The New York Jets should look into adding these players who were dropped by other teams
While the New York Jets’ initial 53-man roster is set in stone, it feels unlikely that this set of 53 players is the exact group that New York will carry into Week 1 of the regular season. With plenty of intriguing players being cut throughout the league, the Jets still have chances to improve their team.
Here are 10 players the Jets should explore adding at positions of need.
DT Armon Watts (Vikings)
The 26-year-old Watts is not known for his run defense but is a starter-level pass-rusher. Last year, he had 5.0 sacks and ranked 29th among interior defensive linemen with 33 pressures.
While Watts does not solve the Jets’ need for run defense at this position, he is one of the best players available at any position and would give the Jets yet another pass-rushing weapon (which we know they love).
Plus, with the Jets needing immediate cap space (they have the third-least cap space at $741K, per Over The Cap), the Jets could add Watts and release Sheldon Rankins to clear some space and improve at the same time. Rankins ranked 50th with 24 pressures despite playing essentially the same number of reps as Watts (Watts had 3 more pass-rush reps on the year, 414 to 411).
DT Christian Covington (Chargers)
Covington, 28, is a player who can give the Jets some much-needed competent run defense on the interior while still fitting their attacking scheme thanks to his relatively slight 305-pound frame and strong athleticism (8.99 RAS in 2015 draft).
In 2021, Covington earned a 59.6 run defense grade at Pro Football Focus, which ranked 46th out of 149 qualified IDL (70th percentile). More than half of his snaps came on run plays, exemplifying his ideal usage.
S Tony Jefferson (Ravens)
Now 30 years old, Jefferson was known as one of the NFL’s more productive box safeties in his prime, spending most of his career with the Ravens and Cardinals. But Jefferson has not been productive since 2018, as an ACL injury suffered early in the 2019 season has left him fledgling ever since. He missed all of the 2020 season and spent most of 2021 either battling injuries or on the practice squad.
Nevertheless, Jefferson’s experience and nose for the football would make him a useful backup to Jordan Whitehead. He played well during his limited appearances in 2021, allowing a 73.8 passer rating across 10 throws in his direction while missing only one tackle.
S Jaquiski Tartt (49ers)
Tartt played free safety under Robert Saleh with the 49ers from 2017 to 2020. The 30-year-old was drafted by the Niners in 2015 and just saw his long-lasting career in the Bay Area come to an end.
While Tartt has never been a playmaker (look no further than his dropped interception in the 2021 NFC Championship Game), he has always been a reliable and fundamentally sound player in coverage who does not make many mistakes. Over the past three seasons, Tartt was credited with allowing 295 yards and 4 touchdowns into his coverage across 33 games.
At the very least, Tartt would be a better backup to Lamarcus Joyner than Ashtyn Davis or Tony Adams, but I think Tartt might even be an upgrade over Joyner in the starting lineup.
S Anthony Harris (Eagles)
Harris is a starting free safety in this league. He started all 44 of his appearances for the Vikings and Eagles over the past three seasons.
Harris’s play in coverage has dwindled a bit, as he allowed 7 touchdowns over the past two seasons, but he has been a great tackler throughout his entire career, never registering a missed tackle rate worse than 8.8% (which is excellent) in any of his seven seasons.
Like Tartt, Harris would, at the very least, give the Jets an upgrade at the backup FS spot, while even having a chance to be an upgrade over Joyner.
OT Joe Haeg (Steelers)
Haeg, 29, has developed into a solid backup lineman. He allowed only seven pressures over 209 pass-blocking snaps in relief duty for Pittsburgh last year (a very good pressure rate of 3.3%) while playing four different positions.
Haeg has played every offensive line position but center in his career, although his most common position is right tackle.
OT Roderick Johnson (Chiefs)
Johnson is still only 26 years old and has provided decent production as a tackle on both sides of the line, especially in the run game. Over the 2019 and 2020 seasons with the Texans, he posted PFF run-blocking grades of 68.4 and 73.9, respectively.
His pass-blocking was an issue as he allowed 27 pressures on 393 pass-blocking snaps, which is a pressure rate of 6.9%. That’s not starter quality, but for a backup, you can do a whole lot worse. For example, Conor McDermott’s career pressure rate is 7.4% and Chuma Edoga’s is 8.7%.
OT Jordan Mills (49ers)
Mills is a 10th-year veteran with 100 games and 87 starts under his belt at age 32. This offseason, he gained experience in the 49ers’ offensive scheme, which should translate to the Jets. Mills pass-protected effectively this preseason as he allowed only three pressures over 94 pass-blocking snaps (3.2% pressure rate).
After a shaky first few years of his career, Mills has established himself as a decent pass-blocker over the past few years (which is well above expectations for a backup). Since 2017, Mills has allowed 74 pressures on 1,366 pass-blocking snaps, giving him a fairly average pressure rate of 5.4%.
Mills has only played right tackle in his career.
LB Nick Kwiatkoski (Falcons)
The 6-foot-2, 242-pound Kwiatkoski would bring a little bit more “boom” to a Jets linebacker room that is on the lighter side and lacking in run-stuffing ability. Kwiatkoski is a sound tackler with a career missed tackle rate of 9.5% (anything under 10% is great for a LB).
LB Joe Schobert (Broncos)
Like Kwiatkoski, Schobert can bring some more beef to the Jets’ LB unit as he stands at 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds.
Schobert is a boom-or-bust player. His career missed tackle rate is high at 14.0%, and he has also allowed 16 touchdown passes in his career. But over the past five seasons, he has been a lights-out playmaker in the standard box score, averaging 126.6 total tackles, 2.0 interceptions, 2.0 sacks, 2.0 forced fumbles, and 5.8 passes defended per season. Schobert has played 77 games with 76 starts since 2017, including 16 games and 15 starts for Pittsburgh last year.
While Schobert is coming off a down year with the Steelers, he can provide the Jets with solid depth at a position of need; and he might actually be better than Quincy Williams unless Williams takes a sizable leap this year.
Good list. My preferences would have been Haeg over McDermott, and replacing Rankins with Covington or Watts. I guess the Jets felt more comfortable with McDermott since he knows the scheme. I also would have been happy with Jefferson. For some reason, they love Davis. I liked him initially due to his speed and athleticism, but he just hasn’t developed imo.
I would be shocked if they don’t add an OT, I can’t see them going into week 1 with Max Mitchell as their back up but it’s a two way street. There has to be a guy that fits for them to add someone. One thing I have learned with the OL is scheme is just about everything. A good player in a “gap” scheme may be horrible for this zone scheme, we’ll see if any of these guys fit.
There was a report they were looking at Tony Jefferson. None of us are happy with Ashtyn Davis, but I have a new perspective in looking at safeties. The guy has to bring more to the table than both Davis AND Will Parks. I wonder if any of the guys on this list meet both criteria? They certainly have experience, but is their play an improvement? I’m not sure.
The DT spot is interesting, they were sniffing around a few guys just a week ago so adding a DT could happen.
I agree about the OL. They are very thin there.
Yeah they totally would be ill prepared to roll into the season with only 3 OTs. Gotta think theres maneuvering and planning going on. I hope. I wonder what happens when zach returns, does MW get sent packing? Is there some money to save by cutting him? Also if by week 2 they only have zw and flacco on their active qb roster, that opens up mw’s spot for an OT. But who exactly? Could be a trade or deal in place? Who knows. Gotta get another OT though.
It would be helpful if you suggested who these players might replace on the current roster, and why would that be an upgrade.
Tart and Mills please!
Great read, Michael. Thanks! Looking forward to the afternoon to see what’s happening with the waiver wire.