Jets Are Making New $2.5 Million Free Agent Change Positions

Isaiah Oliver, 49ers

Getty Former San Francisco 49ers defensive back Isaiah Oliver reacting in the middle of an NFL game.

The New York Jets are calling an audible at the line of scrimmage.

The first move the green and white made this offseason was signing former San Francisco 49ers defensive back Isaiah Oliver to a one-year $2.5 million contract. He spent his first six seasons in the NFL as a cornerback, but he is now changing positions to become a safety.

“Getting Isaiah Oliver and we are converting him now, as of today, to safety to see what that looks like. He is a guy with a corner skill set from the standpoint of movement, cover skills, and all those things,” Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich revealed at his media availability on Tuesday, May 21. “Now taking advantage of his intelligence and his ability to communicate putting him back at the safety position.”

Oliver and the Jets Are Making a Smart Business Decision

When the Jets signed Oliver on March 11 ahead of free agency it didn’t make a lot of headlines.

Oliver, 27, has flown under the radar throughout his NFL journey. He has mostly served as a role player but there were times earlier in his career when he was a full-time starter.

All in all, Oliver has appeared in 79 games and has made 44 starts since entering the league back in 2018.

On paper, Oliver wasn’t projected to make a huge impact for the Jets at the cornerback position.

John Kosko of Pro Football Focus ranked the Jets’ cornerback group as the “strongest” in the NFL heading into the 2024 season.

“Until someone supplants Sauce Gardner as the best cornerback in the NFL, it’ll be hard to take this spot from the Jets in the coming years. A unit that PFF ranked No. 1 heading into 2023 retains that spot for 2024. Gardner has excellent teammates in D.J. Reed (77.9 PFF grade in 2023) and Michael Carter II (80.4), forming a unit that makes life difficult for opposing quarterbacks. The Jets cornerbacks’ 91.5 overall grade and 92.7 coverage grade over the past two seasons are the best in the NFL,” Kosko explained.

That didn’t leave much room for Oliver at the cornerback spot. However, the path is much more clear at the safety position.

Safety Position Is an Open Competition Heading Into OTAs for the Jets

Jets head coach Robert Saleh confirmed there will be an open battle for who will start at safety opposite of Tony Adams.

“There is competition all over. With Ashtyn [Davis] coming back, he has proven he is a ball hawk in this defense. He knows the defense,” Saleh explained. “Chuck [Clark] obviously has tremendous experience and we love him. We love them both. Obviously, Chuck is coming off of the injury so that entire safety room is open.”

Last year when the Jets traded for Clark from the Baltimore Ravens he was expected to be a starter. However, he tore his ACL during OTAs and missed the entire campaign. New York brought him back on a one-year deal for $2 million.

Now he will have a chance to re-claim the job that was set to be his last year. However, he will have competition for it with Davis and the newly converted Oliver all in the mix.

Read More