5 impending free agents the New York Jets should bring back

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.

New York Jets positional preview 2021: Secondary

What does the post-Jamal Adams era look like for a New York Jets secondary riddled with free agents? ESM investigates.

The Position: Secondary
On the Roster: Bless Austin, Corey Ballentine, Javelin Guidry, Bryce Hall, Lamar Jackson, Elijah Campbell, Sauqan Hampton, Ashtyn Davis, J.T. Hassell
Free Agents: Marcus Maye, Brian Poole, Arthur Maulet, Bradley McDougald, Matthias Farley, Bennett Jackson, Kyron Brown
Reserve/Future: Zane Lewis

The Jamal Adams roller-coaster finally returned to the loading station for the last time over the summer, as the disgruntled defender was dealt to Seattle. As far as the Jets are concerned they won’t have to think about Adams again, at least for the time being, until the Seahawks visit MetLife Stadium in 2024. The Jets even netted a solid consolation prize in a pair of Seattle first-round picks.

But, a question lingered, almost forgotten in the hullabaloo Adams caused on his way out: what would become of the secondary he left behind?

Leadership duties turned over to Adams’ fellow SEC alum and 2017 draftee Marcus Maye, who took full advantage of a new year in the spotlight. Maye set new career-bests in almost every major defensive category and ensured the Jets at least appeared in the SportsCenter Top 10 with a pair of jaw-dropping interceptions. His efforts were rewarded with the 2020 Curtis Martin Team MVP Award.

But Maye is set to be a free agent this spring and the situation behind him is quite murky. Injuries prevented some of the Jets’ defensive youngsters from taking the next step in their development, though some (like fifth-round rookie cornerback Bryce Hall) managed to make the most of their opportunities.

It’s great to see the Jets managed to make something of an ugly situation, vis a vis Adams’ departure. But it’s going to mean nothing if they can’t settle their own affairs on the homefront.

Free Agents-to-be

Kyron Brown

Brown, who partook in three games (one start) in 2019, spent all of last season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. As an exclusive rights free agent, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get a camp opportunity.

Matthias Farley

Farley may be brought back for not only defensive veteran leadership, but for his work on the Jets’ special teams. He held special teams captaincy last season and led the Jets with seven tackles on kickoffs and punt returns.

Bennett Jackson 

The versatile Hazlet, NJ native has partaken in ten games over the past two seasons with the Jets and Ravens after a nearly half-decade absence from regular season action. His versatility, having played both cornerback and safety, could warrant him a new opportunity in green.

Arthur Maulet

Another defender who made his mark on special teams, Maulet possibly earned some brownie points with Jets brass when he did a serviceable job at safety over the final games. It’s possible Maulet could return on a third one-year deal.

Marcus Maye

Shortly after his hiring, new Jets head coach Robert Saleh sang of Maye’s praises.

“I know he’s got a tremendous reputation in the locker room,” Saleh said, per notes from the Jets. “From my understanding, he’s a very, very, very talented young man. And within our scheme, safeties are, obviously, they’re important to everybody, but with how we do things, it sounds like he’d be a very versatile piece.”

In terms of the Jets’ own free agents, Maye would likely be at the top of the list of terms of potential returnees. He probably isn’t worth the Eddie Jackson-numbers that Adams was seeking just yet, but the Jets’ plethora of cap space could make him an intriguing candidate for the franchise tag (circa $10-12 million).

Bradley McDougald

In 2020, McDougald became the answer to a New York sports trivia question, as he’s thus far the only yield from the Adams trade with a name. Unfortunately for McDougald, he failed to make an impact in the secondary was one of those afflicted by injuries (seven games). There’s no doubt that McDougald is talented, and the Jets could bring him back on an affordable short-term deal, though he’d probably have to battle for reps with Ashtyn Davis.

Brian Poole

One of the more pleasant surprises of the 2019 season, Poole was brought back on a second one-year deal and posted solid numbers before the injury bug cost him seven games. Through his time in Atlanta and New York, Poole has developed a strong reputation as a reliable slot defender. He’s more than earned another one-year deal, but, set to turn 29 in October, he might be seeking more long-term stability this time around.

