Marcus Maye

Jets Planning Marcus Maye Extension

Marcus Maye‘s agent expressed disappointment in how the Jets were proceeding with his client Wednesday. Following that comment, Joe Douglas insists the team’s long-term plan includes the talented safety.

Acquired before Douglas took over as GM in 2019, Maye is due for free agency in two weeks. However, the Jets plan to use their franchise tag to keep Jamal Adams‘ former back-line safety partner. The Jets must do so by March 9 to keep Maye off the market.

We have had productive conversations with his reps. … Marcus is a valuable member of this organization,” Douglas said, via SNY. “Someone that started his career here, has been a pro’s pro. [He’s] smart; he’s been reliable and he’s provided outstanding leadership. Our plan hasn’t changed. We’re in the process of having Marcus here long-term.”

The pandemic’s effect on the 2021 salary cap is expected to produce a franchise tag figure that could drop as low as $10MM. Top safeties are now earning nearly $15MM on average, creating a notable gap. As recently as last season, Maye was targeting a deal in the $7MM-per-year range. Now a tag candidate, Maye likely will price himself much higher. Pro Football Focus graded Maye as its No. 5 overall safety in 2020.

Should the Jets tag Maye, they will have until July 15 to extend him this year. Maye is likely to join Denver’s Justin Simmons as safeties to receive the tag. This will keep to marquee free agents off an intriguing safety market, which could raise the price tags of other safeties on track for free agency. Marcus Williams, John Johnson, Anthony Harris and Keanu Neal reside atop that group.

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No Progress For Jets, Marcus Maye?

The Jets haven’t made much of an effort to re-sign Marcus Maye, according to his agent. In a hyper-direct tweet, Erik Burkhardt slammed the Jets for simultaneously slashing payroll and stalling in negotiations.

Yet [the Jets] refuse to take care of their best player, captain, and team-voted MVP in his prime who had several All-Pro votes,” Burkhardt tweeted. “And [Maye] played out his entire rookie deal and even changed positions [in] his contract year, after they got rid of last year’s All-Pro safety [Jamal Adams].

The Jets may choose to use the franchise tag on Maye between now and the March 9 deadline. With the expected salary cap drop, the franchise tag value for safeties will probably land at $10MM-$11MM. That doesn’t seem like a bad deal for either party, but Maye’s camp appears to be seeking a longer commitment. Also, it’s not a given that the Jets will actually use the tag on the Florida product.

Back in November, Maye was said to be seeking a $7MM/year deal. Now, after setting career-highs with 88 tackles, 11 passes defensed, and two sacks, Maye is aiming higher. A top of the market payday would mean something in the range of $14MM/year, though it’s hard to see him scoring that type of deal in this climate.

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Jets Expected To Use Franchise Tag On Marcus Maye

Multiple league sources recently told Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv that they expect the Jets to hit safety Marcus Maye with the franchise tag. Teams have until March 9 to deploy the franchise and transition tags.

With the 2021 salary cap expected to fall between $180MM-$185MM, the franchise tag value for safeties will check in between $10MM-$11MM. That’s not an outrageous sum for a young and talented player like Maye, especially since New York has a ton of salary cap space but not many quality defensive players. And, although most impending free agents do not like being designated as a franchise player, the tag could benefit Maye this year.

The Florida product has played well throughout his first four seasons in the league, and he saved his best performance for his platform campaign. In 2020, his first year without former running mate Jamal Adams, Maye set career-highs in tackles (88), passes defensed (11), and sacks (2). He also intercepted two passes and graded out as the fifth-best safety in the game per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics, which were especially fond of his coverage ability.

Nonetheless, several sources tell Vacchiano that Maye is not viewed as a top-tier safety just yet, and since the big money in this year’s free agent cycle might not trickle down past the top tier of talent due to the depressed salary cap, players like Maye may need to settle for one-year pacts in the hopes of a landing a lucrative long-term contract in 2022. Vacchiano says the soon-to-be 28-year-old will be eyeing a top-of-the-market deal (meaning an AAV of $14MM+), but he might have a hard time getting that type of money this year, so a $10MM-$11MM tag wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize.

