Jets' Top Players to Avoid in 2022 NFL Free Agency

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIFebruary 14, 2022

Jets' Top Players to Avoid in 2022 NFL Free Agency

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    Over the past decade, the New York Jets have had their share of free-agent signings who didn't pan out. Players such as Darrelle Revis and Trumaine Johnson were given large contracts as the franchise tried to turn things around, but those efforts were unsuccessful.

    The Jets are mired in an 11-year playoff drought. No other team in the NFL has an active postseason drought longer than six years. After going 4-13 in his first season with the Jets, will Robert Saleh be the head coach to lead them back to the playoffs? That may depend on the moves made by general manager Joe Douglas, who will be entering his fourth season in New York's front office.

    Over the Cap projects the Jets to have about $48.2 million of cap space, so they have the ability to make moves this offseason. However, they need to be the right ones.

    With that in mind, here are several players New York should avoid targeting during free agency.

Brandon Scherff, OG

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    If Brandon Scherff doesn't return to the Washington Commanders, he'll be among the best players available in free agency this offseason. The 30-year-old guard is a one-time All-Pro selection and five-time Pro Bowler who has been the anchor of Washington's offensive line since he was taken in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft.

    Even though the Jets need to strengthen their interior offensive line, it may not be the best move to sign Scherff, who is certain to receive a huge contract this offseason. New York may have the finances to make a play for his services, but it doesn't mean that would be right decision.

    Scherff hasn't played a full season since 2016, and he's been limited to 11 or fewer games in three of the past four campaigns, leading to concerns about his inability to stay on the field.

    Also, New York has other needs on both sides of the ball. And while Scherff would be a big upgrade on the O-line, the Jets may not be able to adequately address other holes on its roster if they give him a huge payday.

    So the Jets should let another team give Scherff a huge deal and use their resources to sign multiple talented players, including some who are a bit younger and have more long-term potential.

Stephon Gilmore, CB

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    The Jets have handful of young cornerbacks on their roster who are under contract for the 2022 season. However, they could still get much better at the position considering some of those players haven't realized their potential—and there's a possibility they never will.

    New York could benefit from adding a proven veteran cornerback to its secondary, bringing in a player who can provide stability and leadership in the defensive backfield. But if the Jets are going to do that, they shouldn't do so by signing Stephon Gilmore.

    Set to turn 32 in September, Gilmore has been limited to 19 games over the past two seasons because of various injuries. Despite that, he could still get a sizable contract in free agency considering he's a one-time Defensive Player of the Year Award winner who is also a two-time All-Pro selection and five-time Pro Bowler.

    New York shouldn't pursue Gilmore, though, because it could be better to sign a lower-cost cornerback who may be a bit more reliable moving forward. Gilmore would be too risky of a signing and has bust potential.

Leonard Fournette, RB

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    The Jets have a few needs on offense this offseason. They could use a boost to their receiving corps, they could benefit from adding a top tight end and they need to get stronger up front. However, New York doesn't necessarily need to sign a free-agent running back.

    Michael Carter flashed his potential out of the backfield during his rookie campaign, and Ty Johnson and La'Mical Perine are also under contract for 2022. If the Jets sign a running back, it shouldn't be somebody from the top tier, such as Leonard Fournette, who will likely be among the best on the free-agent market.

    Fournette is still only 27 and has put up solid numbers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the past two seasons. Because of that, he should get a sizable contract during free agency.

    But the Jets should pass on doing that and give Carter and Johnson the opportunity to power their running game. They need better receiving options for quarterback Zach Wilson, who will be entering his second season, and should direct their resources toward that rather than signing Fournette or another expensive running back.