New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas has been hard at work in the offseason. He’s been addressing key positional needs in free agency and the draft. Douglas has added depth to the offensive line and the secondary. But there are a number of free agents still out there who could help the Jets’ biggest needs.
One of the best guards who just became available in free agency is Larry Warford. The guard has spent the last three seasons in New Orleans. Warford played in 93% of the Saints’ offensive snaps in 2018 and 91% of offensive snaps in 2019. But he can bring discipline to an offensive line that needs it. In 101 regular season games in his career, Warford has committed only four holding penalties. The price tag might be a bit hefty for the Jets (Warford made $8.5M in 2019), but they can swing it should they release veteran guard Brian Winters. Warford would bring experience, versatility, and would be a fantastic pull guard to open up running lanes for the backfield.
The Jets have a need at edge and there are two notable players in free agency still available.
One is Jadeveon Clowney; the former number one overall pick hasn’t had the stellar career that many projected he would have due to injury. He was shipped from Houston to Seattle before the 2019 season started and played in 13 regular season games. Clowney initially entered free agency with an asking price of $20M, but since many teams have balked, the asking price has gone down. He could fit into defensive coordinator Gregg Williams system. Clowney might not get a lot of sacks, but he can disrupt the quarterback as good as any edge rusher.
Another name still out there is Giants’ LB Markus Golden. Golden signed a one-year deal with the cross-town Giants in 2019. Despite Big Blue’s poor record, he recorded 10 sacks and 72 tackles. It was his best season since 2016 when he had 12.5 sacks and 51 tackles with Arizona. Golden excelled in defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s system in both Arizona and New York. Could he do the same in Williams’ system? He could get a one-year “prove it” deal that Douglas has been famously giving out this offseason. Golden could be a complementary edge rusher with Jordan Jenkins, who also excelled on the left side last season. Jenkins finished with 9.5 sacks last season.
A free agent that has been consistently linked to the Jets in recent weeks is Tennessee cornerback Logan Ryan. Ryan would add an aggressive element to the cornerback position that is desperately needed in Williams’ scheme. He finished third in the league in passes defended in 2019. The Jets have already added former Indianapolis cornerbacks Pierre Desir (FA signing) and Quincy Wilson (acquired in draft trade) and drafted Bryce Hall. They also re-signed Arthur Maulet and Brian Poole. Ryan will demand what he was paid last season ($10M), but if the Jets can afford him, he’ll likely be one of those who will get a one-year deal. The biggest incentive to bring Ryan in is the fact that he played at Rutgers and is a New Jersey native.
If Joe Douglas can sign any of these free agents for the Jets, it could be the difference between just another season and the first playoff appearance in 10 seasons.
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