2019 NFL Offseason: New York Jets

New York Jets (Last Year: 4-12)

2019 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
QB Trevor Siemian, RB Le’Veon Bell, RB Ty Montgomery, WR Jamison Crowder, WR Josh Bellamy, G Kelechi Osemele, G/OT Tom Compton, ILB C.J. Mosley, CB Brian Poole.
Draft Picks:
DE/DT Quinnen Williams, DE/OLB Jachai Polite, OT Chuma Edoga, TE Trevon Wesco, LB Blake Cashman. Jets Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
QB Josh McCown, RB Isaiah Crowell, WR Andre Roberts, NT Mike Pennel, CB Morris Claiborne.

2019 New York Jets Offense:
Under normal circumstances, the progression of a talented quarterback like Sam Darnold would be the major talking point of an NFL franchise. That, however, is not the case. Darnold, who showed some great flashes in his rookie campaign – as well as some low lights – figures to be far better in his sophomore campaign. Darnold finished his rookie season on a strong note, dueling Aaron Rodgers down to the wire in an epic Week 16 battle.

Darnold, however, is not the primary topic of conversation because the Jets signed arguably the crown jewel of free agency, Le’Veon Bell. The extremely talented running back took 2018 off because of a contract dispute with the Steelers. He’ll have fresh legs for his new team, and he’ll be eager to prove that Pittsburgh should have paid him the money he desired. Not only is Bell an extremely talented, patient runner; he’s also one of the premier receiving backs in the NFL. Darnold is going to make good use of him as a safety valve, so Bell figures to log at least 80 receptions.

Bell is one piece of a quartet of talented weapons Darnold will have at his disposal. Darnold’s top receiver last year was Robby Anderson, who caught 50 passes for 752 yards and six touchdowns. Most of Anderson’s production, including a 9-140-1 line – came late in the year when Darnold was more comfortable taking shots downfield. The Jets’ other primary receiver, Jamison Crowder, was signed in free agency. The former Redskin has trouble staying healthy, but he’s a solid player when on the field. Last but not least, tight end Chris Herndon logged 502 yards as a rookie last year. Herndon also was better down the stretch, so he’s expected to make a big leap in his sophomore campaign. He’ll miss the first four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

The Jets also added a big name to their offensive line, acquiring Kelechi Osemele from the Raiders. Osemele struggled with injuries last year, but can be a punishing blocker when healthy. Osemele just turned 30, but because interior linemen can play well into their mid-30s, he figures to have a strong bounce-back campaign. He’ll start on the inside with fellow guard Brian Winters and center Jonotthan Harrison. While Harrison seems like a lost cause, Winters has been decent in the past, but has dealt with some injuries in recent seasons.

The two tackles, Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell, are adequate blockers. Neither is a liability, though they both could have been upgraded this offseason. They’ll be good enough for the Jets as the team attempts to make its first playoff push with Darnold, but improvements will be needed in the future.

2019 New York Jets Defense:
The Jets had plenty of cap space entering free agency, so they were going to do more than just add Le’Veon Bell in free agency despite it being a very significant move. They were expected to obtain multiple defenders on the open market. While this did not happen, they at least obtained a new leader for their defense in C.J. Mosley.

Mosley was an important member of Baltimore’s defense in recent seasons. While he was slightly overrated because he’s not great in coverage, Mosley is a stalwart run defender. The Jets were 21st against the run, so that figures to change next year, with Mosley and Avery Williamson forming a solid duo in the middle of the field.

While New York added one free agent of significance on this side of the ball, it managed to add two potential Pro Bowlers for 2019 in the spring. The second came via the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, as the Jets selected Quinnen Williams. The Alabama product was completely dominant in the trenches in college, and he should be prolific for the Jets. Williams gives the Jets a terrific trio on the front line. He’ll join Leonard Williams, one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL, and Henry Anderson, who was rewarded with a $25.2 million contract this spring after collecting seven sacks and playing well versus the run in 2018.

The Jets’ next draft pick was used on another defensive player, Jachai Polite. Edge rush is the Jets’ weakest position on this side of the ball, so the Florida prospect will have a chance to start right away. He won’t have much competition, as the Jets’ top edge rushers last year, Jordan Jenkins and Brandon Copeland, combined to notch just 12 sacks.

