The next mile-marker for the New York Jets this offseason is free agency.
Armed with one of the biggest wallets in the NFL, Gang Green could do some serious damage.
Before they do that our pair of experts, Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller have some things to say about the upcoming offseason.
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Some Fascinating Free Agency Predictions
1. What is your early bold New York Jets prediction for the offseason?
I’m not sure if it’s that bold but I do believe the Jets finally score that true WR1 just one offseason after landing Corey Davis. Joe Douglas promised that he would build around Zach Wilson and he’s been very candid about being more comfortable scouting trench players than wide receivers and cornerbacks.
If the Jets GM doesn’t trust his ability to draft the correct wide receiver, maybe he’ll keep spending until he finds it. Whether that means looking in free agency or via trade (with an expected extension), I still see Douglas going for an established veteran at this position.
That doesn’t mean Gang Green won’t draft a wide receiver lower down to compete with Denzel Mims, but I don’t think they draft one first round.
That is a juicy take from MO to get us started here, but I’m going to try and will mine into existence. I do believe that Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon will fall to the No. 4 overall pick and the Jets will waste little time turning in the card to make him their selection.
He is the perfect EDGE rusher to pair up opposite of Carl Lawson and that will give Robert Saleh’s Jets defense the juice it needs to get this train rolling. Imagine if both of those guys are healthy the impact it could have on the rest of the unit?
Thibodeaux was at one time considered a favorite to go No. 1 overall and now there are whispers he could fall because of personality and fire questions? Those seem weird, but whatever it takes to get this man to the Jets I’ll sign up for!
2. Who do you want the Jets to sign first in free agency versus who do you believe they will?
Boy, this is a tough one to answer. You always want the first move to be a big one so that’s the direction I’ll go for part one. To piggyback off my first answer, give me that WR1 the franchise has been waiting for and I’ll choose Chris Godwin out of Tampa Bay.
Despite his injury, I still think he’s a perfect fit for this offense. Plus at age 26 in 2022, he fits the build of an ascending talent — something Douglas is generally looking for. A receiving core of Godwin, Davis, Elijah Moore, Braxton Berrios, and Mims would surround Wilson with plenty of talent.
Realistically, I’ll say the first signing is a player with coaching ties. The Jets could use a new defensive tackle with Foley Fatukasi and Nathan Shepherd potentially on the way out.
San Francisco 49ers lane-clogger D.J. Jones may have an unassuming name but he’s coming off a breakout season. With 17 starts and 56 tackles in 2021, Robert Saleh would love to reunite with this five-year scheme fit.
This is a funny question because as Michael said everyone assumes it will be a big name, but as we saw last year with Jarrad Davis that isn’t always the case.
I brought it up in a column last week and I think it ends up coming to fruition. Dante Fowler Jr, a pass rusher that was released by the Atlanta Falcons last week, will end up in New York.
If the Jets saw fit, they could add him this week because he was cut they don’t have to wait for the official kickoff of the new league year. You can never have enough pass rushers and as we found out last year, injuries occur.
Now, who would I want them to sign if I was running the shop as the first guy?
Dalton Schultz of the Dallas Cowboys is the top name. While there is rampant speculation if he’ll even make it to free agency, call me an optimist. Douglas said he would be aggressive this offseason and I could envision him starting things out with a bang.
It would be a pricey addition, but this new toy would greatly benefit the offense a year after ignoring the position completely.
3. Who was a role player on the Jets in 2021 that will have a much larger role in 2022?
I’ll be bold here and say the aforementioned Berrios. That’s right, not only are the Jets re-signing B.B. but he’s getting an expanded role in the offense.
I like Berrios as a WR4 that gets a lot of snaps as a rotational threat. The slot weapon is very intelligent and he appears to have a great grasp of Mike LaFleur’s offense. The more he excelled in the system in 2021, the more burn he received including some designed touches.
If the Jets are bringing Berrios back for $7-8 million, you better believe he’s playing!
I like the Berrios pick, super sneaky. I’ll lean towards Jason Pinnock. He was drafted as a cornerback out of Pittsburgh, but because of the depth and transition, he couldn’t really find his way on the field.
Then when injuries befell the team at the safety spot, the coaching staff flipped him over to safety and Pinnock got his chance to strut his stuff.
Obviously, it was an incredibly limited sample size and we aren’t deeming him the next Ed Reed or anything, but he probably carved himself a pretty significant role upgrade heading into 2022.
Another factor in how big of a slice he gets will assuredly be the other decisions at the safety position during the NFL draft, free agency, and of course in the trade market.
Sizzling Hot Takes of Insight
4. Where does Marcus Maye play next season?
I never would have said this weeks ago but I’m starting to think that he could end up back with the Jets more and more. Having said that, I still feel like there’s a better chance he takes a one-year deal somewhere else.
He would make the most sense with a win-now team that doesn’t have too much money to throw around on a safety. The Kansas City Chiefs come to mind as an option if Tyrann Mathieu leaves but I’ll go with the 2020 Super Bowl champs instead.
Todd Bowles runs the defense down in Tampa Bay and Maye is a former disciple of the ex-Jets coach during his early years. The Buccaneers also have three safeties that are set to hit free agency and I do believe they will trade for a quarterback if Tom Brady stays retired. As long as Bruce Arians is head coach, this team is still in win-now mode and Maye could help this secondary in a one-year reunion with Bowles.
I would love to say back on the Jets, but I just can’t see that happening. The relationship seems tarnished, Maye is coming off of a very serious injury, and the team seems ready to move in a new direction.
The former Florida product will likely be forced to sign a one-year prove-it deal with a contender to reestablish his value heading into 2023. I love the Tampa Bay pick that makes a ton of sense.
I’ll throw a wildcard team out there and they aren’t a contender but what about the Houston Texans? They could be losing some talent this offseason and he would get an opportunity to show he still has gas left in the tank.
I know it isn’t a championship team, but beggars can’t be choosers.
5. There were a lot of rumors about a potential Robby Anderson reunion this week which got us nostalgic, which former Jets player would you like to see make a return to the team in 2022?
I’ll start by saying NOT Robby Anderson. I was never a fan of his and I would be very against a Robby return.
My choice will be Demario Davis. We never should have let the veteran linebacker go and he’s still one of the best 4-3 backers in the game at age 33. I know this goes against the youth movement on the defensive side but I think Davis could add some stability at the heart of this unit.
He’s under contract through 2023 so the Jets would have to trade for him (post-June 1 makes more sense from a cap standpoint), but considering the New Orleans Saints’ current financial situation, this sort of move is not out of the realm of possibility. Davis would cost the Jets $7.5 million in 2022 which is almost as much as Jarrad Davis made to do nothing all year.
I’m not going to lie, the Robby news had me all nostalgic. This is probably one of those scenarios where you come up with what you think is a cool idea with the boys in your man-cave, but it is better left on the cutting room floor.
Financially it doesn’t make a lot of sense from Carolina’s side and from a Jets perspective they have one open spot in a three-wide receiver set. Is Anderson the missing piece to the puzzle? No, he would certainly help but he isn’t that true No. 1 wide receiver that they’re looking for.
By the way quick aside on the Davis point by Obermuller, which is so damn true why’d we let him go TWICE?! He is one of my favorite players of recent memory with his improved play on the field and his powerful impact off of the field.
With the Saints in salary cap hell, perhaps a mid-rounder could entice New Orleans to hit the reset button there. They save some cold hard cash and the Jets get a bonafide stud at linebacker.
I was going to provide my own answer to this question, but MO nailed it and I’ll just jump on his bandwagon.
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