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Jets Draft Strategy Suggests Marcus may not be in Future Plans


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Marcus Maye

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Jets GM Joe Douglas has been asked about a starting safety who is looking to get a long-term deal from the team before he hits free agency and Douglas says publicly that he’d like to get said safety locked up long-term.  This was the case just over a year ago with the since-traded Jamal Adams and is now playing out with Marcus Maye.

#Jets still looking to extend S Marcus Maye, per @BrianCoz #TakeFlight

“We have had productive texts back and forth with his agent. We’re hoping to really dive into this now that the draft’s over.” – Joe Douglas pic.twitter.com/nranTbE2jW

— JetsCenter (@nyjetscenter) May 2, 2021

The difference here of course is that Maye is taking a sensible and unselfish approach to his upcoming deal whereas Adams was all about Adams and was upset about not having a new contract while the US was in the early stages of being enveloped by a global pandemic.

Douglas may very well end up coming to terms with Maye on a new deal prior to the start of the season, but in looking at his approach to the draft, it has the look of planning for a different outcome.

While the Jets are expected to move some of these players around a bit, they did draft Jamien Sherwood, Michael Carter II, and Hamsah Nasirildeen.  All three have experience at safety and will be joined by undrafted free agents Brendon White, Jordyn Peters (both safeties) and Isaiah Dunn who played cornerback at Oregon State but is viewed by some as a safety at the pro level.  In all, that’s six new bodies coming from the college ranks to the pros who have played or can play safety.

Oh, and did we mention the addition of free agent safety LeMarcus Joyner?  Although in fairness, Joyner and Maye are far different types of players and one will have little impact on the other.

In the end none of this may matter and the Jets could ink Maye to a long-term deal, but paying premium money for a non-premium position isn’t something we’ve seen Joe Douglas do before, and he may not be looking to do it now.  And the Jets offseason moves at the position suggest that may be the case.

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You sign players for the price they are worth to the franchise, nothing more or less. If Maye wants more than we offer and gets it somewhere else then fantastic for him and us. Maye is good, he’s not even remotely irreplaceable and certain not worth a top tier Safety contract.


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1 minute ago, Snell41 said:

You sign players for the price they are worth to the franchise, nothing more or less. If Maye wants more than we offer and gets it somewhere else then fantastic for him and us. Maye is good, he’s not even remotely irreplaceable and certain not worth a top tier Safety contract.


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I agree. I'm not against signing Maye to a fair offer. He's a good player and leader (unlike the clown we picked before him).

That said, I think JD is going to trade him at some point. 

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5 minutes ago, sourceworx said:

I agree. I'm not against signing Maye to a fair offer. He's a good player and leader (unlike the clown we picked before him).

That said, I think JD is going to trade him at some point. 

I believe we already offered him a fair contract and him and his agent laughed at it.  Good riddance Mr Maye.

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23 minutes ago, Snell41 said:

You sign players for the price they are worth to the franchise, nothing more or less. If Maye wants more than we offer and gets it somewhere else then fantastic for him and us. Maye is good, he’s not even remotely irreplaceable and certain not worth a top tier Safety contract.


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He already has a top safety contract. He's tied for the 9th highest paid safety in the league this year (with the Saints Marcus Williams, also franchise tagged with 13 career interceptions while being three years younger than Maye). The Jets only used the tag here because the value of safety is so low around the league that the tag is affordable. At 28 years old, it makes it harder to consider any long term commitment. A three year deal with the guaranteed money running out after two is probably about as big as Joe Douglas will want to get with the contract, and not for much more than the $10.6M he's already getting. And I think that if the Jets offer 3/$33M with $20M guaranteed that Maye should jump all over that. 

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8 minutes ago, Joe W. Namath said:

I believe we already offered him a fair contract and him and his agent laughed at it.  Good riddance Mr Maye.

Agree. If that's true then trade him.

