An outline of what a dream New York Jets offseason would look like for this writer. Next week, I will follow up with my predictions on what will actually happen, two notably different articles. For further context, here was last year’s edition of my dream offseason and my predictions on what would happen…without a doubt, how this offseason shakes out will impact your sports picks in 2019.
1 – Big Ticket Win: The Jets sign Le’Veon Bell to a four year contract somewhere around 65 million dollars with around 35 million guaranteed. The contract is structured so they have a reasonable out after two years and candidly I’d be comfortable if the reasonable out didn’t come until after year three because he is only 26 years old and it times up well with Sam Darnold’s rookie contract. You can read here and listen here for my reasons about making this type of move for Bell. The Jets need a big win on the free agent market and to change the perception that they are the organization who is used to leverage a bigger offer from other teams.
2 – Offensive Line Revamp: The Jets add two new starters to their offensive line in free agency by adding two from this crop: Matt Paradis, Roger Saffold, Mitch Morse, Trent Brown, Quenton Spain and Donovan Smith. One or two of these guys may not even hit the market and there will be stiff competition for those who actually do but the Jets must add an infusion of talent and depth upfront. Turning over two starters is going to be a challenge but that should be the minimum goal with turning over three starters strived for if somehow possible (especially if the NFL Draft breaks right), never mind improving the top backups at both tackle and guard.
3 – Front Seven Home Run: The Jets do what is necessary to land Trey Flowers in free agency. DeMarcus Lawrence, Dee Ford, Jadevon Clowney and Frank Clark are unlikely to hit the market. Zeke Ansah is a risk with his age and recent injury history. Dante Fowler is a risk because his production may not be replicated away from an elite supporting cast and his injury/off the field history. Flowers is a versatile weapon upfront who would give the Jets much needed juice off the edge.
4 – Pause Button: If the Jets added Bell, two starting offensive linemen and Flowers, it is the type of haul they have allegedly been saving and waiting for all these years. Everything after those acquisitions would be gravy and rounding out the roster where they can in advance of the NFL Draft, which they would enter with a much less frantic need at offensive line, playmaker and pass rush.
5 – Corner Upgrade: The Jets let Morris Claiborne walk in free agency. Considering his injury history before joining the Jets, they should be happy with what they got from him over the past two years but not push their luck with him approaching 30. To replace him on the outside, they sign either Ronald Darby, Bradley Roby or Darqueze Dennard. Darby may be unrealistic if they land the players mentioned in 1-3 above.
6 – Internal Free Agents Who Walk: Claiborne, Long, Josh McCown, James Carpenter, Jermaine Kearse, Ben Ijalana, Bilal Powell, Brent Qvale, Steve McLendon, Jeremiah Attaochu, Henry Anderson, Rishard Matthews, Dakota Dozier, Jeremy Clark
7 – Internal Free Agents Who Are Brought Back: Andre Roberts, Jason Myers, Jonotthan Harrison, Brandon Copeland, Josh Martin, Neville Hewitt, Neal Sterling, Rontez Miles, Daryl Roberts, Buster Skrine, Doug Middleton, Robby Anderson (given a 2nd round tender as a RFA)
8 – Wait, What? – Yes, I think the team will let Henry Anderson walk because of scheme fit and yes I think Buster Skrine will come back on a lower cost deal because slot corner is hard to fill and the team is not ready to hand the job over to Parry Nickerson (who may never be capable of handling it). I think Skrine comes back as a veteran placeholder and is somebody who is potentially moved over the summer, pending how the NFL Draft and second wave of free agency goes. I don’t think anybody will match the Jets tender for R. Anderson, who will be on the team in 2019.
9 – Backup Quarterback – If the Jets want to keep Josh McCown around, they can do it as an assistant quarterback coach, not as a 10 million dollar backup. They should bring Davis Webb back into camp and also make a potentially lower cost addition like Josh Johnson, Austin Davis, Trevor Siemian or Nate Sudfeld.
10 – What Else? The Jets flesh out their depth by adding a backup tight end like Demetrius Harris, a fullback like Tommy Bohanon (!) and an inside linebacker with some risk/upside like Denzel Perryman. After passing on the “big” names at receiver in free agency, they can take a depth chart dart throw on a player like Cody Latimer or Chris Conley.
11 – NFL Draft – If the Jets execute like this in free agency, their most glaring needs heading into draft weekend will be cornerback, wide receiver and offensive line. The Jets would be counting on Bell to be a big factor in the passing game and praying for a Trumaine Johnson bounce back season but they still need more (and you can’t patch every hole in free agency).
They should aggressively be trying to trade back to compile more picks and look to take swings at corner (Greedy Williams? Byron Murphy?) or offensive line (Greg Little? Cody Ford?) with their lower first round pick and a potentially added second round pick (or two), while also looking for value at receiver in day two of the NFL Draft. The Jets would be wise to double up at corner and offensive line with late round swings as well. Focus on the premium positions. Draft young and stop compiling interior defensive linemen.
12 – Hypothetical Training Camp Depth Chart
- QB: Sam Darnold, Davis Webb, Nate Sudfeld
- RB: Le’Veon Bell, Isaiah Crowell, Elijah McGuire
- WR: Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, Cody Latimer, Deontay Burnett, Draft Pick, Draft Pick
- TE: Chris Herndon, Demetrius Harris, Jordan Leggett
- OT: Kelvin Beachum, Brandon Shell, Draft Pick
- OG: Roger Saffold, Brian Winters, Draft Pick
- C: Mitch Morse, Jonotthan Harrison
- DL: Trey Flowers, Leonard Williams, Mike Pennel, Jordan Jenkins, Nathan Shepherd, Foley Fatukasi, Brandon Copeland
- LB: Darron Lee, Avery Williamson, Denzel Perryman, Neville Hewitt, Draft Pick, Draft Pick
- CB: Trumaine Johnson, Bradley Roby, Greedy Williams, Buster Skrine, Daryl Roberts, Derrick Jones, Parry Nickerson, Draft Pick
- S: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Doug Middleton, Rontez Miles
- ST: Jason Myers, Andre Roberts, Lachlan Edwards