Jets Rumors

Marcus Maye To Join Jets’ Minicamp

Marcus Maye will be on hand for the start of the Jets’ three-day minicamp (Twitter link via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano). It’s a promising sign for Gang Green and their star safety, who is pushing for a new deal. 

The Jets cuffed Maye earlier this year with a franchise tender worth $10.61MM. Meanwhile, he wants an extension (and a sizable pay bump). There’s mutual interest there, but there’s been little news on that front in recent months. Even though Maye might be frustrated with the progress, he won’t hold out during the mandatory period.

The Jets drafted two safeties — Auburn’s Jamien Sherwood in Round 5 and Florida State’s Hamsah Nasirildeen in Round 6 — in April. Meanwhile, there’s also 2020 third-round pick Ashtyn Davis and veteran Lamarcus Joyner, who is shifting from cornerback back to safety. The Jets needed the depth, but they’re also bracing themselves for the possibility of life without Maye.

Maye’s asking price jumped this year when the Broncos made Justin Simmons the NFL’s first $15MM-per-year safety. Several other safeties are also signed to deals worth $14MM+ per year. Maye has yet to make a Pro Bowl, but he graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 5 safety last season. He also has youth on his side, having just turned 28.

Maye, a four-year starter for the Jets, finished last year with 88 stops, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles.

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Jets, Jamison Crowder Rework Contract

The Jets and Jamison Crowder have worked out a new contract (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Initially set to make $10MM in 2021, Crowder will now see a “significant” cut, according to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano (on Twitter). The exact terms of the deal are not yet known, but the Jets were reportedly pushing a 50% reduction. 

Reading between the lines, it sounds like Crowder was going to be released if he didn’t agree to the trim. Crowder had just $1MM guaranteed this year — releasing him would have saved the Jets $10.375MM.

Crowder, soon to be 28, probably couldn’t have topped $5MM on the open market. At least, not at this stage of the offseason, when most of the available dollars have been spent. Meanwhile, the Jets are growing increasingly confident in their other options. Second-round slot receiver Elijah Moore has drawn rave reviews in practice — ditto for ex-Patriots speedster Braxton Berrios. One or both of those players could have supplanted Crowder as a top option to go with Corey Davis and Keelan Cole.

Now, the Jets have more money to spend, which could enable them to sign free agent tackle Morgan Moses. If that happens, they’ll have Moses to start at right tackle opposite of Mekhi Becton.

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Jets Want Jamison Crowder To Take 50% Pay Cut

We heard earlier this month that the Jets want slot receiver Jamison Crowder — who is entering the final year of his contract — to take a significant pay cut. Today, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reports that New York wants to reduce Crowder’s 2021 salary by at least 50%.

The soon-to-be 28-year-old receiver is due to make a non-guaranteed $10MM this year, and the Jets want to pay him a maximum of $5MM instead. And it appears that Gang Green has plenty of leverage. At this point in the year, most teams don’t have a ton of money to spend, so it would be hard to imagine another club paying Crowder more than $5MM for the 2021 campaign. Plus, the Jets could clear over $10MM of cap space with a minimal dead money hit if they were to release Crowder, and New York reportedly feels comfortable with its receiving corps even without him in the picture.

According to Cimini, second-round rookie Elijah Moore — another slot receiver — was one of the best players on the field during OTAs, and fellow slot man Braxton Berrios also looked good. Of course, the Jets made a big-money free agent addition to the WR room in Corey Davis, and they also brought in Keelan Cole, so they’re content to play hardball with Crowder.

On the other hand, the team has plenty of cap space as is and will deploy rookie QB Zach Wilson under center. Even if there is some redundancy in the slot, it would be understandable if the Jets wanted to keep an established veteran like Crowder just in case Moore isn’t quite ready to shoulder the load. But since GM Joe Douglas doled out $80MM in guaranteed money in free agency, the club might prefer to save some cash, especially since it remains interested in free agent OT Morgan Moses (who recently visited with the Jets).

