In the NFL, the decisions made during the offseason are perhaps more impactful than those in any other sport. If a general manager makes the right moves, a team can go from 4-12 to 12-4 (or 10-6).
The changes a franchise makes in an offseason are even more critical when said franchise is in rebuilding mode. In New York, that franchise is the Jets. The decisions that general manager Mike Maccagnan makes this offseason could impact the future of the Jets for years to come.
And Mike definitely has a lot of decisions to make.
Luckily, when it comes to re-signing free agents, his job is relatively simple. Out of the 13 players on the Jets set to become free agents March 9th, the only “big name” player of the group is Ryan Fitzpatrick. And the Jets definitely don’t want him back.
In fact, out of all 13 players, there are really only three that the Jets should certainly look into re-signing. While these players might not be great, they will be cheap, which is definitely a plus when you consider the Jets cap situation as it stands right now.
Cornerback Marcus Williams
After having six interceptions in 2015, Marcus Williams only managed two this past season. Although there was a fair amount of hype around him going into the 2016 campaign, it seemed to many that Williams was more a product of the great 2015 New York Jets defense than an outstanding cornerback.
By the end of the season, the doubters seemed to have been proven right.
However, Williams has more than proven to be a serviceable backup cornerback at least. In addition, he has shown flashes of greatness and, in the right system with the right help, he can be a ball hawk. Since the Jets are more or less decimated at the cornerback position, it would make sense to keep Williams on as a backup and see if he can’t develop into something more in his fourth year in the league.
Center Wesley Johnson
After Nick Mangold got injured halfway through the season, Wesley Johnson did an adequate job filling in for him. While he may have had some bad moments, the young player certainly played well at times. He certainly wasn’t the biggest liability on the Jets injury-riddled offensive line.
With the distinct possibility that Nick Mangold retires (or even gets cut) this offseason, the Jets should re-sign Johnson. With no great centers entering free agency this year, Wesley is probably the best option to replace Mangold just because of his familiarity with the rest of the Jets.
In any case, the Jets should resign him because he’s proven his ability as a backup and showed that he can hold his own as a starter last season.
Quarterback Geno Smith
The average Jets fan will see that I’ve just said that the Jets should keep Geno Smith and immediately stop reading. He or she will close this article, write me off as an idiot, and probably will never read another thing written by me again.
But hear me out.
Geno managed to win eight games in his rookie year (2013) with a terrible supporting cast. He looked like he was on the track to improving during the last month of 2014, again with no help offensively.
Geno had the starting job in 2015 before he was punched. Again, he was given the starting job in 2016 but got injured during his first game.
Geno will be relatively cheap for a quarterback in this year’s free agency and he is arguably the best quarterback of the group as well. Would you rather have Geno or Mike Glennon, who is less athletic and will probably come with a higher price tag? Or Jay Cutler, who is a locker room nightmare? Or Colin Kaepernick?
I’d rather have Kirk Cousins for sure, but there is little to no chance the Jets are going to be able to get him even if he does leave Washington.
Would you rather try to go into the season with the dynamic duo of Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg?
Unless the Jets get a rookie quarterback in the draft (which many people think they might), I honestly think that Geno is their best option.
And it hurts to say this. Trust me it does.
Not that I don’t like Geno. To be 100% truthful, I’ve always been a fan of his. I just wish that the Jets had a more surefire answer to their quarterback problem.
But they don’t. And that’s life in the NFL.
So if the Jets do re-sign Geno Smith, I implore Jets fans to remain loyal and give him a chance before you start booing.
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