The Jets have a bright future if they play their cards right this offseason. The good thing is, the Jets have about $100 million cards as of right now, and a very high draft pick. I ran a free agency simulator to see just what the Jets can do this offseason.
First, then I would do a little house cleaning: release LT Kelvin Beachum, FS Terrence Brooks, and DE Tarell Basham to free up $16,987,000 in cap space. I would then resign WR Robby Anderson ($13 Million), DE Henry Anderson ($6.5 Million), WR Quincy Enunwa ($9 Million), K Jason Myers ($2 Million), C Jonotthan Harrison ($1.1 Million), OLB Frankie Luvu ($570,000), DT Steve McLendon ($2 Million), OLB Brandon Copeland ($2 Million), PR/KR/WR Andre Roberts ($1.1 Million) FS Doug Middleton ($720,000), QB Davis Webb ($570,000) and CB Darryl Roberts ($2 Million). Allowing Henry Anderson, Andre Roberts, and Jason Myers leave the building after the years they had would be a shame, but they cannot allow Enunwa and Robby Anderson to leave.
Those are all my estimates (except Enunwa, who signed a four-year deal hours ago) and could be wildly inaccurate, but it leaves the Jets with $76,319,851. Still, a boatload of cash and nearly all our defensive depth would be accounted for. Now let’s look around the NFL.
In my dream offseason, I would start by signing offensive studs RB Le’Veon Bell ($20 Million), WR Golden Tate ($11 Million), and QB Robert Griffin III. The Jets should give Le’Veon Bell whatever contract he wants up to $20 Million. Bell would automatically make this team competitive in the AFC. In 2017 he was an All-Pro and hasn’t been back to the gridiron since. He’s a game-breaking back with legendary vision, and can also be a reliable option in the passing game, also catching 85 balls in his last season as a Steeler.
The Jets also need a third receiver, and Tate would be a seamless replacement for the complacent Jermaine Kearse. I would also make sure to get a quality back-up quarterback, as this is now a team capable of competing, and wouldn’t want the wheels to fall off due to injury, and RGIII is a prime back-up. Tyrod Taylor is the best quarterback in the upcoming free agency, and will probably end up signing where he can win the starting role. Those three additions will give the Jets plenty of weapons and peace of mind if the golden boy goes down.
The building block of any good NFL team is its line. The Jets offensive line woes have been well documented, and that is the most obvious place where they need improving. Unfortunately, the talent pool for the offensive line this free agency is thin.
While not sexy, I would sign OG Brian Schwenke to replace Dakota Dozier, and sign LT Greg Robinson to replace Beachum. Schwenke is a great athlete and will give Harrison and Spencer Long good competition for their starting job at guard or center. Chance Warmack would also work here.
Beachum is not the worst left tackle in the league but will turn 30 in the offseason, and should be replaced very soon for Darnold’s sake. Robinson, once considered a massive bust, has been playing very well for Cleveland and would be a cheaper version of Beachum, who has struggled as of late. I suspect the Jets are going to take a tackle with one of their first two picks, and if that pick doesn’t work out, Robinson is a good second choice, at least for 2019.
The Jets defensive line has been disappointing this season, except for Henry Anderson. Nathan Shepherd, the 25-year-old rookie, has not proven that he’s the man for the job, Leonard Williams had a down year, and Steve McLendon is 32. The Jets need to get an athletic big man in the middle or they will continue to be shredded by any above-average run offense.
I have the Jets going out and getting DT Grady Jarret, who has been tearing it up for the Falcons. While their defense as a whole has struggled due to injury, Jarret has remained consistent and even saw an increase in sacks. Ndamukong Suh is another name to consider, but I doubt he’d leave the Rams, and he carries baggage.
Now it’s time to improve the pass-rush. The Jets were very average in the pass rush, which was better than anyone expected before the season. They were led in that category by Jordan Jenkins and Henry Anderson, who both have 7 sacks.
Adding OLB Jadaveon Clowney to the mix would make the Jets a complete defense, but he’s going to be asking for a lot of money. The Jets are going to have one of the first three picks, and pass-rushers like Nick Bosa or Josh Allen will be available, and that might be the preferred option. The Jets may also be considering an offensive lineman, and if that’s the case, they should make a move at Clowney.
I would also invest in another corner, namely one that isn’t Buster Skrine. CB Pierre Desir from Indianapolis is my top choice, and he could slide right into the rotation of Trumaine Johnson, Parry Nickerson, Darryl Roberts, Rashard Robinson, and Derrick Jones. He would start opposite of Johnson, and the Jets would still have nice depth.
With those signings, the Jets would have $16,439,851 (dream offseason mind you) left after these signings, 46 rostered players (you can see the full roster here) and would leave the Jets enough money to comfortably be able to kick the tires on veteran wide receivers and maybe sign another right tackle in case Brandon Shell needs a long time to rehab. Jets fans have a summer of excitement before Gang Green hits the gridiron again.
For now, enjoy the last game as the “Same old Jets”. They face Brady and the Patriots Sunday, 1:00 P.M., on CBS.