Recapping the New York Jets’ first day of free agency

New York Jets, Adam Gase

The New York Jets have expressed a lot of interest but done very little, so here’s a breakdown of all that’s gone down in regards to the Jets today for both sides of the ball. As for tomorrow, Gang Green needs to wake up.

Offensive Line Rumors

The Jets were in on three key offensive linemen — Graham Glasgow, Joe Thuney, and Jack Conklin. All three are not going to be joining the Green and White. Despite prioritizing building through the trenches, the Jets added one offensive lineman today, and it was a guy they could’ve waited to scoop up in George Fant. The Jets need to add interior offensive linemen and are reportedly targeting C/G Steven Wisniewski & G Greg Van Roten. Van Roten is a longtime Jets fan and great pass protector, Wisniewski is a veteran with Douglas connections.

Wide Receiver Rumors

The Jets are devoted to helping Sam, but at what cost? The Jets missed out on adding either Stefon Diggs, Amari Cooper, and DeAndre Hopkins. All three would’ve been legit number one receivers. Now the Jets head towards day two of free agency looking to add playmakers. Phillip Dorsett is reportedly a big target. Dorsett is the only guy the Jets have publicly been linked to, but expect more to emerge tomorrow and keep an eye on Emmanuel Sanders.

Edge Rusher Rumors

The Jets have been very active in expressing interest here. The Jets have shown interest in Dante Fowler Jr as expected. However, the Jets have also shown SERIOUS interest in Jadeveon Clowney. If the money is there and feasible, the Jets should go after him. He would be a monster for Gregg Williams to have fun with on defense. Fowler and Clowney would immediately add more star power on defense. The Jets also seem inclined to let Jordan Jenkins walk per Connor Hughes of The Athletic.

As for lesser names, the Jets had shown interest in Kyle Van Noy before the Dolphins added him. Expect them to target Markus Golden as well.

Cornerback Rumors

The Jets were in on both James Bradberry and Byron Jones, but it seemed more than likely they would target lesser corners. Desmond Trufant was released by Atlanta today and has already been linked to the Jets. As has Chris Harris Jr. and Prince Amukamara. Brian Poole is a guy the Jets would like to bring back, but cost is debatable. Corner is a priority for the Jets, and their goal is to find value guys.

New York Giants could target recently cut No. 1 corner from the Falcons

New York Giants, Desmond Trufant

With the New York Giants starting off the week by franchise tagging Leonard Williams for $16.126 million, the next move is to rebuild the secondary and allocate more toward the pass-rusher position. Whether the Giants elect to invest big-money in Jadeveon Clowney or take a more cost-effective route with Markus Golden, we will see a minor shift in the defensive front, but it also comes down to the cornerback position.

One of the significant reasons the Giants’ defense struggled in 2019 was due to their young secondary, who struggled immensely for the earlier portion of the season. The lack of coverage time per snap directly affected the pass-rush success rate, and meanwhile, Golden still managed 10.0 sacks, and rookie Oshane Ximines finished with 4.5 sacks over minimal playing time.

The priority will be to sign a new No. 1 corner after the Giants cut Janoris Jenkins last year — there are several good options available in free agency:

The New York Giants could pursue recently cut No. 1 corner:

Desmond Trufant, was cut by the Atlanta Falcons on Monday morning, is not on the open market. After missing seven games in 2019, Atlanta found it more appropriate to save the cap space on his deal than continue paying him in 2020. However, that doesn’t mean he’s not a quality player who can fill a need for Big Blue.

Prior to his injury in 2019, Trufant missed just one game in two seasons. Over 2019-18, he posted an average completion percentage of 62.5 with four interceptions and 19 passes defended. He can be a reliable alternative to Byron Jones if the Giants miss out on him on the open market — either due to high price tag or desire to play elsewhere.

Other corners available include Logan Ryan and James Bradberry, but there will be strong markets for both.  Hopefully, Big Blue can find a solid corner to hold down the top spot while DeAndre Baker continues to develop in a secondary role.

New York Giants: 3 players to piece together the secondary in 2020

Byron Jones, Brian Poole, Devin McCourty, New York Giants

The New York Giants desperately need to piece together their secondary in 2020, and it starts with finding a No. 1 cornerback. Free agency will be their primary allocation regarding the defensive secondary, as they spent three draft picks on injecting youth into the unit last offseason.

