With a 3-5 record and a rookie quarterback under center, the Jets do not look the part of a playoff team in 2018. But, things could change next year, GM Mike Maccagnan says, as the team plans to be “very active” in free agency next spring.
“This is an offseason we feel really good about,” Maccagnan said (via Darryl Slater of NJ.com). “We’ve done a lot of work already and we’re going to do a lot more work on the pro free agency. But I think there is definitely an opportunity — not only to keep some of our own good, young players that are going to be free agents — but also to add some players at key positions going forward. Right now, we think there are a lot of good, young players in the [free agent] market potentially for next year. And we feel pretty well situated with our salary cap standpoint.”
The Jets’ most glaring need is in the pass rush department. They’ve tried to land some big fish this year – including Khalil Mack and Dante Fowler – but missed out on trading for both players. Building the edge rush through free agency is a pricey proposition, but the Jets are projected to enter the offseason with nearly $107MM in cap space, second only to the Colts’ ~$126MM.
If Maccagnan goes for the big fish in March, he can explore a free agent pool that may include the likes of Demarcus Lawrence (Cowboys), Jadeveon Clowney (Texans), Frank Clark (Seahawks), Trey Flowers (Patriots), and Dee Ford (Chiefs). Lions standout Ezekiel Ansah is also scheduled to hit the open market, though his shoulder injury has kept him from playing ever since the season opener.
Maccagnan may also seek to bolster the pass rush through the draft, but his results have been spotty outside of the first round. The GM defended his draft record when pressed about it on Thursday, but there’s no way to sugarcoat it – Maccagnan has missed an awful lot in the last four years, and that’s disappointing for an executive who was hired for his scouting acumen.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.