tasks for Douglas
First thing’s first, unless we see another player move onto the injured reserve, someone has to get cut to make way for Moses. The likely candidates are either 2019 third-round pick Chuma Edoga or 2019 waiver pickup Conor McDermott, two depth-offensive tackles.
Next up is to get the last few rookie contracts inked. Zach Wilson, Alijah Vera-Tucker and Elijah Moore are the final three on the to-do list. Spotrac has the three at a cap hit of about $10.9 million and change altogether.
Finally, Douglas has until July 15 to get a long-term extension done with safety Marcus Maye, something he’s labeled as a priority this offseason. At the end of the day, this deal could yield some slight cap relief if it happens.
According to Spotrac, the Jets currently hold a top-51 player’s cap number of $35.331 million, minus the $3.6 million base salary that Moses just received and the $10.9 million in rookie contracts.
That leaves the Jets with a little over $20 million to work with, which is still a good chunk of change at this point in the offseason.
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Bringing in the RIGHT Veterans
We’ve heard the Jets GM talk about bringing in the right veterans, not just ones that make sense on paper.
There are a few requirements that Douglas and Robert Saleh seem to have when it comes to signing free agents, which I like to refer to as the new Jets standard.
Free agents that join the Jets must exemplify leadership and high character. They will be teachers of the game as much as they are players like we’ve seen with Vinny Curry and Corey Davis in camp.
They also still have to provide versatility and productivity. As Saleh put it, the only thing separating most prospects from average starter NFL talent is “opportunity and reps.” In other words, the Jets would rather live and die on the development of the youth than try out some has-been veteran for a year.
If they feel the acquisition is a game-changer like Moses, that’s a different story.
The areas I still believe the Jets are weakest at are tight end, cornerback and backup quarterback. These players would fit the new Jets standard for veteran acquisitions.
- Zach Ertz, tight end; would require a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles and a hefty cap hit assuming they don’t help out with his contract.
- Trey Burton, tight end; a much cheaper alternative that is a free agent, has a history with Douglas and is a tremendous asset on special teams.
- O.J. Howard, tight end; former first-round talent trade candidate that Douglas could bet on long-term, free-agent in 2022 if New York plays the long game.
- Richard Sherman, cornerback; I still believe Saleh would love to reconnect with the great mentor-teammate that can still start, but Sherman has to first get to the point where no other compelling offers are on the table. That wouldn’t come until after training camp.
- Gareon Conley, cornerback; Jarrad Davis type value signing, which would involve betting on former first-round ability that failed in another system.
- Brian Poole, nickelback; a Jets fan-favorite of the past two seasons that can get the job done in the slot, only problem is Gang Green probably needs more help on the outside.
- Stephon Gilmore or Xavien Howard, cornerbacks; both are on the trade block but the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins would never trade them to a division rival at fair market value. We can forget about these two for now.
- Nick Foles, quarterback; the only backup QB option that makes sense is Foles, but the Chicago Bears will have to serve up the veteran on a team-friendly bargain.
- David DeCastro, guard; seems like he may retire but still deserves a mention being that right guard is a weak spot and Douglas is always looking to add O-line.
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Douglas Likes to Look a Year in Advance
In episode two of Flight 2021: An Offseason with the New York Jets, assistant general manager Rex Hogan told the fanbase that the Jets are “usually looking a year in advance” when it comes to free agency. Douglas has also gone after players entering their prime.
Of course, you never know which players will actually make it onto the open market. Some might get extended before March of 2022, others might get franchise-tagged as we saw with a number of the big-name targets this year.
Based on the Jets’ major need positions both now and in the future, here are some names that stand out in free agency next offseason.
- Gilmore; aforementioned and very likely to be available should he remain with New England. A trade could lead to an extension if the CB joins an amicable party.
- Marshon Lattimore; the New Orleans Saints star will only be 26-years old in May of 2022. NOLA is unlikely to resign him and Lattimore could grow with Saleh and the Jets (possible trade candidate in 2021 if the Saints underperform).
- J.C. Jackson; always nice to swipe a skilled contributor from a division rival like the Patriots, plus Jackson is only 27-years old next offseason.
- Levi Wallace; good scheme fit with the rival Buffalo Bills, wouldn’t be too expensive.
- Avonte Maddox; cheaper versatile defensive back that was a former Douglas draft pick in Philadelphia.
Edge Rusher/Defensive End
- Derek Barnett; another Douglas draft pick who has had a high-pressure rate with the Eagles despite fewer sacks. Would mirror Carl Lawson move.
- Brandon Scherff; Washington has been tagging the four-time Pro Bowler for years, he just turned 30 and isn’t getting any younger.
- Wyatt Teller; has broken out into a stud in Cleveland, doubtful the Browns let him walk.
- Bradley Bozeman; versatile interior offensive lineman that can fill a lot of holes at a high caliber.
- Fred Warner; if Saleh can steal away Warner from San Francisco that would be a tremendous get for the Jets, C.J. Mosley would become a cap casualty in this scenario.
- Darius Leonard; another playmaking linebacker in his prime that’s a perfect scheme fit but a well-run organization like the Indianapolis Colts should keep him locked up.
- Leighton Vander Esch; productive high-upside scheme fit if he can stay healthy, could see Dallas letting him test free agency.
- Ryan Ramczyk; it wouldn’t be cheap, but if he’s available there are few better right tackles in the game than the Saints RT and he’ll be 28 next season.
- Taylor Moton; another quality right tackle in his prime, cap-strapped Carolina may elect to clear the books.
- Marcus Williams; franchise-tagged by the Saints this offseason, possible Maye or Lamarcus Joyner replacement if things don’t work out.
- Jessie Bates III; Cincinnati is famously frugal so they might let their premium safety walk but his style could be too similar to Maye’s to keep both.
- Howard and David Njoku; former first-round talents for Douglas to bet on.
- Dallas Goedert; another former Douglas draft pick that is still in his mid-to-late 20s.
- Hayden Hurst; perfect scheme fit as a blocking specialist that can get out wide and catch the ball when needed.
- Mike Gesicki; landing the starting tight end of a division rival is never a bad idea.
- There are a ton of possibilities here, some that we’ve discussed in the past, so I won’t go into detail but the headliners are Davante Adams, Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Michael Gallup, Robby Anderson, Christian Kirk and many more.
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