With about $80 million in free agency, the Giants and GM Dave Gettleman will need to allocate at least $35 million to overhaul the unit with veteran experience and quality. Gettleman is keen on carrying $20 million over into the season for draft picks and in-season acquisitions. However, the upcoming class of free agents is strong in positions the Giants desperately need to invest in.

Here are three players the New York Giants should be looking into:

1.) Byron Jones

The first is clear-cut, as the Giants cannot go in 2020 with DeAndre Baker featuring as their No. 1 corner — he’s simply not prepared to take on a full seasons workload against top wide receivers. Allowing him to continue his development in a secondary role will be beneficial down the road, but creating a great tandem with Jones and Baker would be an ideal scenario for a secondary who hasn’t had an intimidating presence in years.

Jones is expecting to land about $17 million in free agency, which is a significant but worthwhile number. His lack of statistical output can correlate directly toward the lack of attention he gets from opposing quarterbacks. While he’s not the type of player who will rack up interceptions, he’s a skilled ball-swatter and has fluid hips in coverage. He limited star wideout for the Saints, Michael Thomas, to zero receptions in 2019.

2.) Devin McCourty

Inserting a veteran and familiar presence for new HC Joe Judge is why signing Devin McCourty makes a lot of sense. While he’s aging at 32-years-old, McCourty had another productive season in 2019, racking up five interceptions and 58 combined tackles. The Patriots had one of the best defenses in the NFL last season, and his knowledge is vital to the growth of the Giants’ unit, who are all mostly below the age of 23.

I anticipate the Giants can grab him on a two-year, $20 million deal with high guarantees. This is an ideal stop-gap for a few seasons, while the Giants collect assets to invest in a younger option down the road.

3.) Brian Poole

One intriguing prospect at the slot corner position is free agent Brian Poole, who featured on the Jets in 2019. Poole had a stellar campaign last year, posting a 62.5% completion percentage, up slightly from 57.1% in 2018. His statistical output attests to his quality, and the Giants are missing a quality starter at slot corner.

However, Julian Love could be the expected starter at the position moving forward — I don’t believe he’s ready for an everyday starting role, considering his 9.8% missed tackle rate. He did post a 65.5% completion percentage over 29 targets, but Poole beats him at the category having dealt with 64 targets and a 62.5% completion rate. I expect Poole to land anywhere from $6-8 million per season.

Overall, these three players would account for about $33 million in cap space but would overhaul the unit entirely.

What the New York Jets need to do to piece together an elite defense

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

The New York Jets’ defense ranked among the top half of the league and was ranked as one of the top rushing defenses in all of football last season. The defense was good but not great. With the defensive line figured out and filled with depth, C.J. Mosley returning, Avery Williamson potentially returning if he is not cut, the defense can be great. They just need to fill 2 vital holes.

Cornerback

Main Options

The Jets ideal route for filling the holes at corner would be to resign Brian Poole so the slot role is filled and then go about grabbing a lead corner in free agency. The biggest issue for the Jets is avoiding tying themselves to a contract resembling the headache they just freed themselves of in Trumaine Johnson.

The free agency class is top-heavy at corner but there is depth within the lower levels. James Bradberry and Byron Jones are reportedly being targeted by the Jets. Both guys would immediately become the Jets lead corner and fill a huge hole.

Bradberry is very underrated and has been Carolina’s top corner for the past few years. The Jets reportedly believe he is the better of the two and are willing to splurge on him. I believe Bradberry would be great but he wants to be a part of resetting the cornerback market and his contract may be too pricey.

Other Options

If the Jets miss out on the top two guys, Ronald Darby, Prince Amukamara, Jalen Mills, Chris Harris Jr., and Trae Waynes are among the guys the Jets could target. Even if the Jets get one of these guys to be their lead corner, the Jets need to grab a corner in the draft as well. By doing that the Jets would have two veteran CBs and two younger options, a draft pick and Bless Austin. This would drastically change the Jets secondary and potentially make it elite depending on the additions.

Pass Rush

John Abraham was the last elite pass rusher the Jets had. Mo Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson were both great defensive linemen but not capable of being pass rushers. The Jets drafted Jordan Jenkins a few years ago and he’s developed into a consistently good pass rusher, but he should be re-signed and used as a complementary pass rusher to a better pass rusher.

