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Recapping Jets free agency: How does the roster look entering draft season?

Joe Douglas, NY Jets, Free Agency, Combine, 2022
Joe Douglas, New York Jets, Getty Images

The New York Jets look a lot different after the first week of free agency

One week has passed since the NFL’s 2022 free agency window opened. Over the first week of the process, New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas made some exciting things happen.

The Jets entered the offseason with 25 free agents of their own and have re-signed 15 of them to this point (two restricted, four exclusive-rights, nine unrestricted). Three members of the 2021 Jets have signed with new teams and seven are still available.

Throughout the first few days of free agency, Douglas signed six new players to the Jets, all on multi-year contracts. All of the positions addressed were needs. A couple of the new signings were viewed as big-time players at the top of the market for their position.

Overall, it was a productive week in which the Jets got better. Let’s take a look at the expected role each re-signing and addition should have for the 2022 Jets.

OT Conor McDermott

  • Contract: 1 year, $1.6 million ($455K guaranteed)

The first of many re-signings by Douglas. Retaining Conor McDermott came as somewhat of a surprise. What he does provide is continuity to the offensive line with three years of experience as a Jet.

McDermott’s contract is structured in a way in which he will still have to earn a roster spot. It will be fascinating to see if the Jets sign a veteran third tackle to replace Morgan Moses. If not, a third offensive tackle will need to be drafted at some point.

At the most, McDermott should be the Jets’ fourth tackle.

S Will Parks

  • Contract: 1 year, $1.0 million ($0 guaranteed)

Will Parks was re-signed a few days before the start of free agency. He started two games for the Jets late last season.

Parks will be going into year seven of his career and provides veteran experience in a depth role. He is a solid piece to have to compete at the position where the Jets will have a lot of backups battling in Ashtyn Davis, Elijah Riley, Jason Pinnock, and a potential draft pick.

S Lamarcus Joyner

  • Contract: 1 year, $2.6 million ($2.1 million guaranteed)

Re-signing Lamarcus Joyner was a smart move. He is currently set to start for the Jets at free safety. If the Jets select a free safety in the mid-rounds, having Joyner will be ideal for the rookie to be eased in.

Bringing back Joyner when he is coming off a season-ending injury in Week 1 shows the Jets liked what they saw in him last offseason. He will have an integral role.

FB Nick Bawden

  • Contract: 1 year, $780K ($0 guaranteed)

The Jets offense under Mike LaFleur does like to occasionally operate with a fullback. Nick Bawden is currently the only true player the Jets have at the position.

Bawden joined the Jets during the 2021 regular season and played in nine games, only logging 57 offensive snaps.

Gaining an entire offseason could be beneficial for Bawden. It will be interesting to see if competition at the fullback spot is brought in at any point throughout the rest of the offseason.

WR Braxton Berrios

  • Contract: 2 years, $12 million ($7 million guaranteed)

An exciting and fairly surprising re-signing for the Jets was Braxton Berrios early on in the first day of free agency. It was great that the Jets and Berrios were able to agree on a two-year deal.

Berrios is an ideal fourth receiver with gadget and slot ability for Mike LaFleur and Zach Wilson. The first-team All-Pro kick returner also provides a constant for Brant Boyer‘s unit.

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RB Tevin Coleman

  • Contract: 1 year, $1.5 million ($650K guaranteed)

A fairly anticipated move by most was retaining Tevin Coleman. Most of his career has been with LaFleur in this scheme.

Coleman can still bring speed and receiving ability. He is an ideal third running back who can help Michael Carter and a likely mid-round selection at running back. Keeping him was a solid move.

DT Nathan Shepherd

  • Contract: 1 year, $1.1 million ($50K guaranteed)

Bringing Nathan Shepherd back was one of the bigger surprises out of the re-signings.

To this point, Shepherd is the Jets’ only move at defensive tackle. The Jets lost Folorunso Fatukasi to the Jacksonville Jaguars and have not added any defensive tackles from a deep free agent group.

Shepherd is a veteran player who provides experience as a backup. New York will likely draft a defensive tackle and Shepherd will still have to earn a roster spot.

