It’s officially rumor-mill season in the NFL and each New York Jets reporter and analyst claims to have the inside scoop on which direction the franchise will go.
Back on February 3, ESPN beat reporter Rich Cimini tweeted out the Jets’ top four priorities in the draft based on what he’d heard at the Senior Bowl. Now SNY analyst and ex-NYJ defensive end Leger Douzable is getting involved with an offseason rumor of his own.
“Been hearing more and more Jets could address WR in FA, know they’re going after a veteran safety and possibly veteran TE,” Douzable tweeted.
This all stemmed from a hypothetical where the ex-player asked fans how they would “feel about [OT/G] Ickey Ekwonu at #4 and [EDGE] Jermaine Johnson at #10.” That type of draft strategy jives with GM Joe Douglas and HC Robert Saleh’s philosophy of building around the trenches.
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Fact or Fiction?
The bold part of Douzable’s statement was not his remark about the wide receiver position, but his comments on safety and tight end. “Know they’re going after a veteran safety and possibly veteran TE,” he said.
That type of confidence puts some skin in the game for an analyst because that’s your reputation on the line. It does match what we’ve been hearing all offseason though.
The Jets would like to have at least one veteran at the back of their defense and as Cimini wrote earlier this month, the Jets “like [the] TE [draft] class a lot, but… could go that way in free agency.” As we mentioned in the open, it also fits that trench warfare mentality in the draft.
This plan is not so different from 2021 either. Adding wide receiver into the mix as Douzable stated, it nearly follows last year’s offseason model to a T.
New York signed Corey Davis in an attempt to address WR1 concerns. They also signed Tyler Kroft to start at tight end after supposedly missing on Jonnu Smith. Finally, Douglas and Saleh added Lamarcus Joyner alongside Marcus Maye — two vets on the back end.
The strategy was there, it just didn’t work.
Now, having said that the Jets also drafted Elijah Moore and Kenny Yeboah but the major emphasis on these three positions came in free agency. Will Gang Green double down on this philosophy in 2022?
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Results Must Improve
I don’t hate this game plan but Douglas can’t cheap out this time around. Kroft and Joyner were both bargain-buys and Davis was a bit of a reach.
If the Jets are going to attempt this strategy again, they have to go all-in on some of the bigger names. We all should know them by now — safety Marcus Williams, WR Chris Godwin, TE Dalton Schultz, and so on.
I’m not saying the Jets must end up with three top free agents at each of these positions but if you sign a combination of Williams, Schultz, and someone like Christian Kirk, the Jets are a much better team. Or Williams, Godwin, and Tyler Conklin for example. These are just hypotheticals but you catch my drift.
Fans are sick and tired of the Green & White settling for option B or C in free agency. It’s time to go fishing in the big boy pond and land at least two top-of-the-line starters. If you’re shopping at these three positions, the names below might fit the description.
Wide Receiver (average per year projections via Pro Football Focus)
|Davante Adams||$23.25 million APY|
|Chris Godwin||$17.5 million APY|
|Mike Williams||$17 million APY|
|Allen Robinson II||$16 million APY|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||$14 million APY|
|Michael Gallup||$13.75 million APY|
|D.J. Chark Jr.||$13.33 million APY|
|Christian Kirk||$11.67 million APY|
Safety (APY projections via PFF)
|Marcus Williams||$16.125 million APY|
|Jessie Bates III||Expected Franchise Tag|
|Tyrann Mathieu||$16.25 million APY|
|Quandre Diggs||$10 million APY|
|Justin Reid||$7 million APY|
|Jordan Whitehead||$6 million APY|
|Marcus Maye||Re-sign for $6 million (one year)|
Tight End (APY projections via PFF)
Note for tight ends: Jets have hinted that they are looking for dual-threats, but I will include all options this time and note what type of TE description they fit.
|Mike Gesicki (Receiving TE)||$13.75 million APY|
|Dalton Schultz (Dual-Threat)||$11.25 million APY|
|Rob Gronkowski (Dual-Threat)||Not happening|
|David Njoku (Receiving TE but has made major strides as a blocker)||$12.5 million APY|
|Zach Ertz (Receiving TE)||$11 million APY|
|Evan Engram (Receiving TE)||$9 million APY|
|Gerald Everett (Dual-Threat)||$7.5 million APY|
|C.J. Uzomah (Dual-Threat)||$7 million APY|
|Tyler Conklin & Hayden Hurst (Dual-Threat)||Cheaper options|