The Jets can go about filling that hole in a few ways. Free agency is an option, Dante Fowler Jr. and Markus Golden are two guys the Jets have been tied to and both would be great additions. In the draft, there are a few guys I have grown fond of in the pre-draft process. Bradlee Anae, Josh Uche, Kenny Wilekes, Curtis Weaver and Jonathan Greenard are all very talented pass rushers who could be available for the Jets on Days 2 and 3. Any of those guys would be great additions to the Jets and could be capable of becoming elite pass rushers. The Jets need to form an elite pass-rushing tandem, maybe even a trio. The overall goal needs to be an establishment of pass rush and finally getting playmakers at the edge.

The Jets need to get a few more “dawgs” and if they do that then the Jets will have an elite defense that can help lead this team to playoff contention.

New York Giants: The top 3 needs for Big Blue in free agency and NFL Draft

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants will enter free agency next Wednesday with plenty of needs across the board. The NFL draft will serve a significant purpose — retooling positions of cost. The Giants and general manager Dave Gettleman have about $80 million in open cap space to allocate towards other needs as well.

After cutting cornerback Janoris Jenkins in 2019, a significant hole at the number one corner position opened up. The Giants cannot count on second-year player DeAndre Baker to hold down the spot, as he struggled immensely in off-ball coverage last season. However, I am expecting a significant jump from him in year two, which hopefully should lead to him locking down a posing WR2s.

Another position of need is pass rusher, considering the lack of development from former Georgia standout, Lorenzo Carter. The Giants also drafted Oshane Ximines in the third round in 2019, and they are expecting him to be a quality rotational peace in his sophomore season. The Giants will also have to decide on Markus Golden, as to whether or not he is worth offering a multi-year deal to.

Aside from pass rusher and quarterback, the Giants have a major void at right tackle. After signing Mike Remmers to a one-year deal to supplement the position, the Giants will need to find a capable replacement, whether it be through the draft or free agency.

Ranking the top three needs for the New York Giants:

1. Right Tackle

Protecting Daniel Jones is the absolute priority for the Giants this off-season. While I believe they will address the spot with their fourth overall pick, they may allocate big money towards a free agent like Jack Conklin. I believe they are more enamored by Tristan Wirfs and others in the draft, considering that youth and lower cap hit.

2. Cornerback

Every team needs a quality pass rush, but what good is having a star edge defender if the secondary can’t hold up in coverage. Signing a player like Byron Jones this off-season would give the Giants the quality they need in the defensive backfield to provide time to their pass rush specialists.
Jones is reportedly seeking upwards of $17 million per season. Still, you can’t put a numerical value on a player that will essentially shut down an entire side of the field and coverage. If they can adjust the spot with efficiency, the Giants pass rush unit will be far better in 2020.

3. Pass Rusher

Last but not least, the Giants desperately need to add a pass rusher to the defense. With Jadeveon Clowney acting as the best option in free agency, the Giants are expected to allocate a ton of money in their bid for the former Houston Texan and Seattle Seahawk.

Reportedly, Clowney is seeking upwards of $22 million per season and a contending team, one of which the Giants do not hold. However, it is possible the Giants can turn their team around rather quickly if they managed to land several top free agents and bolster the offensive line.

New York Giants: 2 alternatives if Byron Jones slips past the Giants in free agency

New York Giants, Chris Harris, James Bradberry

The top corner in free agency is none other than Dallas Cowboys’ Byron Jones. Anytime the New York Giants can steal one of Dallas’ top defensive playmakers away, it’s considered a massive success.

Jones is the top cornerback available on the market, and the Giants will have to drop a pretty penny on him if they wish to land him (likely north of $16 million per season). His statistical output doesn’t raise any eyebrows, but that’s mostly due to opposing quarterbacks staying away from his side of the field.

Considering Jones is just 27-years-old, investing big-money in him is justifiable, especially with the Giants lacking a shutdown corner on defense.

What if the New York Giants miss out on Byron Jones:

Two options intrigue me if the Giants are forced to inquire about alternative cornerbacks in free agency. Former Carolina Panther, James Bradberry, and Broncos’ Chris Harris.

Bradberry is a talented cover corner who’s versed in shadowing No. 1 receivers, but his biggest downfall is his tackling efficiency. Boasting an inflated 12.1% missed tackle rate compared to Byron Jones’ 2.1%, he’s a liability after the catch at times, but his numbers in coverage are impressive.

