Most of the New York Jets’ roster from this past season is signed for next season, however, there are a few starters who are going to be free agents. The Jets are coming off a 5-11 season, surpassing many expectation for the team. The Jets reportedly are prioritizing bringing back CB Morris Claiborne, LB Demario Davis, and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, in that order. Is that the correct order? And what other players should the Jets look to bring back?
1. LB Demario Davis
The New York Jets number one priority with their own free agents should be Davis. Davis had the best season of his career, leading the team with 135 tackles and 5 sacks. Davis emerged as one of the leaders of the team both on the field and in the locker room. The Jets are thin at inside linebacker without him, leaving just the underwhelming Darron Lee. The Jets could elect to let Davis walk if he wants too much money, but there aren’t any better options in free agency. A good replacement option in the draft would be Roquan Smith of Georgia with the sixth pick, if the Jets already have their quarterback locked up.
2. CB Morris Claiborne
It would be a good decision by the Jets to bring back Claiborne, however, it is not a pressing need. The Jets need cornerbacks badly. If Claiborne walks they will need to sign at least two corner backs, even if they do not move on from Buster Skrine. Corner is one the Jets weakest positions. With all of that said, Claiborne had an average season (at best) for a number one corner, dominating the first six weeks of the season, before getting banged up and struggling down the stretch. With all of his injury history, he is not a player that the Jets can rely on long-term, and even if they bring him back, they should still target some of the top CBs on the market.
3. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
ASJ reportedly turned down a two-year deal, with four million annually. This is not a surprise given that he tweeted a little over a month ago that he wants at least six million dollars per year. ASJ is a solid player, who has a great story of turning around his life. He is the best TE the Jets have had since Dustin Keller, however, he isn’t a star. He has a lot of ability, but his production this season in the passing game was underwhelming. He was a willing blocker in the run game, which is a big plus, but the fact that Neal Sterling was able to have a better game in week 17 with Bryce Petty throwing him the ball than ASJ did all season is a bit concerning. The Jets should try to bring back ASJ for two or three years, but it’s not a big deal if he walks.
4. QB Josh McCown
The Jets could do a lot better than Josh McCown this offseason. There are a lot of solid QB options on the market, highlighted by Kirk Cousins. The Jets should only bring back McCown if they are 100% set on drafting a quarterback in the first round. McCown should not be the starter next year, unless it is just for the first few games while the rookie is getting ready.
5. DL Kony Ealy
Ealy had a solid season, and is a good depth lineman. He started off the year very strong, but didn’t keep it up. Ealy would be a good player to bring back, however the team should not break the bank for him.
Other players the team should try to bring back:
These are players that the Jets should look to bring back on reasonable deals. They are mostly backups and depth players.
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