How did Joe Douglas and his staff do during the crucial free agency period?
And did they ever.
The organization addressed a number of needs on either side of the ball thanks to team-friendly deals. This roster, which only conjured up four wins in 2021, is definitely undergoing an improvement for next season (at least on paper)
Secondary’s stock rises
The Jets secondary was horrendous in 2021. Almost unwatchable (I’m trying to be nice here, but it’s difficult).
Joe Douglas needed to improve that area of the field.
New Ravens safety (and former Saints safety) Marcus Williams was an option in free agency due to Marcus Maye’s situation (his departure was expected long before it actually occurred).
However, Douglas went a different route and signed both cornerback D.J. Reed and safety Jordan Whitehead to contracts that, when combined, have an average annual value that’s only a tad bit more than what Marcus Williams’ AAV is with the Ravens.
Safety Marcus Williams is getting an average of $14 million annually.
The #Jets signed cornerback D.J. Reed and safety Jordan Whitehead for a combined average of ~$18m annually.
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) March 15, 2022
The Jets could still target a defensive back in the draft as well — potentially Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton if he’s available at the fourth overall selection.
New shiny toys at TE
One of the top positions of need for New York heading into the offseason was tight end. The Jets haven’t had a consistently productive tight end in years, and in order for quarterback Zach Wilson to properly develop, he’ll need all the weapons he can get.
To combat this issue, Douglas went out and signed former Bengal C.J. Uzomah (three years, $24 million) and former Viking Tyler Conklin (three years, $21 million). These are two great deals with reasonable AAVs ($8 million for Uzomah, $7 million for Conklin).
Again — Wilson needs weapons. Combine the two aforementioned tight ends with Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Michael Carter, and you realize the Jets are fielding an offensive unit with superb potential.
Filling huge need at guard
But along with the need for weapons, Wilson additionally must remain upright.
The Jets seem to be on the right track with that specific development.
They already had their bookend tackles for 2022 in Mekhi Becton and George Fant (it remains to be seen which side either will be on), their hopeful guard for the future in 2021 first-rounder Alijah Vera-Tucker, and a reliable center in Connor McGovern.
The right guard spot, however, played host to a significant vacancy, but it was one the Jets filled with the signing of Pro Bowler Laken Tomlinson.
Douglas inked Tomlinson to a three-year, $40 million deal ($13.33 million AAV). Tomlinson just turned 30 years old but is in the prime of his career and proved to be one of the league’s top interior linemen while in San Francisco last year.
This signing additionally allows the Jets to focus on other areas of the roster during the draft’s first round.
New York could’ve potentially used its tenth overall pick on Iowa guard/center Tyler Linderbaum. But now, the organization could focus on the receiver position at No. 10 or potentially the secondary. Maybe Ohio State wideout Garrett Wilson becomes a Jet? Maybe New York can somehow land Cincinnati corner Sauce Gardner or LSU corner Derek Stingley Jr. if either is somehow available?
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