NFL front offices and fans alike, love a splashy move in Free Agency. They sell tickets, seats and give everybody renewed hope. However, the teams who “win the offseason” are more often than not those who excel on day 2 of free agency. Would I love for Jets to sign Joe Thuney and Allen Robinson? Of course! But as we all know, those players come with big financial commitments and an even bigger list of suitors.
With that in mind, lets dig a little deeper into who the Jets should be targeting, after the initial free agency rush has subsided:
Troy Hill – CB – Los Angeles Rams:
Hill is a versatile CB, coming off the two best seasons of his career. After playing primarily on the outside in 2019, he shifted to the slot this past season and excelled there. Hill was an integral part of the Rams top ranked defense and will be hitting the market as a 29 year old. Whether they’re looking to replace Brian Poole or add a boundary corner in Saleh’s Cover 3 scheme, the Jets should consider making a play for Troy Hill.
Best Fit: Slot CB with outside capability
Contract: 3 years/$16M ($9M guaranteed)
Curtis Samuel – WR – Carolina Panthers:
From the outside looking in, Curtis Samuel is the PERFECT fit in this Shanahan/LaFleur offense. He would thrive in the “gadget” role on Jet sweeps, screens and other manufactured touches. However, Samuel has much more to his game than that. Over the past two seasons, he’s shown glimpses of being an elite separator and has the versatility to play outside in 21 personnel packages. Coming off his first 1000 yard season (from scrimmage), Samuel is a great alternative if the Jets miss out on the likes of Robinson, Godwin and Golladay.
Best Fit: Slot WR, manufactured touches & playing outside in 2-WR sets
Contract: 3 years/$28M ($18M guaranteed)
Jayon Brown – LB – Tennessee Titans:
With Robert Saleh bringing his Cover 3 system to New York, off-ball linebacker has become one of the biggest positions of need for the Jets. Jayon Brown would be an instant upgrade and an excellent schematic fit. He’s a coverage style LB, who would play the WILL spot in a 4-3 defense. According to PFF.com, Brown has graded out as the 10th best LB in coverage over the past 3 seasons. If he shakes free from Tennessee, Brown would be a welcome addition for Gang Green.
Best Fit: WILL Linebacker
Contract: 4 years/$48M ($26M guaranteed)
Kerry Hyder Jr – DE – San Francisco 49ers:
While I’m not big on predicting that a player will follow their former coach to a new team (it’s a bit lazy), Hyder to the Jets makes too much sense. This roster is desperate for EDGE rushers and an aggressive front 4 is an enormous part of Coach Saleh’s scheme. Hyder is coming off a career year, where he compiled 9 sacks and a PFF Grade of 68.8. Even if the Jets are looking to draft an EDGE at #23 or attack the position with a marquee FA signing (Ngakuoe/Judon etc), Hyder would be a valuable pickup.
Best Fit: Defensive End in a 4-3 front
Contract: 2 years/$15M ($11M guaranteed)
Jamaal Williams – RB – Green Bay Packers:
Joe Douglas doesn’t seem like the type of GM to invest too many assets at running back. Similarly, the Shanahan tree has always gotten maximum value out of the position. Enter Jamaal Williams. The 4 year RB out of BYU has made the most of his limited opportunities in Green Bay, primarily as their spell/3rd down back. Williams would be a nice fit in the Wide-Zone scheme, as a one cut runner with underrated pass catching ability. A backfield of Williams, Perine and Johnson is more than serviceable for Mike LaFleur.
Best Fit: RB 1A or 1B in a backfield by committee
Contract: 2 years/$7M ($4M guaranteed)
Jonnu Smith – TE – Tennessee Titans:
A trend we’ve seen on this list of “secondary market” free agents is scheme fit. That continues here with Jonnu Smith, who played in Tennessee under Matt LaFleur in 2018. Smith is a versatile chess piece that would line up at TE, H-Back and Fullback for the Jets. He’s an above average blocker and would thrive in an offense where he’s utilized more as a pass catcher. If the Jets add Smith and Samuel to the duo of Mims and Crowder, they’ll have a nice group of skill position players to support a rookie QB.
Best Fit: TE 1
Contract: 4 years/$36M($22M guaranteed)