Jets’ Uncertainty At QB Could Influence Free Agency Success

There’s a lot of uncertainty at quarterback for the Jets. Maybe the team will take a quarterback like BYU’s Zach Wilson with the second-overall pick. Maybe they’ll pull off a blockbuster trade for Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson. Or maybe they’ll stick with their incumbent, former third-overall pick Sam Darnold.

As Ralph Vacchiano of writes, the Jets’ unpredictable quarterback situation could influence their ability to attract free agent wideouts to New York. Besides the obvious financial details of an offer, an agent told the reporter that receivers will be most focused on who’s under center as they evaluate signing with the Jets.

“It’s the first question they’re all going to ask, after they know the money,” the agent said. “Money is always going to matter most to some guys. But if it’s close, the Jets are going to have some tough questions to answer.”

“Players don’t like uncertainty,” said a different NFL agent. “I would think those [top receivers] will want to know who their quarterback is going to be, not just for this year, but for the length of their new deal.”

The Jets may not be able to provide that type of clarity to free agents. As Vacchiano notes, GM Joe Douglas is currently evaluating the top quarterback prospects and weighing their ability against Darnold’s ability. Unfortunately, Wilson’s Pro Day isn’t until March 26, while Ohio State’s Justin Fields will be holding his Pro Day on March 30. Free agency starts on March 17, and at that point, the Jets could still be weeks away from making their own internal decision about the position.

Thanks to the poor timing, there’s a chance some of the top free agent wideouts skip New York’s hypothetical offer and join a team with a bona fide starting quarterback. There will be more than half a dozen teams that could look to add free agent wideouts, and if top names like Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, or Kenny Golladay get slapped with the franchise tag, that means there will be an even higher demand for second-tier receivers (like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Will Fuller, and Corey Davis).

On the flip side, the Jets have more financial flexibility than most teams, as they’ll be armed with $90MM heading into the start of free agency. Even if the team has yet to decide on their direction at quarterback by March 17, they could still entice a free agent with a massive overpay.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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10 comments on “Jets’ Uncertainty At QB Could Influence Free Agency Success

  1. arty!

    “It’s the first question they’re all going to ask, after they know the money,” the agent said. “Money is always going to matter most to some guys. But if it’s close, the Jets are going to have some tough questions to answer.”

    Not a truer statement could have been said. Show me the Money! It might suck to be on a 5 win or less team, unless your getting double digit multimillion in salary. This is why all teams can be active in FA, money. Even the players can be as greedy as the awful owners are.

    • carlos15

      All of the owners are not greedy. They run a business, it isn’t a charity, and in any case that’s an anecdotal statement.

      • arty!

        I 100% agree. We always hear how greedy the owners are, but its nice to hear the players also crave money.

  2. I Beg To Differ

    Panthers and Jets could drive up the price on Watson.

    Texans should be pushing for a trade to happen before free agency starts.

    Jets go get Watson they could certainly attract more free agents Darnold.

    Same for Panthers.

    #2 this year
    Seattle’s or Jets 1st in 2022 (whichever is higher)
    Jets 3rd round this year
    Jets 3rd round 2022
    Jets 4th round this year
    Jets 4th round next year

    Jets conditional 2nd and 5th in 2023.
    2nd becomes a 1st if Jets make afc championship game in 2021 or 2022

    5th becomes a 4th if Jets make playoffs in 2021 or 22
    5th becomes a 3rd if Jets make superbowl in 2021 or 22.

    • phenomenalajs

      I’m sorry, but I beg to differ with “I Beg To Differ.” I’ve posted numerous times in the past that the best move the Jets could make is to keep Sam Darnold under the 49ers style offense and draft Penei Sewell at #2. Having Sewell and Becton as bookends will make edge rushers’ jobs a living hell and could make Sam’s job easier. The Jets could use free agency and the Seahawks’ first round pick to get Sam more weapons at WR, RB and/or TE. TE is very important to a 49ers type offense, so I could see a breakout season for Chris Herndon or the Jets making a run at Hunter Henry.
      Of course, the Jets will not commit to Sam now because they need to keep interest alive to see if they can get a great offer for #2. However, any other quarterback coming in now to the same level of support Sam had will be in for a rude awakening. Short of a healthy Trevor Lawrence, none of the other top QBs in the draft stand a chance to do better than Sam would without more weapons.

      • sambino

        I hope the Jets draft Zach Wilson with the 2nd overall pick but if they keep Sam I hope they keep the 2nd overall pick and don’t trade it and draft Pennei Sewell. With the 23rd pick you can go ahead and draft a wide receiver for whoever is the quarterback. Imagine an offensive line with Mekhi Becton and Pennei Sewell.

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