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To be clear, these are predictions what the New York Jets will do, not what I would want them to do (that will be next week’s article). These are basically educated guesses based on the team’s recent history and their current situation. The good news is that sometimes General Managers grow and evolve to do things you don’t expect. I hope this happens with Maccagnan because I’d enjoy covering a team doing smart things I am excited about rather than things I dislike like drafting Christian Hackenberg and signing Jeremy Kerley. Feel free to rip them apart to me on Twitter.
1 – Quarterback Free Agency – The Jets are going to offer Kirk Cousins the richest contract mathematically possible. They are already in the process of expressing their thirst to the media and they are more thirsty than an avid Sean Hannity viewer is to split a Big Mac with POTUS. There is a misconception that this regime is a steel trap when it comes to leaks. They aren’t and regularly use different media sources to tip their intentions and push favorable talking points (which is fine and completely normal for any NFL team). They also clearly have somebody regularly leaking to the New York Daily News after watching the Mo Wilkerson and John Morton situation play out. I am always happy to rip that publication and our dear friend Manish Mehta when appropriate but they’ve been plugged in the past few months. I am not a SOURCE guy at all but I’ve heard from somebody close to the current coaching staff, it is coming from the scouting department. Not exactly a riveting or surprising piece of information but I thought it was worth passing on.
Anyway, I do think the Jets have a very real chance to get Cousins and will do everything in their power to get it done. Ultimately, I am going to predict he signs with Denver or Cleveland and the Jets will narrowly miss out. Maccagnan is yet to land a “big” free agent outside of Darrelle Revis and he only landed him because he paid him way, way more than anybody else in the NFL would so it feels off to predict he can close with Cousins. After the Jets miss on Cousins, I’d expect a quick pivot to sign Josh McCown to a 1 year, 8-9 million dollar deal or potentially sniff around the Tyrod Taylor, Sam Bradford, Case Keenum market.
2 – Quarterback Draft – If I had to guess what the Jets draft board looks like at quarterback, it’d be Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield/Josh Allen, Mason Rudolph and then Lamar Jackson. It is nearly impossible to figure out how the first five picks will shake out until we see where Cousins lands but I do think there is a chance the Jets would consider trading up for Sam Darnold if he somehow drops out of the first two. I think they’d take Rosen if he was somehow on the board at #6 and I do think there is a real chance they’d consider both Allen (Nooooo) and Mayfield at #6 as well. Yet, in the end it would be more like Maccagnan to go “BPA” and take somebody like Quenton Nelson and then use his two second round picks to potentially maneuver to get Rudolph at the end of the first round or top of the second round. So basically I’m saying that even if the Jets don’t sign Cousins, there is a chance they won’t go quarterback at #6 and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they found a way to go with a second tier guy like Rudolph instead.
3 – The Jets are going to give Demario Davis a contract roughly around 3 years, 22 million dollars with most of the guaranteed money in the first two years. They aren’t going to want to create another hole in their defense and Davis is seen as a critical team leader within the building.
4 – After a somewhat prolonged back and forth, the Jets will bring back Austin Seferian-Jenkins. They will raise their initial 2 year, 8 million dollar offer up to 3 years, 16 million dollars with most of the money still being in the first two years. The narrative at tight end will be that Jordan Leggett is coming back and Quincy Enunwa will assume some snaps at H-Back so they are fine at the position, especially with Eric Tomlinson still around as a blocker.
5 – The Jets will also bring Morris Claiborne back on a 2 year, 15 million dollar contract after allowing him to initially test the market. To further build cornerback, the Jets will sign Kyle Fuller or EJ Gaines to a fairly big contract after missing out on Trumaine Johnson. It wouldn’t surprise me if they added another lower cost option as well (Ross Cockrell?) and Buster Skrine was back.
6 – For the obvious house cleaning moves, Muhammad Wilkerson and Matt Forte will be cut. They will also let Wesley Johnson, Bruce Carter, Julian Stanford, David Bass, Chris Gragg and Dakota Dozier walk in free agency.
7 – For the less sexy internal free agents, they will bring Mike Pennel, Chandler Catanzaro, Kony Ealy, Jonotthan Harrison and Terrence Brooks back.
8 – The Jets are going to sign Jarvis Landry. I don’t have some ironclad reason this will happen, it just feels like a “name” acquisition along the lines of trading for Brandon Marshall and signing Matt Forte. People have strong feelings about Landry’s game in both directions but while I think he will be overpaid (4 years, 55 million?), he does offer a nice complimentary skill set to Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson. I also think the Jets will feel the need to add a shiny new weapon when recruiting quarterbacks in free agency and/or drafting a new quarterback. I would be lukewarm on this decision but I don’t think there is much internal confidence in ArDarius Stewart being more than a gadget player and Chad Hansen being more than a role player.
9 – The Jets will fix center this offseason and invest in their offensive line as a whole. They will sign Spencer Long or Ryan Jensen in free agency and draft a guard in the first three rounds.
10 – At running back, the Jets will draft a player at some point in day two of the NFL Draft to compliment Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire, who they will internally overrate slightly. The Jets will also sign fullback Zach Line.
11 – The Jets will make one or two mid level or low level signings at linebacker, targeting players like Alex Okafor, Bark Mingo and Sam Acho. They will continue their trend of adding mid round picks with low ceilings at the outside linebacker position.
12 – The Jets will sign a player like Michael Campanaro to solely focus on returner and also draft at least one player with a noted history as a returner.
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