3 Biggest Free-Agent Decisions for Jets' GM and Coach in 2023 Offseason

Jake RillJanuary 17, 2023

3 Biggest Free-Agent Decisions for Jets' GM and Coach in 2023 Offseason

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    New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas, center, talks with head coach Robert Saleh during NFL football practice Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
    AP Photo/Adam Hunger

    The longest active playoff drought in the NFL still isn't over.

    The New York Jets finished 7-10 in the 2022 campaign, missing the postseason for the 12th consecutive season. It was a disappointing collapse, considering they were 7-4 before ending with a six-game losing streak.

    There are positives for New York to build off of moving forward, but moves will need to be made to turn the team into a playoff contender ahead of the 2023 campaign.

    General manager Joe Douglas will now spend the offseason looking to construct a roster that head coach Robert Saleh can lead to even better results.

    The Jets have sizable holes at important positions, and they could have more if they lose any notable names to free agency.

    Here's a look at several key New York players set to hit free agency who the team will need to decide whether to bring back or let go.

QB Mike White

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    New York Jets quarterback Mike White (5) throws against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)
    AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez

    The Jets have a quarterback dilemma they need to resolve this offseason.

    Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft, has struggled over his first two NFL seasons, so it may be time to go in a new direction. Joe Flacco is 38 and unlikely to return in free agency. Then, there's Mike White.

    Over the past two seasons, the 27-year-old has had some impressive moments when called upon to fill in for Wilson. In eight games, he has passed for 2,145 yards, eight touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The numbers may not jump off the page, but he's given New York some needed sparks.

    If the Jets are going to be successful, they need a QB who has performed better than either Wilson or White in recent years. The former remains on a rookie contract, while the latter is set to be an unrestricted free agent.

    White told reporters there's "mutual interest" between him and New York for a potential return. But is that the best move for the Jets, which could look to bring in someone to start over both him and Wilson?

    It all depends on how New York plans to sort out its quarterback situation.

C Connor McGovern

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    New York Jets center Connor McGovern (60) prepares to hike the ball at the line of scrimmage during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)
    AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper

    After spending his first three NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos, Connor McGovern has served as a key member of the Jets' interior line since he signed with them ahead of the 2020 campaign.

    The 29-year-old has made 48 starts at center over the past three seasons, missing only two games during that span.

    Coming off a 2022 season in which he started all 17 games, McGovern is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. If he doesn't return to the Jets, then they'll need to figure out how to fill that hole in the middle of their O-line for 2023.

    The Missouri product has proved to be a reliable presence throughout his career, so teams likely won't be too worried about signing him to a multi-year deal.

    New York's O-line had some struggles this past season, and the unit needs to get stronger. If the Jets think they can get an upgrade at center, perhaps McGovern won't return. Otherwise, the team at least knows what he brings and can prevent the position from being a major weak spot.

LB Quincy Williams

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    New York Jets linebacker Quincy Williams (56) walks onto the field before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Doug Murray)
    AP Photo/Doug Murray

    The Jets claimed Quincy Williams off waivers prior to the 2021 season, and few will have expected him to become such an impressive defender. After all, he had only 59 tackles in 18 games over his first two years in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    Since coming to New York, the 26-year-old has been much more productive. The linebacker has recorded 216 tackles, five sacks, three forced fumbles and six passes defended in 31 games (28 starts) over the past two seasons with the Jets.

    According to Brian Costello of the New York Post, Williams said earlier this month that "he hopes to return to the Jets but also wants to be paid what he has earned." So, that could mean New York might need to give him a sizable payday to keep him around.

    There's no question Williams makes the Jets' linebacker corps better, but the team needs to decide if it's willing to give him the type of contract he could land in free agency.