Quinnen Williams and Polite will be able to breathe some life into the Jets’ pass rush, helping the secondary. New York is set at safety with a pair of dynamic players in Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. Adams, in particular, is a special player. With a better pass rush aiding him, he could establish himself as the best safety in the NFL this year.

The Jets aren’t nearly as strong at cornerback. There’s some hope though, as Trumaine Johnson, who signed a $72.5 million contract last spring, can bounce back with a better season. Johnson did not perform up to expectations in 2018, but he battled injuries. With better luck concerning his health, Johnson figures to thrive next year. Even if he does, however, New York won’t have much else at cornerback, with Brian Poole and Darryl Roberts being the two other primary options.

2019 New York Jets Schedule and Intangibles:
The Jets will have a new kicker this season, Chandler Catanzaro. He did not play well last year. He was 16-of-20, but missed five extra points.

Punter Lachlan Edwards was dead last in net yardage in 2016. He improved to 19th the next year and was 13th in 2018.

Thanks to Andre Roberts, the Jets outgained their opponents by a wide margin on both punt and kickoff returns. Roberts is no longer on the team, however.

The Jets have some tough games against the Patriots (twice), Eagles, Steelers and Browns, but the rest of their schedule looks quite easy.

2019 New York Jets Rookies:
Go here for the Jets Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.

2019 New York Jets Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2019 New York Jets Analysis: The Jets are a legitimate Super Bowl threat. Yes, that’s correct. If Sam Darnold makes the expected leap in his second season, he can lead the Jets to a deep playoff appearance. He has legitimate talent around him, while his offensive line has been upgraded. The defense, meanwhile, will be much stronger with Quinnen Williams and C.J. Mosley on the field, as well as Trumaine Johnson presumably healthier. The Jets also will have the luxury of navigating a fourth-place schedule, so 10-plus victories are expected.

Projection: 10-6 (2nd in AFC East)

2018 Projection: 5-11. 2018 Actual Result: 4-12.
2017 Projection: 2-14. 2017 Actual Result: 5-11.
2016 Projection: 6-10. 2016 Actual Result: 5-11.

NFL Draft Team Grade: C+ Grade

Goals Entering the 2019 NFL Draft: The Jets signed Le’Veon Bell this offseason, but that doesn’t mean that they’re done building around Sam Darnold. They must give Darnold some upgrades at receiver and the offensive line. Meanwhile, the defense is solid, but needs help at edge rusher and cornerback.

2019 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Jets were given offers to trade down, and they should have taken them. Quinnen Williams is an outstanding prospect, but New York could have used the extra assets to build around Darnold, given that it had just two selections in the top 90. Also, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams wanted a different player for his line (Ed Oliver), so the Williams selection didn’t make sense from that perspective.

Still, the Jets made two solid choices early to improve their front seven, acquiring Williams and Jachai Polite, a talented player with motivational issues. The offense was addressed after that, with the Jets drafting a tackle (Chuma Edoga) and tight end (Trevon Wesco). That was it, however. No receivers were acquired, and only one offensive lineman was obtained. This is exactly why the Jets needed to trade down.

I’d say the Jets had a middling weekend overall. They certainly improved their roster, especially if Polite lives up to his ability. However, failing to address both receiver and cornerback should leave a sour taste in the mouths of Jets fans.

NFL Draft Individual Grades:

3. Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama B- Grade
Quinnen Williams is arguably the best player in the 2019 NFL Draft, so I won’t grade this poorly. However, it’s an odd selection in that the defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, wanted someone else. Williams saw Ed Oliver as the player he desired on his defensive line, so why did the Jets pick another defensive prospect? That doesn’t make much sense to me. It’s also disappointing that the Jets couldn’t trade down. Still, the Jets are getting a terrific talent, so I won’t go below a B- for this grade.

68. Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida B Grade
This pick has immense upside because Jachai Polite has great talent. He has put together some strong tape at times, but he doesn’t always try hard. He was out of shape at the combine, which is why he wasn’t chosen in the first round. He comes with immense risk, but if the Jets can motivate him, they’ll get a great talent who fills a big need.

