The New York Jets opened some cap space with a series of transactions last week. Where should they spend that cash?
As AC/DC once famously declared…money talks.
The departure of several players…be it through opt-outs (C.J. Mosley, Josh Doctson) or outright releases (Brian Winters)…netted the New York Jets some extra 2020 cap space. Per Over the Cap, these moves have left the Jets with just over $30 million in cap space. If words from this time last season are any indication, they plan on using that money.
In his earliest days as the helm of the Jets’ decision-making, general manager Joe Douglas mentioned he was “fired up” to familiarize himself with the waiver wire.
Where should the Jets spend this relative windfall? ESM has some ideas…
With the release of Quincy Enunwa, there are no receivers left from the 2018 roster, Sam Darnold’s rookie season. In terms of the current depth chart, Jamison Crowder is a reliable prescience in the slot and Breshad Perriman is going to get to audition for top receiver duties. Behind them, however, the Jets are sorely lacking in experience. That attribute became even thinner when former first-round pick Doctson opted out earlier this month.
The Jets have high hopes for Denzel Mims but he’s their second-round pick. Vyncint Smith and Braxton Berrios return from last year’s team, but they have a combined 28 receptions between them…all but six of them coming from Smith. Players with handfuls of NFL snaps and undrafted free agents populate the rest of the corps. No one’s expecting the modern Jets offense to be a sequel to the Greatest Show on Turf. But some more experienced receivers could do wonders for the confidence of Darnold, who enters the proverbially vital third under center. An easy solution could be to re-sign Demaryius Thomas.
Potential Candidates: Paul Richardson, Taylor Gabriel, Demaryius Thomas
The Jets knew that the foreseeable future would feature a pair of matchups against the multi-talented Josh Allen. This offseason promised that the next decade could also feature get-togethers with Tua Tagovailoa and Cam Newton. The 2020 slate also features matchups against the speedy Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, and, the half-billion-dollar man himself, Patrick Mahomes.
The common theme around any modern defensive gameplan, especially in today’s era that worships a fantasy football deity, is to make the quarterback uncomfortable. That’s something the Jets simply haven’t done over the past few seasons of futility. Since 2016, the Jets have earned 129 sacks. That sounds like a lot on paper, but the cumulative tally is 29th in the league in that span, besting only the Giants, Dolphins, and Raiders.
New York management has shown surprisingly little interest in Jadeveon Clowney (even with his former Seattle compatriot Bradley McDougald playing matchmaker), but there’s still potential to upgrade here. There’s plenty of veteran help on the market that can raise the pressure, if only so slightly. Bringing in a veteran name could also help the coming-of-age process for Quinnen Williams. Last season’s first-round pick is expected to take on a bigger role as a defensive playmaker in 2020.
Potential Candidates: Cameron Wake, Malcolm Smith, Ezekiel Ansah, Jabaal Sheard
The Jamal Adams saga is over, but the questions have only just begun.
The safety position will be one of the most consistently intriguing green areas on the New York football landscape. Marcus Maye faces a contract season that will feature expanded duties and could determine his football future. Another Pac-12 alum, Cal’s Ashtyn Davis, joined the team after a third-round calling. Bradley McDougald, the only yield from the Adams trade with a name so far, filled in well for Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas in Seattle but will be expected to take on a larger role this time around. Behind those names lies uncertainty in the form of names with very limited regular season experience.
Remaining names on the safeties market are certainly big on age on experience. Former Giant Antoine Bethea may be beyond his prime, but options like Clayton Geathers and Morgan Burnett can provide some veteran stability and strong contingency options if Maye and McDougald don’t play up to expectations and Davis struggles to acclimate to instant contributions on the NFL level, veteran help could come in very handy.
Potential Candidates: Clayton Geathers, Morgan Burnett, Briean Boddy-Calhoun, John Cyprien
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags