With so many holes to fill with so little time, evaluating the New York Jets overwhelming offensive free agency needs is a major task.
Via Spotrac, the New York Jets are set to enter the offseason with the second-most cap space in the NFL, behind the Indianapolis Colts. Coming off of a 4-12 season, they have a lion’s share of holes they will try and patch with that space. Which positions are the biggest priorities?
Let’s go position by position and scale how much the Jets are in need at every position.
Sam Darnold is the guy, period. Barring struggles at historical levels of ineptitude, Darnold is locked into being the starter through the end of 2020 and the very least.
The Jets could use a backup, though. Josh McCown will be 40 at the start of next season and was absolutely terrible in his three relief starts this past season. Is Davis Webb a fit for the role? Will the Jets roll the dice on McCown yet again?
Running Back: 8/10
The running back spot is one of the most replaceable in the NFL, but the Jets find themselves in the unique place of having a dire need at the position with an elite player available.
Many signs point in the direction of saying “no” to the idea of bringing in Le’Veon Bell. Mileage. Money-first mentality. Potential of locker room volatility. James Conner easily filling his shoes. The fact that competitive teams often have cheap backs.
With all that said, Bell just might make sense for the Jets. The team needs to get Sam Darnold as much help as possible to help him along in his development—and they also need to maximize the space created by having a quarterback on a rookie deal. There are no other elite offensive skill players on the market. Bell is a two-phase threat, as he averaged more scrimmage yards per game over his first five seasons than any other player in history.
Only time will tell if the team who ends up adding Bell made the right decision, but the Jets certainly seem like the team that could benefit from his services the most.
If the Jets miss on Bell, they do need to add some proven talent at this position. Tevin Coleman and Mark Ingram headline the list.
Wide Receiver: 7/10
The Jets gave Quincy Enunwa an extension, locking up at least one starter for 2019.
Robby Anderson is a restricted free agent, and the team absolutely needs him back. Anderson and Darnold started to develop a tremendous rapport towards the end of the season. Even though fans didn’t start to notice Anderson until his production boon in December, he was actually playing solid football throughout the season. He just didn’t get the numbers to show for it as Darnold struggled to work the downfield game early in the season.
The Jets would be wise to place a second-round tender on Anderson and go from there.
Beyond those two, the Jets will most definitely need to add another weapon. They cannot be complacent and rely on Deontay Burnett to step into a large role. Again, Darnold has a rookie contract to build upon. Time to get him some legit help.
I view the slot receiver position as the variety of wide receiver the Jets should be looking for first and foremost. Adam Gase loves to feature wide receiver screens in his offense, and as evidenced by his team construction in Miami, he values pass catches with speed and after the catch ability. Enunwa has the versatility to operate anywhere, and if brought back, Anderson has the X role down. The Jets need that safety blanket in the slot.