Will They Draft?

It’s probably not a question of if, but when the Jets address their secondary on draft weekend. It also feels like these issues can be addressed as early as one of their Seattle picks at No. 23. Top prospect Patrick Surtain Jr. will likely be gone by then, but former receiver Caleb Farley out of Virginia Tech could be around, as well as more of Maye’s fellow SEC options like Jaycee Horn (South Carolina) and Tyson Campbell (Georgia).

Veteran Possibilities

Richard Sherman, San Francisco

The big difference between the hiring of Adam Gase and the modern arrival of Saleh is the difference in who was praising the moves. When Gase was brought in, it was mostly hot-take artists who felt like Gase was an outside-the-box hire. When Saleh came to town, it was the players who were responding positively to the move. No one’s praises have been louder than Sherman’s from afar, as Saleh has worked with him in their shared NFC West stops in Seattle and San Francisco. Sherman told Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer that Saleh would ” turn that entire culture around” and he personally congratulated the Jets on Twitter after the move was announced.

This, of course, raises the question…if Sherman is such a big Saleh fan, would be willing to join him in his first head coaching endeavor? Sherman would be a great fit, as the regaining of his trademark brand of smashmouth football, as well as his championship experience, would be perfect for this team to pick up.

Jason Verrett, San Francisco 

The more Niners the merrier, it would appear, as Saleh comes over from the Bay Area and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich represented the team as a player for a decade. That concept will probably only increase as players will seek to gain traction and stability in Saleh’s new schemes. Verrett would a comparable option to Sherman, though he’s younger and potentially more affordable.

Xavier Woods, Dallas

While there’s plenty of talent available in this secondary free agent class, many of them are expensive names that are either past or nearing the end of their prime. Woods is nearing the end of his rookie deal after four serviceable seasons in Dallas, but he struggled in coverage in the Cowboys’ beleaguered secondary. While the Jets truly can’t afford to help someone else pen a redemption story, as they’ve spent a decade trying to write their own to no avail, they could make an exception for Woods and his flashes of potential.

Outlook

Already in a tenuous spot, the Jets need to do something to bolster their secondary in the post-Adams age. Bringing back Maye, even if it’s through a franchise tag deal that would allow them a year of relatively consequence-free football to see if he fits in Saleh’s system, would be a vital first step in achieving that goal. Adding Maye back would also combat the issues of a free agent class relatively deep in experience while giving the youngsters whom the Jets have high hopes for (Austin, Davis, Hall, etc.) a familiar face to work with.

Signing Maye probably isn’t going to become the ultimate difference between the postseason and another trip home in January. But, if they miss out on him, the Jets better have one heck of a backup plan.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Report: New York Jets signing veteran corner Logan Ryan to prove it deal

New York Jets, Logan Ryan, Tennessee Titans

Throughout this offseason, New York Jets GM Joe Douglas has been very active in signing players to prove it deals to attempt to fill critical needs. He’s also been very aggressive in trying to fill one of the Jets’ biggest voids. Last season the Jets’ cornerback group was one of the worst in football. With minimal depth and no proven entities, the Jets had to upgrade the position this the offseason.

They released Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts, two bad signings from the old regime, and added Pierre Desir on a one year deal. They also brought back Brian Poole on a one year deal as well. The Jets still have Bless Austin, Nate Hairston, and Arthur Maulet, but they looked to upgrade the position in the draft.

The Jets then came out of the draft with two more new corners—Bryce Hall from Virginia and 23-year-old former second-rounder from the Colts, Quincy Wilson. Although there were reports before the draft of the Jets’ interest in CB Logan Ryan, it seemed as though the team was comfortable with their corners. Well, apparently they were not. The New York Jets have reportedly signed Logan Ryan to a one year deal per Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News.

Who is Logan Ryan?

