As the off-season winds down and NFL team camps begin, the New York Jets look to perfect their roster. General Manager Joe Douglas has shown time and time again he is always looking for ways to improve the roster. With training camp two months away, there is still plenty of time to assess what remains of an experienced free agent market. That being said, let’s take a look at some excellent fits among those left unsigned…
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Remaining 2022 Free Agents New York Jets Should Sign
Offensive Tackle Bobby Massie
Wait? Another offensive tackle? But the Jets already have George Fant and Mekhi Becton? Yes, well, if there is anything Gang Green learned over this past season, it is that there is no such thing as too much offensive line depth. Becton was only healthy for 48 snaps in 2021, and Fant missed two games with a knee injury. While both have been fantastic when on the field, the injury concerns are worth adding another starting-caliber tackle.
Last off-season, the Jets made the late addition of veteran Morgan Moses, who wound up starting 16 starts. This year, Bobby Massie may be the perfect third tackle for New York. Most recently of the Denver Broncos, Massie started all 13 games played in during 2021. He produced a 74.8 run-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus, only being penalized once in 796 offensive snaps. And no, five sacks allowed is not ideal for any team. However, for a veteran third tackle, Massie has the experience necessary to step up in case of injury.
It is also worth noting the other reason why adding a veteran third offensive tackle is beneficial for the Jets. Fourth-round pick Max Mitchell has the tools to become a starting tackle… down the line. The best thing for the rookie is to sit and develop, not be thrown in immediately. He may have the versatility needed to be a year one swing tackle, but there is no reason to rush his development. After all, the best-case scenario for the Jets is Fant and Becton playing every down in 2022. Adding a veteran tackle like Massie makes too much sense too when considering either whichever of Fant or Becton that plays right tackle is the other’s backup at left tackle. Therefore, Massie would become the primary right tackle should one be hurt, otherwise remaining as the swing tackle.
Defensive Tackle Larry Ogunjobi
As previously reported, the Jets have had defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi in for a visit. Furthermore, they are “very interested” in the former Cincinnati Bengals starter. The soon-to-be 28-year-old Ogunjobi is coming off of a career year in Cincinnati. In starting all 16 games he played, the Charlotte product tallied a career-high seven sacks and 12 tackles for a loss. Certainly, adding Ogunjobi will only make the Jets defensive line rotation even deeper.
A few months ago, Ogunjobi was on his way the Chicago Bears. However, a failed physical terminated the agreement, thus, leading him back to the free agent market. Coming off of foot surgery, Ogunjobi has been durable in his five years in the NFL, missing just two games since 2018.
In the Jets defense, the team utilizes a deep rotation along the defensive front. The more players who can produce, the better. Adding a 3-technique defensive tackle such as Ogunjobi will only add talent and depth, especially having already lost Folorunso Fatukasi in free agency.
Linebacker Kwon Alexander
If there is any position that needs more experience, it is at linebacker. Outside of C.J. Mosley, only Quincy Williams has started more than two games. There remain high hopes for second-year players Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen. However, Sherwood is coming off of a torn Achilles and Nasirildeen played the majority of his snaps on special teams. Outside of those four, Del’Shawn Phillips and DQ Thomas are the only other linebackers on the roster. Thus, leaving the Jets in dire need of experience and depth.
That is where the door opens for Kwon Alexander. Entering his age 28 season, Alexander is familiar with Head Coach Robert Saleh from their San Francisco 49ers days. Now, he isn’t the Pro Bowl linebacker he was a few years ago with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After all, the injury bug has held him to just one full season in eight years. Nevertheless, Alexander knows the system and proved he can still produce this past season.
With the New Orleans Saints, Alexander started eight of 12 games played. He finished with 50 tackles, seven quarterback hits, and 3.5 sacks. Additionally, the LSU product produced an interception, as well as a forced fumble and recovery. Alexander also can hold his own in pass coverage, with his 81.5 rating allowed being his lowest since 2019 – when he played under Saleh.
Safety Jaquiski Tartt
Another player with 49ers-Saleh ties is safety Jaquiski Tartt. Standing at 6’1” and 215-pounds, Tartt is a versatile safety who can both cover and play in the box. Best suited for strong safety, Tartt has proven capable of playing either spot. This past season in 14 starts, the former 46th overall pick in 2015 had a career-high 66 tackles, adding five tackles for a loss and just a 57.6 completion percentage.
Now, the Jets aren’t in need of another strong safety. Jordan Whitehead, one of the new free agent signings, is best suited for playing the downhill run stopper and box safety role. The Jets also employ Lamarcus Joyner, Ashtyn Davis, Will Parks, and more in what is going to be an intriguing competition during training camp. So why not add another defensive chess piece to the mix?
Again, Tartt has the coverage skills to be more than an underneath, box safety. As a matter of fact, his 67.9 coverage grade with Saleh in 2019 remains his highest over the past four seasons. Now 30-years-old entering his eighth season, Tartt is another veteran who is familiar with the defensive scheme and can make an impact right away.
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