Cajuste visited both the Jets and Giants last week, and he will elect to remain in the AFC East. The 27-year-old saw his time with the Patriots come to an end earlier this month, but he has not needed to wait long to find another opportunity.
The former third-rounder made 17 total appearances over the past two years in New England, including five starts. His play this season drew a solid PFF evaluation in run blocking in particular, and did enough for the Patriots to tender him as an RFA. However, the team has been busy along the offensive front this offseason, signing veterans Riley Reiff and Calvin Anderson. Their additions left Cajuste on the outside looking in at the tackle spot, and he will now join another crowded room at that position.
The Jets suffered a slew of injuries up front last season, and they have plenty of unanswered questions at the tackle spots this offseason. Former first-rounder Mekhi Becton has gone public with his displeasure at being used at right tackle, though the door may still be open to him claiming the starting role on the blindside. Doing so would require Becton remaining healthy and beating out veteran Duane Brown during training camp, after the latter made 12 LT starts last season. Brown is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, though, and will be 38 by the start of the season.
On the right side, New York added Billy Turner as a starting-caliber option who has plenty of familiarity with new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. The Jets also have 2022 fourth-rounder Max Mitchell as an option on that side, after he made five starts as a rookie. New York spent another Round 4 selection on a tackle this year, adding Carter Warren. Cajuste will use the coming weeks to carve out a role for himself on the team’s tackle depth chart, as the Jets look to take a much-needed step forward in protection in 2023.