As we’ve covered extensively here at ESM, Logan Ryan is a reliable veteran coming off a very successful season. Ryan is a hometown kid who attended Rutgers University. After a solid career there, Ryan was drafted in the 3rd Round of 2013 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. When Ryan debuted, he immediately carved himself a role with the Pats. Ryan was an excellent corner with them until he left in 2016.

He then joined the Titans, where he’s been coached by Mike Vrabel. He comes from a very good coaching tree, and he’s got a championship pedigree with two rings under his belt. Ryan is also 29 years old; he’s still got a few years of good football left. After remaining unsigned for the first two months or so of free agency, he now goes to a team in need of a reliable lead corner.

How Will Ryan Fit?

Logan Ryan is coming off a season where he had 113 tackles, 4 INTs, and 4 TFLs. In one of the best years of his career, he also picked off his former teammate, Tom Brady, in what was ultimately the last play of Brady’s time in New England. Now the former Patriot is coming home to the Jets.

Ryan will be tasked with leading a young cornerback group while also trying to perform well to earn himself a long term deal. What better coach to have with that pressure then one of the best defensive coordinators in the game, Gregg Williams. The opportunity to play under Gregg has been a critical reason that players like Brian Poole and Jordan Jenkins took such cheap deals to return to the Jets and is likely a reason Logan Ryan is coming to Gang Green. Williams gets the best out of his players, and he will try to do that with a veteran player who’s had a lot of success.

Even if this move bombs, the Jets have loads of young talent in the secondary that need mentorship. Bryce Hall and Bless Austin could both benefit from learning behind an experienced player, and even Quincy Wilson and Pierre Desir could pick up a thing or two from Ryan. Overall, the Jets have solidified their secondary for the upcoming season and formulated serious competition for the starting roles.

If there is anything you can pull from this offseason, it’s that Joe Douglas likes two things, leadership and establishing competition. By adding a talented player like Logan Ryan, he did just that. 

CB Arthur Maulet set to return to the New York Jets

The defender rose to the occasion for the New York Jets when injuries shook the secondary last season, his third year in the league.

Cornerback Arthur Maulet confirmed on Friday that he will return to the New York Jets. Maulet’s representatives at Icon Sports Consulting LLC said that Maulet would return on a one-year deal.

Maulet announced his return on Twitter, proudly showcasing his green Jets jersey bearing the number 23.

https://twitter.com/arthurmaulet_/status/1241022866499436544

Maulet, 26, signed a reserve/future deal with the Jets in January 2019. He had previously spent time with New Orleans and Indianapolis before making his New York arrival. The early stages of his career were spent mostly on special teams, but Maulet performed serviceably  after he pressed into the starting lineup by injuries. Over a dozen games (six starts), Maulet set new career-highs in tackles (38) and pass defense (2). He also earned the first interception of his career in the Jets’ victorious season finale against Buffalo. One week prior, Maulet had a career-best eight tackles in another Jets win, their home finale against Pittsburgh.

Another highlight for Maulet came in the Jets’ Week 3 visit to New England. He would recover a muffed punt in the end zone for a touchdown in the Jets’ 30-14 loss. It was the first touchdown the Jets scored at Gillette Stadium since 2015.

With this signing, the Jets are able to restock their secondary depth. Earlier this week, the team also brought back fellow cornerback Brian Poole on a one-year, $5 million deal.

The return of Maulet perhaps more than makes up for another secondary free agent’s departure. It was reported earlier this week by NFL Network’s Mike Garofolo this week that cornerback Maurice Canady joined up with the Dallas Cowboys on a one-year deal. Remaining secondary free agents for the Jets include cornerback Bennett Jackson and safety Blake Countess.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Jets’ CB Darryl Roberts is Healthy, but Shouldn’t be Playing

The New York Jets‘ pass defense is playing better than any time in the past two years. They can’t allow Darryl Roberts to ruin that.

