New York Jets 2023 Off-Season Preview: Edge Rusher

Jets Edge Rusher

As the New York Jets gear up for the 2023 off-season, it is time to preview where each position stands. Whether there is talent already under contract, or New York acquires players through free agency or the draft, General Manager Joe Douglas looks to build a contender out of the franchise. That being said, let’s take a look at the Jets edge rusher preview for the 2023 off-season.

New York Jets 2023 Off-Season Previews: QuarterbackRunning BackWide ReceiverTight EndOffensive Tackle, Interior Offensive Lineman

New York Jets 2023 Off-Season Preview: Edge Rusher

Jets Under Contract for 2023

Entering the off-season, there are two big questions for the Jets at defensive end. The first is what is the status of Carl Lawson? Formerly a big fish signing by Douglas in the 2021 off-season, Lawson missed his first season with the Jets due to a torn Achilles. Meanwhile, this past season, Lawson started every game with seven sacks, 33 total tackles, and 26 total pressures. For the $15 million the Auburn product is set to make, that production does not equate. With very little dead cap with his release, a cap-strapped Douglas makes look to move on from the veteran.

The second question is with John Franklin-Myers, one of Douglas’ first “hits” on waiver-wire pickups. Over the past three seasons, Franklin-Myers has started 38 of 45 games, with 14 sacks and 92 total tackles. However, the 26-year-old’s contract has a potential out that is built into his contract for 2023. New York can cut the Stephen F. Austin product and save over $11 million in cap space. At the same time, do the Jets want to lose two key veterans in Lawson and Franklin-Myers in the same off-season? Likely not. Considering Franklin-Myers’ contract includes less than a million in dead cap each year through 2025, the flexibility of his contract makes it more enticing to keep him around over Lawson.

With Lawson potentially gone, it opens up more reps for 2022 first-round pick Jermaine Johnson II. Playing 16 games and just 29% of defensive snaps, Johnson totaled 2.5 sacks, 36 total tackles, and seven pressures. Despite his rotational role, Johnson flashed his playmaking ability from Florida State will transfer over into the pros. For depth, Johnson is joined by Bradlee Anae and Marquiss Spencer. Anae has been with Gang Green since August 2022 though has not dressed for a game, whereas Spencer recently signed a reserved/future contract.

2023 NFL Free Agency Edge Rusher Options

When it comes to the actual free agent market, only one name should be prioritized – Bryce Huff. Set to be a restricted free agent, Huff went undrafted out of Buffalo in 2020, yet immediately carved out a role as a situational pass rusher for the Jets. In 823 snaps in 37 career games played, Huff has 7.5 sacks and 35 pressures to his name. In saving money with Lawson’s likely release, it makes sense for the Jets to put it towards retaining Huff. As a restricted free agent, the Jets could opt to tender Huff for 2023. Then again, at only 25 years old for this upcoming season, a long-term deal is worth exploring.

Veteran defensive end Vinny Curry is also an unrestricted free agent. After missing the 2021 season, Curry re-signed with the Jets last season, though, saw limited playtime. In 11 games played, Curry had 15 total tackles on 185 snaps. As Curry will be 35 years old in 2023, his leadership make not be enough for New York to bring him back.

Should the Jets turn to the free agent market, there are a handful of directions to go. Need a playoff-experienced rusher? Look no further than Brandon Graham, Carlos Dunlap, Justin Houston, or Frank Clark. Want to add a younger player off the edge that has high-upside? Enter negotiations with Arden Key, Marcus Davenport, Rasheem Green, or Zach Allen. Some other players worth noting are Charles Omenihu, Arden Key, Clelin Ferrell, DeMarcus Walker, and Dante Fowler Jr.

2023 NFL Draft Edge Rusher Options

No, the Jets are not going to land a Will Anderson Jr. or Tyree Wilson in the 2023 NFL Draft. Rather, if the Jets look to the draft for an edge rusher, it will be in the later rounds. Thanks to the amount of talent at the position, there will be impact players available without needing to use a premium draft pick. On day three, names such as Mike Morris from Michigan, Karl Brooks of Bowling Green, or Missouri’s Isaiah McGuire all offer versatile defensive linemen with pass-rushing upside. Additionally, if the team does not draft an edge defender, expect Douglas and company to scour the undrafted free agent market for one. For all the Jets know, they may find their next Bryce Huff.

Jets Edge Rusher Construction Prediction

Entering training camp, expect John Franklin-Myers to make up the defensive end rotation with Jermaine Johnson Jr., a retained Bryce Huff, Bradlee Anae, and Marquiss Spencer. Through free agency, New York should look to add two players to the rotation who also bring versatility across the defensive line. Lastly, do not be surprised when Joe Douglas looks to add a few undrafted free agent edge rushers.


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