The New York Jets are entering this offseason with a lot of promise on the defensive side of the ball. However, there are still some massive holes they need to patch up if they want to be elite. The Jets don’t seem likely to use their first round pick this year on defense so who do they look at in free agency to strengthen up their unit.
Yannick Ngakoue is a tremendously talented edge rusher who was the 69th overall pick back in 2016 by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ngakoue is just 24 years old and is long overdue for a big payday after racking up 37.5 sacks over his first four years in the league. A member of the 2016 all-rookie team and 2017 pro bowl he is well accomplished. If the Jets were to go after Ngakoue expect a massive contract averaging from 19-22 million dollars per year. New York may not be the most ideal place to go especially with a problematic head coach, but if the money is right, he might be persuaded.
Now some people might be reluctant to sign another 27-year-old cornerback after the Trumaine Johnson fiasco, but beggars can’t be a chooser. The Jets need him badly. Over the past two seasons, Byron Jones has been a shutdown number 1 corner and has only missed one game in his entire career. The danger in signing Jones is the fear that he might revert to his early years where he was wildly inconsistent and routinely got burned. Jones is one hell of an athlete setting a world record for broad jump in the 2015 NFL combine. If the Jets were to sign Jones, they’d likely have to pay him anywhere between 12-15 million dollars per year.
Jadeveon Clowney has been sort of a bust ever since he came into the league. Early in his career, he was dealing with injuries but now fully healthy he just can’t seem to live up to expectations. Clowney was regarded as a can’t miss prospect and generational talent by many experts and while he may not be the insanely good edge rusher everyone thought he’d be he certainly isn’t terrible. Jadeveon Clowney is the edge rusher equivalent of Leonard Williams, good on his own but needs help to be great. If Clowney were paired up with Gregg Williams in this blitz heavy aggressive defense surrounded by the front seven talent the Jets have accumulated over the past couple years he might just reach his potential. Clowney’s market is anywhere between 13-17 million dollars, a price worth paying if he’s the Jets long lost sack master.