The 27-years-old only allowed a 59.8% completion percentage in 2019, recording three interceptions and 12 passes defended. He’s a cheaper option than Jones in free agency by a large margin, but a reliable backup plan if the Giants have no other choice.

Alternatively, they can seek assistance through Chris Harris, who’s entering the latter portion of his career at 31-years-old. Signing Harris to a two-year deal would maximize his value until he ultimately succumbs to age degradation. I like this move more-so than Bradberry given his experience and veteran mentality – he might cost the Giants around $13-14 million per season. Still, a two-year deal isn’t detrimental to their future cap holdings.

Other options include Logan Ryan, Bradley Roby, and Jimmy Smith as boundary-corners. The Giants need to pursue Jones aggressively, but the two names listed above represent decent alternatives.

New York Giants: 2 free agents to change the course of the Giants’ defense

New York Giants, Byron Jones, Jadeveon Clowney

This off-season for the New York Giants will be as significant as it gets in retooling both sides of the ball for a new head coach Joe Judge. General manager Dave Gettleman has a tall task ahead of him, especially after two lackluster seasons in free agency finding players who can make a difference every Sunday.

However, this free agency period offers plenty of elite value, and two players that could fit the bill for the Giants are cornerback Byron Jones and pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney.

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What would they bring to the New York Giants?

Signing Byron Jones will take plenty of salary cap, but he’s well worth every penny the Giants would theoretically spend. Looking at his statistical output, he missed only one game in five seasons, proving his consistent health. Injuries have been a significant factor for the Giants in past years, and finding players that remain healthy is essential in the development of a strong and successful team.

Looking at his numbers from 2019, Jones recorded six pass breakups, 47 combine tackles, and a 53.1% completion percentage. He had a 2.1% missed tackle rate and allowed just 260 yards through the air on completions.

While his numbers don’t scream productivity, for a cornerback, they are fantastic. You might be wondering why, but teams aren’t focusing on Byron Jones in coverage, they are staying far away from him and his side of the field. Flashback to his matchup against Michael Thomas, star receiver for the New Orleans Saints last season, where he allowed ZERO completions.

Ultimately, it comes down to price tag, and the Giants would have to fork over at least $16 million per season if they wish to sign Jones in free agency. Gettleman has approximately $80 million in cap space to work with, making Jones a reasonable target. Adding a true number one corner to pair with DeAndre Baker would improve the secondary significantly going into 2020.

As for Jadeveon Clowney, the Giants would be getting an elite edge rusher to add to the defensive front. With the anticipation that they will pursue Markus Golden in free agency after recording 10.0 sacks last season, pairing him with an option like Clowney would offer the defense plenty of talent in the pass rush department.

The biggest knock on Clowney has been his health history, but he only missed six games in the last four years. For perspective, Evan Engram missed eight games last season. As far as production, Clowney only recorded three sacks in 2019 with 31 combine tackles and 13 quarterback hits. Ultimately, he didn’t look as spry as he has in past years, but he is a three-time Pro Bowler that looked fantastic during his time with the Houston Texans. Often, he was overshadowed by JJ Watt, rightfully so, but he would be the Giants’ top option and star defensive end.

In the scenario that Chase young somehow dropped the Giants with the fourth overall pick, caring young and Clowney would give the Giants one of the best pass rush duos in the NFL. At just 27 years old, Jadeveon is still in his prime and looking to wreak havoc on a new team next season.

Report: New York Jets In Running For CB Byron Jones

New York Giants, Byron Jones, Dallas Cowboys

Byron Jones is a freak athlete at corner who has been a very good player in the NFL. As the Cowboys plan to prioritize Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper over him, he’s heading to free agency. The former all-star is expected to have lots of interest.

Jets In Running

Per Adam Schefter: The Jets, Eagles, Giants, and Raiders are all in the running for Byron Jones. Jones would immediately become the Jets number one cornerback and if paired with back issues. Jones would be an absolutely perfect fit with Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye because of how athletic the three are. Jones would be an ideal Gregg Williams player and if the Jets are going to splurge on a defensive player in free agency, Jones wouldn’t be a bad guy. The only concern that I have about making a move for Jones, is that the last big contract that the Jets handed out for a corner, didn’t end to well. If the Jets feel confident that Jones is an exception and will not come back to bite them in the butt than I am all for this move.

