New York Jets 2022 Offseason Previewby Ryan Moran February 10, 2022 0 comments
The 2021 New York Jets started a new and exciting era of football. The team finished 4-13 but there are reasons for optimism. They had a whole new coaching staff and accounted for the most rookie snaps played in the league this season. Entering year two, they have a significant amount of premium resources to bolster this roster to get to the next level. After a few logical releases, they will have a ton of cap space putting them near the top. They also own nine draft picks, all of which are in the first five rounds. The Jets will make two top 10 picks, and four total in the top 38. Needless to say, this team can greatly improve during the 2022 offseason.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Offseason Previews.
Pending Free Agents
This offseason, the Jets are scheduled to have 18 unrestricted free agents and two restricted free agents. Per Over The Cap, the Jets are currently projected to have $48.1 million in cap space. As previously stated though, there are a few underachieving players who will get released to add to the cap space. There are a few big decisions on key free agents the Jets have that general manager Joe Douglas will have to make.
Berrios was one of the first players acquired by Douglas shortly before the start of the 2019 season. Over the last three seasons, Berrios has been a core contributor for the Jets. Each year, his role as a receiver has increased. With that, he made progress, especially with his hands. Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur did a good job of scheming up plays for him. On special teams, Berrios is valuable. He was awarded First-Team All-Pro as a kick returner. Berrios will likely be a priority for the Jets to retain, but there is a good chance he ends up elsewhere.
This last season, Fatukasi was one of the Jets’ longest-tenured players. Since taking on a significant role in 2019, Fatukasi has been a core Jet. He is regarded as one of the better run-stopping defensive tackles in the league. Unfortunately, the new defensive scheme head coach Robert Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich run does not fit Fatukasi’s skill set best. He will probably be on a new team in 2022.
The Jets made a savvy move signing Moses to their offensive line last summer. He started Week 1 as the third tackle. With Mekhi Becton‘s injury in the first game of the season, Moses went on to play the rest of 2021. He fought through injuries himself. Moses provided veteran leadership to a young team. Overall, he was a solid right tackle a season ago. The Jets do value Moses and would probably love to bring him back. However, with George Fant and Becton, Moses will probably land a guaranteed starting job elsewhere.
Potential Cap Casualties
The Jets do have a ton of cap space as they rank fifth in the league. That being said, some players have not contributed enough and will likely be moved on from. Douglas has not been overly aggressive in either of his first two free agency classes. The casualties that the Jets do have do not have any significant cap hits and are relatively easy to move on from.
Greg Van Roten ($3.5 Million Saved)
The Jets signed Van Roten in 2020 to be their right guard. Over the last two seasons, his play was not good enough. The Jets acquired Laurent Duvernay-Tardif prior to the trade deadline who was immediately an upgrade. The money Van Roten is owed could be enough to retain Duvernay-Tardif. Van Roten has no dead money attached to his deal. He will be released before the start of free agency.
Ryan Griffin ($3 Million Saved)
Griffin was signed in the summer of 2019 and went on to have a great first year with the team that led to a three-year extension. Unfortunately, Griffin had an injury late in the 2019 season. Ever since he was not the same player. The Jets have a huge need at the tight end position and will be involved in the free-agent market. Griffin will be released prior to free agency.
Sheldon Rankins ($5.5 Million Saved)
Rankins will probably not end up being released by the Jets but he could be. He was signed in free agency last year on a two-year deal. Rankins had some good moments as an interior pass rusher. Consistently the production from Rankins was not always there. He does provide good veteran leadership to the Jets along with winning experience. Rankins could be released but a pay-cut seems more likely.
Open Market Free Agent Targets
The Jets will have the cap space to spend big on a free agent or two. This is a team that has to improve its depth as well so anticipate some mid-level signings to one or two-year contracts. The biggest needs the Jets have are at tight end and safety. Both of those position groups happen to have some fairly respectable depth that is likely going to hit the market.