For what it’s worth, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com said back in November that Maye was eying a $7MM/year contract, though Maye surely values himself more highly than that at this point and would likely prefer to play out the season on the franchise tag rather than settle for a multi-year pact with a $7MM AAV (even if it came with a fair amount of guaranteed money).

As of now, there is no indication that Maye and the Jets are anywhere close to a long-term contract, but the franchise tag would buy them a few more months to find some middle ground in that regard.

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AFC East Rumors: Watson, Mariota, Allen

Add veteran NFL reporter Tyler Dunne of GoLongTD.com to the list of writers who have heard that Texans QB Deshaun Watson is not budging on his desire to be traded, and that he continues to ignore every call from Houston brass. Of course, Watson has a no-trade clause that he could use to help dictate where he goes — assuming the Texans give in and deal him, which they have insisted they are not going to do — and we recently heard that the 49ers and Broncos are on his destination list.

Dunne’s source indicates that the Dolphins — who have been considered one of the frontrunners for Watson since trade speculation started to swirl — and the Niners are Watson’s top two preferred clubs. In Dunne’s view, a trade to Miami makes too much sense to not happen, and he believes the ‘Fins and Texans could line up on a deal that sends Watson to South Beach in exchange for the No. 3 and No. 18 overall picks in this year’s draft along with Miami’s 2022 first-rounder.

Now for more rumors from the AFC East:

  • Recent reports have indicated that Raiders QB Marcus Mariota is generating legitimate trade interest, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com believes the Patriots could be in the mix. New England obviously needs a quarterback, and Mariota is attached to a reasonable $10.6MM salary for 2021 and would not cost much to acquire in terms of draft capital. Although he could demand a raise if he is being acquired to serve as a starter, his current salary would not preclude the Pats from continuing to explore other options, like Jimmy Garoppolo — if the the 49ers land a different QB and release Garoppolo — or a collegiate passer.
  • Reiss does not expect the Patriots to make a deal with the division-rival Jets for Gang Green QB Sam Darnold, though what the Jets do with Darnold could certainly have a major impact on New England (for instance, if New York trades Darnold to San Francisco, Garoppolo could become available).
  • The Jets have among the most cap space in the league at just shy of $70MM, and they can easily create even more flexibility, thereby giving them a huge advantage in what could be a buyer’s market given the decreased salary cap. Connor Hughes of The Athletic believes New York will release DE Henry Anderson, which jibes with a report from December. That move will save the club $8.2MM in cap space, and Hughes suggests that guards Greg Van Roten and Alex Lewis might be goners as well (their releases would save $3.4MM and $5.1MM, respectively).
  • Meanwhile the Jets don’t have too many of their own free agents that must be retained. Hughes expects safety Marcus Maye to be re-signed, and he also says OL Pat Elflein — who played well in 2020 after being claimed off waivers from the Vikings — is a logical candidate to return, especially if the team moves on from Van Roten and/or Lewis.
  • Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News does not foresee the Bills laying out major free agent dollars this offseason. Instead, he expects the club to use the majority of its cash on an extension for QB Josh Allen, which means that the Bills will likely allow LB Matt Milano to test the open market — contrary to GM Brandon Beane‘s assertion that a franchise tag could be in play — and will not be in the running for a top pass rusher like Shaquil Barrett or Bud Dupree.

Jets GM Joe Douglas On Sam Darnold, Coaching Search, Offseason

When speaking to the media at his end of year press conference, Dolphins GM Chris Grier took the opportunity to commit to Tua Tagovailoa as his starting quarterback. Jets GM Joe Douglas opted not to do the same with Sam Darnold.

