With the start of free agency inching closer, the New York Jets have some decisions to make. With 17 unrestricted free agents, and some more restricted, some are going to walk and some are going to return. The question is: who are they going to bring back?
Not all of them should, obviously, but odds are a good number of them will. The number of players that should be brought back is somewhat small compared to the overall list, in all honesty. So, these are five players that the team should re-sign:
S Marcus Maye
This is an obvious one. In fact, it’s the most obvious thing the Jets should do this offseason. Marcus Maye was easily the best player on the team this past season, at least on defense. While playing in all 16 games, he compiled 82 total tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions and 11 passes defended, all career highs. He also added four tackles-for-loss and two QB hits.
Filling the hole left by Jamal Adams wasn’t going to be easy, but Maye made it look like it was. He did everything on the field. That’s why I have him listed as a safety and not restricted to free or strong. He can play both well.
The highlight of his season, though, was an image that resembled a real throwback.
Everyone remembers the infamous “butt-fumble” from the Mark Sanchez. This past season, Marcus Maye introduced the world to the “butt-pick.” That alone should have him resigned.
In all seriousness, though, Marcus Maye needs to be resigned. He is extremely vital to the defense and the overall team’s success.
CB Brian Poole
Brian Poole has unarguably been the team’s best cornerback the past couple of seasons after coming over from Atlanta. This past season, however, he only played in nine games. In those nine games, he had 44 tackles (2 for loss), 2 interceptions, 7 passes defended, 2 QB hits and a sack.
The Jets wouldn’t have to break the bank to bring him back, making him a smart re-sign. He’s a very capable and productive player for the cost and, to be honest, the team doesn’t have many reliable options in the secondary at this point.
Poole didn’t necessarily “prove it” after his one-year, $5 million deal. However, he showed enough to at least come back for another year.
LB Jordan Jenkins
Jordan Jenkins is another player who wouldn’t “break the bank” in a return. He has spent his entire five-year career with the Jets and should be brought back to continue with them. The only problem is, he had a noticeably down year after a great 2019 season.
This past season, he had, in 12 games, 32 combined tackles (3 for loss), 2 sacks, 6 QB hits and a forced fumble. The sack number is what really sticks out. In 2018 and 2019 he had 7 and 8 sacks, respectively. That number dropping to just 2 is not a good sight. However, I don’t think that’s enough to prevent them from bringing him back.
Jenkins is still under 30 and can provide nice production for a reasonable price. He should be brought back by the Jets.
LB Harvey Langi
Langi, being an inside linebacker, got substantial playing time with absences, specifically the opt-out of C.J. Mosley and the trade of Avery Williamson. Regardless, while on the field, he made an impact that was hard to ignore.
He had 60 total tackles, but other than that his number don’t fly off the page. Something that does fly, however, is him while on the field.
Harvey Langi isn’t the kind of player that’s going to break records or put up Pro Bowl statistics. His play style doesn’t really allow for that to be the case. Regardless, his play style and services can be valuable. He’s shown that.
While he doesn’t rack up very high tackle numbers, he’s always in the vicinity. While he doesn’t get a ton of sacks, QB hits or passes defended, he causes pressure. He does the type of things that lead to wins but don’t necessarily show up on stat sheets. As a result, the Jets could bring him back on a very team-friendly deal to help the defense.
CB Arthur Maulet
To end off the list, I’m sticking with defense. As I mentioned when making the case for Brian Poole, the New York Jets don’t have much to be excited about at cornerback. They have some young talent, but if they don’t make a big addition in free agency, Arthur Maulet could be a solid player to bring back.
Maulet re-signing wouldn’t be a headline, but it could be extremely beneficial for the defense. In 11 games last season, he had 29 total tackles, a QB hit, a sack, 5 passes defended and an interception. He was, whether it’s believable or not, one of the best players in the secondary for the Jets throughout the season.
He played last season on a one-year, $875,000 deal, which is not a big dent in the cap whasteover. If they can re-sign him to a similar deal, even if it’s slightly more money, it’s well worth it.
Maulet, along with Marcus Maye, Brian Poole, Jordan Jenkins and Harvey Langey all should be re-signed. If they all will, however, remains a mystery at this point.