New York Jets Free Agents
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The New York Jets have some big decisions to make this offseason. But what players should stay and what players should go?

Paul Esden Jr.

It’s an exciting time for the New York Jets. The team has the No. 3 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and they’ve got $100 million in cap space. While that money may be burning a hole in their pocket, they need to decide first who is worthy of it in their own building.

According to Spotrac, the Jets have 36 free agents at varying levels this offseason. Here’s who should stay with the team in 2019 and who should move on to greener pastures.

Offense

Josh McCown, QB, UFA, 40-years-old

Sorry Uncle Josh, it’s time to go. If the Jets hold onto Josh McCown any longer they’re going to have to give him his medical benefits and social security. He was a valuable asset to Sam Darnold in his rookie season, but Sam doesn’t need a babysitter anymore, he needs legitimate competition.


McCown doesn’t provide that anymore. Perhaps the Jets could keep him on the staff, but it won’t be as a quarterback coach. New offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains is also the quarterback coach.

Davis Webb, QB, ERFA, 24-years-old

Exclusive-rights free agents (ERFA) are players that are not currently signed to his team, but they have only one or two years of experience. If his team offers a three-year veteran minimum contract, they must accept it. In other words, ERFAs don’t have much leverage.

So in any scenario, the Jets maintain his rights, unless they choose to move on. Webb didn’t get any actual reps with the Jets in 2018, but he certainly has the potential to be the career-long backup for Darnold. So the Jets will definitely retain him. How sweet would it be for the Giants former franchise quarterback in waiting becoming the Jets backup quarterback?

Bilal Powell, RB, UFA, 30-years-old

This feels sentimental. Bilal Powell has given everything to the Jets with his blood, sweat, and tears. But this can’t be an emotional decision, it has to be a business decision. Powell is on the wrong side of 30 and the Jets desperately need to get younger at the position. Expect the team to heavily look at free agency (as they did last season with Isaiah Crowell) and the 2019 NFL Draft.

Robby Anderson, WR, RFA, 26-years-old

The curious case of Robby Anderson. In 2017, he looked like he was headed for stardom and possibly the Pro Bowl. That wasn’t the case in the early portion of 2018.

He appeared disinterested at times and wasn’t a big factor in the offense. Robby finished the season strong: 50 receptions 752 yards and six touchdowns.

Robby is a restricted free agent, so what does that mean?

“An RFA is one with three or less accrued seasons (six or more regular season games with a team).” Depending on the tender the Jets give to him (first, second, etc.), will determine the salary he will receive if he remains with the team.

As an RFA he has the ability to negotiate with any other NFL team. If he agrees to a deal and signs an offer sheet, the Jets will have a five-day period to match that offer. If the Jets don’t match, they’ll receive a draft pick for the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft based on the tender they put on Anderson.

So what kind of contract could Robby command?

  • Spotrac calculated market value: $11.7 million per year
    • 4 yrs, $47,087,060
    • Avg. Salary: $11,771,765
    • NFL Rank: 98
    • WR Rank: 15

The Jets should strongly consider putting a first (or at worst a second) round tender on Anderson. On one hand, if they lose Anderson, they’ll either get an additional first round pick or replace the second round pick they lost in the Sam Darnold deal.

While on the other side of the coin, they could lock up a young player to a long term deal and have him here for the foreseeable future. That’s a win-win. The Jets should try and keep him, but if another team signs him to an offer sheet, they’ll have to think long and hard about it.

Jermaine Kearse, WR, UFA, 29-years-old

Goodbye. Now don’t get me wrong, Jermaine Kearse as a throw-in involved with the Sheldon Richardson trade was a huge win for the Jets. He had a career year in 2017 with 65 receptions, 810 yards, and five touchdowns. But in 2018, he became a bit of a diva. The Jets don’t need a washed-up wide receiver who might think a little too highly of himself.

Deontay Burnett, WR, ERFA, 21-years-old

The Jets won’t be losing him because he’s an ERFA free agent and he’s a former Darnold teammate. His lack of use at the end of the season was strange. Certainly puzzling, but he’s a young guy the Jets can continue to develop at the bottom of their wide receiver depth chart.

Rishard Matthews, WR, UFA, 29-years-old

This one is short and sweet. No thank you. It was surprising the Jets brought him into the building in the first place. Rishard Matthews asked for his release last season from the Tennessee Titans because he wanted the ball more. Why do the Jets need a diva who is asking for the ball all the time?

Tight End Depth Chart

  • Neal Sterling, TE, UFA, 27-years-old
  • Clive Walford, TE, UFA, 27-years-old
  • Eric Tomlinson, TE, RFA, 27-years-old

Sterling is a tight end with some wheels and he’s an interesting prospect. Walford has been around the league. Tomlinson somehow dropped a weight on his foot and ended his season. None of these guys should excite Jets fans too much.

Christopher Herndon is the starter and future of the position, but the Jets could use depth. None of these guys are world beaters, so not major priorities for Jets.

Ben Ijalana, OT, UFA, 29-years-old

Versatile, underrated swing position player. Ben Ijalana is really valuable in terms of his versatility and the Jets should look to bring him back. He’s coming off of a shoulder injury, but shouldn’t be too costly. He would give New York some added depth.