IOL Dan Feeney

  • Contract: 1 year, $3 million ($3 million guaranteed)

It was a nice move to re-sign Dan Feeney, ensuring quality offensive line depth for Zach Wilson. Feeney filled in late in the season and did a solid job.

Feeney’s durability and versatility are invaluable. He’s only missed two games as he enters the sixth year of his career and provides flexibility to play center or guard.

QB Joe Flacco

  • Contract: 1 year, $3.5 million (guarantees unknown)

Re-signing Joe Flacco to keep last season’s quarterback room intact was wise. Flacco showed in his one start that he can still fill in well.

Flacco enters year 15 of his career with ample experience to help Zach Wilson and Mike White continue to grow as young and inexperienced players.

QB Mike White

  • Contract: 1 year, $2.5 million original-round tender

The Jets extended the original-round tender to Mike White, who was a restricted free agent. That was a no-brainer. White showed intriguing promise in his first two starts of last season.

White will be entering his fourth season with the Jets. He and Flacco are two valuable backups to have. With the potential he showed last year, it will be interesting to see what White can do this upcoming offseason.

K Eddy Pineiro

  • Contract: 1 year, $2.4 million right-of-first-refusal tender

Keeping Eddy Pineiro on the right-of-first-refusal tender was smart. Late last season, he gave the Jets some of the best production they’ve seen at the kicker position in a while.

It will be worth watching to see if the Jets sign a veteran kicker or draft a rookie at any point. Either way, Pineiro brings experience and is a quality option to have in a possible kicking competition.

IOL Laken Tomlinson

  • Contract: 3 years, $40 million ($27 million guaranteed)

Signing 2021 Pro Bowl guard Laken Tomlinson was a thrilling first addition made by Joe Douglas early Monday afternoon.

Tomlinson is a natural fit in the offensive scheme coordinated by Mike LaFleur. He has spent the last five years in the system. Tomlinson brings excellent week-to-week durability for the Jets (one game missed over the last five years).

To get Tomlinson on a three-year deal was a great start. The big question is whether or not he or Alijah Vera-Tucker will make the move to right guard. Nonetheless, he fills an obvious need the Jets had at guard.

TE C.J. Uzomah

  • Contract: 3 years, $24 million ($15 million guaranteed)

Later on Monday afternoon, the Jets got a new weapon for Zach Wilson in former Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah. The tight end position has been a spot the Jets have struggled at for too long.

Uzomah will bring a good physical skill set with his size (6-foot-6, 260 lbs) and speed (4.62 from college pro day). He excels at gaining yards after the catch and is also a fit because of what he can provide as a run-blocker.

The 2021 season was a career year for Uzomah. He is under contract for three years with the Jets. Intangibly, he is a vocal, emotional player who will bring outstanding leadership along with Super Bowl experience.

CB D.J. Reed

  • Contract: 3 years, $33 million ($10.5 million guaranteed)

Tuesday got off to a fun start when the Jets signed young cornerback D.J. Reed. Reed upgrades a premium position where the Jets lacked a big-time starter.

There is a prior experience between Reed and Robert Saleh from 2018-19 with the 49ers. Reed played in a similar scheme the last two years with the Seahawks where he played at a high level in coverage. Against the run, Reed will also make an impact.

Reed is on a three-year deal and only 25 years old. He qualifies as a big-ticket type of signing for the Jets this free agency.

S Jordan Whitehead

  • Contract: 2 years, $14 million ($7 million guaranteed)

The Jets signed a second young defensive back on Tuesday in Jordan Whitehead. Safety was the biggest weakness for the Jets defensively. One new starter had to be signed, and they got it done.

Whitehead is a physical, hard-hitting presence at strong safety in the box. He along with Reed will help improve the Jets run defense.

In coverage, Whitehead is underrated and will provide more help than many expect.

Whitehead, who just turned 25 years old, signed with the Jets on a two-year contract. He is a young and ascending player primed to hit his best years.

TE Tyler Conklin

  • Contract: 3 years, $21 million (guarantees unknown)

It was a pleasant surprise to see the Jets sign a second tight end in Tyler Conklin. Having Uzomah and Conklin will allow Mike LaFleur to operate more out of 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR).

