The New York Jets have a very long list of players that are set to hit unrestricted free agency once the new league year kicks off on March 16.
On Wednesday, March 9, they were able to prevent one of their top reserves from leaving the building.
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A Key Cog Returns to the Fold
The mammoth offensive lineman who stands in at 6-foot-8, 305 pounds is entering his sixth professional season in 2022.
He originally entered the league as the No. 211 overall pick in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL draft by the New England Patriots.
McDermott didn’t make the roster in his rookie season but did find a home with an AFC East rival in the Buffalo Bills.
He ended up spending the next two years with the Bills in a reserve role, playing in eight games.
After his time with Buffalo came to an end in October of 2019, he was claimed off of waivers by the Jets.
He has been with the team ever since. During that span, the versatile offensive lineman has suited up in 28 games and was forced to start in six of those contests.
Although he is most well known for his background as a tight end that came in handy during the contest versus the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.
With the Jets up one in a 16-15 game in the fourth quarter, Mike LaFleur dialed up the McDermott goal-line play on fourth and goal.
Zach Wilson took the snap, looked left, avoided some pressure and jogged to the right, and chucked up the ball to the former tight-end stud out of UCLA.
McDermott caught the jump ball touchdown to extend the Jets lead. The fans went crazy at MetLife Stadium and there was a massive dogpile in the end-zone that harkened us all back to our backyard football days.
With the tight end market drying up in free agency, perhaps the Jets have locked up the most underrated tight end that was set to hit free agency. I might be kidding, but I also might not be.
Who Could Be Next?
The Jets are in discussions with Joe Flacco to bring him back as the primary backup to Wilson. We’ll keep an eye out on that one, but the focus must now shift to the trenches in general.
Getting McDermott back as a versatile swing offensive lineman was an underrated but necessary move for the team. Now they must decide on two other big-time pending free agents in Morgan Moses and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.
There is mutual interest between LDT and the Jets to get a deal done. At a minimum, the veteran offensive lineman would be competition at the right guard spot, if not the day one starter.
While Moses will be the more difficult player to reel back into the fold.
When you evaluate the options that will be available on the open market, Moses is going to be near the top of that list. Free agents are always overpaid and that is even more magnified when the positional group is lacking depth and star power.
After spending last season on the Jets on a prove-it one-year deal, it appears Moses is ready to cash in this offseason.
According to Spotrac’s market value projections, Moses is expected to land a contract that pays him $7.7 million annually on a multi-year deal. That figure would rank him as the 14th highest-paid right tackle in football.
Although as we have discussed, Moses could get even more money than that in a potential bidding war between competing teams.
There is a slight glimmer of hope based on Moses’ end-of-season comments about the culture, his love for the fans, and his relationship with the coaching staff that he could return. If he does choose to do so, that would fortify the depth of the Jets’ offensive line.