Douglas was steadfastly non-committal, saying “we have a lot of decisions to make” when asked if Darnold would be the team’s quarterback in 2021, via Connor Hughes of The Athletic (Twitter link). Hughes notes that Douglas did say he had a good conversation with Darnold on Monday, and that he thinks the former second overall pick has a “bright future.” Additionally, Douglas said he thinks Darnold is going to be a “great quarterback,” but wouldn’t commit to him because he doesn’t have a coach yet, Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets.

We heard just recently that the Jets plan on either trading Darnold or the second pick in the 2021 draft to a team looking to take a quarterback, so don’t expect them to stand pat and add an offensive lineman or weapon for Darnold. Speaking of that coaching search, Douglas said the team is going to cast a “very wide net,” and will consider coaches from the college ranks with no NFL experience.

They’re looking at candidates on both sides of the ball, and just yesterday requested interviews with a couple of young defensive coordinators. Of course, quarterback isn’t the only thing Douglas needs to shore up this offseason. To that end, Douglas said re-signing impending free agent safety Marcus Maye is a “priority” for him.

Maye started 16 games each of the last two seasons, and missed only a couple of defensive snaps this year. The 2017 second-round pick just played out the end of his rookie deal and is surely looking to cash in. We heard back in November that Maye could seek a deal in the range of $7MM annually. The Jets discussed trading him this past offseason, but clearly the team wants him back after his strong campaign.

One last note just to ruffle some feathers of Jets fans, Douglas said that firing head coach Adam Gase was a difficult decision for him. “This was hard for me. I know people outside this building, they may not see it at this time, but he did some really good things here that will help us moving forward,” Douglas said via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Jets Notes: Darnold, 2017 Draft, Gase, Maye

Some rare good news for the Jets. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that quarterback Sam Darnold‘s precautionary MRI of his right shoulder only showed a “reaggravation.” The 23-year-old will attempt to work through the injury and won’t be sidelined.

Darnold initially suffered the shoulder injury during the Jets’ Week 4 loss to the Broncos, and that forced Joe Flacco into the lineup for Week 5. Darnold returned under center for the past two games, but he’s only completed 56.6-percent of his passes for 253 yards and two interceptions. Prior to the injury, Darnold completed 59.42-percent of his passes for 792 yards, three scores, and four interceptions.

Darnold has missed eight games through his three NFL seasons. If he’s forced to miss more time, the team could either turn to Flacco, third-stringer James Morgan, or practice squad signal-caller Mike White.

Some more notes out of the Big Apple:

  • Prior to the Jets loss to the Chiefs yesterday, ESPN’s Rich Cimini gave the “inside story” of why the organization passed on future MVP and champion Patrick Mahomes during the 2017 draft. There were a variety of reasons that went into the decision: the Jets had already invested in Josh McCown as their bridge quarterback, there was still some optimism that Christian Hackenberg could work out, former GM Mike Maccagnan already had his eye on the 2018 quarterbacks class (including Darnold), and the organization was much more infatuated with their eventual pick, safety Jamal Adams. Still, prior to the draft, Mahomes thought he could end up in New York. “I definitely thought there was interest there,” Mahomes said. “Whenever you go on those visits, you know they’re pretty interested in doing their due diligence. I definitely thought there was interest there.”
  • While we’ve heard a similar sentiment throughout the past few weeks, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY reiterates that the Jets aren’t expected to fire head coach Adam Gase midseason. “They really don’t want to do it,” a source told Vacchiano. “They may have to, at some point. But they know a midseason coaching change doesn’t change their situation. I think they’re going to hold off as long as they can.” Vacchiano provided a variety of reasons why it makes sense for the Jets to hold on to Gase, including the fact that the head coach serves as a “lightning rod” while distracting from general manager Joe Douglas‘ shaky first season with the organization.
  • Safety Marcus Maye‘s rookie contract is set to come to an end, and Cimini believes he could be eyeing a contract that will pay him around $7MM per season. As a result, Cimini reports that rival teams believe the 27-year-old could be had as part of the team’s fire sale. The reporter had a similar sentiment about Bradley McDougald, although the impending free agent safety has since landed on IR.
  • In the same article, Cimini passes along an anecdote from 2018, when the Jets “boxed” out the QB-needy Bills by moving from No. 6 to No. 3 in a deal with the Colts. The move allowed the Jets to select Darnold, who was Buffalo’s top-rated QB. In fact, the Bills were so displeased with the deal, they refused to negotiate with Indy for the remainder of the draft. Buffalo ended up trading up from No. 11 to No. 7, and they proceeded to select Josh Allen.