Similar to Uzomah, Conklin is a great blocker. Conklin can help in the running game and even as a pass blocker.

While Uzomah brings more tantalizing physical traits, Conklin can help in more technical ways with his crisp routes and reliable hands. Underneath, Conklin will be a safe target for Zach Wilson.

Conklin is still only 26 and the Jets signed him to a three-year deal. He had a career year last season, his first as a primary target. Anticipate Conklin continuing to grow as he enters his prime years.

EDGE Jacob Martin

  • Contract: 3 years, $13.5 million ($6 million guaranteed)

Jacob Martin was the first under-the-radar signing made by Joe Douglas. Adding quality depth behind Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers on the edge was important to address, and Martin checks the box.

Martin brings great get-off and speed. His explosiveness will be useful to have as a backup on passing downs to help keep the starters fresh.

Martin and Bryce Huff give the Jets some exciting pass-rushing juice as backups. Martin is 26 and signed with the Jets on a three-year deal. With his unique skill set, there is still room for Martin to grow.

Final takeaways for the Jets

The Jets’ 2022 offseason is off to a wonderful start. Re-signing more than half of the team’s own free agents was fantastic. The six new free agent signings all addressed needs and will have a key role.

Douglas was able to acquire a mix of veterans who will bring leadership and younger players who can be Jets for many years to come.

It will be interesting to see from here if Douglas retains any more of the 2021 Jets who are still available or adds more external free agents.

Here is a breakdown of the signings made at each position on the roster (new players italicized):

  • QB: Joe Flacco, Mike White
  • RB: Tevin Coleman
  • FB: Nick Bawden
  • TE: C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Conklin
  • OT: Conor McDermott
  • IOL: Laken Tomlinson, Dan Feeney
  • WR: Braxton Berrios
  • DT: Nathan Shepherd
  • EDGE: Jacob Martin
  • LB: N/A
  • CB: D.J. Reed
  • S: Jordan Whitehead, Lamarcus Joyner, Will Parks
  • K: Eddy Pineiro

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Jonathan Richter
2 years ago

Does Jacob Martin play ST as well?

2 years ago

Who were the three 2021 Jets who signed elsewhere? I can think of Foley but am struggling with the other two.

Jonathan Richter
2 years ago
Reply to  DHB

Marcus Maye.

2 years ago

Ah, yes. Of course. And Morgan Moses.

2 years ago
Reply to  DHB

Now Crowder to the Bills

2 years ago
Reply to  Jets71

Good luck to him. I’ll be happy for him if he can get a ring, even if it’s in Buffalo.

2 years ago

Yea Ryan – excellent re-cap. I’ve been thinking Jadeveon Clowney – he’s great against the run and could work well in a rotation, and they need some depth in that wide receiver room. Maybe bring Keelan Cole back, maybe add Valdez-Scantling from GB. Then draft, and after that see what else comes up in pro free agency.

2 years ago
Reply to  Jimjets

I’m down on Clowney, I think he’s more name than production at this point. I do believe they need a real 4-3 DE, and I’m guessing they will look to the draft for that but I don’t see a true game changer coming out this year. Cole wasn’t very impressive either, if they bring in another vet at WR I would prefer it not be him. MVS is interesting. The thing with Cole, J. Smith, Mims, V. Smyth they just aren’t reliable. I know they aren’t studs but you would expect they can fill in for a bit, maybe a game and be reasonable. They just don’t do much other than take up a roster spot.

2 years ago
Reply to  Jets71

Ok, options? Who else is there? Or is it just draft picks now? I just saw Demarcus Robinson is visiting the raiders. 27 and productive.

2 years ago
Reply to  Jimjets

At this point I’d go draft. If they are planning to use more “12” sets, they don’t need “numbers” in the WR room, they will need quality. That should give them time to develop some younger guys considering they have Davis, E. Moore and Braxton. I would think a first round rookie can contribute something, and so can a 4th round pick. They just can’t be “the guy.”

I would draft a DE, I like Walker and Karlaftis as great fits for this D. I would also not be surprised if they go inside first, Logan Hall. He’s a multiple DL player and they may like JFM at DE more than some of us on this board.