Cimini suggests that Crowder and the club could agree to a restructure, though such a maneuver wouldn’t preclude the Jets from trading Crowder if Moore continues to perform well in training camp and the preseason.

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This Date In Transactions History: Jets Cut Eric Decker

Five years ago today, the Jets released wide receiver Eric Decker. The Jets had previously told Decker that he would be released or traded — they couldn’t find a suitable deal, so they released him outright instead. "<strongEric Decker (vertical)” width=”226″ height=”300″ />

Decker, a 2010 third-round pick, broke out with the Broncos in 2012 and 2013. He carried his strong production to New Jersey in his first two years with the Jets, tallying a combined 154 catches for 1,989 yards and 17 touchdowns. Then, he was derailed by hip and shoulder injuries. Decker saw just three games in 2016, but still managed to take 9 grabs for a highly efficient 194 yards with two TDs.

Still, Decker’s contract had two years and over $36MM to go. Instead of banking on a bounce-back year, the Jets opted to save $7.5MM in cap room. Initially, the Jets figured they could parlay Decker into some draft capital, once fellow vet Jeremy Maclin landed elsewhere. The Ravens had some interest in Decker, but they got Maclin on an affordable two-year, $11MM contract. After that, the trade market dried up.

The Ravens thought about adding Decker once he was available, but they ultimately held off. Instead, Decker joined the Titans for his age-30 season. It was a logical fit — the Titans needed an experienced wide receiver to prevent defenses from targeting DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. Plus, Decker and his family already lived near Nashville.

Decker went on to appear in every game, but finished with just 54 catches, 563 yards, and one TD in 2017. In 2018, Decker signed with the Patriots, giving him a chance at revenge against the Jets. However, he didn’t get the chance — amidst long odds of making the final cut, Decker chose to retire instead. Decker’s still only 34, but it looks like he’s enjoying life without football.

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S Obi Melifonwu Worked Out For Jets

Obi Melifonwu could be heading back to the AFC East. The former second-round pick worked out for the Jets today, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).

The safety was a highly touted prospect coming out of UConn, and the Raiders ended up using a second-round pick (No. 56) to select the defensive back in 2017. Two stints on the IR limited Melifonwu to only five games during his rookie season, and he was ultimately released by the Raiders midway through his sophomore campaign. He appeared in a pair of games for the Patriots during the second half of that 2018 season, and he ended up spending much of the next year on New England’s practice squad.

Melifonwu was released last April, but he didn’t end up getting another gig during the 2020 season. He signed a futures contract with the 49ers back in January, but he was waived less than four months later.

In total, the 27-year-old has seen time in seven career games, having compiled 10 tackles. Melifonwu turned heads with his speed (4.4-second 40-yard dash time) and athleticism (44-inch vertical), so it isn’t a surprise that the Jets are kicking the tires on a safety with that skill set.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 6/10/21

Here are Thursday’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Las Vegas Raiders

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Jets To Sign S Sharrod Neasman

After five seasons in Atlanta, Sharrod Neasman will make his way north. The veteran safety and special-teamer agreed to a deal with the Jets on Thursday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Despite having started just two career games, Neasman was with the Falcons from 2016-20. Atlanta picked him up as a UDFA out of Florida Atlantic and deployed him as a steady special-teamer for much of his time with the team. Neasman joins a Jets team fairly well-stocked at safety.

The Jets have Marcus Maye on the franchise tag, and they agreed to a deal with Lamarcus Joyner this offseason. Although the Raiders stationed Joyner in the slot the past two years, the Jets plan to use him at safety. New York also rosters 2020 third-round pick Ashtyn Davis.

Neasman, 29, started two games last season but was a regular on Atlanta’s special teams units during the 2019 and ’20 slates. The Falcons did use Neasman as a part-timer on defense in 2018, when both Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen were lost for the season in September, and last season. The Jets will now give him a chance to make the squad as a backup.