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3 minutes ago, slats said:

He already has a top safety contract. He's tied for the 9th highest paid safety in the league this year (with the Saints Marcus Williams, also franchise tagged with 13 career interceptions while being three years younger than Maye). The Jets only used the tag here because the value of safety is so low around the league that the tag is affordable. At 28 years old, it makes it harder to consider any long term commitment. A three year deal with the guaranteed money running out after two is probably about as big as Joe Douglas will want to get with the deal, and not for much more than the $10.6M he's already getting. And I think that if the Jets offer 3/$33M with $20M guaranteed that Maye should jump all over that. 

also, maye doesn't fit the mold of what they're looking for in players, he's not the most athletic.  he has 1 more year on the team. 

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Maye will be re-signed. Saleh likes interchangeable safeties to disguise coverage and Maye offers that. He played really well last year on a terrible defense and team. I think it'll be a fair deal for both sides and regardless of the initial length, JD structures contracts with an out after 2 years so I wouldn't be concerned about the years. 

Plus the Jets are so young in the secondary there is no way they are trading Maye. 

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16 minutes ago, derp said:

This is a bit of a stretch, IMO. You can’t cobble together a list of the guys who have played safety and could play safety and then say “look at all the guys who play safety!”

Sherwood and Nasirildeen are going to play linebacker. So is White.

Joyner is starting opposite Maye and on a one year deal. It looks like if Carter is playing safety it’ll be in the Joyner role, otherwise he’ll be a nickel corner. Not coming for Maye’s job.

Peters, if he makes the team, maybe overlaps. But that basically leaves him.

The guy who I think is most likely to make the Jets decide they don’t need Maye is missing from the article - Ashtyn Davis.

All of this said - I don’t think they’re extending Maye this offseason unless he accepts a very reasonable extension. Saleh hasn’t seen him in his scheme, he can get franchised again next year at a price below what he’s asking for if he plays well, they obviously liked Davis coming out and he’d be cheaper the next two years, and Maye was pretty consistently dinged up his first few years in the league.

None of that means they won’t re-sign him at all, but I think he needs a healthy, productive season in the scheme and they need to not like Davis as a replacement after this year to warrant a big money extension for a safety. Not like they’ll lose him after this year if they don’t extend him now. His leadership and off field contributions are certainly a factor there as well.

We also don’t know how Douglas views extending internal guys. No free agent has been re-signed for more than three years and most of this year’s FA’s were younger than Maye. I can’t imagine he’s getting five years and negotiations at three may not be at all appealing for them. I’m sure it pushes up the APY on Maye’s end behind what Douglas wants.

Point being there are reasons for them not to re-sign Maye now beyond they drafted safeties to play linebacker.

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2 hours ago, slats said:

He already has a top safety contract. He's tied for the 9th highest paid safety in the league this year (with the Saints Marcus Williams, also franchise tagged with 13 career interceptions while being three years younger than Maye). The Jets only used the tag here because the value of safety is so low around the league that the tag is affordable. At 28 years old, it makes it harder to consider any long term commitment. A three year deal with the guaranteed money running out after two is probably about as big as Joe Douglas will want to get with the contract, and not for much more than the $10.6M he's already getting. And I think that if the Jets offer 3/$33M with $20M guaranteed that Maye should jump all over that. 

$11-12 Mil is my max parameters for a deal.  

Maye needs to ask himself If he wants to stay here and be part of the Saleh's defense.  If yes...he should sign a contract like the above mentioned.  If Maye gets injured and struggles this year.  The market value at his age will plummet significantly. 

Unless Saleh and his staff seriously wants Maye long term.  I don't see Maye as a priority for the Jets beyond this year.  

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13 hours ago, Snell41 said:

You sign players for the price they are worth to the franchise, nothing more or less. If Maye wants more than we offer and gets it somewhere else then fantastic for him and us. Maye is good, he’s not even remotely irreplaceable and certain not worth a top tier Safety contract.


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That’s not 100% true in a salary cap league. You allocate resources to maximize value for the team. I’d rather pay a premium for some of our rare in-house talent than be even further under the salary cap and pad Woody’s wallet. I want all the money on the field, even if some is overpaid.

