Tyrann Mathieu, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, Rumors, Free Agent, Contract
Tyrann Mathieu, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Getty Images

New York Jets post-2022 NFL draft free-agent targets

With the 2022 NFL draft and the 2022 free-agency-frenzy in the rearview, the New York Jets have done an excellent job of filling many of the holes on their porous roster.

However, some holes remain. While the Jets will have to wait until next year to find any long-term solutions for these issues (barring a shocking trade), they can still scour the leftovers of the free-agent market to find some useful stopgaps.

Here are some still-available free agents that would fill some of the Jets’ remaining holes entering the 2022 season.

DT Corey Peters

One of the most glaring weaknesses that the Jets have yet to address is their need for a run-stuffing defensive tackle.

The Jets let their previous run-stuffer, Foley Fatukasi, walk to Jacksonville in free agency. They have done nothing to replace him just yet. New York’s roster includes only one player who has proven he can defend the run at an above-average level as an interior lineman (Quinnen Williams).

After declining to fill this hole in the draft, the Jets could use a veteran place-holder to provide some respectable run defense for a year before focusing on securing a long-term solution in the 2023 offseason.

Enter Corey Peters.

A 2010 third-round pick, Peters will turn 34 later this year, but the old-timer can still stop the run at an effective level.

Playing for the Cardinals in 2021, Peters ranked at the 68th percentile among qualified interior defensive linemen (100+ run-defense snaps) with a 59.1 run-defense grade at Pro Football Focus. He also ranked at the 68th percentile with an 8.0% run-stop rate.

Peters made 23 total tackles against the run and did not miss a single tackle.

You won’t get pass-rushing impact from Peters, who had zero sacks or quarterback hits in 14 games, but the Jets don’t need any more of that on a defensive line that’s loaded with good rushers.

The 6-foot-3, 335-pounder would immediately be the second-best run-stopping defensive tackle on the Jets’ roster after Quinnen Williams. He’d just be around to give New York one year of 15-to-20 snaps per game in rushing situations.

Out of 121 qualified defensive tackles in 2021 season, I rated Peters as the seventh-most similar to Fatukasi in terms of usage (based on where he aligned on the defensive line and his pass-run snap ratio). Like Fatukasi, Peters occasionally dips his toes in at nose tackle but predominantly lines up over the guard:

  • Fatukasi: 15.8% of snaps over the C, 72.9% of snaps over the G, 11.3% of snaps over the T
  • Peters: 23.5% of snaps over the C, 71.3% of snaps over the G, 4.7% of snaps over the T

Peters played 50.0% of his snaps against the run, just a smidgen higher than Fatukasi’s 49.5% rate.

I think Peters might be the best fit on the market for what the Jets need at defensive tackle.

S Tyrann Mathieu

The Jets added Jordan Whitehead to fill one of their starting safety spots. There is still room to improve alongside him. Marcus Maye was allowed to walk to New Orleans, leaving Lamarcus Joyner as the projected starter beside Whitehead. Joyner can be a decent starter but is 31 and coming off a major injury.

Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu entered 2022 as one of the most coveted free agents but is yet to find a new home. He’ll certainly be leaving Kansas City after the Chiefs signed his replacement in Justin Reid.

I don’t think Mathieu is worth a lucrative long-term contract. However, at this point, perhaps he can be had on a one-year prove-it deal.

Mathieu is a productive playmaker with 27 passes defended, 13 interceptions, four fumble recoveries, three sacks, and 171 total tackles over the past three seasons. He had six passes defended, three interceptions, three fumble recoveries, one sack, and 76 total tackles in 2021.

Mathieu, who will be 30 in May, is also known as an energetic and respected leader in the locker room.

On the downside, Mathieu’s coverage stats aren’t incredible, as he allowed three touchdowns and a 91.4 passer rating last season. I think this drags his value down from “star” to “solid”.

Even if Mathieu is just “solid”, that still makes him an upgrade over what the Jets have. Plus, improving the safety play could also aid the development of the team’s young cornerbacks, namely Sauce Gardner. A corner’s life is a lot easier when he trusts the guys behind him.

Update: After the posting of this article, it was reported that the New Orleans Saints are expected to make an aggressive push for Mathieu.

Underdog Jets Podcast, Wayne Chrebet Meet & Greet

S Jaquiski Tartt

Jaquiski Tartt is a lower-tier safety the Jets can target if they are not interested in shooting high for Mathieu.

