Your Heavy on New York Jets mailbag is back with yet another edition on June 5, 2023. As always, reporters Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr. and Michael Obermuller will answer questions that tackle the hottest topics in Jets land at the moment, and here’s a preview of what this week has to offer.
Most recent mailbags:
- Week 93: Surprise cuts before training camp, retirement pitches & schedule reactions.
- Week 94: Unexpected trades away from the franchise, starting OL predictions & Ty Johnson reactions.
- Week 95: Mekhi Becton drama, exploring Hopkins, position changes & best Jets surprise.
Latest Around the Jets Community Includes Potentially Concerning Trend & DeAndre Hopkins Snub
1. Given all the money Jets general manager Joe Douglas has pushed into future void years with contract restructures, are you at all concerned about what happens after Aaron Rodgers retires?
Absolutely f****** not. Jets fans have become too accustomed to looking ahead to future years with free agency and the NFL draft. The time is now when you have Rodgers.
I don’t give a flying hoot about 2024 or beyond. All of my chips, and Douglas’ for that matter, are all-in on 2023 and rightfully so. Gang Green should be moving heaven and earth to maximize this upcoming season.
After all, the worst place you can be is in purgatory. Not great enough to compete for championships, but not bad enough to earn a top draft selection. You never want to be hanging in the middle and the Jets are guaranteeing that won’t happen this season.
I have to agree with my partner here and sometimes I have to remind myself of this too: Enjoy the moment.
Too often, we worry about what might happen in the future, or focus on what has already happened in the past. Here in the present, the Jets have a legitimate shot at contending for the Super Bowl. As the young kids say — what a time to be alive.
P.S. Douglas is also one of the wisest GMs when it comes to cap management, so I have full faith that he has a plan for the future despite his recent disregard for it — at least, on the surface.
2. The Jets appeared to be “in” on Odell Beckham Jr. as a wide receiver upgrade, and yet they seem uninterested in DeAndre Hopkins. What gives?
Honestly, it doesn’t make any gosh darn sense. So, Robert Saleh said we “love our group” but they tried to aggressively sign OBJ?
I’m a huge fan of the show “Survivor” and this is a bluff I would call out on the island. You didn’t love your group enough to not try and upgrade, coach, so why are you changing tune now?
Maybe, Rodgers wanted OBJ but for whatever reason, didn’t like Hopkins? I’m grasping at straws but there must be something that we don’t know. Bluntly, Hopkins has been a better player than OBJ both recently and historically speaking. I wrote more about it here.
Yeah, this one is certainly a head-scratcher because if I was choosing between Hopkins and Beckham — given everything we know about their respective injury history and personalities — I’d sign D-Hop every time.
Now, I don’t necessarily think the Jets need either of the two wide receivers and I’d rather get Quinnen Williams locked up long-term and Kwon Alexander back in green and white, but for the sake of the question — it’s very strange.
Again, I have to agree with my partner in assuming that the only reason there was any interest in Beckham was Rodgers backing the move. Take that how you want to take it, but the wish list report feels more and more accurate every day.
How Big Will Quinnen Williams’ Bag Be With the Jets?
3. How much will it cost the Jets to extend Quinnen Williams? Predict the contract details.
It’ll easily be the biggest contract in Jets’ history in terms of total value, total guarantees, and average per year.
It’ll be a $130 million contract across five years with an average of $26 million per season. The guaranteed portion of the deal will be over $75 million.
This deal is going to get done before training camp and I’m almost willing to Joe Namath guarantee it. Q is one of the best players in the NFL and deserves to be compensated as such.
I also think this gets done at some point prior to training camp. I feel like the Jets are most likely trying to rework Rodgers’ new contract first just so they know how to structure Williams’ cap hits both present and future.
I’ll settle on a number slightly more conservative than Boy Green and if the Jets act before Chris Jones and the Chiefs, they should be able to get this done: 4 years, $96 million ($24 million per year), $48 million guaranteed at signing (but likely more in total guarantees).
That deal would reset the defensive tackle market in terms of guaranteed money, but not average annual salary. No one is touching Aaron Donald when it comes to the latter, but Williams can leapfrog Jeffery Simmons and Dexter Lawrence with this contract.
Early Positives & Negatives From Jets 2023 OTAs
4. What’s one thing (or player/observation) that has stood out to you so far at 2023 OTAs?
This is a voluntary workout that is super light in terms of contact. With that being said, it’s very hard to make huge determinations but one thing that I’m at least thinking twice about is the backup quarterback situation.
Unlike most Jets fans, I’ve been pretty confident in Zach Wilson being the QB2 in 2023. Rodgers has been incredibly healthy throughout his career and I thought Wilson would get better being out of the spotlight.
However, I’ve had a few of those queasy feelings I had at the end of last season about Wilson being relied upon to save the season if that comes up. Perhaps the Jets should consider a legitimate name like Nick Foles or Teddy Bridgewater for dirt cheap as another veteran just in case of emergency. Hoping for the best and expecting the worst is the right mentality to have.
I gotta say, reading Paul’s answer, I thought he was going the opposite direction. I’ve actually been impressed by Wilson during OTAs and feel more confident in him as the QB2 than ever before. In fact, I’d probably prefer him to someone like Foles, who’s on the same level as Joe Flacco at this point of his career.
My real answer will be: Don’t sleep on TE Jeremy Ruckert.
Before OTAs, I was voicing a similar opinion to my brother, but the first round of practices has only confirmed my suspicions. The Jets purposefully hid Ruckert in the shadows in year one, allowing him to develop with confidence and poise.
Now, it appears he’s ready to take the next step in 2023.
5. What’s one thing that has disappointed you so far at 2023 OTAs?
It’s hard to be disappointed with anything from OTAs outside of attendance. There have been a variety of players that have been MIA, but again this is voluntary, so it isn’t really that big of a deal.
I guess if I had to point at something, it would be that this Quinnen deal isn’t done yet. Once the Rodgers trade was completed, I thought the Williams extension would be hammered out in short order.
The team is still working on the Rodgers restructure, but I just want this Quinnen thing done. The sooner you can get it done, the better because others are being paid around the league and that is constantly increasing Williams’ price tag.
The lack of urgency with Williams has definitely been mildly frustrating, but my biggest disappointment so far has been Mekhi Becton’s unnecessary dramatics at left tackle.
I’ve stood up for Becton all offseason as he’s gotten himself back into shape, and I understand that he feels the move to right tackle contributed to his injury, but why stir up public drama by going to the media behind the coaching staff’s back? That’s not what the Jets need right now.
Both Duane Brown and Becton seem set on starting at left tackle, and they might be the Jets’ two best OTs on the roster — so, something’s got to give here. I just hope that for the Jets sake that this is resolved with no further issues.