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On 5/11/2021 at 10:48 PM, jgb said:

That’s not 100% true in a salary cap league. You allocate resources to maximize value for the team. I’d rather pay a premium for some of our rare in-house talent than be even further under the salary cap and pad Woody’s wallet. I want all the money on the field, even if some is overpaid.

Up to a point, of course, but the specifics of perhaps the isolated + unacceptable outlier notwithstanding, I'd largely agree with this. For the upcoming 4 years - presuming Wilson pans out - the Jets are getting a $30MM+ discount at the QB position alone. Then if Becton takes a next leap forward he's an $18-22MM LT making just $4.5MM so that's another $15M temporary discount, give or take.

Yes there is some concern over setting precedents, that shouldn't be the driving force.

A given season's payroll is fungible; there's no positional ceiling other than self-imposed ones, like a QB cap, then an OL cap, etc. on down the roster. If getting a similar product/result in the end, it's all in one's head whether one spends $35MM on a QB and $2MM on a WR or $10MM on a QB and $27MM on a WR. 

I think that gets in peoples' ways when they set lines in the sand of this or that upcoming (or for an available) FA, of "I wouldn't spend a nickel more than $____." Particularly when we don't have a mountain of mega-priced FAs coming up a year or two later, why should you gaf if the team heads into the season with $22MM in available cap space or $19MM in available cap space? You can save it up for a particular UFA here or there, only to find two got franchise tagged, another one went to a SB team so we had no chance, and another maybe just chose to go where the weather's nicer every fall & winter. 

No one else is offering the Jets another pair of 1st rounders & more for a safety, so this is a pure money decision. They may want to see how the younger guys look so far this summer first - plenty of players get their sought-after extensions in August/September - but if it's only 2 years guaranteed, the first year is happening under the franchise tag anyway. It may not make the most sense on paper, just by the numbers, but if it's just a couple million difference they're also buying something with that player being content instead of miserable (never mind if they tag him a second time a year from now). If his line in the sand is $14-15MM over the upcoming two seasons, though, there's little incentive for the Jets to cave; that's effectively paying him $20MM for the 2022 season (and guaranteeing it in advance, at that), which is just ridiculous. 

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Why would a paying a free safety $10mm+ when teams typically draft them in the 3rd round or below be in any team's future plans?

Maye is a solid player, but not a game changer like Polamalu, Matthieu, etc.  

I agree with the Jets paying Maye this year and even next year, but particularly when you are going to have an LT, DT and QB who will need to get paid, finding a long-term cheaper solution at FS makes alot of sense.

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15 hours ago, varjet said:

Why would a paying a free safety $10mm+ when teams typically draft them in the 3rd round or below be in any team's future plans?

Maye is a solid player, but not a game changer like Polamalu, Matthieu, etc.  

I agree with the Jets paying Maye this year and even next year, but particularly when you are going to have an LT, DT and QB who will need to get paid, finding a long-term cheaper solution at FS makes alot of sense.

I'd say the fault in connecting those dots with is that a guy like Polamalu (who was a SS not a FS: the rare, run-stopping thumper who could also pick off 7 passes a year and just in general seemed to be everywhere) would be getting a helluva lot more than $10MM per season, and might very well be in the $16MM+ range (maybe not from the Steelers, but if he was a FA).

There are 6 non-Polamalu safeties right now (Landon Collins the only SS) who are in the $14-15MM/year range as it is. If Justin Simmons can get a $15.25MM/year contract extension, it seems someone like Polamalu, Reed, etc. would command in the $16-17MM/year range as a FA.

Also there's that other thing, which is there's no need:

  • until the day arrives one of the younger guys shows it on the field, the Jets don't have any other safeties who could even sniff commanding a $10MM/year contract (which Maye would've likely exceeded as a UFA);
  • they don't have any cap issues right now;
  • with Darnold's departure they further don't have any upcoming premium-position / future-crazy-$ guys graduating from their rookie contracts. The next one up is QW, and (unless they decide to bang out an extension early) with his 5th year option he's locked up through the 2023 season.

