New York Jets defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi is looking for a hefty free-agent contract
Appearing on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football”, reporter Mike Garafolo shared his estimate for what Fatukasi will earn on the open market.
“I got him in the double digits. He’s another eight-figure guy for me,” Garafolo said.
Garafolo begins discussing Fatukasi around the 5:26 mark in the video below.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 10, 2022
Garafolo also predicts that Fatukasi will not re-sign with the Jets.
“This is a really good player that the Jets are going to try to retain, he’s a local guy, but I’m feeling he’s probably going to wind up somewhere else.”
It will be interesting to see whether the Jets consider retaining Fatukasi if he indeed demands a price of at least $10 million per year. New York already has two defensive linemen signed to lucrative contracts in Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers. Quinnen Williams has a chance to join them at some point in the future.
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Fatukasi remained a productive player in 2021, racking up 46 total tackles, five tackles for loss, and six quarterback hits in 15 games. However, his overall effectiveness dwindled as his run-defense grade at Pro Football Focus dropped from 86.2 in 2020 (2nd out of 71 IDL) to 57.3 in 2021 (30th out of 63 IDL).
While Fatukasi made plenty of plays on the ball, it seemed like he was getting moved around more frequently than he was in previous years, when he was an immovable object that ate up double teams, clogged gaps, and allowed teammates to rally to the ball.
The Jets’ switch to a rigid 4-3 scheme may have contributed to Fatukasi’s slight performance dip. After playing nose tackle or 1-technique on 36.2% of his defensive snaps in 2020 (16th-highest at his position), Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich cut that number to 15.8% in 2021 (40th). Fatukasi played a lot more 2i-technique and 3-technique, which may not have been the best role for him.
How Foley Fatukasi's usage changed in the new scheme
% of Fatukasi's snaps at NT or 1-tech:
2020: 36.2% (16th / 111 IDL)
2021: 15.8% (40th / 121)
Cut his NT responsibilities in half and used him a ton more as a 2i or 3 tech (53.3% to 72.9%). Not sure if it's a fit for him
— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) March 8, 2022
The free agency floodgates will open at 12 p.m. ET on March 14 with the beginning of the legal tampering period.