Jets' Top Players to Consider for Franchise Tag, RFA Contract Tenders

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IFebruary 15, 2021

Jets' Top Players to Consider for Franchise Tag, RFA Contract Tenders

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    This offseason, the New York Jets are likely going to be looking to add to their roster via free agency, trades or both while also acquiring young players in the 2021 NFL draft. After going 2-14 in 2020, the Jets have numerous areas on their roster that could be improved.

    However, New York already had some talented players, including several who are free agents this offseason, so it's possible it will also be looking to bring back some of them.

    There are several Jets players who will be restricted free agents, meaning the team can offer them a contract tender and could either have an opportunity to match another team's offer sheet or potentially receive draft-pick compensation.

    The Jets also have some strong players who are unrestricted free agents. And if they can't work out a long-term deal with one they'd like to have back, they could consider using their franchise tag, which brings the player back on a one-year contract worth a set salary.

    Here's a look at one player the Jets may want to use the franchise tag on, along with two others who are restricted free agents and could be worth offering a contract tender.

Franchise-Tag Candidate: Marcus Maye, S

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    Marcus Maye is likely to be one of the Jets' top priorities this offseason, as the safety has been a key member of their defense over the past four seasons. He was selected by New York in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft and has since played well, but he's now an unrestricted free agent.

    According to Ethan Greenberg of the Jets' official website, general manager Joe Douglas has said New York wants to re-sign the 27-year-old this offseason. But whether or not that happens on a long-term deal could depend on what the Jets are willing to offer the talented defensive back.

    If New York and Maye can't work out a long-term deal, perhaps it would consider using the franchise tag on him to ensure he'll be back with the team in 2021. Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap is projecting the franchise-tag salary for safeties to be $10.496 million, which could be a worthwhile investment for the Jets to guarantee they'd bring back one of their top defensive players.

    Maye has started 54 games for the Jets, playing in all 16 in three of his first four seasons. In 2020, he had a pair of interceptions and set career highs in tackles (88), sacks (two), forced fumbles (two), fumble recoveries (one) and pass deflections (11).

    The Jets are likely going to find a way to bring back Maye. And while they should prefer that to happen with a long-term deal, it could be beneficial for them to have the possibility of a franchise tag just in case.

RFA Tender Candidate: Josh Adams, RB

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    It wouldn't be surprising if the Jets bring in a running back from outside the organization this offseason, especially with 37-year-old Frank Gore becoming an unrestricted free agent.

    However, Josh Adams could provide valuable depth out of the backfield, which could be a reason for New York to consider offering him an RFA tender.

    The 24-year-old had only 29 carries over eight games last season, his second with the Jets, but he flashed his potential at times. He scored a touchdown in Week 2 against the Buffalo Bills and had a season-high 74 rushing yards in Week 13 against the Los Angeles Rams. He also finished strong, rushing for 47 yards and a touchdown in Week 17 against the New England Patriots.

    Connor Hughes of The Athletic noted Adams could be a "perfect match for a zone-running scheme," which will be implemented by new Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. And because of that, New York may want to bring him back and give him more opportunities to carry the ball moving forward.

    The Jets already have running backs Ty Johnson and La'Mical Perine signed for next season, and they could also add to the backfield in free agency or the draft.

    However, Adams could be a low-risk, high-reward signing for New York if it decides to bring him back this offseason, as he has proved he may be worth including in its backfield mix.

RFA Tender Candidate: Harvey Langi, LB

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    Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

    Harvey Langi may be 28, but he hadn't gotten much of an opportunity at the NFL level until coming to the Jets. He's now played 30 games over the past two seasons, which included six starts in the second half of the 2020 campaign.

    In 14 games last season, the 28-year-old had a career-high 60 tackles while also recording a fumble recovery and a pass deflection. He had at least eight tackles in each of his first five starts and was in good form before a neck injury ended his season after Week 15.

    Was that performance enough for New York to consider bringing back Langi, who is a restricted free agent this offseason? The Jets have some uncertainty at middle linebacker, as C.J. Mosley has only played two games since signing with the team prior to the 2019 season (he was injured in his first year and then opted out of the 2020 season, played during the coronavirus pandemic).

    Although Mosley should come back and be New York's starter, it could be beneficial to bring back Langi, who has proved he can fill in and provide strong play. If Mosley also plays well, the Jets would have important depth at middle linebacker with the BYU product.

    So, either way, New York may want to offer Langi a contract and bring him back for 2021.