What a perfect New York Jets free agency haul would look like

New York Jets, Joe Thuney

The New York Jets approach a free agency period with the second-most cap space in the NFL. Last offseason, the Jets played it relatively safe with short-term low money deals and a load of stopgaps. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network recently went on the Moose & Maggie show on WFAN, where he said adamantly he expects the Jets to be active players in this go-around. The Jets are rumored to be gunning for a massive offensive line upgrade, an addition at receiver, and a boost at the edge. So, how will Gang Green handle free agency? Well, here are my predictions.

Three players the New York Jets should be in on:

CB K’Waun Williams

The Jets will likely let Brian Poole walk this offseason. Instead, they can opt to go after someone who has familiarity with the defense in nickelback K’Waun Williams. Williams has played for Saleh in San Francisco and produced at a very high level. As a consistent piece of the 49ers defense, he put up 73 tackles, 7 TFLs, 3.0 sacks, 5 Forced Fumbles, and 2 INTs over the last two seasons in a span of 23 games. Williams has the obviously Saleh connection, but the New Jersey native could opt to come back to his roots with gang green. Williams would immediately bolster their secondary and provide a sense of stability at the nickelback role heading into next season. 

G Joe Thuney

Last offseason, the Jets were ready to back up the brinks truck for Joe Thuney, with the 28-year-old set to hit the open market, it’s reasonable to expect they make a run at him. I firmly expect the Jets to ink Thuney. Thuney is a consistent and productive lineman who also provides versatility. The incredibly intelligent former state champion has had success everywhere he has gone, both on the field and off. He graduated early with prestige from NC State, got selected by the Patriots, and went on to win two rings with the team. Thuney would provide a veteran presence, high caliber play, and stability to a rebuilding unit. Thuney is the player the Jets NEED to come away with this offseason in order to truly commit to the offensive line rebuild. 

WR JuJu Smith Schuster  

The New York Jets can go two routes with addressing the receiver position. They can target a young WR2 type player and pair him with Denzel Mims and rely on Crowder in the slot. Or, they can swing big and go for a legit WR1. JuJu Smith Schuster can be that WR1. He will command big money and a high level of attention. Last season JuJu received a lot of scrutiny for the way he handled himself and his off-the-field Tik Tok endeavors. Despite all the negative attention, JuJu remained relatively unfazed. I think JuJu can handle himself well in New York on and off the field. Schuster would be a good complementary receiver one, and he could do massive things in the LaFleur offense, so I see the Jets taking a shot on the receiver.

Edge Yannick Ngakoue 

This is a move I’ve gone back and forth on heavily. The Jets desperately need to upgrade the edge, and I believe they will try to in free agency. How the Jets upgrade the position will depend on how the market falls. The edge group is deep, and Ngakoue is arguably one of the best of the bunch. The Jets reportedly coveted him last offseason when he was traded, and at 25 years old, he still holds immense value. With 45.5 career sacks, 18 forced fumbles, 49 TFLs, and 96 QB Hits, Ngakoue is an absolute force off the edge. I expect Ngakoue to look for a long-term deal and find a permanent home. I think the Jets with Robert Saleh would be a great fit for the former Pro Bowler. The Jets have not had a legitimate presence off the edge in decades, and by taking a shot at Ngakoue, they can finally establish a presence.

Should the New York Jets pursue star New England offensive lineman in free agency?

New England Patriots, Joe Thuney

Heading into last offseason, one of the hottest commodities projected to hit the market was two-time Super Bowl champion and all-pro offensive guard Joe Thuney. The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins were reportedly set to back up the brinks truck to Thuney in hopes he would anchor his offensive line. Then, the Patriots threw a wrench in those plans by tagging Thuney. Now, Thuney will reportedly be allowed to seek a new home this offseason. With Mekhi Becton as the solidified anchor of the offensive line at left tackle, here is why Joe Thuney can give the Jets one of the best tackle/guard combos in football.

Who is Joe Thuney?

Joe Thuney grew up in Ohio and was one of four children. Thuney was not a stranger to success early in life, he was a member of two state championship football teams, he was named offensive lineman of the year in the Greater Catholic League, and was class president in his senior year of high school. Thuney was well-liked on and off the gridiron, and this led to an opportunity to play at NC State. At NC State, Thuney played all over the offensive line taking snaps at center, both tackle spots, and guard during his time with the program. Thuney graduated NC State in three years and received All American honors.

After a successful beginning to his football career, Thuney was selected with the 78th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. In five seasons, Thuney has played every single game, not only that, but he has been a team-first guy being adaptable this past season and making the switch to tackle with Marcus Cannon opting out and creating a void. Thuney has been both a depiction of stability and success, winning two rings during his tenure with the Pats.

Why The Jets?

Thuney will command a monster deal this offseason. As one of the most reliable and consistent linemen in the game, he will be paid as such. Now, Joe Douglas has been rather set in his evaluations of certain players in the past, but offensive linemen have been his most focused entity in his brief tenure as general manager to this point. The potential of having two beasts on the offensive line for the long-term future in Thuney and Becton is something the well-traveled exec may not be able to pass up. Not only that, but as we saw just a few weeks ago with Patrick Mahomes, if you don’t have protection, the entire rhythm of the game plan is thrown out the window.

