2022 NFL Offseason: New York Jets

New York Jets (Last Year: 4-13)

2022 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
TE C.J. Uzomah, TE Tyler Conklin, OT Duane Brown, G Laken Tomlinson, DE Solomon Thomas, OLB Jacob Martin, ILB Kwon Alexander, CB D.J. Reed, S Jordan Whitehead, K Greg Zuerlein.
Draft Picks:
CB Ahmad Gardner, WR Garrett Wilson, DE Jermaine Johnson, RB Breece Hall, TE Jeremy Ruckert, OT Max Mitchell, DE Micheal Clemson. Jets Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
WR Jamison Crowder, TE Ryan Griffin, OT Morgan Moses, G Dr. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G Greg Van Roten, DT Foley Fatukasi, LB Blake Cashman, S Marcus Maye.

2022 New York Jets Offense:
To say that Zach Wilson was a disappointment in his rookie year would be a severe understatement. Wilson had some nice performances, but looked dazed and confused for the most part. It appeared as though the game was moving too fast for him, which was not a huge surprise, given that he was considered raw coming out of BYU.

Wilson’s supporting cast suffered a number of injuries, which hurt him late in the year. The Jets added to it this offseason, using the No. 10 overall on Garrett Wilson, an explosive receiver whom some have compared to Odell Beckham Jr. Wilson joins a talented receiving corps comprised of Elijah Moore, Corey Davis and Braxton Berrios. Moore had a solid rookie campaign, while Davis disappointed after signing a big contract; he played on a mediocre level and then suffered an injury in the second half of the season. Berrios was Wilson’s preferred target down the stretch, but he’s behind Moore in the pecking order for slot duties.

There’s another player who figures to catch a high number of passes, and that would be Breece Hall. The second-round rookie running back is extremely talented, both as a runner and a receiving threat out of the backfield. Michael Carter proved to be a solid back last year, but there’s no doubt that Hall will be a huge upgrade in the backfield next to Wilson.

Both Wilson and Hall will have solid blocking in front of them, especially if Mekhi Becton remains healthy for a change. Becton, a former first-round pick, is incredibly talented, but he played just one game last year. He was 400 pounds at one point last season, so the Jets were hoping that he would be in better shape in 2022. He was expected to be the bookend for George Fant, a quality right tackle, but Becton is out for the year. The Jets signed Duane Brown to be a capable replacement for Becton.

The interior of the Jets’ offensive line is in better shape. The team signed Laken Tomlinson, formerly of the 49ers, who will provide a much-needed upgrade at one of the guard spots. The other guard position will be occupied by 2021 first-round pick Alijah Vera-Tucker, who had a solid rookie campaign. The two guards will flank center Connor McGovern, who showed great improvement this past season.

2022 New York Jets Defense:
Garrett Wilson was just one of the Jets’ top-10 picks from the 2022 NFL Draft. They also possessed the No. 4 overall selection in April, and they used that pick on Ahmad Gardner, who will fill a huge need. Cornerback had been a massive problem for the Jets for many years, so that void might finally be filled in the wake of the Gardner selection. The Cincinnati product isn’t the only talented player the Jets added at the position, as they signed D.J. Reed in free agency. Reed developed into a stellar cornerback in Seattle, so if Gardner pans out, the Jets will have a talented tandem on the roster.

Reed was one of two talented defensive backs the Jets obtained via free agency. They also signed Jordan Whitehead, who had been a key piece of Tampa’s secondary. He’ll be a fine replacement for the departed Marcus Maye, while Lamarcus Joyner, who played a part of one game last year because of injury, will be back on the field. Thus, New York is expected to boast a quality secondary for the first time in many years.

Of course, it’ll help the defensive backfield even more if the Jets can generate heavy heat on opposing quarterbacks. They couldn’t do this last year, ranking 27th in pressure rate. The reason for this was because Carl Lawson didn’t play a single snap due to an injury. Lawson will be back this season, which will be a huge boost for the pass rush. It’ll also help that Jermaine Johnson will be playing on the other side. The talented rookie was expected to be chosen in the top 10 by some, but he fell because of some character concerns. The Jets won’t complain, as they secured a tremendous talent at a great price in the 2022 NFL Draft. John Franklin-Myers, signed over from the Rams, will also be a key contributor.