92. Chuma Edoga, OT, USC C Grade
I’m not sure about these prospects the Jets have obtained on Day 2. They started with Jachai Polite, who has motivational issues. Now, they add Chuma Edoga, who is even worse in that regard! Based on talent alone, Edoga would be a second-round prospect. The problem is that he’s highly unmotivated, and he even left the team at one point. The Jets will need to really motivate him, or they’ll have a complete bust with this pick. Still, the upside is there.

121. Trevon Wesco, TE, West Virginia B Grade
Trevon Wesco is a versatile player who can be used at tight end, H-back and fullback. He makes sense in this range, as I had him pegged as a Round 4-5 player. He doesn’t fill a big need, but he can be used as a decent mismatch weapon.

157. Blake Cashman, LB, Minnesota A Grade
This is another terrific linebacker pick. We’ll see what happens with Darron Lee in the future, and I could envision Blake Cashman eventually starting for the Jets. He’s small (6-1, 237) and doesn’t have much experience, but his instincts and athleticism are at a high level. He has great potential and probably should’ve been chosen a whole round earlier.

196. Blessuan Austin, CB, Rutgers B+ Grade
Blessuan Austin is the sort of cornerback the Seahawks typically like, and he would’ve been chosen much earlier than this if it weren’t for health concerns. He has torn the same knee twice in the past two seasons, so it’s unknown if he’ll be able to play very much. He’s worth the risk here, but there’s a chance he may never take the field.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Season Summary:
The Jets won just four games in 2018, but the future is bright. Sam Darnold was either the second- or third-best rookie quarterback, so if the Jets hire a smart coach and give Darnold some quality weapons, they could be in playoff contention next year.

Offseason Moves:
  • Jets sign TE Daniel Brown
  • Jets sign G/OT Tom Compton
  • Jets sign K Chandler Catanzaro
  • Jets sign CB Brian Poole
  • Jets cut RB Isaiah Crowell
  • Jets sign RB Le’Veon Bell
  • Jets sign ILB C.J. Mosley
  • Jets sign WR Josh Bellamy
  • Jets sign WR Jamison Crowder
  • Jets acquire G Kelechi Osemele, 6th-round pick from Raiders for 2019 5th-round pick

    Team Needs:
    1. Running Back: The Jets need a potent, every-down running back to help Sam Darnold. Isaiah Crowell, Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire aren’t cutting it. I imagine an early-round pick will be used on the position. Signed Le’Veon Bell

    2. Wide Receiver: The Jets have one viable receiver in Robby Anderson. They need a second option to threaten defenses vertically. Signed Jamison Crowder

    3. Guard: The Jets must bolster their blocking unit to protect Darnold. The entire line, save for left tackle, might need to be revamped. Traded for Kelechi Osemele; signed Tom Compton

    4. Center: New York could use multiple new offensive linemen. Center is a weakness.

    5. Two Edge Rushers: The Jets must bolster their offense to build around Darnold. However, they need some defensive pieces as well. Primarily, edge rusher is a huge need. They must acquire a couple of players to put heat on opposing quarterbacks. Signed Anthony Barr

    6. Right Tackle: Right tackle is also a liability, as Brandon Shell isn’t a complete liability, but he’s not very good either.

    7. Cornerback: Morris Claiborne’s contract is expiring, so a new cornerback will be needed if he’s not retained. Signed Brian Poole

    8. Nose Tackle: Steve McLendon is a solid nose tackle, but he’s an impending free agent. He’ll need to be replaced if he’s not re-signed. Re-signed Steve McLendon

    9. Backup Quarterback: Josh McCown will also be a free agent come March. Signed Trevor Siemian

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2019 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers. Age: 27.
      Signed with Jets (4 years, $52.5 million)

      Le’Veon Bell is a bad presence to have in the locker room, but there’s no questioning his talent. His legs will be fresh following a year off, so he could have a huge 2019 campaign.