Tartt has spent the last seven seasons in San Francisco, playing four of those under Robert Saleh. The 30-year-old veteran has battled injury issues but is a solid deep safety when healthy, allowing only nine touchdowns in his seven career seasons (1.3 per year) and giving up a sub-90.0 passer rating in each of the last three seasons.

Based on his positional alignment rates, I found Tartt to be the 17th-most similarly-used safety in 2021 to Ashtyn Davis (the Jets’ primary free safety) out of 105 qualifiers. So, he’s a fit for the role the Jets would probably ask him to play in Saleh’s scheme.

LB Kwon Alexander

The Jets’ only addition to the linebacker room this offseason has been Marcell Harris, who was the 49ers’ No. 3 linebacker last season in his first year after converting from safety. Harris spent the previous three years playing safety under Saleh.

Linebacker is still a weakness for New York. C.J. Mosley is locked in as a solid starter but his projected running-mate is Quincy Williams, who is still a wildly inconsistent player despite showing some intriguing flashes last year. The Jets also have 2021 day-three picks Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen ready to compete.

New York could end up simply banking on its young players to compete for playing time, hoping that they can take leaps and benefit from playing behind a potentially-improved defensive line. However, they could also opt to add some more veteran reliability to avoid having to rely on unproven youngsters if they are not ready.

The Jets met with Kwon Alexander in mid-April, although nothing came to fruition. They signed Harris afterward, so it’s unclear if the Jets are still considering Alexander. The 27-year-old is a 6-foot-1, 227-pound speedster who can play WILL in the 4-3. He played under Saleh with the 49ers from 2019 to 2020 and was with the Saints last year.

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Michael Nania is the best analytical New York Jets mind in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at]jetsxfactor.com - Twitter: @Michael_Nania

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Peter Buell
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Peter Buell

Once the euphoria subsided a bit, I began wondering if possible, to make a forward looking trade with Seattle for #41 and #71 for Mike White, Denzel Mims and a 2023 2nd rounder. It might be worth a shot for Seattle who are rebuilding regardless of which word they use and need both a qb and wr and could take a shot with Mims and White for what nets out to waiting one year and a 2nd round pick. It would let us take two amazing talents at positions of need who fell because of injury that may delay thier… Read more »

Peter Buell
Member
Peter Buell

If they can fit Peters Tartt and Alexander it will help fill holes till next draft/free agency

cole
Member
cole

Assuming they don’t make any more splash additions, how much cap space could the Jets roll over? Although the new signings’ contract step-ups might mitigate some of the upside next year, but if we had room to pay a star WR ~$25mm p.a., maybe that means there’s enough space to be big players in FA again next year, similar to how the Colts have consistently stayed flexible from year to year.

WorthlessWoody
Member
WorthlessWoody

S is the only place we can likely still improve. I agree on Honey Badger and Tartt as options for S. Adding another HTF option like Gipson and Tavon Wilson might be ok too, but not necessary imo. For LB – We need depth more than anything but some competition to Quincy Williams is a good thing. Scrap Kwon Alexander, he’s always hurt and is now held together with staples, scotch tape and bubble gum. Give me another HTF option in Anthony Hitchens, Nick Kwikowski (if healthy) or Kyle Van Noy. Unless the college S converts are ready for primetime,… Read more »

Peter Buell
Member
Peter Buell

I think JD and Saleh must have some confidence in those two safeties otherwise I think they would have absolutely taken a LB at 38. Breece Hall is great but there were other, albeit lesser options available at 101. I was positive when the Jets were at the podium I was going to hear Yada Yada Jets take Nakobe Dean. Depending on the severity of the injuries I’m not at all sure that wasn’t the best way to go. I do think if Mims wants a future in football he needed to be busting his butt on the playbook in… Read more »

Azuma76
Member
Azuma76

Time to put these all americans to work!

Azuma76
Member
Azuma76

I think mims is your deep possession reciever like Metcalf, this system is designed to make quick passes and get YAC! But mims is always kinda of open mid to deep level, I say open him up!

