Bryce Huff, NY Jets, Contract
Bryce Huff, New York Jets, Getty Images

The contract situation of New York Jets EDGE Bryce Huff could set an interesting precedent in the NFL

Casual NFL fans may not be familiar with New York Jets edge rusher Bryce Huff. Jets fans, however, have long known the UDFA who’s turned into one of the best situational pass-rushers in the NFL.

But given his draft status and contract situation, Huff could find himself at the center of a philosophy change that could potentially affect NFL team-building for years to come.

Jets general manager Joe Douglas is playing chess, not checkers. It’s been rumored that the team has been receiving calls on their hidden gem. However, the Jets are refusing to move Huff – and there’s likely a good reason for that.

This offseason, the Jets used a second-round tender on Huff. The one-year, $4,304,000 contract came after the Memphis product was named one of the league’s top 14 under-the-radar players going into the offseason by NFL’s Next Gen Stats.

Because the Jets tendered Huff, the 25-year-old is set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season. This is part of why Douglas is unlikely to trade him.

One of the biggest reasons the team is unlikely to trade Huff – or increase his usage in non-passing situations – is that the Jets are likely to receive a higher compensation pick if he signs with another team in free agency than if the team were to trade him during the season. That way, the Jets retain the services of an elite pass-rusher while being better compensated in the upcoming offseason.

Edge rushers are always in demand, and with a skill set like Huff’s, he could potentially command a large market in free agency. Considering the Jets have used two first-round draft picks on edge rushers in the last two years, it’s unlikely the team will invest heavily in Huff this offseason. With that said, Huff is certainly a player worth investing in.

Last season was a breakout year for the Memphis product. Huff was first among edge rushers in pass-rush win rate, second in true pass set pressure rate, and third in QB hit rate. His 21.3% pressure rate (min 150 pass rushes) set a Next Gen Stats record.

Meanwhile, his 0.67-second pass-rush get-off was the fastest recorded by a NFL player over the last five years.

Players like Huff will inevitably change the way GMs handle UDFAs going forward.

A large part of a general manager’s job is to maximize the value of a player. From the moment a player signs up to when the team and player finally part ways, it’s imperative for good GMs to take advantage of the opportunities that they have.

One such advantage is utilizing undrafted players. There’s a stigma that UDFAs have a harder time making it in the NFL, but that’s not always the case. Just last year alone, nearly 1/4 of active NFL rosters were made up of UDFAs. One of those is Jets safety Tony Adams.

Quality UDFAs are gold for NFL teams because of the financial flexibility they provide. They allow GMs to have quality talent at a discount while being able to add talent at deprived positions. They also have the potential to become CFAs.

CFA stands for compensatory free agent. The NFL uses a formula that determines which players become CFAs at the end of the free agency period. When the league determines that a team suffers a net loss in CFAs, they are awarded a compensatory draft pick. While these picks are usually on Day 3 of the NFL draft, some are eligible for third-round selections.

Having an undrafted player become a CFA and signing elsewhere is an excellent way for a GM to boost draft capital without hindering their team. Not every UDFA that sticks is Austin Ekeler or Damon Harrison – some are quality depth pieces that, while they may not change the dynamic of a team, can be seen as a net loss when the NFL determines CFA status.

Most undrafted free agents usually have an added risk – such as age or injury concerns – attached to them that makes it easier for GMs to explore this option. Considering Huff is already 25 years old and is a below-average run defender, the Jets would be wise to avoid being stuck with the bill at the end of the year.

Since the Jets have Super Bowl aspirations, it makes sense for them to allow another team to pay up for Huff after the season. It’s a move many Jets fans may not understand or agree with. At face value, however, it’s the right thing for Joe Douglas to do. And don’t be surprised when this tactic is used by other GMs in the future.

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Thomas Christopher has been covering the Jets since 2018. He is an avid sports fan, mixed martial artist, fantasy football player and Rex Ryan stan. He's also one of Jets X-Factor's breaking news writers. Email: tpascar[at]
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23 days ago

People like to poke at Joe because he’s got some draft misses, but what GM hits on every pick or free agent signing? Just look at this team compared to when Gase was here (Yes, “Gase was here” is important since they were running things 50/50) and you can see the body of Joe’s work. Also, look at the salary cap situation and look at the team, and there is NO question he’s the right guy for the job. He’s the best GM of my lifetime, and one of the best in the league.

People who make comments about “our next GM” or this “ONE guy was a waste or bust so Joe needs criticism”, or “he didn’t do enough to address the OL” need to take a step back and get some perspective. What team in the AFC East doesn’t have at least 1 question on their OL, how many teams in the league for that matter? No team in the NFL has “everything” but Joe has built one of the most competitive teams in the past 20 years. We finally have guys running the football operation who know what they are doing and that includes Saleh.

22 days ago
Reply to  Jets71

We should keep this Dynamic Duo as long as they’re willing to stay