With the NFL offseason already underway, people are already looking ahead to team’s Super Bowl 53 odds compared to their odds last season which this comparative tracker. Part of team’s decision making in the coming months will be which players on their 2017 roster who are currently free agents to bring back. The top three internal free agents for the New York Jets are Demario Davis, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Morris Claiborne. Here are quick thoughts on the situation for each of them…
Demario Davis – For the first 82 games of Davis’ NFL career he was a below average to average inside linebacker who was a consistent liability in the passing game. Yet, for the final 14 games he played at a borderline Pro Bowl level, thriving enough in the run game, screen game and as a blitzer (he led the Jets in sacks this past season) to mitigate any issues in the passing game which were not as pronounced as in the past. The question for the Jets becomes, are you paying for those 14 games or the 82 games before that? Outside of his play on the field, Davis is team’s emotional leader and by all accounts holds a critical spot in the locker room. It seems likely the team will find a way to bring him back and considering all their other holes, it doesn’t make sense to create another one. When the market settles the Jets should be able to get Davis back on something around 3 years, 20 million dollars with hopefully most of the guaranteed money concentrated in the first two years.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins – He has already turned down a 2 year, 8 million dollar offer from the Jets. It is going to be interesting to see if the market values him at much more than that. Seferian-Jenkins has had a great comeback story with the Jets, as he has rectified off the field issues that have plagued in the past, however this is leading many fans to overrating his on field ability and production. Seferian-Jenkins basically had a Jeff Cumberland season: 357 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was under 28 yards receiving in 8 of his final 9 games and in that game (Tampa Bay) all his yardage came in garbage time. Castoff Neal Sterling had more yards in week 17 starting in his place with Bryce Petty under center than Seferian-Jenkins did in any single game last season.
He has made strides as a blocker and has the skill set to be a valuable possession receiver and red-zone target but the Jets do not need to break the bank for him and should not be shy about scouring the market. Trey Burton and Tyler Eifert (injury concerns aside) could be a higher upside swing, especially with Eric Tomlinson in place as a quality blocker, Sterling still around and Jordan Leggett coming back from injury. In the end, I think the Jets will budge a few million to get him back but I wonder how much higher his ceiling of production actually is.
Morris Claiborne – The Jets are reportedly already negotiating to bring back their top corner from last season, which seems premature. This is a loaded cornerback market and the Jets shouldn’t feel a need to rush and overpay Claiborne, who is still riding the coattails of a strong first six games with many fans. He has still missed a total of 27 games over the past 4 years and was banged up down the stretch in 2017, negatively impacting his play. Giving Claiborne any guaranteed money beyond one year seems like an unnecessary, unmerited risk at this point.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com