Marcus Williams, New Orleans Saints
If the Jets were to acquire one top-tier free agent, Williams is the one that seems most likely. He is a rangy centerfielder at the free safety position. Williams averages three interceptions a season throughout his five-year career. The Jets’ secondary needs more ball production. Williams is one of the top players at his position in the league. He would be a big-time signing.
Tyler Conklin, Minnesota Vikings
The Jets have not had decent production at the tight end position in years. Conklin would provide an immediate impact to the passing game from the position for Zach Wilson. He is a good blocker and would fit LaFleur’s offense. As a receiver, Conklin finally got a good opportunity last season. He had a solid year and can likely continue to grow. Conklin would be a solid addition in free agency.
Tim Settle, Washington Commanders
With the Jets likely to lose Fatukasi, adding a solid run-stopping defensive tackle will be needed. Settle is a young player who is likely hitting his prime years. He has not gotten too many opportunities over the course of his career to this point. With the playing time he has gotten, Settle has proven some potential. Settle would be a good addition for the Jets.
Previewing the 2022 NFL Draft
The Jets have an abundance of 2022 draft capital. They own nine total draft selections which are all in the first five rounds. The Jets gained extra draft picks from trades including Jamal Adams and Sam Darnold. In the first round, the Jets will pick second and 10th overall. To start the second round, they will select at picks 35 and 38. The Jets found a star in Elijah Moore with the 34th pick a year ago. This opportunity that the Jets have in the draft is a special one. Expect the Jets to address the trenches. Despite the trade-up for Alijah Vera-Tucker a year ago, the Jets are probably more likely to trade down from one of their two first-round picks this year.
Round 1, Pick 4: Offensive Line
Between offensive line and defensive end, this is a tough one. Ultimately, it seems more likely that one of the top tackles in Ikem Ekwonu or Evan Neal will be available. If Kayvon Thibodeaux or Aidan Hutchinson are, they could be the pick. In Ekwonu, the Jets could start him at right guard as the team currently has two tackles. With Neal, whether or not he has the ability to play inside is interesting. Still, he could very well be the pick.
Round 1, Pick 10: Defensive End
With the Jets more likely to go with an offensive lineman with their first selection, they will probably go with a talented edge rusher next. The logical three options are George Karlaftis, David Ojabo, and Jermaine Johnson. These three players are all unique in their own way. Karlaftis is a bigger power rusher. Ojabo has tremendous upside with his athleticism. Johnson just had a productive season and has the height, weight, and speed to be dominant. The Jets need another great edge rusher.
Round 2, Pick 35: Wide Receiver
The Jets could potentially draft a wide receiver in the first round. However, addressing each side of the trenches seems more probable. Even if the Jets add a big-time wide receiver in free agency or through a trade, good depth will still be needed. Some potential options here could be Chris Olave, Jahan Dotson, and David Bell. Olave and Dotson would both fit as downfield threats with Wilson’s strong arm. Bell would bring a bigger presence with his size.
Round 2, Pick 38: Tight End
Even with tight end being a likely addition for the Jets in free agency, they need two. They could find their potential long-term option for Wilson here. The most notable player is Trey McBride. He is a big player and a terrific blocker. The next best players out of the group are Isaiah Likely, Jalen Wydermyer, and Jeremy Ruckert. The 38th pick does seem to be before their projected draft range though. Drafting McBride would be exciting.
Round 3, Pick 69: Cornerback
The Jets have done a good job of finding value at corner between day three picks and undrafted free agents. Still, one outside starter is a need. Coby Bryant could be in play here. He possesses good length and is gaining hype through the draft process early on. Another viable player who could be an option is Mykael Wright. Adding more young talent to the cornerback group would be ideal for the Jets.
Early 2022 Expectations
Jets fans should expect a much-improved football team that wins many more games in 2022. In the second year of the regime, a jump is fair to anticipate. With all of the premium resources the Jets will have, talent will be accumulated. It is fair to say that the Jets should be competitive next season and be a team that has a chance at making the playoffs. For the first time in a while, the Jets are a young football team with promise and potential.
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