Jets’ New 89-Game Pass Rusher Sends Strong Message After Signing

Mike White, Quinton Jefferson

Getty Former Seattle Seahawks DT Quinton Jefferson sacks New York Jets QB Mike White in January of 2023.

The New York Jets made their second signing of the day on April 6, coming to terms with former Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills and Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson.

The Jets official Twitter account announced the news just before 5 p.m. EST.

The 30-year-old interior pass rusher is entering his eighth year in the NFL after beginning as a fifth-round pick with the Seahawks in 2016. He has appeared in 89 games since then, starting 48, with 20.5 career sacks and 64 QB hits according to Pro Football Reference.

Moments before the deal, SNY’s Connor Hughes rumored that there was “optimism” a deal would get done between Jefferson and the Jets.

New DT Quinton Jefferson Says Jets ‘About to Take Over the Division’

Not long after the signing was revealed, CBS Sports NFL insider Josina Anderson shared a conversation with Jefferson over the phone.

“On the phone with new Jets DL Quinton Jefferson on why he signed,” she relayed, quoting Jefferson: “It is a great opportunity to showcase my skillset and to get back into a defense that has an attacking front. I think the sky is the limit with that group. I think we are about to take over the division… Then when you add in Aaron Rodgers and that type of offense with him leading it, you already know that that is a defensive dream.”

The veteran defensive lineman spent the 2022 campaign back in Seattle after two years away from the Seahawks organization. He has been to the playoffs the past five consecutive seasons and knows what it takes to win.

Having said that, this is certainly a strong message upon his arrival in New York.

Jets Film Expert Reacts to Quinton Jefferson Signing

Jets X-Factor film expert Michael Nania was quick to react to the Jefferson signing with a couple of tweets that may be helpful to fans.

The first detailed pressure rate among DTs in 2022. Out of 140 qualifiers, Jefferson ranked fifth behind Javon Hargrave, Chris Jones, Quinnen Williams and Dexter Lawrence with 42 quarterback pressures on 360 pass rushing snaps. That’s an impressive list to be a part of.

“Quinton Jefferson is a great fit to slide into [Sheldon] Rankins’ role in the Jets’ defense,” Nania stated later on. “In 2022, Jefferson was the 4th-most similarly used DT to Rankins out of 139 qualifiers, in terms of how closely his distribution of snaps by DL alignment matched Rankins’.”

Nania also wrote about Jefferson as a free agent option on March 29.

“The main reason Jefferson and Rankins compared so closely was their high frequency of lining up over the offensive tackle,” the film analyst explained. “Rankins played 49.1% of his snaps at either 4i-technique (over the tackle’s inside shoulder) or 4-technique (head-up against the tackle), which ranked seventh-highest among 140 qualifiers. Jefferson was only four spots behind Rankins, placing 11th with a rate of 46.5%.”

Nania continued: “At 6-foot-4 and 291 pounds with a 4.92 forty time (82nd percentile among DTs), Jefferson is a smaller, more athletic defensive tackle who would fit the Jets’ penetrating 4-3 scheme. Jefferson would bring high-level pass-rushing skills to New York, but his run defense would be a downgrade compared to Rankins.”

He illustrated this weakness by pointing out that “Jefferson placed 133rd at his position with a run-stop rate of 3.3%. He only had seven run stops in 17 games.”

In other words, Jefferson should help the Jets defense as another rotational pass rusher, but he’s not the run-stuffing D-tackle fans have been waiting for. Head coach Robert Saleh loves disruptors, for better or for worse, and he just got another one courtesy of his general manager.

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