    2. C.J. Mosley, ILB, Ravens. Age: 27.
      Signed with Jets (5 years, $85 million; $51 million guaranteed)

      C.J. Mosley is an overrated player, as he tends to struggle in coverage sometimes. He’s not awful in that regard, but he can be a liability on occasion. He’s still a decent linebacker, as he’s excellent in run support, but he’s not rated as highly as people might think he should be.

    3. Brian Poole (RFA), CB, Falcons. Age: 26.
      Signed with Jets (1 year, $3.5 million)

      Brian Poole played well as the team’s slot cornerback in the past, but didn’t fare as well this past season for whatever reason. He could bounce back next year.

    4. Jamison Crowder, WR, Redskins. Age: 26.
      Signed with Jets

      Jamison Crowder has been Washington’s best receiver for some time, which isn’t really saying much. Unfortunately, Crowder has had trouble staying healthy over the past couple of years.

    5. Trevor Siemian, QB, Vikings. Age: 27. — Signed with Jets (1 year, $2 million)
    6. Tom Compton, G/OT, Vikings. Age: 30. — Signed with Jets
    7. Joshua Bellamy, WR, Bears. Age: 28. — Signed with Jets
    8. Daniel Brown, TE, Bears. Age: 27. — Signed with Jets
    9. Deonte Thompson, WR, Bills. Age: 30. — Signed with Jets

    New York Jets Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Robby Anderson (RFA), WR, Jets. Age: 26.
      Tendered by Jets (2nd round)

      Robby Anderson has some off-the-field issues, but he’s shown promise in each of the past two seasons. He developed some strong chemistry with Sam Darnold late in 2018, which sets up well for next year.

    2. Mike Pennel, NT, Jets. Age: 28.
      Signed with Patriots

      Mike Pennel didn’t register a single sack in 2018, but he was a stout run stopper. The Jets let him go because he doesn’t fit the new 4-3 defense.

    3. Morris Claiborne, CB, Jets. Age: 29.
      Morris Claiborne has signed consecutive 1-year “prove it” deals the past two seasons. Claiborne was much better in 2017 than 2018 because of injuries. He’s not healthy very often.

    4. Henry Anderson, DE/DT, Jets. Age: 28.
      Re-signed with Jets (3 years, $25.2 million)

      Henry Anderson has always been a stout run defender, and he flashed some pass-rushing prowess this past season, racking up seven sacks. This was probably a fluke, but any pass rush Anderson generates is a bonus.

    5. Steve McLendon, NT, Jets. Age: 33.
      Re-signed with Jets

      Steve McLendon is a stout run defender, but at 33, he could be due for regression soon.

    6. Isaiah Crowell, RB, Jets. Age: 26.
      Signed with Raiders

      Isaiah Crowell has a lot of natural talent, and he flashed it early in 2016 before the Browns had offensive line issues. However, he’s been a disappointment since. He struggled in 2018 outside of three games. Crowell has motivational issues that he must overcome.

    7. Josh McCown, QB, Jets. Age: 40.
      Josh McCown is a solid backup quarterback despite his age. He’s also great to have in the quarterback meeting room. He may retire to go into coaching, however.

    8. Bilal Powell, RB, Jets. Age: 30. — Re-signed with Jets
    9. Darryl Roberts, CB, Jets. Age: 28. — Re-signed with Jets
    10. James Carpenter, G, Jets. Age: 29. — Signed with Falcons (4 years)
    11. Brandon Copeland, DE/OLB, Jets. Age: 28. — Re-signed with Jets
    12. Jermaine Kearse, WR, Jets. Age: 29.
    13. Buster Skrine, CB, Jets. Age: 30. — Signed with Bears
    14. Eric Tomlinson (RFA), TE, Jets. Age: 27. — Re-signed with Jets
    15. Neal Sterling, TE, Jets. Age: 27. — Re-signed with Jets
    16. Rontez Miles (RFA), S, Jets. Age: 30.
    17. Neville Hewitt, ILB, Jets. Age: 26. — Re-signed with Jets
    18. Josh Martin, ILB, Jets. Age: 27.
    19. Brent Qvale, OT, Jets. Age: 28. — Re-signed with Jets
    20. Ben Ijalana, G, Jets. Age: 30.

    NFL Free Agent Tracker:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors

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