Similar to their current roster heading into 2023 OTAs, the New York Jets had an abundance of pass rushers in 2022 — just in case of injury.
When those worrisome injuries never came, Jets general manager Joe Douglas traded 2022 free agent signing Jacob Martin to the Denver Broncos for a pick swap in 2024. According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport at the time, New York exchanged a fifth rounder for a fourth next April, along with Martin — and this deal turned out to be a total bust for the Broncos.
The veteran DE was buried on the NYJ depth chart, and his departure opened the door for youngsters like Jermaine Johnson II, Micheal Clemons and Bryce Huff to get more reps in Robert Saleh’s defense. Not only that, but Martin ended up being incredibly lackluster in Denver with one sack and two tackles for a loss over five appearances and four healthy scratches.
Fast-forward to 2023 and the Broncos decided to cut ties with Martin on May 10 before entering year two of the three-year agreement he’d signed with the Jets last offseason. In the end, his failed tenures in New York and Denver cost the Jets $4.16 million in dead money and the Broncos $1 million in 2023 according to Over the Cap — plus the fourth rounder they sent Gang Green for a fifth.
Ex-Jets’ & Broncos’ Jacob Martin Returns to Texans
With the way things have turned out in 2023 — adding another first-round edge rusher in Will McDonald IV — Douglas will be happy to recoup that pick swap for Martin so he can wash his hands of the entire acquisition. Almost mockingly though, Martin re-signed with the Houston Texans on May 19.
Rapoport had the story, tweeting; “Reunion: The Texans are signing pass-rusher Jacob Martin to a 1-year deal, source said. He played on the edge for Houston from 2019-2021 before landing with the Jets and Broncos last year.”
Ironically, Martin originally caught the Jets’ eye by sacking Zach Wilson with the Texans in 2021. It looks like this odd cycle of trades and signings will come full circle at OTAs, although Houston has changed around its coaching staff since Martin’s last stint with the franchise.
Ready for two final coincidences? The ex-Jet will join new HC DeMeco Ryans’ defense with the Texans — who just so happened to be Coach Saleh’s top understudy with the San Francisco 49ers. He also played under ex-Broncos HC and current Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett during his five outings in Denver. Spooky.
Jets Legitimately Stacked at Edge Rusher in 2023
Analysts and reporters have written about similar topics in years past, but the Jets appear to be more stacked at defensive end than they’ve been in a long time in 2023.
They have three legitimate waves of pass rushers that could start for most franchises. Here’s how it would most likely break down, barring injury:
- Wave 1: Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers.
- Wave 2: Jermaine Johnson II and Micheal Clemons (run-heavy unit).
- Wave 3: Will McDonald IV and Bryce Huff (pass-heavy/third-down unit).
That’s before Quinnen Williams, Al Woods, Quinton Jefferson, Solomon Thomas and a blitz-friendly linebacker like Quincy Williams even enter the equation.
The expectation is also that Aaron Rodgers and Hackett will provide the Jets defense with more leads in 2023, allowing the NYJ pass rush to tee-off on opposing quarterbacks. That’s right, by the looks of it, Saleh’s Niners plan is finally coming together in New York.
It all starts with Rodgers, but if he’s successful as a Jet, everyone else will eat too.