Last week I did a runthrough of the prospective unrestriced free agents that are on the last year of their deal, this week I want to turn to the restricted free agents. What they are basically is players that haven’t played enough games by the end of their contract to be full free agents, the only difference is if the Jets make them an offer and they decide to test the market the Jets get a chance to match or let the player go. Compensation picks are given to the Jets if they loose a player they gave a qualifying offer to.
To start there are 3 ERFA’s, that means exclusive rights free agents. They are players that the team can sign for a 1 year deal at league minimum or let them walk. If they give them the qualifying offer thats it, the players can’t negotiate with other teams. They are Rachad Wildgoose, Derrick Kelly and DJ Montgomery. They could all make the practice squad but thats about it, I could see Wildgoose be brought back next season as a depth guy. So those three out of the way lets look at the rest.
Nick Bawden: This one is fully up to performance, he did well halfway through last season and is a pure fullback unlike the Wesco experiment. He just needs to be solid and hope no one better than him comes along. He’ll get an offer if thats the case.
Greg Senat: A pure depth guy, probably a camp body more than anything at this point. If he makes the roster very bad things happened, possible squad guy but he’s 28 so doubtful he’s on the team next year.
Jeff Smith: The coaching staff loves him, he’s great on special teams and does offer some upside as a depth WR. He makes the roster for sure and gets and offer unless they find a better WR who plays special teams just as well or better.
Jabari Zuniga: This is do or die for him, if he makes the roster he better show he can be a productive member of the DL rotation. There are a lot of good players in the room for camp though so he needs to have an out of this world camp or he’ll be cut.
Del’Shawn Phillips: He’s a depth guy, has some skill but hasn’t shown much on the field, he’s a backup and special teamer. I see him as a literal definition of a coin flip to get an offer.
Javin White: I’ve seen him listed as both a DB and an LB so he’s a tweener like Sherwood and Nasrildeen. Hard to predict what happens with him but it looks like he’s in the LB room and is hoping for a depth role. He’s in competition with Phillips here.
Bryce Huff: This is the big one of the group to me. The kid has shown flashes of talent and athleticism, and should be a big part of the rotation at edge this season. If he reaches his ceiling he’s getting an offer for sure, with a high tender and could even get signed by another team. Joe Douglas would love to get some extra draft picks for sure. It’s going to be interesting to follow him this season.
Tim Ward: Another depth guy, this time one on the line. He’s an edge setter for the run game. Solomon Thomas was brought in to fill that roll along with JFM kicking outside against the run so its hard to say if Ward makes the team let alone gets an offer.
Javelin Guidry Jr.: Another interesting one to watch, he was an undrafted free agent that showed a lot of flashes and can play slot or outside. The kid is ridiculously fast and is a good special teamer. The CB room is crowded with talent and there are only so many spots. He’s on the team for sure this year but beyond that he’s fighting for the 5th CB spot. He’d probably get sniped from the practice squad so that probably won’t happen. He’s expendable with Michael Carter II on the team as the slot so he could also get traded. Joe loves to flip this kind of player.
Elijah Riley: Another good depth piece in the defensive backfield who has flashed talent but is in a crowded room. He’s fighting for the 4th safety roll because I doubt the team rolls with more than 4. Joyner and Whitehead are the presumptive starters and Riley is fighting with Davis and Pinnock, both of whom the team is higher on. He’s got to amaze in camp or hope for an injury to make the roster, but he’ll be on the practice squad again this year. I could see him being back next year as well in the backup roll.
Thats it for the second part of the rundown of the contract players on the roster. We’ll see how I do with my predictions in the coming weeks and months.