Jets Pulled Off ‘Highway Robbery’ in 2023 Free Agency, Says Writer

Joe Douglas

Getty New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas in 2023.

The first day of summer is almost here, although summer break has already begun for the New York Jets franchise.

That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to talk about in Jets land, however, and Heavy on Jets’ expert writers Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr. and Michael Obermuller are back to debate the hot topic questions around the NYJ community. On June 19, we’ll focus on Chuck Clark’s injury replacement, predictions for the 2023 free agency class, a recent trade rumor, and whether or not any draft picks will get cut this summer.

But first, a look back at our most recent mailbags:

Jets Predictions for the 2023 Free Agency Class

1. Now that the Jets have finalized most of their key 2023 signings, if not all of them, predict the most impactful free agent pickup this spring (i.e. DJ Reed in 2022).

Boy Green:

Give me Billy Turner for $500! He has been completely overlooked and there is a strong chance he ends up being the day one starting right tackle in Week 1 versus the Buffalo Bills.

There is comfortability as a former teammate of Aaron Rodgers, and he has the scheme connections to Nathaniel Hackett both with the Denver Broncos and the Green Bay Packers.

I don’t think he’s suddenly going to become the best right tackle in football, but I think he can provide a steadying presence to an offensive line who so desperately needs it.


It’s hard to match the impact of a signing like Reed, but I believe wide receiver Allen Lazard could come close for a number of reasons.

One, there’s reason to believe that he helped the Jets land Rodgers — so that already boosts his value. In the same vein, Lazard has a built-in friendship and chemistry with the new NYJ signal-caller on the field. That should lead to early production at WR.

Thirdly, Lazard is a tremendous run-blocker that should be able to help this offense succeed in different ways. Even if he’s not catching the ball, he’ll likely be making an impact on the game.

And finally, he’s a leader and culture guy in the locker room. Lazard worked his way up from UDFA to big-money baller. That perseverance could be his greatest trait, and hopefully it rubs off on some of the Jets new undrafted prospects.

2. Building off the last question, which 2023 signing offers the best bang-for-your-buck contract?


How can the answer to this question not be Connor McGovern at one year, $1.915 million?

Whether he starts or is a break-the-glass emergency backup, McGovern is an essential piece in the trenches. He was Mr. Reliable for three seasons appearing in 48 out of 50 possible games and similar to Turner, he hasn’t ever been considered the best at his position despite being rock steady more often than not.

$1.9 million for either a starting offensive lineman or a top backup? That is highway robbery if I’ve ever seen it! What a freaking steal! This is some of Joe Douglas’ best work as the architect of the Jets roster.


There are several potential answers here. McGovern or Turner — who Boy Green touched on — could end up providing the best value if either ends up starting for a significant stretch of games. The same could be said about new Jets safety Adrian Amos at one year, $1.75 million.

I’ll go with defensive tackle Al Woods though. I’m not 100% positive that the three above will start, but Woods should play a role no matter what being that defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich utilizes a heavy rotation on the D-line.

The Jets have been torched on the ground at times under head coach Robert Saleh’s regime, and Woods is the ultimate run-clogger that fans have been calling for over the past couple of years. And to think, he only cost $1 million in guaranteed money ($2.25 million overall).

Tackling the Latest Jets Trade & Cut Rumors

3. Do you think all seven 2023 draft picks make the Week 1 roster, or is it possible the Jets try to sneak one onto the practice squad via waivers?


The draft pick I really keep going back and forth on is tight end Zack Kuntz.

I think the Jets might attempt to sneak him on the practice squad, but I also think it’s a Joe Namath guarantee that he gets picked up by someone in the NFL. He is too gosh darn athletic, has high potential, and is an intriguing piece of clay that some NFL team will want to take full advantage of.

Gang Green has three roster locks at tight end with CJ Uzomah, Tyler Conklin, and Jeremy Ruckert. Is there room for a fourth? Maybe. Maybe not.


Kuntz would definitely be the guy, if there is one. However, I recently projected the Jets 53-man roster on Twitter, and I had the Old Dominion seventh rounder making it over Kenny Yeboah and a sixth wide receiver as one of the team’s final decisions.

He’ll most likely be inactive every week, but I do think general manager Joe Douglas will find a way to keep Kuntz, and every other 2023 draft pick. In his history as Jets GM, Douglas has never cut a selection in year one.

Prospects have been waived or moved onto the practice squad in year two or three — Jason Pinnock, Jonathan Marshall, Hamsah Nasirildeen, James Morgan, Jabari Zuniga, etc. — but Douglas has always given his coaching staff at least one full year to develop every draft pick. If I had to guess, Kuntz will be awarded that same benefit of the doubt.

4. If reports are true, and Rodgers turned down a trade to the New England Patriots because he wanted to be a Jet, how great does that make you feel?


I said it on Twitter… but SUCK IT NEW ENGLAND!

The Jets have been getting beaten with a rusty pipe for the last 12 years by the Patriots. I can’t wait for the Jets to turn the tide in 2023.

I have the Week 3 home game versus New England circled in big, thick, permanent black marker! It’s a weird feeling that a player of Rodgers’ caliber said he wanted to specifically play for the New York Jets and no one else.

To hear that A-Rod felt so strong about his conviction to play for the Jets that he told New England to go kick rocks? It’s beautiful. Put it in the Louvre baby!


We can have some fun with a softball question from time to time, especially in June. I have no clue if this actually happened, but the fact that the rumor is even out there is tremendous.

You actually have Pats fans arguing online that Mac Jones is BETTER than Rodgers — yikes! Are those the same Bostonians that were calling for Bailey Zappe last season?

New England’s time is over. It’s done. And I for one think Bill Belichick could retire before they’re ever seriously considered a Super Bowl contender again.

Does New Jets FS Adrian Amos Adequately Replace Chuck Clark?

5. Chuck Clark was the first major injury of the 2023 season. How would you grade the Adrian Amos signing as a replacement? Is there any drop-off?


I freaking love Chuck Clark and I actually predicted that trade less than 24 hours before it happened.

Clark would have been a seamless fit here because of his experience and personality. However, Adrian Amos is actually a better fit when you consider his skill set and how he complements the other Jets starting safety, Jordan Whitehead.

Amos could be the missing piece to completing the best secondary in the National Football League. Amos is coming off of a rough year, but I don’t anticipate a drop-off. I’d actually argue that from a coverage standpoint, you got a big-time upgrade if you look at the historical numbers.


I said it on Twitter and I’ll say it here, a huge credit to Douglas for bringing in Amos so quickly amid the unfortunate news on Clark.

I definitely feel for him, given his track record as an iron man who never misses games. Of course, just when a starting opportunity on a playoff contender comes knocking, so does his first major injury — that’s the NFL for ya.

Having said that, I see virtually no drop-off from Clark to Amos from a Jets perspective. Both had question marks in my mind. For Clark, it was his coverage ability. For Amos, it’s his age and whether he still has anything left in the tank.

Neither will be the strength of this NYJ defense but so long as they’re not the weak link, either option is fine by me.