The Jets’ pass defense has been on a tear since Bless Austin and Arthur Maulet took over as a tandem. The two first played together as the primary outside CBs at the beginning of the second half of the New York Giants game. Since then the Jets have allowed just 228 passing yards per game, on 57.6% completion, for four passing TDs. The Jets’ pass defense has also forced two INTs and eight fumbles, only two of which were recovered by the Jets. Meaning the Jets have forced as turnovers in pass defense as TDs allowed.  If that was extrapolated over the full 11 game season the Jets would have allowed 15 TDs and 15 turnovers.

To put into perspective how dominant those numbers are here’s how they would rank league-wide if the Jets played this well over the course of the full season:

11th in passing yards per game
2nd in completion percentage allowed
T10th in Passing TDs allowed
The Jets would join the other nine teams in the NFL who have at least as many takeaways as passing TDs allowed. Those teams have a combined record of 72-29.

Bless Austin and Arthur Maulet have been a revelation. They have helped turn the Jets from one of the worst pass defense teams in the NFL into one of the ten best in the league, that’s a huge deal. There isn’t any reason to replace either in the lineup right now. Especially when the guy coming back is Darryl Roberts.

Robert had been a career backup before playing relatively well in place of an injured Trumaine Johnson in 2018. He was quickly moved to safety when Johnson came back and performed very poorly. Still, former Jets’ GM Mike Maccagnan decided to give Roberts a three-year $18 million contract. Thankfully the deal only had $4 million guaranteed so the Jets can cut him at the end of the season at no cost.

Which is exactly what the Jets will do after Roberts’ performance this season. Roberts is allowing 6.9 receptions per game and 74.4 yards per game this season, those rank 74th and 65th in the league respectively.  He’s also allowed six TDs this season, which is 74th in the NFL. Roberts’ 117.5 passer rating allowed is 71st in the NFL.

He’s been absolutely dreadful. Putting him back into the lineup shouldn’t even be a discussion for the rest of the season. He has been thoroughly outplayed by the young tandem of Bless Austin and Arthur Maulet. Those two have left the New York Jets with only one option, bench Darryl Roberts.

Any other decision would be unacceptable based on every measurable metric.

New York Jets’ Arthur Maulet, From Underdog to Top Dog

New York Jets

New York Jets cornerback, Arthur Maulet has had a rather arduous road to get to the NFL.  Undrafted he signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2017.  After being released from the New Orleans Saints in 2018, he was claimed by waivers from the Indianapolis Colts, only to be re-signed by the New Orleans Saints practice squad just a few months later.  Finally, in this past January, Maulet signed a reserve/future contract with the New York Jets.

In high school he was also quite the athlete, playing basketball and soccer as well as football.  Maulet was even named to the all-district squad at defensive back.

At the University of Memphis, Maulet recorded a collegiate career total of 111 tackles, 4.5 sacks, four interceptions, and two forced fumbles.  This earned him the Memphis’ DeAngelo Williams Most Valuable Player Award at the end of his senior season as a Memphis Tiger.

Maulet has not let anything get in his way of achieving his dream of playing in the NFL.  No matter what life has thrown at him, he has continued to persevere and work at being the best he could possibly.  He has taken any negativity and adversity and turned it into a learning experience.  He also inspires others to never give up through all of the trials and tribulations this game and life itself have to offer.

Maulet tells those who aspire to reach their goals and dreams that it’s “not all about the glamour and fame, it’s about your hard work and pain, a channel that and it will take you a long way and refuse to be denied with whatever you do”.

Just four days ago, Maulet earned his first career touchdown against rivals, the New England Patriots.  With his attitude and all of the work and grind he puts in, this most certainly will be the first of many.

What sets Maulet apart from the rest is his drive and his character.  Through each and every obstacle and challenge life has presented to him, he handles it with nothing but steadfastness and determination.  Maulet hasn’t let his “underdog” status get the best of him.  He is always so humble, grateful and appreciative of every chance he gets and it shows.  Maulet hustles to provide for his family and those less fortunate without anything in return.  He is thankful for the hard times because they made him who he is today-“#GreedyButHumble!”