Today’s NYJ mailbag, featuring Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr. and Michael Obermuller, will focus on the draft class, UDFA class, late free agent additions, Quinnen Williams’ extension and more. Before we get started, here’s a look at the previous few weekly mailbags:
- Week 89: Quinnen Williams skips OTAs, incoming demotions & draft warnings.
- Week 90: Official NFL mock drafts, final Rodgers trade predictions & general draft day trades.
- Week 91: Need more safety? Expectations after Rodgers deal & draft picks that could start.
Missing Pieces for the Jets Before Training Camp
Linebacker is the biggest one for me. The Jets need to get on the phone and get Kwon Alexander under contract.
That third linebacker spot could be filled by a lesser name that is already on the roster, but the team shouldn’t be complacent. General manager Joe Douglas needs to put on the full-court Super Bowl press and get Alexander in the building and he shouldn’t let him leave.
He’s the emotional leader of this team and could join the team for cheap to make a ring chase.
I’ll say this — if Alexander was willing to sign for cheap the Jets would have already gotten the deal done. He may not break the bank, but I don’t think he’s looking for the veteran minimum either.
Having said that, I do want Alexander back with the team in 2023. That’s Douglas’ final roster addition of the offseason as far as I’m concerned.
Outside of getting back our strongside LB, this roster is set up nicely for training camp. Injuries may come but for now, there aren’t many holes left to discuss.
2. Do you believe the Jets are dragging their feet too much on a Quinnen Williams extension? When would you like to see a deal get done and are you fearful that it won’t get done before the 2023 season?
As soon as the Rodgers trade was done, the Jets should have shifted their focus to Quinnen Williams. I don’t like the latest update from Rich Cimini that I wrote about with the two sides not being close on a deal — that is disappointing to hear.
They have been talking for months and this should be the easiest contract to put together in Jets franchise history. All of the other interior defensive linemen have been paid, so just go a little bit above those guys to put Quinnen squarely as the No. 2 highest paid DT in the league.
I want a deal done as soon as possible and hopefully, that’s before May practices begin in a few weeks. I’m not fearful that it won’t get done though, it just makes too much sense for all sides to put pen to paper.
Maybe they bounce some numbers back and forth until mandatory minicamp in June or even training camp if the right contract takes longer. If it ends up dragging out a couple of months, so be it. Quinnen does not need to be a part of OTAs after two years in Robert Saleh’s system already and at this point, he’s going to get paid one way or another — the timing of an extension no longer matters.
As long as he’s keeping himself in shape for training camp, I’m not overly concerned.
Jets Prospects to Watch Both Drafted & Undrafted
3. Which 2023 late-round draft pick are you most excited about and why? (fourth round or lower)
Jarrick Bernard-Converse easily. I freaking love this guy! He brings some elite traits (speed and explosiveness), has versatility (can play anywhere in secondary), and brings a wealth of collegiate experience.
This kid could be the long-term starting answer at safety and could prove to be one of the steals of the 2023 NFL draft. How did this kid slip? That will be the question on the minds of NFL GMs across the country during the 2023 season when they see what this kid is capable of.
JBC will quickly become a fan favorite as we progress through the offseason process.
Wow. My partner is very high on Bernard-Converse. I do like him as a versatile playmaker in the secondary — L’Jarius Sneed comes to mind with the Kansas City Chiefs as an NFL comp.
I’m personally excited about Zack Kuntz though. Some had the Old Dominion tight end labeled as a fourth- or fifth-round prospect and he ended up slipping to round seven because he’s not much of a blocker. I’m not sure the Jets need another blocker, however.
If Kuntz is never more than a Mike Gesicki type — big, tall receiver and red zone threat lining up at TE — I’m okay with that. The Jets hadn’t had a legitimate pass-catching weapon at the position in a long time before 2022. Now, they potentially have three with Tyler Conklin, Jeremy Ruckert and Kuntz — not to mention intriguing UDFA E.J. Jenkins.
The more long-term options at tight end, the better. Kuntz may not even play in year one, but I can’t wait to see what he turns into down the line.
4. Out of the 13-man UDFA class, who is your favorite Jets undrafted prospect this year? Do any of the UDFAs have a chance to make the roster in your opinion?
Every couple of years I’ll have a pretty strong conviction about a certain UDFA for one reason or another. This year, there is no one I’d be willing to put my career on the line for or anything crazy, but I do like Trey Dean III (safety out of Florida).
He’s a bigger safety (6-foot-2) which I like, and he was a projected day-three pick that somehow wasn’t selected during the draft. He is another player with a ton of experience and a unique familial connection (cousins with Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper).
With so many spots up for grabs at safety, Dean has a chance to truly make an impact in year one. As the Jets roster gets better and better, it’ll be harder and harder for these UDFAs to crack the roster which is a good sign for the team overall.
I always get myself way too wrapped up in undrafted prospects — I’ll admit it. I cover these guys strengths and background stories and I convince myself they’ll defy the odds. Like Boy Green pointed out, however, this Jets roster is a lot stronger and deeper than it used to be and most of this 2023 UDFA class will be competing for a practice squad role.
Having said that, Marquis Waters and Dean are definitely names to watch at safety as well as WR Jason Brownlee and the aforementioned Jenkins as large pass-catching options. Brownlee received the most guaranteed money out of any Jets UDFA this year.
All of those guys have a chance, in my opinion, but inside linebacker Caleb Johnson is someone I’m really interested in. The Jets need a long-term replacement for C.J. Mosley and while Jamien Sherwood could be that guy, he has not proven he’s a sure thing yet. Johnson has the intelligence and the instincts of a MIKE-backer already built into his game, he just needs grooming at the NFL level.
Aaron Rodgers Is a New Man in 2023 — & So Are the Jets
5. What do you make of Aaron Rodgers’ rejuvenated spirit in NYC? Does he seem like a new man after the fresh start?
Aaron Rodgers is on a mission from Hell. He already had a massive chip on his shoulder and the latest transgressions this offseason have made that chip abnormally large.
He seems rejuvenated after being in one place for 18 years. New York has given him new life and he’s going to be the best version of Rodgers that we have ever seen. This man is going to annihilate the record books and the Jets will immediately become one of the best teams in football.
Get ready because pissed off Aaron Rodgers in New York is going to be the scariest thing we’ve ever seen.
Love the fire! I won’t make any bold statements, but all of this is obviously wonderful to see.
Rodgers fits Manhattan like a glove after many media talking heads said he couldn’t handle the big city. To quote the great Vinny Chase of “Entourage,” Rodgers is Queens Boulevard, and he’s ever other street in the five boroughs right now too!
This man is riding high like the white knight that’s come to save Gotham, and the Jets certainly need saving. If any franchise could use this breath of fresh air, it’s this one, and it’s nice to see that Rodgers truly feels the same way.