Franklin-Myers can move inside on passing downs. He’ll need to because the Jets have just one quality defensive tackle. That would be Quinnen Williams, who isn’t coming off the best season (by his standards). Still, he’ll stand to benefit from the presence of Lawson, Johnson and Franklin-Myers, as teams won’t be able to focus on him. The Jets will want better play from Sheldon Rankins as well, but it seems as though he’s past his prime.

The weakness of the Jets’ defense is the linebacking corps, with no resources used to bolster the position. The Jets will be counting on C.J. Mosley, who seems like a lost cause at this point. He hasn’t played well since 2019, so this could be the end of his career.

2022 New York Jets Schedule and Intangibles:
After enduring some kicking woes, the Jets signed Greg Zuerlein to be their next kicker. He went 29-of-35 last year with the Cowboys.

Punter Braden Mann was just 27th in net yardage in 2020, but was in the middle of the pack in 2021.

The Jets scored a touchdown on special teams, surrendering none to the opposition..

Take a look at nine of the Jets’ first 10 opponents: Ravens, Browns, Bengals, Dolphins, Packers, Broncos, Patriots, Bills, Patriots. Wow!

2022 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.

2022 New York Jets Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2022 New York Jets Analysis: The Jets will be better than they were last year, but the 2022 record may not indicate that. The problem is that they’ll have to traverse a very difficult schedule while their many young players develop. This is a team that could improve as the year progresses, giving it some serious playoff hope in 2023.

Projection: 3-14 (4th in AFC East)

2021 Projection: 4-13. 2021 Actual Result: 4-13.
2020 Projection: 3-13. 2020 Actual Result: 2-14.
2019 Projection: 10-6. 2019 Actual Result: 7-9.
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: A+ Grade

Goals Entering the 2022 NFL Draft: Zach Wilson was horrible in his rookie season. He needs as much help as possible, so the Jets need to give him better weapons and blocking. The defense must receive multiple upgrades as well.

2022 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Joe Douglas had an amazing draft. Somehow, Douglas arguably obtained the best cornerback, receiver and running back in this draft class, and that haul doesn’t even include a dynamic edge rusher!

The Jets got off to a fine start with Ahmad Gardner, who should have been chalk at No. 4. He’ll help a horrible secondary, while Garrett Wilson, expected by some teams to go in the top eight, was a decent value at No. 10 overall. He’ll provide Zach Wilson with a much-needed dynamic weapon, as will Breece Hall, who was an excellent choice in the second round. Hall is a great receiver out of the backfield, so Wilson will love having him at his disposal.

The best pick Douglas made was at No. 26 when he traded up for Jermaine Johnson. The Florida State star inexplicably fell after being projected in the top 10. Johnson dropped because of character concerns, but nothing could’ve been bad enough to have him plummet from the 8-12 range to No. 26. The Jets’ edge rush has struggled for quite some time, and Johnson’s presence will go a long way in bolstering it.

The Jets’ 2022 season will depend on Wilson’s progression, but Douglas’ great drafting means that the young quarterback won’t have any excuses. Douglas has put Wilson in the best possible position to succeed in his second year.

NFL Draft Individual Grades:

4. Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati – B Grade
The Jets could have drafted a number of prospects at No. 4 who would have made sense for them. Ahmad Gardner is arguably the best defensive player who fills a need for the Jets. You hear that Gardner is the safest player in the draft, but so were Robert Gallery, Aaron Curry and Dee Milliner. I’m not saying Gardner will be a bust, or anything, but he’s not a lock to be a great player. Still, the Jets made a solid pick here in a weak class.

10. Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State – A- Grade
A team told me they were convinced Garrett Wilson would go in the top eight. This isn’t incredible value, but it’s certainly very good value. It could be argued that Wilson is the top receiver in this class, and the Jets needed to do everything in their power to make sure Zach Wilson has as much help as possible.

