CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 07: Riley Reiff #71 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks to make a block during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on November 7, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Riley Reiff, Chicago Bears, New York Jets (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Reiff came in for a visit with the Jets earlier in the offseason as a swing tackle position remains open

One potential New York Jets free agent target is off the market.

Riley Reiff has signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears. The deal could be worth up to $12.5 million, with $10 million likely to be earned.

Reiff, the 10-year veteran tackle, visited with the Jets early in June. He remained on the team’s radar this offseason, but general manager Joe Douglas has made it clear that he will not overpay for depth players.

The deal that Reiff signed was significantly above any that the Jets would have possibly offered him. With Mekhi Becton and George Fant set to be the team’s two starting tackles, Reiff would have been veteran insurance who could slide in if injuries or poor conditioning forced either player out of the lineup.

Reiff’s $10 million against the cap exceeds the approximately $8.9 million in cap space that the Jets currently have available. Although the Jets can clear some space, they also have other needs to fill out their roster, including another linebacker and possibly a run-stuffing defensive tackle. There was no way the Jets were going to sign Reiff at that amount.

The Bears had an urgent opening at offensive tackle after starter Dakota Dozier had season-ending surgery. Reiff can still be a starting-caliber tackle, making the signing worthwhile for Chicago.

The Jets will need to look elsewhere for insurance at swing tackle. Conor McDermott and Chuma Edoga form an uninspiring backup tandem, and fourth-round rookie Max Mitchell is raw and expected to redshirt this season. Available options include 37-year-old Duane Brown, former Colts tackle Eric Fisher, and former Titans tackle Kendall Lamm, who did not work out for the team yesterday despite initial reports.

This development may signal to Jets fans what could happen with Kwon Alexander, another free agent who visited with the team earlier in the offseason. Alexander knows Robert Saleh’s system, having played for the 49ers.

The Jets desperately need depth at linebacker, but the fact that Alexander has not been signed yet may signal that he is hoping for a better deal. Although the seven-year veteran played on a contract worth a little over $1 million last season, he might believe that he can get more once training camp injuries hit.

Joe Douglas has signaled his willingness to wait out the market. Anxious Jets fans will now continue to do the same.

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Rivka Boord has followed the Jets since the age of five. She is known locally for her in-depth knowledge of football. She hopes to empower young women to follow their dreams and join the sports conversation. Boord's background in analytics infuses her articles with unique insights into the state of the Jets' franchise and the NFL as a whole.
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