JesseOwen
Member
JesseOwen

First time in years I’m proud to be a Jets fan. Joe Douglas, Robert Saleh, and Woody Johnson are doing something right for the first time since Bill Parcells left and Bill Belichick brought six rings to New England. When we traded up and got Germaine Johnson it was like instant gratification, the new regime doing what the fans wanted! So I felt the same way about trading up for Nakobe Dean and that move didn’t happen. As a fan I want to know what we could traded for the 82nd pick. Then missing out on Dean I thought for… Read more »

Peter Buell
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Peter Buell

Just FYI, I was also stunned when I didn’t hear Dean’s name. He was passed because of a pec and meniscus injuries that may require surgery

Azuma76
Member
Azuma76

He chose not to have the surgery and he slid

Peter Buell
Member
Peter Buell

Ik they can move money around but right now we have $13m under the cap.
Jessee I beleive what you’re asking for are luxuries and if we could spend as much as needed they make sense though we still have White who I beleive would start on more than a few teams. Flacco is still here eating up $10m.
Dean fell because of a pec and meniscus injury but depending on when he will be ok, I think it would have made sense to move up…maybe a 5th rounder next year.

JesseOwen
Member
JesseOwen

Flacco is only 2.8 guaranteed. The 10 million figure included last year and assumes he reaches all his incentives. White and Flacco are above average back ups. Flacco is a good mentor and possibly a healthy challenge this year for Wilson. However Wilson is really only going to learn about being a pocket passer and developing a quick release from these guys. Patrick Mahomes is the leading QB in the league mostly because after a scramble that makes two rushers miss he has a wide open receiver thirty yards downfield with the arm strength to complete the pass. Wilson might… Read more »

Peter Buell
Member
Peter Buell

I didn’t know that. Thanks for the heads up.I will say though, if Zack is healthy and not the one under center all of this weekends sky high feelings and expectations will be blown up.
That said, I really wanted to see Mike White get that 3rd game last year instead of using Flacco.
They were so worried about a QB controversy, one more game like Cincinatti and Mike White could have created some serious trade value.

Azuma76
Member
Azuma76

If you know anything about our QB1 is that he doesn’t make the same mistakes over and over again. He finally caught on towards the end of season duking it out with Tom Brady in a high scoring game actually. If you seen the Tom Brady final touchdown and that safety getting beat for win, lets me know WE NEED ANOTHER SAFETY!

Azuma76
Member
Azuma76

So what if it pans out the other way that 5 out the 7 draft picks drafted add more points on the board this year and more wins? I mean I get what your saying about Dean, but if you were Dean would YOU have had the surgery so you could have potentially got drafted higher?

JesseOwen
Member
JesseOwen

Before the draft I commented that taking risks on injured players that were the best at there position is a wise risk, particularly if you trade back and get several chances. I was very surprised Stingley went three and Evan Neal 7 and Jameson 12. I figured that was the best we could do. I think we did better though getting guys that ought to play game 1. I’m not sure I believed this could compete yet with the Bills, Patriots, and Dolphins. Michael Clemens is the only pick I think has little chance, or atleast a very small window… Read more »

Azuma76
Member
Azuma76

So now the Jets should draft hurt players? Get over it!

Peter Buell
Member
Peter Buell

I’ve always looked at this as a two year job. I understand where you’re coming from and I feel that way because of how close JD has brought us.
TE Ruckett is projected to be a more productive pro because there just weren’t enough balls to go around in his offense. Olave got the lions share.
Mitchell will be in the rotation on opening day and projected to be a starter.
Noone wanted Dean more than I but with his injuries we don’t see him till late in the year most likely.

Azuma76
Member
Azuma76

I wouldn’t mind kap as Wilson backup for sure!

Jimjets
Member
Jimjets

Any OT you like? Bring back LDT?

Jets71
Member
Jets71

I don’t understand the McDermott love either but, he seems like a useful body? I think they will see what happens when the see Becton in min-camp then make some decisions. If Solder can be had for a reasonable price, he’s be worth bringing in.

hh11212
Member
hh11212

I think Peters if the price is right would be solid along with Kwon Alexander…Lastly a swing tackle if needed after seeing how OTAs go. I tried to do a 2023 mock and it was hard to find holes to fill for the first time, crazy to see how far we have come.

Lastly, it comes down to Zach, I feel.if he plays how he did down the stretch we can win around 8 games. If he takes a big step we can legitimately be a playoff team.

Psi
Member
Psi

Zach’s detractors (of which there are many) downplay the back half of his rookie season. If anything, that’s actually when you would expect to see improvement from a rookie. I keep hearing the cliche “he had an up and down season”. He actually had a “down and up season”. At minimum if he simply plays close to his 2nd half of 2021, this team should be competitive.