On a relatively young team, Thuney would slot in as a leader and building block for the future. We are talking about a durable, smart, and versatile piece that fits the mold of everything Douglas seems to look for in the guys he wants to fill out his roster with. Add all that into the fact that he is successful no matter the stop. Thuney could be used anywhere on the line, but the idea of Becton and Thuney anchoring the left side could be too much to pass up. No matter where you put him on the line, Thuney would be a massive addition to the team and someone the Jets should not let slip away.

New York Jets are stifled by New England in pursuit over top offensive guard

New England Patriots, Joe Thuney

The New York Jets can no longer sign  New England guard, Joe Thuney. Thuney was a player the Jets really really liked and he now remains in the AFC East with the Patriots. Thuney has consistently ranked as one of the best guards in football. He has played every game in the last four years for New England. He would’ve been a great addition but now the Jets have to adapt and overcome. So, where do the Jets go from here?

Other Options

Graham Glasgow and Greg Van Roten have both been linked to the Jets and Connor Hughes reports that the Jets are expected to ramp up their pursuit of Glasgow. The Jets will likely aim to add Jack Conklin as well. If the Jets can add a guard and Conklin then this would be a major success. However, losing out on Thuney is missing out on a guy who immediately would’ve bolstered the line and provided leadership. The Jets now have to adapt and change their plans and aim to find other solutions like Conklin and a guard.

The State Of The AFC East

There are suggestions the Pats tagged Thuney to prevent him from staying in the AFC East with the Jets or Dolphins. The Pats could trade him which is  likely because if he remains, he and Shaq Mason take up a lot of their cap for the guard slots. With their re-signings and now Thuney, the Patriots need to do something to achieve cap feasibility. Whether that is trading Thuney or trading or releasing other pieces, they’re in a tough spot. If they keep Thuney then it’s less feasible for Brady to return and this move as a whole could drastically alter the climate of the AFC East.

New York Jets Roadmap To a Ring: Free Agency Predictions

New York Jets, Vic Beasley

This is section three of my multi-part series dedicated to laying out a blueprint for the New York Jets this offseason. It is essentially a blueprint of what I would do if I were in Joe Douglas’s shoes. Most moves are realistic, but keep in mind; there is A LOT of offseason to go. Part three is devoted to the “dawgs” the Jets should bring in during free agency.

Estimated Cap After Resigning Players & Cuts: $47,317,397

Joe Thuney G

Estimated Deal: $14 million a year for five years

Thuney is one of the best guards in football. He hasn’t missed a single game in his career, and he’s been one of the most efficient offensive linemen. Thuney is going to command BIG money, but that’s what you have to pay to get the best. Douglas needs to splurge and get a beast to pair with Alex Lewis on this offensive line. This would be a phenomenal move.

Ronald Darby CB

Estimated Deal: $5 million a year for two years

Darby was a very talented corner for the Eagles, but he had an awful campaign last year. He still has potential mainly because he played banged up most of last year, and in a Gregg Williams defense, Darby should be successful. Offensive line was prioritized, so the Jets subsequently miss out on Bradberry and Jones in this scenario, but the low-cost option in Darby is a good one.

Vic Beasley EDGE

Estimated Deal: $7.5 million a year for three years

Beasley is an underrated productive edge rusher. In his career, he’s had 37.5 sacks. He had eight sacks last season, and he is a major Swiss Army knife that Gregg Williams would love to have. Adding two low-cost, efficient players in Darby and Beasley immediately improves the defense. Pairing Beasley with Jenkins could be the edge-rushing answer for the short term.

Demarcus Robinson WR

Estimated Deal: $4 million a year for two years

Robinson can be a cheap asset for this team, and he allows for draft flexibility. Robinson would be able to slot in with Crowder, Doctson, and likely two draft picks and immediately become a vital piece of the offense. Gase would be able to have fun with a young receiver like Robinson, who is a dynamic playmaker.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai OL

Estimated Deal: $9.5 million a year for four years

Vaitai is an underrated value signing that I would be ecstatic for. Vaitai is a Super Bowl Champion who filled in admirably for Jason Peters in the past. Vaitai is versatile and has a connection to Douglas. By signing Vaitai, you add a starting-caliber lineman who can play wherever. Adding a guy like him makes Beachum less important and nearly expendable. Beachum could be a reliable mentor at left tackle for a rookie and excellent backup. Overall, Vaitai and Thuney immediately makes the offensive line more suitable for Sam Darnold. With the two of them, Alex Lewis, Chuma Edoga, and Kelvin Beachum, the Jets have a solid offensive line before the draft, where I plan to try to add two more linemen. This eases pressure, however, and makes offensive line less prioritized.

EDIT: Kelvin Beachum resigning becomes unnecessary, but in this case, I worked it into the team as depth.

Overview:

This would be a great free agency for the Jets. They would add two great offensive linemen and three low risk/high reward players. All of these moves lead up to the big event… the Draft.