After a 2-14 regular season, this free agency period was extremely critical for the Jets. General manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh are trying their best to sign players who fit their culture the best. The team entered free agency with $67.3 million to spend in cap space. This was second-most in the entire NFL, only behind the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jets had several important needs to fill during this free agency. Needs that had to be addressed included finding depth at running back and receiver, bolstering the offensive line, adding a pass rusher, finding a solid special teams player, and more. While the team didn’t address all needs, there is still the draft to add players.
Over the past week and a half, the Jets have added several new players to their roster. Below, I will give my thoughts on each and every signing and grade them.
Jets Sign LB Jarrad Davis
The Jets began their free agency by signing former Detroit Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis. The signing is a one-year, $5.5 million contract. With the 21st pick in the 2017 draft, the Lions used it on Davis. Although Detroit had high hopes for Davis, he failed to live up to expectations while there and recorded only 10.5 sacks in four seasons.
While some blame should be placed on former Lions coach Matt Patricia, Davis has also been a major liability to the defense at times. In my opinion, the team should have taken a closer look at Titans linebacker Jaylon Brown, who had higher production and returned to the Titans on a cheaper deal.
However, there is still an upside in the deal. The Jets were desperately in need of linebacker help, and Davis is still young and can possibly thrive under new head coach Robert Saleh and his scheme. With C.J. Mosley returning, there shouldn’t be too much pressure on him if Mosley plays well. Additionally, it is only a one-year deal, so if he performs poorly, the team will have no issues moving on.
Overall, while this signing may be a risk, if the Jets can unleash Davis’s full potential, it will end up being a solid deal.
Signing Grade: B-
Jets Sign WR Corey Davis
Even though the top free-agent receivers, Allen Robinson and Chris Godwin signed the franchise tag to stay with their respective teams, there were still solid options on the market. Joe Douglas wasted no time by signing former Titan receiver Corey Davis. The deal is worth $37.5 million over three years. While Davis was the fifth overall pick in 2017 and hasn’t lived up to expectations, he broke out in 2020 with a huge year. As the WR2 behind rising star AJ Brown, Davis had a career-high 984 yards and was one of Ryan Tannehill‘s favorite targets.
Davis is a great fit for the Jets offense and should contribute right away with good quarterback play. The team may finally have the wide receiver one they have searched for since 2015.
Signing Grade: A
Jets Sign EDGE Carl Lawson
One of the biggest things missing on the 2020 Jets defense was a pass rush. The Jets pass rush has been non-existent for the past few years. This free agency had multiple solid pass-rushers, and Carl Lawson was one of them. Gang Green and Joe Douglas signed him to a 3-year, $45 million deal.
Even though Lawson’s sack numbers aren’t eye-popping, he pressures the quarterback at an extremely good level. He had six sacks in 2020, along with being second in the NFL at the position for quarterback hits.
Lawson has already praised Coach Saleh as he will implement a new culture. The 2017 fourth-round pick said during his introductory press conference that he admires Saleh’s spirit towards players. Many experts around the league have said this deal was one of the offseasons best and for a good reason.
Signing Grade: A+
Jets Sign RB Tevin Coleman
After the failed Le’veon Bell signing in 2019, the Jets have since been looking for a better option at the running back position. Gang Green went through a disaster at the position this past year, after Bell’s Week 6 release. Experienced veteran Frank Gore averaged a woeful 3.5 yards per carry. In addition, while they showed flashes of excitement, La’Mical Perine, Ty Johnson, and Josh Adams didn’t amount to much.
While the team will address the position in the draft, it was essential they added an RB in free agency too. Joe Douglas signed former Falcons and 49ers running back Tevin Coleman to a one-year, $2 million deal. Although Coleman, a 2015 draft pick, struggled in 2020, he is familiar with this offense. This is due to him playing under Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur in San Francisco.
Although he wasn’t a top option and has a limited ceiling, Coleman should lead a running back committee in 2021 and play solid.
Signing Grade: B
Jets Sign DT Sheldon Rankins
Although the Jets are strong at defensive tackle, depth is always needed. In Robert Saleh’s scheme, he is looking for depth and the Jets found a stud. The team signed former Saints defensive tackle and 2016 first-round pick Sheldon Rankins for 2-years, $17 million. Throughout his career, he has unfortunately dealt with several injuries. However, when he was fully healthy in 2018, he had eight sacks and was extremely disruptive on the Saints defense.
Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich should make the best out of him in 2021. This is another great signing by Douglas.
Signing Grade: A
After a lackluster first free-agent class, Joe Douglas may have redeemed himself this offseason. Besides the quarterback and cornerback positions, Gang Green will be in much better shape than last year come Week 1.
Overall Free Agency Grade: A