Jets Linked as ‘Potential Suitor’ for Star Defender in 2022

Marcus Williams Saints

Getty New Orleans Saints defensive back Marcus Williams holding onto the ball after a big time interception.

The New York Jets defense is going to need a complete overhaul this offseason.

Whatever the plan was heading into 2021, it hasn’t worked:

  • Last in the league in yards allowed per game (396.8)
  • 32nd in points per game allowed (30.6)
  • 30th in rushing yards allowed (1,601)
  • 28th in passing yards allowed (3,161)

One place they should start the rebuild is on the backend of their defense.

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A Clear Connection

Chris Roling of Bleacher Report listed the Jets as a “potential suitor” for New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Williams.

The talented 25-year-old is scheduled to be a free agent this spring after playing the 2021 season on the franchise tag.

In his five seasons in the pros, Williams has secured 15 interceptions, 38 pass deflections, and has over 305 tackles to his name.

He was originally supposed to be a free agent last season, but the Saints prevented that with the franchise tag. Tagging him twice seems unlikely, so the Jets should have a crack at him in free agency in 2022.

Although if they want the star safety, they’re going to have to cough up top dollar to do it.

Spotrac’s projected market value for what Williams could command in free agency is pricy:

  • $13.5 million per season (would be the fourth-highest salary of any free safety in the NFL)
  • Five-year deal worth north of $67 million

It is still unclear how much the Jets value the safety position because they traded away superstar Jamal Adams in a blockbuster deal to the Seattle Seahawks. Plus you can throw in the latest problems with Maye.

That may send the message that they’d rather fill their safety void with potentially cheaper alternatives. Although this offseason will be a true test of their philosophies on the position.

The Safety Position Is a Major Question Mark

This is a clear fit for a team that was absolutely devastated by the injury bug this season.

Their own star safety Marcus Maye also played on the franchise tag in 2021, but there are some fractures in the relationship that make it unlikely he’ll ever play another snap for the Jets.

They also lost another key free-agent addition in Lamarcus Joyner who tore his triceps in the season opener. He only signed a one-year deal in the offseason, so it is also unclear if he will be back.

Which begs the question, who the heck will be starting at safety in 2022?

The possible candidates are Ashtyn Davis who has had some high and low moments since being selected in the third round of the 2020 draft. Another name to watch is Elijah Riley who the team signed off of the Philadephia Eagles practice squad.

Beyond that, the cupboard is pretty barren for the Jets which explains why they would be such a great fit for Williams.

He is a natural ballhawk and that is exactly what this defense is missing. The Jets have only four interceptions this season that currently ranks dead last in the NFL.

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