With free agency looming, the Jets face some key decisions as they try to retain players that will help their rebuild. The two names at the top of the list, when it comes to 2022 free agents, are wide receiver/returner Braxton Berrios and defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi. As ESPN’s Rich Cimini writes, New York could be in tough to keep both of them.
Much has already been reported about Berrios, and the type of contract he is expected to be looking for on the open market. Fatukasi, likewise, is expected to command one of the biggest contracts amongst pending Jets free agents. As Cimini writes, “the Jets want to keep both players and have been talking to their agents”, but “there’s a good chance they get to market”.
Berrios put up intriguing numbers, especially late in the season, which has been the source of buzz that he could land somewhere around $9MM per season on a new deal. Cimini cautions, though, that “it would be a surprise if the Jets go that high”, given the money already invested in fellow receivers Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole.
As for Fatukasi, his play in 2021 has earned him a payday in New York or elsewhere. The 27-year-old was highly effective stopping the run, but failed to develop an effective pass rush. For that reason, he is “thought to be seeking about $8MM per year”. Again, however, the team already has sizeable commitments in other areas across the defensive front. Losing Fatukasi would be a blow to a unit that, even with him, ranked 29th against the run last year.
Cimini also posits that safety Marcus Maye is likely headed elsewhere. The 28-year-old was charged with a DUI this past October, and suffered a torn Achilles one month later. While he “has some support within the organization”, Cimini writes, “it sounds like this relationship has probably run its course”.
With decisions needing to be made around other veterans, including Crowder, for instance, the Jets face what appears to be an uphill battle to keep their best pending free agents. How much they are willing to spend to keep them – or, perhaps more realistically, which one they decide to prioritize over the others – will dictate much of the rest of their offseason, as they look to take a step forward in 2022.