This is the second part of an article that began with Connor Rogers’s full 7 round mock draft. We’re doing it a little backwards where Connor’s mock draft came out and impacts what we decided to do in free agency. First, let’s start with a look at the New York Jets unrestricted free agents…
Salary Cap: $152,484,216
Estimated Cap Space: $10,744,256
Now, let’s take care of the in house business first. These contract figures are guesses on my part, but it’s what I’d pay the in house guys. If you don’t see someone there, it means that is someone who I’d let go:
Muhammad Wilkerson (Extended, 5 years/$43.25M ($25M guaranteed), Cap Number: $9.0M)
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Extended, 2 years/$16M, 2016 cap number of $7M)
Calvin Pace (Extended, 2 years/$2M, 2016 Cap Number of $1M)
Bilal Powell (Extended, 2 years/$2.25M, 2016 Cap Number of $1.25M)
Jamari Lattimore (Extended, 1 year/$900,000, 2016 Cap Number of $900,000)
Erin Henderson (Extended, 2 years/$2.25M, 2016 Cap Number of $1M)
Analysis: Harrison was the hardest player to part ways with. However, his snaps had decreased and the Jets need to find more playing time for Leonard Williams. This is how they do it. Ivory was the AFC’s leading rusher, but his curious usage in week 17 coupled with his likely price tag means he’s gone too. Demario Davis got outplayed by Erin Henderson, and he provides no special teams value. Plus, he is not a 3-4 ILB and gives up way too many plays in the passing game. Now, let’s continue with the in house business by completing the restructures of some key players:
Antonio Cromartie’s cap number decreased to $3.3M
D’Brickashaw Ferguson’s cap number decreased to $9.7M
Nick Mangold’s cap number decreased to $4.9M
Brandon Marshall’s cap number decreased to $5.2M
WR Jeremy Kerley
RB Zac Stacy
RT Breno Giacomini
TE Jeff Cumberland
At this point and after the cuts/restructures/resignings, the Jets have 58 players under contract and $17.1M in cap space. Here’s the players I think they add in free agency:
RT Mitchell Schwartz (4 years, $18M)
Schwartz is 26 years old and would continue the revitalization of a Jets OL that hasn’t been very good in recent years. James Carpenter was incredible this past year, and Schwartz slides in at RT to give the Jets one of the better younger right sides in the NFL.
RB Lamar Miller (3 years, $9M)
Signing Miller away from Miami would be a coup. Miller is 24 years old and is coming off an underutilized season where he averaged 4.5 yards per carry. Miller has 117 receptions on 152 targets in his career, and represents a cheaper alternative to Chris Ivory.
TE Zach Miller (2 years, $3M)
Adding Zach Miller, owner of 6 seasons of at least 30+ catches in his 7 NFL seasons, to replace the horrific tandem of Jeff Cumberland/Kellen Davis is an immediate upgrade. Miller, Jace Amaro, and Quincy Enunwa have games that compliment each other really well. I expect Enunwa to become a Jermichael Finley type of weapon in the pass game, but adding Miller does let the Jets keep him at H-back and rotate Miller and Amaro at TE.
WR Jaron Brown (2 years, $2M)
Brown is one of the good finds by the revamped Arizona Cardinals front office. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent and would be a solid addition for the Jets. The former Clemson Tiger fits the mold of the WRs the Jets want, and he could contribute in the kick return game. Brown isn’t overly explosive, but he does display good vision with the ball and would be a good replacement for the departing Kenbrell Tompkins.
OLB Larry English (1 year league minimum deal)
The Jets special teams has been awful for far too long. I think adding a veteran special teams contributor and spot starter like Larry English is a very good signing because it provides you insurance for your first round pick (see below) and improves your special teams.
RT J’Marcus Webb (1 year league minimum deal)
Webb can play both guard and tackle, and that kind of versatility is a hot commodity. The Jets would be wise to add Webb as their swing tackle/backup guard to both ensure that they can manage their roster with as much flexibility as possible and to add another quality special teams player.
FS Dwight Lowery (2 year, $1.5M deal)
Dwight Lowery was a fan favorite for Jet fans when he was here previously, but this isn’t just some nostalgia signing. Last year, Lowery had 4 interceptions and 8 passes defended for the Colts and is slated to become a free agent. Marcus Gilchrist was better than a lot of people expected for the Jets last year, but with Antonio Allen and Jarrett being let go they’re going to need to add some depth behind him. Lowery gives the Jets another movable chess piece on defense as he is good in man to man coverage and is a pretty good tackler.
