As the New York Jets gear up for free agency 2023 to kick off this week, it is time to preview where each position group stands. Whether there is talent already under contract, or New York acquiring players through free agency or the draft, General Manager Joe Douglas looks to build a legitimate contender. That being said, let’s take a look at the Jet’s special teams preview for the 2023 off-season.
New York Jets 2023 Off-Season Previews: Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver, Tight End, Offensive Tackle, Interior Offensive Lineman, Edge Rusher, Defensive Line, Linebacker, Defensive Backs
New York Jets 2023 Off-Season Preview: Special Teams
Jets Under Contract for 2023
In terms of special teams, New York retains two of their three players. Long-snapper Thomas Hennessy returns as the longest-tenured member of the team. Acquired via trade from the Indianapolis Colts in August of 2017, Hennessy has held down the fort ever since. The former undrafted free agent out of Duke enters his age 29 season, and last, of the four-year extension he signed back in 2020.
At punter, former sixth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft Braden Mann is set to complete the final year of his rookie contract. The Texas A&M product has been wildly inconsistent through three years, as it is not sugarcoating to say Mann has cost the team games. Winning in field position is vital, and the Jets may look to upgrade at punter.
Lastly, the team has their kicker back, as Greg Zuerlein has re-signed with Gang Green. The 35-year-old kicker provided the Jets stability at the position for the first time since Jason Myers left in 2018. He missed just one of 29 extra points, while drilling 30 of 37 field goal tries in 2022. If he can replicate that production in 2023, the Jets will be thrilled.
2023 NFL Free Agency Special Teams Options
At punter, the Jets may opt to sign Mann’s replacement or competition. Chances are that Andy Lee and Thomas Morstead are not going to compete for a job. Thus, leaving the Jets with the choices of Jake Bailey, Riley Dixon, Matt Haack, and JK Scott. Bailey is a former 2020 All-Pro and Pro Bowl punter from the New England Patriots that is coming off of an injury-shortened campaign. Riley Dixon and JK Scott are both below 30 years old and have years of NFL punting experience. Lastly, Haack has spent his whole career in the AFC East prior to joining the Colts in 2022.
2023 NFL Draft Special Teams Options
In the draft, there are a handful of intriguing punter prospects. There is Michigan State’s Bryce Baringer, who was honored as a consensus All-American in 2022. Adam Korsak from Rutgers may have a smaller frame, but it didn’t stop him from winning the 2022 Ray Guy award for the nation’s best punter. Either one would immediately provide competition for Mann. Other punters in the 2023 NFL Draft include Michael Turk (Oklahoma), Brad Robbins (Michigan), and Paxton Brooks (Tennessee).
Jets Special Teams Construction Prediction
When training camp rolls around, Thomas Hennessy is the only returning lock to make the team. Braden Mann will be competing for the punting job, either against a free agent signing or a rookie. As for the kicker, it is all-in on Greg “the leg” Zuerlein.
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