26. Jermaine Johnson, DE, Florida State A+ Grade
What is this, my Backward Mock Draft? How did Jermaine Johnson fall this far? There were some reports out there that Jets were considering Johnson at No. 4 – incorrect, but still – and yet they were able to land him at No. 26, which is insane. Johnson is a top 10-caliber player and fills a huge need. He has character concerns, but there was just way too much value to pass on him after moving up. This is an A+ grade.

36. Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State – A Grade
The Jets are having a terrific draft. They had a need at running back, as Michael Carter can’t be a full-time back. Breece Hall will be a terrific weapon for Zach Wilson, both as a runner and a receiver out of the backfield. The Jets traded up for him, but had to do so because the Texans easily could’ve chosen Hall.

101. Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State – C Grade
The Jets added C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin this offseason, so I’m not sure why they needed to spend a significant draft choice on Jeremy Ruckert. The Ohio State product belongs in this range or a bit later, so I don’t hate this pick, but I would’ve liked to have seen Joe Douglas address one of his many other needs.

111. Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana-Lafayette – B+ Grade
Max Mitchell is a solid tackle prospect I’ve had in the fourth round of my mock drafts on a consistent basis. With the Jets having issues with Mekhi Becton – he reportedly weighed in at 400 pounds recently – it would make sense for them to obtain some insurance.

117. Micheal Clemons, DE, Texas A&M – B+ Grade
I like this gamble for the Jets, and I’m not surprised Joe Douglas made this pick. Micheal Clemons is a bit of a raw player, but has high upside. He could easily fizzle out, or he could become a solid edge rusher for the Jets. New York needs as many pass rushers as it could get.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Season Summary:
To say that Zach Wilson was a disappointment as a rookie is an understatement. Wilson really struggled, as both Mike White and Joe Flacco outplayed him. Wilson has immense potential, however, so if the Jets build well around him, he could make big strides in the near future.

Offseason Moves:
  • Jets sign K Eddy Pineiro
  • Jets sign DE Solomon Thomas
  • Jets sign K Greg Zuerlein
  • Jets sign DE/OLB Jacob Martin
  • Jets sign TE Tyler Conklin
  • Texans acquire LB Blake Cashman for draft pick
  • Jets sign S Jordan Whitehead
  • Jets sign CB D.J. Reed
  • Jets sign TE C.J. Uzomah
  • Jets sign G Laken Tomlinson

    Team Needs:
    1. Two Cornerbacks: New York couldn’t stop the pass at all in 2021, ranking dead last in pass defense DVOA. They had solid play out of Bryce Hall, but no other cornerback played well. Two corners are needed, and the Jets could start with Derek Stingley at No. 4 in the 2022 NFL Draft. Signed D.J. Reed and Jordan Whitehead

    2. Edge Rusher: How long has it been since the Jets have possessed a dominant edge rusher? They’ll get back Carl Lawson from injury next year, but they still need a dominant presence on the other side in order to beat Josh Allen and Mac Jones. Signed Jacob Martin

    3. Two Linebackers: The Jets can’t cover the middle of the field at all, as they constantly left tight ends wide open the entire year. C.J. Mosley has been a huge disappointment.

    4. Tight End: There was some hype with Tyler Kroft entering the 2021 season, but that never panned out. Zach Wilson needs an imposing presence over the middle of the field. Signed C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin

    5. Guard: Alijah Vera-Tucker played well in his rookie year, but the Jets still have a hole at the other guard spot. Signed Laken Tomlinson

    6. Running Back: The Jets could stand to add a running back to pair with Michael Carter, who impressed as a rookie.

    7. Wide Receiver Depth: With Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole likely gone, the Jets could stand to add some depth at the position. A new slot receiver will be needed if Braxton Berrios also departs. Re-signed Braxton Berrios

    8. Punter: Braden Mann ranked toward the bottom of the NFL in net punting average.

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2022 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. D.J. Reed, CB, Seahawks. Age: 25.
      Signed with Jets (3 years, $33 million)

      D.J. Reed has developed greatly in recent years, and he’s now a legitimate No. 1 cornerback in the NFL. He’s only 25, so he should keep improving.