Peter Buell
Member
Peter Buell

He was also very short on weapons after coming back. I expect great things from Zack

hh11212
Member
hh11212

Psi…You hit the nail on the head…I will post the stats I have been posting all offseason…First 3 Games 7 Ints, Next 5 Games 4 Int’s and Last 5 Games Zero Int’s….Also post Injury 9 Td’s and and 3 Turnovers…If that is up and down I not sure what they are looking at.
That is steady progress that should be acknowledged.

Jets71
Member
Jets71

That’s a great breakdown, in simplest terms, he was a rookie starter who threw 7 picks in his first 3 games, and ended the year with 11.

Jonathan Richter
Member
Jonathan Richter

If you count his rushing TDs, over his last 10 games Zach had 11 TDs against only 4 picks. Over the last 6 games it was 8TDs to just 1 pick.

Jets71
Member
Jets71

You are so right about the downplay of the back half of Zach’s season, and as pointed out he wasn’t playing with much around him either. You also hear nothing about how the newly anointed Golden Child in NE regressed throughout the season. Here’s something you won’t hear on ESPNquirer, Jones 13 INT’s last sesason, Zach 11. You also won’t hear that over their last 5 games Jones 7 INT, Zach 0. You also won’t hear after being 9-4 at top the AFC standings Mac finished the season 1-4 with their only win being at home vs. the Jags, a… Read more »

Psi
Member
Psi

Curious as to your lack of confidence sentiment on Zach? What’s driving your concern? As for Mac I’m higher on him that you appear to be. I was very impressed with him his last year at Alabama and he did nothing to change my view in NE. Yes, he’ll always have some physical limitations, but his temperament is first rate and will compensate adequately enough. Zach is physically superior and if he gets the offense down pat, he has a chance to be elite imo.

Jimjets
Member
Jimjets

Yes, of that group I guess I prefer Reiff, hoping we can somehow do better. JD HAS to know this is the one hole we can’t go into the season without filling. I have for a long time, but after this weekend? IN JD I TRUST

hh11212
Member
hh11212

Jimjets I agree JD is earning our trust…I think they want to see how the young players have progressed in OTA’s and minicamp. No need to sign a vet and block young players who did everything you asked and are ready to ascend. If they don’t see progress from the young safeties, LBers and OT’s they will probably sign a few vets to shore up those spots.

Jimjets
Member
Jimjets

If the fans don’t trust him after this week they never will and we prolly need some new fans. I’m not concerned about safety and LB so much. I’m concerned bout OT And G depth and somebody on the line who can stop a run up the middle on 3rd or 4th and one.

Psi
Member
Psi

On your last point about the IDLs, they shouldn’t be content with Feeney and GVR. Both are mediocre players and will compromise the line should there be injuries to the starters…which is highly likely. Especially Feeney.

Peter Buell
Member
Peter Buell

despite age I would take Peters on a ine year deal but he may still want to start.
He may still be good playing 50% of tge snaps

Peter Buell
Member
Peter Buell

LDT seems like a no brainer. Smart guy who was getting his post football life straightened out with Med school which is now done and has said he want to come back, loved it here and money isn’t the biggest issue it’s the situation.
I think it makes all the sense in the world unless he demands a starting position

Jimjets
Member
Jimjets

Yea. OL Depth is my biggest concern. I’m getting better over it though. Lol.

Peter Buell
Member
Peter Buell

probably because we have been burned there so often with injury.

Jimjets
Member
Jimjets

Wonder if the BEST OT and G in the USFL would be better than the backups we have.

Jonathan Richter
Member
Jonathan Richter

All over Kwon Alexander, and wouldn’t mind Jaquiski Tartt. Surprised you didn’t mention bringing back Keelan Cole.

Azuma76
Member
Azuma76

The Jets must get The honey badger to complete its starters on defense. Peters would be great on the inside as well, but we need the honey badger lurking on the line like he has been doing his whole career. Go get the honey badger please!!!!

Peter Buell
Member
Peter Buell

Matthieu would be a great pick up if not a long term guarantee. He’s still got plus football left and would be a mentor for Sauce.
Beat out NO..Jets should be a place players want to come now.
Get our legacy guts working thier contacts