Jets Lock Up Veteran, Give Him ‘Nice Pay Raise’ in Free Agency

Greg Zuerlein, Jets

Getty New York Jets placekicker Greg Zuerlein reacting in the middle of an NFL game.

The New York Jets found consistency at kicker and now it’s going to stay that way.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport shared on social media that Gang Green “have reached an agreement” with placekicker Greg Zuerlein on a two-year deal for $8.4 million.

“A nice pay raise for the kicker,” Rapoport added.

Last season he played on a one-year deal for $2.6 million. Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic said this new deal will make Zuerlein, “the 11th-highest paid kicker in the NFL in terms of APY [average per year].”

Jets Retain an Underrated Piece to the Championship Puzzle

Zuerlein, 36, originally joined the Jets back in 2022. During his two seasons with the team, he has converted 86.7% of his field goals and has been nearly perfect on his extra points with a 95.6% conversion rate.

Michael Nania of Jets X-Factor highlighted Zuerlein’s “clutch” factor on top of his consistency.

“[He] made kicks that mattered. He totaled +61.4% WPA (Win Probability Added) on his kicks, per Next Gen Stats, which ranked 1st among all kickers,” Nania explained.

Antwan Staley of the New York Daily News called the decision to bring Zuerlein back a “No brainer.” Zuerlein only missed three field goals last season. The 35 makes was the second most in the NFL in 2023.

Jets Are a ‘Destination’ in Free Agency, Analyst Says

Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus told Jets senior reporter Eric Allen that, “Absolutely the Jets are a destination where if Aaron Rodgers is back & healthy you can convince people that this is somewhere you want to be to go win a championship.”

Last offseason the green and white didn’t officially acquire Rodgers until the week of the 2023 NFL draft. That affected all of the team’s other decisions in free agency and those of players who had to decide on their futures.

“For players looking for a one-year reputation bump, or older players trying to gravy train a ring, the New York Jets are, indeed, a destination,” Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated explained. “Here’s the thing: the Jets have to be all-in for the here and now, and so I think they’re going to jump through hoops to make things right around Rodgers for his return from the blown Achilles. That means attacking the tackle problem both in free agency and the draft, along with supplementing at the skill positions around young stars Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall. Having Rodgers will certainly help New York recruit in those areas.”

Last season the Jets were the most hyped up team in the NFL. They were featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” and they were among the betting favorites to win the Super Bowl.

It was natural that the team warranted that kind of national attention after acquiring Rodgers. The outside analysis suggested that the Jets were just a quarterback away from truly competing.

However this year the Jets aren’t getting the same amount of love after how things played out in 2023.

Monson explained that some of the criticism of the Jets is over the top, “most of those cracks are papered over if Aaron Rodgers is back looking like Aaron Rodgers.”

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