Trade Rumors: Thomas, Njoku, Watt, Jets

Saints head coach Sean Payton has said his team has no interest in trading star receiver Michael Thomas, though Thomas’ camp was recently said to be looking for potential deals. There has been no movement towards a Thomas trade, and whether that’s because New Orleans has no interest in dealing him or because the club has not received an offer it likes, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says Thomas will stay put.

With the trade deadline two days away, let’s round up a few more rumors on players who could be on the move:

  • The Browns don’t want to trade tight end David Njoku, but Njoku has renewed his request to be dealt, and Rapoport says Cleveland has been fielding calls on the former first-rounder. It may take at least a fourth-round pick to get a deal done, but with Austin Hooper set to return and with the emergence of rookie Harrison Bryant, the Browns may elect to move Njoku.
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that the Texans are at the center of the trade market, with one executive saying Houston could move as many as five players if it wants to. Rapoport expects the Packersinterest in Will Fuller — which dates back to the summer — to ramp up, but it will likely take a high pick to convince the Texans to move Fuller. Fellow WR Kenny Stills has also drawn some interest, though rival clubs see the contracts for Stills and Randall Cobb as prohibitive. DE J.J. Watt may be receptive to a trade, but considering his contract and age, other teams probably don’t value him like the Texans do.
  • The Jets have received calls on LB Avery Williamson, OTs George Fant and Chuma Edoga, and CB Quincy Wilson, per Albert Breer of SI.com. Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says the Steelers — who recently lost Devin Bush for the season — could be in the market for Williamson, and Edoga also seems like a good bet to be dealt since he does not look like a fit with the current regime.
  • La Canfora says teams have also called the Jets about WR Breshad Perriman and TE Chris Herndon, though Breer notes that safety Marcus Maye has not drawn much interest.
  • Rapoport names Dolphins RB Jordan Howard and Seahawks TE Jacob Hollister as two other players who could be moved. And though the Bengals are shopping disgruntled wideout John Ross, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com says there hasn’t been interest in Ross (Twitter link).

Jets’ Adam Gase Pushed For Marcus Maye Trade

Head coach Adam Gase wanted the Jets to trade Marcus Maye shortly after he was hired in 2019, sources tell Manish Mehta of the Daily News. The Jets talked Gase into keeping Maye, though GM Joe Douglas reportedly fielded trade inquiries on the safety after joining the club. 

[RELATED: Latest On Adam Gase, Jamal Adams]

Maye, selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft after Jamal Adams in Round 1, has started in all 38 of his games for the Jets. He missed ten games in 2018 with a broken thumb, though that was sandwiched by two years of perfect attendance.

Douglas rejected calls about Maye before last year’s trade deadline, but he could be inclined to listen after selecting safety Ashtyn Davis in the third round. Of course, the Jets’ view of Maye could change if they cave to Jamal Adams’ trade demand.

Maye, 27, finished out the year with 65 tackles, one interception, and seven passes defensed. The University of Florida product is set to make just $1.4MM in 2020, but that’s the final year of his contract. If the Jets want to keep him beyond that, it’ll cost ’em a whole lot more on a multi-year commitment.

