The NFL is reporting on who they may want to sign in the upcoming free agency period. If you are unclear about what all of this means, here’s a quick primer!
The “jets free agent targets 2022” is a list of players that the New York Jets may be interested in. The list includes players from all over the league, and it’s updated regularly.
Getty Marcus Williams of the New Orleans Saints celebrates a tackle on December 6, 2020.
Our New York Jets analysts are ready to go for a special edition mailbag piece as NFL free agency approaches in just a few hours.
As usual, our writers Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller are addressing the most frequently asked questions about the New York Journal, and this week it’s all about free agency, including the latest rumors and gossip.
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Mentality of Free Agency
1. There have been different reports as to what Joe Douglas and the Jets could do this week. This is a two-part question. Part one: Do you think Douglas will go big or little with his spending, or will he strike a balance through smart moves?
I’ll drink the Kool-Aid, and maybe this will come back to bite me, but I believe they’ll plunge into the pool’s deep end. I don’t believe the reports about going all-in at the CB slot, however.
I believe they become more aggressive on the offensive line, where Douglas has spent the most of his career. James Daniels of the Chicago Bears, I believe, is the main target. On the free market, he’ll demand a lot of money, but his versatility and the flexibility he’ll get ahead of the 2022 NFL draft will make this decision worthwhile.
As much as some would want them to “go crazy” and spend a lot of money, everything I’ve heard from individuals close to the organization (Jets reporters rather than NFL reporters and insiders) is that Douglas will not. He’ll spend, but it’ll be on strategic additions that position New York for the future.
It will essentially be the same as his first two offseasons on the job. If Douglas does spend any more cash, I think it will be on a rising star who is just starting, not exiting, his prime.
So this is an excellent illustration of what I was saying the other day. I’m not advocating spending simply to spend in the FA, but I WOULD splurge on a rising star who never misses a game and is still relatively young. Then, like all the finest, prestructure those cap loopholes in. #Jets https://t.co/M0KLXwCtUe
March 14, 2022 — Mike Obermuller (@obermuller nyj)
I agree with Boy Green that right guard will be a focus, but safety Marcus Williams is the major guy to keep an eye on in this respect. According to Connor Hughes, the Jets have been interested in him since last autumn and are still interested today, but they will not overpay if the market requires it.
2. The second part: Do you agree with this mindset based on your response above? Or would you conduct things differently if you were given the job of General Manager?
If I were operating the shop, I’d be aggressive, but in a planned way, which I think Douglas will do. I could see going all out for a top corner, as is being suggested, but I like Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner so much that I’d choose him first overall in the forthcoming draft.
Interior offensive line, edge rusher, and wide receiver are all positions I’d pursue in free agency if the appropriate chance presented itself. To establish a strong team, you’ll need a balanced mix of substantial expenditures and clever value increases.
Spending is something I believe in, but not necessarily reckless spending. To explain, if we have the money and we’re plugging a hole with a high-culture player, I’d rather bring in a short-term veteran who signs a contract you can get out of after a year.
At the same time, I’d be willing to pay more for a rising star. I mentioned Williams at safety, but I would have gone all-in on Chris Godwin if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hadn’t franchised him.
At cornerback, signing Stephon Gilmore instead of J.C. Jackson or Carlton Davis is an example of when to go veteran. At a position that tends to create inconsistency in free agency, I feel a mentor with no long-term obligations is the far better choice.
I realize my response was all over the place, but the main line is that I would target select rising players who match your team-building method, then fill in the gaps with people who can guide the kids on short-term agreements with the balance of my cap. This squad has to win more games this season if they want to make the playoffs in 2023.
3. If you could only target one free agent priority this week for any reason, who would it be and why?
It’s difficult to respond to such a question! I’ve previously discussed Daniels and his potential usefulness, so I’ll take a different approach.
This one may raise some eyebrows, but I like the athlete and have extensive knowledge of him from covering him up close and personal during his time at Syracuse: EDGE rusher Chandler Jones.
I understand that he is older, but he is a proven performer in a crucial position. This wouldn’t cure your problems, but he’d be a huge aid and mentor to the team’s younger players. The Jets would be a great match for the NFL’s most underappreciated pass rusher.
It’s a little tedious since I’ve previously mentioned him, but Marcus Williams is without a doubt my response. There aren’t many people in the post-franchise tag era that I believe are worth every dollar you pay, but Williams is the big player.
He’s 25, he never misses a football game, he’s quiet and consistent on the field, he comes from a winning culture, he’s never been into problems outside of football, and he’s as well-rounded as they come.
I’ll confess that I’d be thrilled if we could sign Gilmore or Casey Hayward to a one- or two-year contract. At cornerback, I believe that would be a slam dunk.
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Positional Game Planning
4. The clock is ticking! What positions do you feel the Jets will target this week, and which position should be the top priority, based on what you’ve heard over the last several weeks?
Interior offensive line, EDGE rusher, wide receiver, tight end, interior defensive line, and, of course, safety are the positions I believe they are targeting.
What should be your first priority? The offensive line, in general, and the right guard position in particular. If you can fill that void with a legitimate choice, it merely opens up more options in the future NFL draft in 2022.
The safety zone, which has a wide range of options from the top of the market to bargain buys, is a close second.
With Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers already taking up a lot of financial money on the defensive line, I believe the Jets will concentrate on EDGE in the draft. Aside from that, I agree with my spouse, with one exception.
- IOL/RG, IDL/DT, safety, and tight end are the top priorities.
- WR, CB, LB, and RB are all possible minor signings or system fits.
To clarify, the top priorities are self-evident to me, but I excluded wide receiver since I feel the Jets have already lost out on “their men” — whether due to the franchise tag or an unusual circumstance like Calvin Ridley’s suspension. According to Hughes, Douglas was allegedly ready to strike a deal for Ridley.
I still believe they sign a backup wide receiver and maybe a linebacker or cornerback (if they believe there is a mutual fit). A trade for Cordarrelle Patterson or a tandem running back like Ronald Jones might possibly be in the cards. This would restore your offensive strength while also providing you with another dynamic player in the passing game.
5. Following up on No. 4, which position(s) do you think the Jets should target in the NFL draft?
I’m not sure whether this is a bold prediction, but I believe the Jets will address the cornerback position in the first two rounds of the NFL draft.
They’ll either take Sauce Gardner in the top-10 or one of the numerous players who fall to the early stages of day two, and there should be plenty of options.
This suggests that, with so many other needs, they will not pursue the post in free agency. Nonetheless, I could see this happening, and it wouldn’t be a horrible tactic.
In the first two rounds, I don’t mind picking a defensive back, but in the second round, I like to choose a running back. I believe the Jets will choose their best EDGE prospect at No. 4, as I have predicted for quite some time. By some miracle, it may be Kayvon Thibodeaux, Travon Walker, Jermaine Johnson, or even Aidan Hutchinson.
The team will no longer need to address the offensive line in the first round, given the developing pattern of the club addressing right guard with a veteran and keeping Connor McGovern at center. This is where I’ve changed my mind.
Previously, I believed you would take an EDGE/OL in the first round, but following the franchise tag deadline, I believe you will draft an EDGE/WR with your first two choices. Douglas still has the option to trade down, but he must identify his number one receiver in the draft.
P.S. After losing out on Dalton Schultz in the first round, I’m now betting big on TE Trey McBride in the second.
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