Here’s who the New York Jets may have their eyes on today
Day one of free agency was met with near-universal praise by New York Jets fans. There was not an explosion of spending, but we did see some calculated and measured deals by Joe Douglas.
The first day of free agency was about supporting Zach Wilson. The Jets signed one of the best guards on the market to offer protection in Laken Tomlinson, before signing fan-favorite Braxton Berrios and big TE target C.J. Uzomah.
I don’t believe the Jets are done adding to the offense, but we may see Douglas shift his attention to the defensive side of the football on day two. Here are five free agents the Jets may still have interest in.
5. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers
Marquez Valdes-Scantling is an option at wide receiver who should come cheaper than a bigger name like Allen Robinson, although he will probably not be too cheap considering D.J. Chark just signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Lions.
Marquez was targeted 48 times by Aaron Rodgers last season and didn’t drop a single pass. His ability to stretch the field would be a welcome addition for Zach Wilson and the Jets.
There are a lot of mouths to feed in that Green Bay offense, but Valdes-Scantling still managed to secure 26 catches for 430 yards and three touchdowns. His average of 16.5 yards per reception ranked seventh-best among wide receivers with at least 20 receptions.
4. Darious Williams, Cornerback, LA Rams
The Jets didn’t really get involved in the J.C. Jackson sweepstakes and Carlton Davis decided to stay in Tampa Bay. According to Rich Cimini, the Jets are also no longer pursuing veteran Stephon Gilmore.
After a strong Day 1, what might the #Jets do on Day 2?
Forget CB Stephon Gilmore; they’re not pursuing him. They have other (better) CB options. Remain interested in S Marcus Williams, but asking price still too high for teams. QB Joe Flacco could re-sign. Maybe OL Dan Feeney.
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) March 15, 2022
That leads me to the door of Darious Williams. The L.A. cornerback gets targeted a lot, but that’s what happens when you play opposite Jalen Ramsey. While he allowed a 65.4% completion into his coverage without recording an interception, he did post nine passes defended and added three more in the playoffs.
The 2020 season saw Williams make a big jump as he allowed just a 50% completion rate into his coverage while recording four interceptions and 14 passes defended. If the Jets want to bank on him returning to that form they may just be interested in bringing him in.
3. Allen Robinson, Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears
The Jets are obviously trying to support Zach as much as possible, but this move would all come down to cost.
While Allen Robinson has been a standout receiver for a number of years, he suffered a down year in Chicago in 2021. In 12 games, Robinson had only 38 catches for 410 yards and one touchdown. At age 29 you have to ask if that’s a trend that will continue or the result of his circumstance with multiple QBs and a horrible coach in Matt Nagy.
The Jets won’t be dishing out a Christian Kirk-type deal for Robinson ($18 million per year) but if it’s reasonable I can see them jumping in to give Zach another weapon.
Remember, Robinson is a year removed from a 102 catch and 1000+ yard season in 2020. His drop percentage has been at 5% or lower for five years now, and reliability goes a long way.
2. Jayron Kearse, Safety, Dallas Cowboys
I firmly believe the Jets are in the market for a safety and if they decide that Marcus Williams’ asking price is just too high then they may elect for Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse.
Kearse recorded two interceptions and nine pass breakups in 2021 as he experienced a renaissance season and there are some similarities between the Dallas defensive system and the one the Jets run.
Kearse won’t cost as much as Williams, and his sure tackling (3.2% missed tackle rate in 2021) would be appealing to a team who fluffed too many tackles last year.
1. Marcus Williams, Safety, New Orleans Saints
Marcus Williams is the big fish at the safety position and boy could the Jets do with reeling in a special catch there. Just one glance at the depth chart will send panic through your body.
The former Utah standout and second-round pick of the Saints in 2017 is one of the best coverage safeties in football. He has 15 interceptions and 38 pass defenses in five years and is always around the football.
Williams won’t come cheap and the Jets will need to decide how much they value the position. Rumors late on Monday night indicated the Jets were interested in Williams and Williams was interested in the Jets.
Other names to keep an eye on: Sheldon Richardson (DT, Vikings), Tyrann Mathieu (S, Chiefs), Russell Gage (WR, Falcons), Bilal Nichols (DT, Bears)