Jets GM Joe Douglas has some decisions to make.
The 2021 Jets season has been over since… Week Six? And the Florham Park tenures of various Gang Green players could be concluding soon as well.
The New York Jets had a handful of players on expiring contracts. With the offseason underway, general manager Joe Douglas will have decisions to make with the new league year (and free agency period) officially beginning March 16.
What should the general manager do with the team’s notable soon-to-be free agents?
S Marcus Maye — Let walk
Marcus Maye is one of the more underrated safeties in the league when healthy and is a leader on this defense.
But Douglas would be better off not re-signing him, given Maye’s increasing age (he’s entering his age-29 season) and proneness to injury (he missed 11 games this past year)
Also, history suggests Douglas shies away from breaking the bank for a safety, which could lead to him addressing that role via the draft.
The Jets GM franchise-tagged Maye and didn’t ink him to a long-term extension prior to last July’s deadline. He also traded Jamal Adams for a pair of first-round picks (among other draft selections) when he could’ve signed him to an extension of his own in 2020.
WR Jamison Crowder — Let walk
The Jets employ a number of alternative options at receiver, such as Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and potentially Denzel Mims (should the young wideout improve and see an expanded role in year three). There’s a chance the Jets could also re-sign Braxton Berrios (who we’ll discuss soon).
Given the components of the receiver room, Douglas should let Jamison Crowder test the waters in free agency.
Remember, the Jets front office had Crowder take a pay cut ahead of the 2021 season…
G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif — Let walk
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is a solid option at guard and an upgrade from Greg Van Roten.
But Douglas would be smart to shore up the offensive line for Zach Wilson via the draft.
Next year, Gang Green could have three starting offensive linemen on their rookie deals — left tackle Mekhi Becton, guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, and a rookie guard possibly drafted in the second or third round.
LB Jarrad Davis — Let walk
Jarrad Davis doesn’t provide enough value for a definite contract re-signing, and the Jets employ a number of young linebackers — Jamien Sherwood, Hamsah Nasirildeen, and Quincy Williams — that could fare well alongside C.J. Mosley.
WR Keelan Cole — Let walk
It’s the same exact situation as the one involving Jamison Crowder.
Cole is replaceable in the wide receiver room and that offense will most definitely prioritize Corey Davis and Elijah Moore.
OT Morgan Moses — Re-sign
I would actually re-sign offensive tackle Morgan Moses.
We know Mekhi Becton is injury-prone — he exited Week 1 with a dislocated knee cap and never returned to the field in the 2021 season.
The Jets will need depth on the offensive line, especially on the exterior. Moses knows Mike LaFleur’s offensive system and could be a reliable swing option behind both Becton and George Fant, should New York retain the latter.
Douglas should only bring back Moses if he can dish out a cheap, one-year deal though.
WR/RS Braxton Berrios — Re-sign
Joe Douglas should absolutely re-sign Braxton Berrios, who brings tremendous value to the return game.
Berrios was arguably the top return specialist in the league this season and earned first-team AP All-Pro honors as a kick returner (he led the league with 30.4 yards per kick return).
Berrios is a valuable member of this organization and deserves a multi-year contract. Not to mention, he can be a reliable option in the receiving game — the young wideout was second on the team in catches (46) and fifth in receiving yards (431).
DL Foley Fatukasi — Let walk
Foley Fatukasi was productive this past season and recorded 46 combined tackles in 15 games.
He figures to get a good chunk of change in free agency, and the Jets are already planning to spend a great deal of cash on the defensive line (SEE: Carl Lawson’s contract, John Franklin-Myers’ contract, and Quinnen Williams’ eventual second deal).
Douglas could (and should) replace Fatukasi in the draft.
TE Tyler Kroft — Let walk
The tight end position should absolutely be a spot the Jets address early in the draft, if not in free agency prior to that annual event. They need another reliable target to assist in the crucial development of quarterback Zach Wilson.
With that said, Tyler Kroft shouldn’t return. He wasn’t exactly a productive component of the offense — Kroft caught just 16 balls in nine games.
QB Mike White — Honestly, I can’t decide
This title for the Mike White section is pretty blunt.
He was outstanding against Cincinnati and then horrendous against Buffalo.
The Jets should have an experienced veteran backup (one who actually possesses notable starting experience) for Wilson. But then again, White did prove to be reliable for some of Zach’s four-game injury-related absence.
It’s not like White would be overly expensive, and at the same time, he figures to get at least some attention from other teams in free agency.
I’ll go back and forth on this over the next few months or so and have an answer for you at some point.
DB Javelin Guidry — Let walk
Douglas should prefer to find a replacement for Javelin Guidry in the draft. If the team decides to take a corner early, there’s a chance that rookie could earn some slot reps while developing in the secondary.
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