Should the Jets have interest in FA LB Tremaine Edmunds?

Sep 27, 2020; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (49) walks off the field following the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets’ fourth-ranked defense enters the 2023 offseason with some key free agents. One position, in particular, they have two important free agents, specifically at linebacker.

Both Quincy Williams and Kwon Alexander are currently set to reach free agency. For the Jets to keep their defense one of the league’s best, they will need at least one solid player alongside C.J. Mosley.

Even though the Jets are currently over the projected budget (by 264K per Over The Cap), as Joe Douglas has alluded to and did once again this week at the Scouting Combine, they do have the flexibility to create cap space. After the Jets either release or re-work some contracts of players currently on the team, they could potentially look to make a big splash at the linebacker position in free agency.

If they want to find a way to get even better defensively and make an upgrade at the linebacker position, few currently set to hit the market at the position, if any, are better than Tremaine Edmunds.

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Could the Jets pursue Tremaine Edmunds?

Earlier today, Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic suggested, “if Williams departs, keep an eye on Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.” In the past, before a Jets and Bills matchup, Robert Saleh did refer to Edmunds as a “unicorn” for the linebacker position. Edmunds is certainly that.

There is so much to love about what Edmunds offers. For starters, he is incredibly young yet so experienced as a first-round selection of the Bills in 2018. Edmunds is still only 24 years old, he will turn 25 May. He has also played 74 total games in his five-year career. In his first four years, Edmunds missed just four games. This past season though, he tied that, missing four games in 2022 for the Bills.

From there, he is an absolute specimen physically. Edmunds has a ridiculous combination of tall 6-foot-4 and a half height, size at 250 pounds, and length, with 34 1/2″ arms. He uses this size in the box to play a tough and powerful game as a tackler against the run.

Not only does Edmunds have the physical gifts, but he is also a terrific athlete capable of playing the pass as well. Edmunds has great speed, as shown by his 4.54 40-yard dash in the 2018 pre-draft process (1.60 10-yard split time). This speed, combined with his size and length gives Edmunds incredible range.

From a statistical standpoint, Edmunds has played at least 760 snaps every year of his five-year career, with a season-high of 981 and 4,451 in total. He has recorded at least 102 total tackles each season, with a best of 121 as a rookie. In terms of tackles for loss, Edmunds has picked up at least four every year of his career, with a high of 10 in 2019. From a pass coverage standpoint, Edmunds has 35 career pass breakups (seven per year), with his best year coming in 2018 when he had 12.

What is most important, considering all of his youth, physical, and athletic gifts, is that Edmunds finally showed signs of putting it all together mentally and consistently, playing his best football in 2022. Knowing he is only coming up on his age-25 season with all of his talent makes him that much more of an intriguing free-agent option coming off arguably his best year.

Edmunds has some accolades as a two-time Pro Bowler (2019, 2020). He is coming off a year in which he started to put all of his tools together, showing glimpses of fulfilling his sky-high potential. He will get at least a three-year contract that could even reach five years, considering his young age. Edmunds could command and ultimately land even more than $15 million per year. Ultimately, while it will be expensive, knowing his young age, tremendous size physically, and speed, Edmunds is a terrific talent that the Jets should be interested in this free agency who could potentially take this already dominant defense to an even better level.