Initial Reaction – New York Jets Sign ILB Patrick Onwuasor

Michael Meegan with initial reaction to the New York Jets signing ILB Patrick Onwuasor

Joe Douglas returned to the Baltimore well as the Jets have agreed to a 1-year deal with ILB Patrick Onwuasor. He is being reunited with former teammate CJ Mosley, who he formed quite the tandem with in 2017- 2018 when he racked up 149 tackles, 12 TFLs, 6 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles over the two-year stretch.  His numbers dipped across the board in 2019 without Mosley and his PFF grade shot down almost 20 points from a 67.1 in 2018 to a 49.4. 

Onwuasor is a nice depth addition by Joe Douglas to a position that was ravaged by injuries in 2018. He has demonstrated an ability to get after the QB as an ILB, amassing 8.5 sacks and 18 QB hits over the past two seasons.  The Jets have lacked edge rushers for what seems like over a decade and Gregg Williams has had to get creative with generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks, as Jamal Adams seemed to be the most effective rushing the passer from his safety position in 2019.  For a low cost depth move Onuwuasor provides solid versatility and a potential chess piece for Gregg Williams to utilize. 

With the signing of Onwuasor the Jets ILB room is getting heavy.  CJ Mosley is locked as a starter. Blake Cashman and Avery Willamson are expected to be back from injury and the Jets have also retained free agents James Burgess and Neville Hewitt.  This has led to speculation that Avery Willamson, who would free up over 6 million in cap space could be on the chopping block. He is not someone who is going to yield a high draft pick as he is an ILB coming off a serious knee injury, with 1 year left on his deal but I would not cut him if I were the Jets. 

The Jets are not a team who needs to worry about cap space at the moment and there is too steep of a downgrade from Avery to the rest of the linebackers outside of Mosley. If the Jets are set on moving on, Joe Douglas should give a call to his former boss Howie Roseman to discuss a possible trade of for Sidney Jones, a CB with his own injury problems but who showed so much promise in college. 

The Eagles added Darius Slay and Nickell Robey-Coleman in free agency and will likely add another cornerback in the draft. This makes Jones expendable and Williamson would fill their second biggest need outside of WR at ILB. The Jets would use internal depth to replace Avery and Jones would help sure up their CB depth chart. This would allow the Jets to select an edge rusher with one of their day two picks instead of taking another CB or spend all 4 of those top 80 picks on offense to help Sam Darnold.