The shortened offseason means that Davis won’t have much time to ramp up for September, which means that the Jets probably wouldn’t feel comfortable with dealing Maye right now and inserting the rookie into the starting lineup. However, it’s a situation to monitor, especially if the Jets manage to mend fences with Adams.

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AFC East Notes: Patriots, Dolphins, Jets, Gase

Prior to being selected by the Patriots in the third round of the 2016 draft, quarterback Jacoby Brissett wanted nothing to do with New England.

“I honestly did not want to be there,” Brissett said on the McCourty twins’ podcast (via Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston). “When I took my visit there — my pre-draft visit — I was like, ‘Hell no. If one team drafts me, it better not be them.’

“And I’ll never forget, (offensive coordinator) Josh (McDaniels) called me on the phone on draft night and I didn’t have his number saved. That’s how bad it was. I didn’t even have his number saved in my phone. I was like, ‘Damn, man.'”

You can’t necessarily blame Brissett for feeling that way. Besides having to play behind one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Tom Brady, the rookie QB was also behind former second-rounder Jimmy Garoppolo on the depth chart. Due to suspensions and injuries to his teammates, Brissett ended up seeing time in three games (two starts) during his rookie campaign. The following year, the Patriots shipped Brissett to the Colts in exchange for wideout Phillip Dorsett.

“Honestly, that was my wake-up to the NFL, was being traded and then the next week, you’re out there in a game,” Brissett added. “It was like, ‘We don’t care how long you’ve been here. You’d better know how to play.”

Let’s check out some more notes from the AFC East…

  • Speaking of Patriots quarterbacks, Cam Newton is in New England to complete his physical and finalize his one-year deal, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). The reporter notes that the Patriots are confident in the quarterback’s “condition” and aren’t anticipating any issues with the physical. Injuries limited Newton to only a pair of games in 2019, forcing him to settle for a one-year, $1.75MM deal with New England.
  • If the Dolphins are forced to trim their training camp roster, then Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald points to a handful of undrafted rookies who could get cut, including offensive linemen Jonathan Hubbard, Nick Kaltmayer, and Donell Stanley. Jackson also opines that a handful of veterans could be sent packing, a group that includes offensive linemen Adam Pankey and Keaton Sutherland, quarterback Jake Rudock, fullback Chandler Cox, and receivers Ricardo Louis and Mack Hollins.
  • Connor Hughes of The Athletic did a somewhat similar exercise with the Jets, as he explored which players could be traded if New York gets off to a sluggish start. The writer points to wideout Breshad Perriman, linebacker Avery Williamson, running back Le’Veon Bell, defensive end Henry Anderson, and safety Marcus Maye as potential trade candidates.
  • While Hughes believes that Adam Gase has received some underserved criticism during his tenure in New York, the writer also can’t envision the Jets head coach keeping his job if the team finishes with seven or fewer wins. Of course, there are plenty of scenarios where the Jets struggle and Gase does keep his job, especially if quarterback Sam Darnold misses more time in 2020.

Latest On Marcus Maye, Jets

Earlier today, we heard that the Jets had previously discussed potential trades for safety Marcus Maye. However, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com is disputing those reports. Multiple sources tell PFT that the Jets have never shopped the 27-year-old, with one source describing it as “beyond take news.”

As Florio notes, context is important. Teams have previously expressed interest in Mayes, and one team is currently eyeing the defensive back. However, just because the Jets are answering the phone, it doesn’t mean the organization is shopping the player.

In fact, Florio wonders if a potential suitor may have been the source of the previous report in hopes it’d “poision” the relationship between the organization and Maye. Instead, it sounds like the Jets “haven’t, aren’t, and won’t be shopping” their starting safety.

The 2017 second-round pick has started all 38 of his career games. Maye rebounded from an injury-plagued 2018 campaign, starting all 16 games in 2019. He compiled 65 tackles, seven passes defended, and one interception. The safety is entering the final season of his rookie contract.

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