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Jets Want 'Significant' Crowder Pay Cut

  • Staying on the quarterback subject, the Jets may need to consider an addition. Wilson’s two backups — 2020 fourth-round pick James Morgan and former UDFA Mike White — are not ready for a QB2 role, Connor Hughes of The Athletic writes (subscription required). The Jets, in Hughes’ view, need to acquire Nick Foles from the Bears. Douglas was with the Eagles during Foles’ memorable second Philadelphia stint, and Foles has become a nonfactor in Chicago. The Jets, however, are not planning any additional costly moves this year; Foles comes with an $8MM price tag. Foles-Jets buzz began brewing shortly after the Bears’ Justin Fields pick, however, and may continue if Morgan and White prove unqualified at Gang Green’s minicamp.

Although several veterans made a point to skip OTAs this year, Jamison Crowder is away from his team because of a contract issue. The Jets want their leading receiver of the past two seasons to accept a pay cut. Robert Saleh said the veteran slot receiver “definitely” has a role on the 2021 Jets, but SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano notes the pay reduction the Jets have in mind is “significant.” It would be interesting to see what the Jets do if Crowder balks, given their salary cap space (third-most in the NFL) and his potential value in helping Zach Wilson as a rookie. The 27-year-old wideout is due a $10MM base salary this season, which is the final year of his contract. GM Joe Douglas was not around when Crowder signed with the Jets, and the team used a second-round pick on presumptive Crowder slot successor Elijah Moore. The Ole Miss product stands to cut into Crowder’s workload this season, Vacchiano adds, so the Jets would appear to be comfortable moving on.

Crowder may end up hitting free agency at an inopportune time, should he not approve the team’s pay-cut request. If the Jets release Crowder, they would not incur any dead money. Here is the latest from the AFC East:

Jets’ Mekhi Becton Suffers Foot Injury

One of a few first-round tackles to make an impact as rookies last season, Mekhi Becton is in position to become a cornerstone player for the Jets. But Zach Wilson‘s blindside blocker will need some time off this summer.

Becton is battling a foot injury, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, who tweets plantar fasciitis will keep the second-year left tackle off the field for a time. While Becton is not expected to require surgery or miss training camp time, the Jets are keeping him off his feet for the time being.

This is not the first time Becton has run into trouble on the health front since coming to the Jets. The Louisville alum missed two games with a shoulder injury last season and exited another because of a chest ailment that affected his breathing. At 6-foot-7, 364 pounds, Becton is one of the largest players in NFL history. He is believed to have played at a higher weight than listed as a rookie, according to the New York Post’s Brian Costello, who notes the Jets levied discipline for this last year.

Becton still managed to suit up for 14 games in 2020 and was one of the league’s most impressive rookies. He profiles as the long-term option here the Jets have lacked since D’Brickashaw Ferguson‘s retirement. But unavailability has become a factor early in Becton’s career. If injuries continue to pile up for the talented lineman, this will become a central issue for the team.

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Jets Sign Fourth-Round RB Michael Carter

Although the Jets still have higher-profile rookie contracts to finalize, they are done with the Michael Carter section of their rookie deals. The first of the team’s two Michael Carters chosen, the fourth-round running back signed his four-year rookie pact Friday.

This comes nearly a month after fifth-round defensive back Michael Carter agreed to terms. These two played against one another in the ACC and both have paths to immediate playing time. A former North Carolina running back, this Michael Carter figures to become a higher-profile name sooner — perhaps due to the fantasy realm.

Carter split time with Broncos second-round pick Javonte Williams with the Tar Heels and ripped off back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons to close his college career. The 5-foot-7, 201-pound back delivered an efficient senior season, averaging 8.0 yards per carry to reach 1,245 and nine touchdowns for a potent Tar Heels ground attack.

The Jets signed Tevin Coleman this offseason, and although the former Falcons and 49ers back has extensive experience working with OC Mike LaFleur, he has battled constant injury trouble over the past two seasons. Carter, who figures to compete for playing time ahead of his rookie season, also joins 2020 fourth-round pick La’Mical Perine in the Jets’ post-Le’Veon Bell backfield.

Of the Jets’ 10-man draft class, seven members have signed. Only the team’s first- and second-rounders — Zach Wilson,Alijah Vera-Tucker and Elijah Moore — are unsigned.

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