DE/DT Daquan Bowers (3 years, $2.5M)
Bowers played both inside and at DE in the Bucs 4-3 alignment this year. At 6’4″ and 288 pounds, he isn’t the most ideal DT in a 3-4, but as a depth signing his flexibility is invaluable. He can replace Leger Double as a rotational piece on the DL and with 7 career sacks he has shown that he can provide something off the edge.
DT Barry Cofield (1 year league minimum deal)
Cofield is a strong depth signing and has experience playing the NT in a 3-4 system.
LT Sam Young (2 year $1.5M deal)
At best, Young gives the Jets a young LT to learn behind D’Brickashaw Ferguson and potentially take over if Brick retires. At worst, it improves the depth behind Ferguson. Young has great height and bulk with good natural strength and was a four year starter at Notre Dame.
After these free agent signings, the Jets have approximately $3M in cap space plus their rookie pool.
As a recap, here’s Connor’s six draft picks:
20. Noah Spence, EDGE, Eastern Kentucky
51. Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA
83. Deion Jones, ILB, LSU
119. KJ Dillon, DB, West Virginia
157. Paul McRoberts, WR, SE Missouri State
198. Tom Hackett, P, Utah
Analysis: Adding Noah Spence (this year’s Marcus Peters) to a very good defense gives the Jets an edge presence they have not had in a very long time. Spence’s motor is relentless, and he consistently gets to the QB. Him and Mauldin off the edge of Bowles’ 3-4 defense cleaning up the sacks generated by the interior rush of Williams, Richardson, and Wilkerson makes the Jets that much formidable. Paul Perkins is a top 50 player for me in this draft, and his skills mesh well with Powell and Miller’s. Perkins has game breaking speed, is electric with the ball in his hands, and would accomplish Todd Bowles’ desire to get faster this offseason.
Jones is athletic enough to cover in the flats and with Henderson back in the fold doesn’t have to be rushed into the starting lineup. He can be used similar to Deone Buchanan was last year, because he’s too big to be a safety but too small right now to be an every down LB. KJ Dillon improves the special teams instantly, and he gets to develop behind Cromartie for a year or two before potentially taking over for him. He’s big and physical, and seems to play with nasty streak. Getting him in round four is very good value. McRoberts is built like the Jets type of WR just like Jaron Brown, but whereas Brown is much more of a technician McRoberts can flat out fly. He’d be good insurance for Devin Smith. Hackett lets you get rid of Quiggley and (for the umpteenth time) improve the special teams.
Based off these offseason moves, here is what the Jets 53 man roster looks like:
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, Bryce Petty
RB: Lamar Miller, Bilal Powell, Paul Perkins
FB: Tommy Bohanon
WR: Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Jaron Brown, Quincy Enunwa, Devin Smith, Paul McRoberts
TE: Zach Miller, Jace Amaro
OT: D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Mitchell Schwartz, Sam Young, J’Marcus Webb
OG: James Carpenter, Brian Winters, Jarvis Harrison, Dakota Dozier
C: Nick Mangold
DE: Muhammed Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams, Mike Catapano
DT: Deon Simon, Barry Cofield, Daquan Bowers
OLB: Noah Spence, Lorenzo Mauldin, Trevor Reilly, Larry English, Calvin Pace
ILB: David Harris, Erin Henderson, Jamari Lattimore, Deion Jones
CB: Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Buster Skrine, Marcus Williams, Dexter McDougle, KJ Dillon
FS: Marcus Gilchrist, Dwight Lowery
SS: Calvin Pryor, Rontez Miles
K: Nick Folk
P: Tom Hackett
LS: Tanner Purdum
The Jets enter this offseason with three priorities: get faster, resign Muhammed Wilkerson and Ryan Fitzpatrick, and improve their special teams. This offseason does all of those things. KJ Dillon helps as a punt returner and gunner. Keeping Jamari Lattimore keeps one of your better special teams players. Getting rid of Quigley with a stud like Hackett goes a long way towards accomplishing goal number three. While I am not crazy about the idea of keeping Ryan Fitzpatrick, at that price tag I can’t complain. Mitchell Schwartz is a huge addition, as he’s young and an improvement over Breno Giacomini. Restructuring Ferguson lets you keep him as a Jet and free up space. Same goes for Cromartie and Marshall. The jewel of the offseason is Noah Spence though. Jet fans will scoff at taking another defensive player in the first round, but getting a top 5 player in this draft at 20 is borderline highway robbery. I could be talked into Jaylon Smith (he’s the best player in the draft to me), but the uncertainty regarding his availability for the 2016 season does worry me.Lastly, this offseason makes the Jets deeper and gives them flexibility in terms of how they manage their roster on game days.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com