Plenty of value is there to be had at positions of dire need for the Jets, Nania’s Numbers explains.
The free agency period is drawing near, and once again, the New York Jets are set to be major players for the biggest names on the market.
If history is any indication, the Jets will certainly come out of March having added a star or two. Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Trumaine Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, C.J. Mosley—luring in top-tier targets has not been an issue.
The real problem for the Jets has been finding value. Altogether, the aforementioned players have combined to shave $99.5 million off the Jets’ cap sheet over the course of their tenures with the team. Their combined performance on the field has not come close to being worth that much dough. Even if their lack of productivity has been due to injury (Mosley) or a poor supporting cast (Bell), the sheer fact of the matter is that the Jets have invested significant chunks of their cap room into players who have not given them star-level impact. That plays a huge role in creating a lack of depth and talent across the roster, thus leading to mediocrity.
One year ago, the seventh-largest contract that the Jets handed out went to former Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brian Poole—a measly one-year, $3 million pact. It was one of the least-heralded moves that the Jets made in the entire offseason. Josh Bellamy ($5M), Ryan Kalil ($8.4M) and Henry Anderson ($25.2M) each received significantly larger deals.
As it turned out, Poole was arguably the second-best player on the Jets (behind Jamal Adams) in 2019. Poole was the stingiest slot cornerback in football, allowing a league-low 0.57 yards per cover snap out of the slot.
That right there is the definition of “bang for your buck.” Those are the kinds of signings that win free agency. Teams need to find diamonds in the rough who can produce at a low cost, leaving cap space open for other holes to be filled.
It is easier said than done to find players who can produce at an average-or-better level off the scrap-heap, but there are particular traits that signal an overlooked player has the potential to perform at a higher level in the future. For Poole, it was his durability, rawness (just three years of NFL experience), history of solid production (which made his low cost a surprise), and fit in Gregg Williams’ scheme.
Here are some impending free agents at positions of need for the Jets that have the potential to be their next Brian Poole.