Jets general manager Joe Douglas will walk out of the legal tampering period and into the new league year having landed linebacker Jarrad Davis, receiver Corey Davis, edge rusher Carl Lawson, and special teams ace Justin Hardee Sr.
Connor Hughes tweeted Tuesday night that the Jets are not done and that Douglas’ approach from here on out was described as “Opportunistic” as opposed to his aggression shown on day one. Hughes adds that he believes Douglas will take advantage of the markets of players that have not developed as previously expected.
So, which inactive markets may Joe Douglas look to take advantage of?
One market that has yet to budge is the receiver market. A free-agent receiver told Dianna Russini that “the WR market is really bad right now,” according to her tweet Tuesday night. Ben Standig backed this Tuesday night; “WR market is very soft and going down,” a general manager reportedly told Standig. The consensus is that this is because of a similar if not more robust draft class.
The Jets already made a splash by giving twenty-six-year-old Corey Davis a three-year deal worth up to $37.5 million, a new addition to the boundary opposite Denzel Mims, their coveted second-round pick from last year. The Jets probably won’t be looking to replace their ascending 23-year-old weapon heading into year two. They also, obviously, aren’t replacing their new free-agent acquisition. Who may Joe Douglas look to replace? His 29-year-old slot receiver who he can clear $10.3 million by moving on from.
The free-agent receiver market is headlined by Kenny Golladay, but Will Fuller V, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Curtis Samuel, who have all been linked to the Jets this offseason, remain on the stalling market. Smith-Schuster and Samuel make the most sense to pursue due to their experience in the slot and yards after catch abilities. These are two players who could land in New York if Douglas likes the value presented. Players like Rashard Higgins, Sammy Watkins, John Reynolds, and Isaiah McKensie are targets I like for the Jets; all could end up agreeing to much cheaper deals than previously anticipated. A second wave of cap casualties as the new league year opens could flood the market with even more talent for Douglas to scavenger through.
A market that has yet to take off in free agency is the running backs, and it doesn’t seem to be a gold mine after Jamaal Williams agreed to a 2-year deal worth up to only $7.5 million with the Lions just before midnight Tuesday. The running back market has moved about as much as the receivers–nearly not at all.
Top-of-the-market names like Chris Carson, Leonard Fournette, Kenyan Drake, James Conner, and Marlon Mack remain. The class is flooded with mid-tier backs like James White, Wayne Gallman, Matt Breida, Mike Davis, and may see more names added as cap casualties like Damien Williams hit the market. The free-agent class may also be weighed down by a fairly attractive draft class. If Detroit can land Jamaal Williams for under $4 million annually, it’s possible that another bargain is out there for Douglas to find and scoop up as well.
The linebacker class is another market that has yet to see much movement. The Jets signed Jarrad Davis and the Raiders retained Nicholas Morrow on a one-year deal worth up to $5 million, but we’ve seen no movement outside of that. Names like Jayon Brown, KJ Wright, Kwon Alexander, Denzel Perryman, and Eric Wilson are a handful of names that remain on the market.
According to a tweet from Josina Anderson, safety Keanu Neal is open to playing linebacker, as that has come up in conversations. That came after Anderson confirmed that the Jets are one of six teams who have shown preliminary interest in Neal. A talent-heavy draft class may also push this market into a price range lower than previously anticipated.
As Tom Pelissero reported, the Jets have been receiving calls on inside linebacker CJ Mosley. If Douglas wants to deal Mosley and have Jarrad Davis take over his role, it’s possible that he may find another coverage outside linebacker on the market for a friendly price.
The Jets missed out on a golden ticket player when Joe Thuney signed a five-year deal worth up to $80 million. Not landing any top-tier interior linemen was shocking. Kevin Zeitler landed in Baltimore, Linsley in Los Angeles; though, Connor Hughes reports that the Jets never even called Linsley’s agent. Hughes says this is because the Jets want to keep center Connor McGovern at his position rather than signing a center and swinging McGovern to guard.
Despite Hughes’ report that the Jets do not want to sign a center, the available options at that position are currently much more attractive than the guards. Names like David Andrews, Andrew Reiter, Matt Skura, and Rodney Hudson headline the center class. Available guards include Trai Turner, John Miller, Quinton Spain, and Austin Blythe. The market could replenish with more cap casualties, which is where Joe Douglas may have his best shot at landing a starting guard if he stays true to keeping McGovern put.