    2. Jordan Whitehead, S/CB, Buccaneers. Age: 25.
      Signed with Jets (2 years, $14.5 million)

      Jordan Whitehead has evolved greatly since being chosen in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He’s been a stellar defensive back for the Buccaneers, capable of playing safety and cornerback (mostly in the slot). He wasn’t even 25 when he closed out his 2021 season.

    3. Duane Brown, OT, Seahawks. Age: 37.
      Signed with Jets

      Duane Brown isn’t quite the dominant left tackle he was back in the day, now that he’s 37. However, he’s still an excellent blind-side protector.

    4. Laken Tomlinson, G, 49ers. Age: 30.
      Signed with Jets (3 years, $40 million)

      Laken Tomlinson is a stout guard with no weaknesses. He turns 30 this offseason, but guards can perform on a high level into their 30s.

    5. C.J. Uzomah, TE, Bengals. Age: 29.
      Signed with Jets (3 years, $24 million)

      C.J. Uzomah is coming off the best season of his career. He was able to exploit great matchups very easily, catching 49 passes for 493 yards and five touchdowns.

    6. Greg Zuerlein, K, Cowboys. Age: 34.
      Signed with Jets

      Greg Zuerlein used to be known as one of the top kickers in the NFL, but he has failed to connect on better than 83 percent of his field goals in three years.

    7. Jacob Martin, OLB, Texans. Age: 26.
      Signed with Jets (3 years)

      Jacob Martin has improved his pass-rushing ability, notching four sacks in 2021. He’s only 26, so there’s still room for growth.

    8. Kwon Alexander, LB, Saints. Age: 28.
      Signed with Jets

      Kwon Alexander is sound in coverage, but he misses way too many tackles and is weak in run support.

    9. Tyler Conklin, TE, Vikings. Age: 27.
      Signed with Jets (3 years, $21 million)

      Tyler Conklin did a great job filling in for Irv Smith Jr., catching 61 passes for 593 yards and three touchdowns.

    10. Solomon Thomas, DE, Raiders. Age: 26. — Signed with Jets

    New York Jets Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Marcus Maye, S, Jets. Age: 28.
      Signed with Saints (3 years, $28.5 million)

      Marcus Maye was an exceptional safety in 2020, but took a step backward last year before tearing his Achilles. The injury occurred during the middle of the season, so there’s a good chance Maye will be back on the field for the 2022 opener.

    2. Braxton Berrios, WR/KR, Jets. Age: 26.
      Re-signed with Jets (2 years, $12 million)

      Braxton Berrios was a productive slot receiver in the second half of the year, showing great chemistry with Zach Wilson. He was also a dynamic return specialist.

    3. Morgan Moses, OT, Jets. Age: 31.
      Signed with Ravens (3 years, $15 million)

      Durability has always been Morgan Moses’ primary issue, but he managed to stay on the field the entire 2021 season. Moses is now 31, but he’ll be able to play on a high level for 2-3 more years as long as he remains healthy.

    4. Jamison Crowder, WR, Jets. Age: 29.
      Signed with Bills (1 year, $4 million)

      Jamison Crowder is a capable slot receiver, but he’s had trouble staying healthy in recent years, missing 16 games in the past four seasons.

    5. Foley Fatukasi, DT, Jets. Age: 27. — Signed with Jaguars (3 years, $30 million)
    6. Dr. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G, Jets. Age: 31.
    7. Keelan Cole, WR, Jets. Age: 29. — Signed with Raiders
    8. Nathan Shepherd, DT, Jets. Age: 28. — Re-signed with Jets
    9. Ryan Griffin, TE, Jets. Age: 32. — Signed with Bears (1 year)
    10. Tyler Kroft, TE, Jets. Age: 29. — Signed with 49ers
    11. Tevin Coleman, RB, Jets. Age: 29. — Re-signed with Jets
    12. Dan Feeney, C/G, Jets. Age: 28. — Re-signed with Jets
    13. Joe Flacco, QB, Jets. Age: 37. — Re-signed with Jets (1 year, $3.5 million)
    14. Jarrad Davis, LB, Jets. Age: 27. — Signed with Lions (1 year)

    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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