Jets Have ‘Mutual Interest’ With No. 1 Free-Agent Target: Report

Marcus Williams

Getty New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Williams on January 13, 2019.

As day two of NFL free agency gets rolling, one name is at the tip of every New York Jet fan’s tongue: Marcus Williams.

Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh have been eyeing the young, ultrareliable safety for weeks according to those covering the team and last night we heard that there was “mutual interest” between the two parties — first reported by ESPN’s Rich Cimini, via Cali Jets on Instagram Live.

This morning, uSTADIUM confirmed the late-night rumors with a tweet of their own. “Reports say there is mutual interest between the #Jets & Marcus Williams. Williams has a market ($17M-$19M) & Joe Douglas has his price,” they wrote. “Big moment for Douglas. Time to make [an] aggressive move to add upper-tier talent. Williams is 25 & a top safety. Can be NYJ defensive linchpin.”

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Rumors Heat Up

SNY analyst and former Jets defensive lineman Leger Douzable joined in on the speculation this morning too, voicing that the Jets are in the “driver seat” to sign Williams — per Paul Esden Jr. of Heavy on Jets.

This all began after a Justin Hardee tease on March 14. “If I link back up with another former Saint in NY it’s gone be lit,” hyped the Jets special teams captain on Twitter. Hardee and Williams were teammates in New Orleans.

The interest definitely appears to be real, but the question is how high Douglas is willing to go to get this deal done? Williams could cost between $17-19 million on a long-term contract, and the Jets GM does not normally like to sign off on that sort of commitment.

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How Much Is Too Much?

The Green & White have an obvious need at safety. After bringing back Lamarcus Joyner, Will Parks and Elijah Riley with Jason Pinnock and Ashtyn Davis also in the mix, the unit is deep but not necessarily trustworthy.

A can’t miss starter is needed to tie it all together and that’s what Williams brings coming over in free agency.

Michael Nania of Jets X-Factor stated it best: “Marcus Williams may not be a guy who dominates a single game, but he’s someone who will provide incredible reliability/consistency. You’ll get years of him playing every snap and rarely making mistakes. That’s where he makes his impact. How much $ that’s worth is the question.”

If Douglas does shell out $17-19 million on the big fish at safety, it would likely take them out of the Stephon Gilmore sweepstakes that caught fire last night. It would also tie up more cap space on the defensive side long-term, but the front office could counter that by cutting C.J. Mosley in 2023.

To reiterate, Williams is 25-years young and has only missed five games in five seasons. He is well-rounded, comes from a winning culture, and has never had any reports of off-the-field issues.

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