Where Will He Go?

Byron Jones is going to command a hefty deal. With Joe Douglas likely going to prioritize offensive line and building around Sam, I can’t see him in the green and white, although I would be thrilled. I do see him landing in Philly because they are in dire need of a number one corner and have the money to afford Jones.

New York Giants Could Pursue Byron Jones And James Bradberry In Free Agency

New York Giants, Byron Jones, Dallas Cowboys

The New York Giants are reportedly planning on prioritizing the cornerback position in free agency this offseason (Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post). Luckily for New York, there are plenty of talented cornerbacks set to be available.

Two of the top cornerbacks for the Giants to target will be Byron Jones and James Bradberry. Both will have very competitive markets but would be massive upgrades to add to the Giants’ young and upcoming secondary.

Byron Jones

The Dallas Cowboys are in a bit of trouble regarding their salary cap. They just paid Ezekiel Elliot and Demarcus Lawrence, and they still have not paid Dak Prescott. New head coach Mike McCarthy will have some tough decisions to make regarding the team’s impending free agents, and he might have to let some big names walk out the door. Byron Jones could be one of those big names to depart.

The 27-year-old cornerback out of Connecticut has been one of the best cornerbacks in the league with the Cowboys. Byron Jones is a versatile cornerback that makes a significant impact in pass coverage. He has experience playing both safety and cornerback at the professional level and has done both exceptionally well. Jones is 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. He’s a large-bodied cornerback with peak physicality to cover larger receivers and tight ends. Finally, the Giants could get a coverage-man to shut down opposing tight ends.

James Bradberry

In Ryan Dunleavy’s report, he listed Byron Jones and James Bradberry as two potential cornerback targets for the Giants in free agency. Dunleavy described Bradberry as a “coveted option.” There should be a competitive market to sign James Bradberry.

But James is expected to cost a pretty penny. According to a report by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Bradberry is seeking a contract worth approximately $15 million per year. This might be a bit expensive for a 27-year-old cornerback that has never been to a Pro Bowl.

In 2019, Bradberry recorded 3 interceptions, and 12 passes defended. James is not exactly an elite talent, but he is a reliable veteran that would be a considerable upgrade in the Giants’ secondary. If they can acquire Bradberry for the right price, it might be worth the investment.

Wilson’s Philosophy: Why the New York Giants should pursue Byron Jones over Jeff Okudah

New York Giants, Jeff Okudah, Byron Jones, Dallas Cowboys

As one of the best cornerback prospects in recent memory, Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah represents a significant upgrade at the position for the New York Giants if they are willing to invest the fourth overall pick in the standout defender.

However, another option lands in free agency in the form of Byron Jones, who is said to hit the market after the Dallas Cowboys considered his value. With Dallas looking to shed cap space due to the future signings of Dak Prescott and potentially Amari Cooper, Jones represents a premium target for the Giants, who lack a true number one corner after the departure of Janoris Jenkins in 2019.

Landing Jones would be a massive win for Big Blue and general manager Dave Gettleman. His statistics don’t say much regarding the detail of his quality, but often for a star corner, the lower the numbers, the better the performance. Opposing quarterbacks and offensive coordinators are staying away from Jones and his side of the field, as he limited one of the best wide receivers in the game, Michael Thomas, to zero receptions last year in their matchup.

Why the New York Giants should invest in Jones over Okudah:

Passing on Okuda will be extremely difficult, considering how young and cheap he is on a rookie deal. As one of the best options in the draft, he offers the secondary a bright future. The one thing that he lacks is guaranteed performance, and the Giants know what they are getting in Byron, who made the switch to cornerback in 2018 after featuring as a free safety for the Dallas Cowboys.

Seeing how he has performed over the past two seasons, the Giants can be confident that they are getting their money’s worth. At just 27 years old, Jones is still in his prime and will earn a multi-year contract worth at least $17 million per season. While that is a ton of space for the Giants to be spending at the cornerback position, they need to solidify their secondary and ensure that the pass rush has time to get after quarterbacks. That was a struggle for the defense last season as the secondary was weak and didn’t allow for many coverage sucks.

Additionally, it’s important to note that the Giants have plenty of avenues they can exercise on draft day. Whether they trade back or not, options like Isaiah Simmons, a top tackle prospect, or even Chase Young could be on the board with the 4th pick.