Point being, a couple little indulgences of perhaps overpaying by a million or two here or there, or like keeping an extra $4MM veteran iOLman purely as a backup, won't stop them from signing anyone else of interest next year. Frankly I don't really expect them to go hog wild in FA next year anyway with two 1st and two 2nd round picks in that draft. Plus before this summer's over, absent multiple injuries, you can expect them to cut either Lewis or GVR (they're not keeping both, with the more versatile Feeney's roster spot guaranteed this year) which alone will clear more than Maye's 2022 raise.

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On the one hand they could just do nothing, and then if he has a good season in 2021, just tag him again. On paper that seems like a no-brainer, especially with him already 28, but thinking about it some more I might favor an extension, depending on the terms of course. 

The team holds all the cards right now, so if they're ever going to give Maye an extension (which would likely contain 2 guaranteed seasons), this would be a good offseason to do it. Both sides could release it PR-wise as a $14MM/year extension after this year, which is top money for a safety, and it's still very team-friendly: essentially only guaranteeing 1 additional season after the 2021 tag season, at almost the same rate as next year's tag will be anyway.

The leverage is heavily favoring the team over the player here:

• Maye' hasn't earned very much yet ($6.5MM over 4 years, before taxes, and you can bet he spent some of what was left). Under the $10.6MM franchise tag he'll make millions more than his prior 4 seasons combined. Knowing he could end up with just that one high-dollar season, should he get badly injured, Maye is highly motivated to get something done, giving the team leverage.

• Maye's starting point is artificially low while he's locked in under the franchise tag, and there's no upcoming hope of competing bids. So unfortunately for the player this time, Maye has very little leverage on that front, too.

• The Jets aren't widely considered SB contenders this year. So if Maye threatens to sit out the season it's not like that'd could crush those hopes, giving him even less leverage.

• Further still, it's not like the Jets just forked over a major draft pick investment in him, like Seattle did with Adams, denying him that potential leverage.

• Further still on top of the above, if he doesn't get an extension this season he may command less next year as a free agent DB looking for a long-term deal starting at age 29, with risks that could affect it further, like having that follow a season with a bad injury or even a minor injury that was just enough to result in some spotty play. And even if he's near the $14-15MM range based on his play on the field in 2021, the Jets could still undercut that by tagging him yet again. On the off-chance the player doesn't realize this, bet his agent does.

Maye just has no leverage, other than expressing his discontent throughout the locker room (or making the team look bad, but we're pretty immune to that by now lol). That's not totally nothing, but it's not like he's got the team over a barrel.

 

With the knowledge that the Jets could tag him again in 2022 at around $12.7MM I think - outside of pure team generosity - Maye's looking at an extension with a ceiling of guarantees around $24-25MM for 2 years. In effect, $10.6MM this year and ~$14MM next year. If they can get him to agree to less, all the better. After 2022, the extension could call for $14MM/year from 2023 onward, but they're non-guaranteed year-to-year team options (actually that gives the player an incentive to not have it structured with 2023 too high, lest he price himself out of a roster spot).

Since Maye turns 30 in 2023, he'd only see these even the first of those non-guaranteed years if he is still totally healthy, still at the top of his game, plus the team is a contender and still hasn't adequately drafted & developed a replacement. In the meantime he gets to have an on-paper $14MM/year extension following his franchise tag season, and gets the upcoming two seasons guaranteed, in case he suffers a career-altering injury in 2021.

Anyway, if the Jets are going to extend Maye at all - and they can wait until they see what they've got this summer; they're not under the gun in May/June - this makes more sense to me than tagging him for 2021 and then fully guaranteeing the following 2 years (2022 and 2023) of a 3 or 4 year extension after that. All they get out of that - or by tagging him twice - is not being on the hook for 2022 if he suffers a major injury in 2021, at the expense of the player being miserable all this year and maybe again next year.

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