NFL teams and draft prospects have started to arrive in Indianapolis for the 2023 Combine. For the New York Jets, general manager Joe Douglas, now heading into his fourth full offseason leading the decision-making, met with the media earlier today.
He was, of course, asked a bunch of quarterback questions. The status of injured players like Breece Hall and Mekhi Becton. Contract talks with Quinnen Williams. Also, what will happen with cap casualties under contract on a cap-strapped Jets team? Let’s go over some of what Douglas stated to the media.
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New York Jets GM Joe Douglas meets with reporters:
Visit with Derek Carr was “fantastic”:
One of the first things Douglas discussed at his press conference was the Jets’ recent meeting with Derek Carr. Douglas stated the following.
“Obviously, you guys have seen reports about us bringing Derek Carr in about a week and a half ago. I can tell you that was a fantastic visit. Really enjoyed spending time with him. Obviously, he’s the only quarterback that I can really shed any light on for you guys since he’s the only quarterback that’s a free agent. Can say that he left a strong impression with everybody. And so, obviously, we’re gonna be exploring the veteran quarterback market this offseason. We’re gonna look at every available option. Feel like, when it’s time to make the right decision, whenever in the process, we’re gonna make the best decision for the Jets.”
Where contract talks with Quinnen Williams are:
Douglas shared the following on early negotiations with Williams and his agent.
“Yeah, so, we’ve had several good discussions with Nicole (Williams’ agent) and Quinnen since the season. We feel really good about where we’re at. Again, feel good that this process is going to play out in the right way.”
On if there have been any discussions with the Packers:
When asked if he has talked with the Packers on any potential trades, Douglas stated this.
“You know, this is a season where we talk to a lot of GM’s. We talk about a lot of different scenarios, a lot of different trades, and not just quarterbacks. I’ve had a lot of productive discussions with multiple GM’s around the league. … We’ve had a lot of positive discussions.”
Recovery processes for Breece Hall, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and Mekhi Becton:
Douglas was asked about where Hall is in his recovery and also shared some updates on Vera-Tucker and Becton.
“Yeah, Breece is doing great in his recovery. I know he had a visit with Dr. Cooper in Dallas and he’s progressing great. So, really Breece, AVT, Mekhi, they’re all doing great in their recovery and we feel good about their return.”
After these updates, Douglas was asked if he anticipates Hall being ready for Week 1 and shared some exciting comments.
“You know, right now, the plan is for him to be ready for the start of the season.”
Certainly, some thrilling news on Hall.
Toward the end of his interview, Douglas was asked about Becton’s role moving forward and the decision on his fifth-year option that the Jets must make shortly.
“So, we don’t have to make a decision on the fifth-year option until after the draft. So, we’re not ready to announce any decision on that. In terms of Mekhi being able to be a starter, I think, for any of you guys that were here in the 2020 season, you saw what a healthy Mekhi can do on the football field. And how dominant of a player that he was as a rookie, early in his rookie year. And, unfortunately, the last few years have been frustrating from an injury standpoint. But, I can tell you that Mekhi is in as good of a place now as I’ve seen him in a long time. And he’s working his tail off. And he wants to be the best player that he can be for the New York Jets.”
Douglas, on the salary cap flexibility that can be created:
With the Jets being tight up against the budget, Douglas was asked if any decisions have been made on cap casualties and how space can be created.
“Yeah, so, notice that some teams are doing some of these restructures now. We haven’t begun that process. … We still have a lot of flexibility. We hardly have any money prorated into the future on our salary cap. We have great flexibility to create very large amounts of cap space if necessary. So, we’ve talked, we’ve had some initial discussions about the avenues of doing that. But, I don’t anticipate that happening until after the combine.”
A whole lot of stuff to unpack from Douglas’ media availability today. Obviously, many important decisions inch closer and closer with the start of free agency in roughly two weeks. For now, it all starts for Douglas with having a productive week at the Combine, where he will meet with Carr and continue to learn young prospects to keep adding to the talented core he has built.