Brent Qvale, OT, UFA, 28-years-old

Brent Qvale a middle of the pack guy, he’s had more bad moments than good. To reiterate the same point for most of the offensive line, the Jets need to invest in the trenches. Qvale is a depth guy, nothing more, nothing less.

Dakota Dozier, G, UFA, 28-years-old

It’s the same story for Dozier, although he provided an interesting option at fullback for the Jets this year in pinches at the goal line.

James Carpenter, G, UFA, 30-years-old

James Carpenter is a bit different than the others. When he was initially signed, the Jets got a hell of a bargain for a guy who was more than serviceable. It would be smart to try and bring him back as a backup, but only as a starter if New York can’t replace him with anything better.

Jonotthan Harrison, C, UFA, 28-years-old

There isn’t a ton of film on Harrison, but we got to see him in spurts at the end of the season when Spencer Long couldn’t snap a football. He showed some promise and he could be another one of those depth signings that would make sense.

New York Jets

Defense

Steve McLendon, DT, UFA, 33-years-old

Steve McLendon has been an awesome addition for the team. Not only has he brought veteran leadership to the squad, but he’s been super effective on the field. We’ll see how the transition to a 4-3 defense affects a lot of these Jets free agents. If he returns, he could play nose tackle for the green and white. It’s a smart move to bring back the veteran.

Brandon Copeland, DL, UFA, 28-years-old

Brandon Copeland was a really pleasant surprise this year, finishing with 5.5 sacks while he made the most of his time on the field. The Jets need an edge rusher. While Copeland won’t be the guy opponents fear, he’d be a welcomed re-signing for the gang green defense.

Henry Anderson, DL, UFA, 28-years-old

Henry Anderson has to hate life right now. He was with the Indianapolis Colts, they shift to a 4-3 so Anderson starts trying to make the transition (by adding more weight), then he gets traded to the Jets who ran a 3-4 (so has to change his body again). Now, New York is going to a 4-3 again. It’s a tough situation for Anderson and the Jets will likely move on from him this summer.

Frankie Luvu, LB, ERFA, 22-years-old

Frankie Luvu is another interesting young player the Jets have developed. Frankie finished with three sacks on the season and if he bulks up could be a diamond in the rough for the team. Jets hold his rights as a ERFA and they’ll keep them.

Josh Martin, OLB, UFA, 27-years-old

Josh Martin has an unfortunate story. He’s a very young player who has shown promise in his starts, but he has battled some concussion issues and he could be on the verge of retiring.

Defense

Morris Claiborne, CB, UFA, 29-years-old

The Jets should 100 percent bring Morris Claiborne back. While Mo hasn’t been the best lockdown corner in the NFL, he certainly has been a great addition for the Jets secondary. When the New York Jets first brought him in, I spoke with a scout who said when healthy Claiborne has the ceiling of a top-10 corner in this league. I still remember that when I go out and see him play.

Buster Skrine, CB, UFA, 30-years-old

Skrine has had a roller coaster ride with the Jets since coming over from the Cleveland Browns. Most Jets fans know him as captain penalty and is often a little too touchy feely when it comes to the opposing receivers. While he’s had a lot of bright moments, I think it’s time to part ways.

Darryl Roberts, CB, UFA, 28-years-old

He isn’t a household name, but Roberts is a guy the Jets should definitely look to retain. According to Pro Football Focus’ 2018 rankings, he was rated as an above average player based on his play this past season. Roberts is still young enough that the team should take a chance on extending him for the right price.

Special Teams

Jason Myers, K, UFA, 28-years-old

This isn’t as easy of an answer as you’d think. Myers became the first kicker in Jets history to be elected to the Pro Bowl. He was 33-for-36 on his field goals this season (91.7 percent, career high). This is all great, but there was a reason he was even available at the beginning of the season off waivers. Should the Jets be reactionary after a career year, throw him a bunch of money, then he flops next year?

I’m a bit concerned about that possibility. But the Jets should play it safe and pay up. They shouldn’t go too crazy, but lock him in. Kickers are typically very hard to find.

Andre Roberts, WR/KR/PR, UFA, 31-years-old

PLEASE KEEP! The Jets won’t keep Andre Roberts for his prowess at wide receiver, but his ability as a dangerous return man. Roberts should be locked up on a three-year deal to keep him in the green and white. Side note, the Jets were able to retain special teams coordinator Brant Boyer. He was terrific for Roberts and the rest of the special teams unit. It’s important for the Jets to make sure he gets to keep his best players.

Other Jets Free Agents

  • Benjamin Braden, T, ERFA
  • Jeremy Clark, CB, ERFA
  • Doug Middleton, S, RFA
  • Rontez Miles, S, UFA
  • De’Angelo Henderson, RB, n/a
  • Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, UFA
  • Emmanuel Lamur, OLB, UFA
  • Neville Hewitt, OLB, UFA
  • Anthony Wint, LB, ERFA
  • Destiny Vaeao, DT, RFA
  • Bronson Kaufusi, DE, RFA

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