The New York Jets have fewer holes to fill in free agency than usual in 2023.
Outside of a few positions, the roster is pretty deep — especially if general manager Joe Douglas is able to retain a couple of key unrestricted free agents like linebacker Quincy Williams. And according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, the explosive tackler is very high on the Jets’ priority list.
On March 12, Cimini even noted that Gang Green is “trying to re-sign” Williams before the market opens this week. During this new report on the linebacker, the ESPN insider relayed that “the team is negotiating with Williams to keep him off the [open] market.”
If they are unable to do so, Cimini mentioned Buffalo Bills UFA Tremaine Edmunds and San Francisco 49ers UFA Azeez Al-Shaair as two potential options that could replace him.
Jets Wire Advocates for Quincy Williams Re-Signing
During a USA Today “NFL Wire editors” article on March 4, Billy Riccette of Jets Wire named Williams as the number one free agent that New York must try and retain in 2023.
“Taking care of defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is obviously going to be a high priority this offseason for the Jets,” Riccette began, “but they also should look to take care of his brother as well.”
He continued: “Quincy Williams was a pleasant surprise this offseason at the linebacker position, and someone the Jets were able to rely on outside. Williams finished second in tackles with 106, behind C.J. Mosley.”
On top of that, Williams was also defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich’s top blitzer behind his rotational front four. The 26-year-old had three sacks in 2022 and another two sacks in year one according to Pro Football Reference.
Williams also had a whopping 21 tackles for a loss over that two-year span, which amounts to a very similar outcome as a QB sack.
His coverage ability has improved as well, allowing less yardage per reception than fellow linebackers C.J. Mosley and Kwon Alexander in 2022 (Pro Football Focus). One area Williams must clean up is his tackling, however. He tied with safety Jordan Whitehead for the most missed tackles on the defense last season, with 17 missed tackles each.
Despite that, Riccette argued that “with Mosley getting up in age and Kwon Alexander a free agent, the Jets need some stability at the linebacker position.” He concluded that “Williams can provide that,” adding: “You also have to wonder if Quinnen and Quincy will be a package deal. They should be at this point.”
Jets ‘Expected to Dial it Back’ in Free Agency in 2023
The Jets are typically big spenders in free agency. In fact, they spent the third-most money in 2022 according to the NFLPA.
During the same article as the Williams update, Cimini told readers that this may not be the case in 2023.
“Traditionally big spenders, the New York Jets are expected to dial it back this year in free agency,” he informed. “They’re operating with less salary cap room than usual and have fewer positional needs than in recent years.”
Cimini also explained that — as we all know by now — the front office is waiting on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to decide on retirement. If he does choose to play, he’ll most likely be traded to the Jets, and would count as a $15.8 million cap hit this year per the ESPN reporter.
Rodgers’ current contract also includes “$59 million in actual cash” that NYJ owner Woody Johnson appears ready to pay. Having said that, Cimini clarified that “there’s a good chance [his deal] will be restructured, but it still would have a significant impact on their offseason approach [either way].”