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Jets’ Joe Douglas unlikely to chase big-money free agents right away


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Jets’ Joe Douglas unlikely to chase big-money free agents right away

Brian Costello
3:53pm

When Joe Douglas conducted his season-ending press conference two months ago, he spelled out the situation in front of him. After seasons of 2-14 in 2020 and 4-13 in 2021, the Jets general manager knows patience is running thin with his fan base, and his team needs to improve … now. 

“Four wins, it’s not good enough. Six wins in two years, it’s not good enough,” Douglas said. “We have to be better, specifically in the division. We have to win divisional games. We have a lot of work to do moving forward, and we need to get better across the board. I can tell you that our focus this offseason is going to be improving the team, and know that I said improving the team, not just acquire talent, but improving the team.” 

The mission of improving the Jets goes into another gear this week with the beginning of free agency. Teams can negotiate with agents beginning Monday at noon. Deals cannot become official until 4 p.m. on Wednesday when the new league year opens. 

The question is: How aggressive will Douglas be? The Jets have around $48 million in salary-cap space, enough to make a splash in free agency. But Douglas has shown he is cautious when the funny money gets thrown around in March. He searches for value and does not fall into the trap his predecessor did of handing out A-plus contracts to B-minus players. 

Joe Douglas Joe Douglas  USA TODAY Sports

Several agents for high-profile free agents said they got the vibe from Douglas that the Jets would not be major players for the top free agents. That is not to say Douglas won’t take a swing or two at some of the top guys, but it seems unlikely he will come out of the gate on Monday handing out blank checks. 

The Jets may have a good amount of cap space, but they have two picks in the top 10 in next month’s draft. Those picks will get massive signing bonuses up front, which will reduce the amount of cash Douglas has at his disposal. 

Head coach Robert Saleh is entering his second season and needs his roster to improve quickly, particularly on defense, in which the Jets finished dead last in yards and points allowed. Still, Saleh preached patience during a March 2 session with reporters. 

“I’ll never put one offseason on top of the other.,” Saleh said. “Every offseason is unique to its own. I think what you see around the league is when people put a big emphasis on one offseason over the other, you see a lot of panic buying. You see panic selling. You see a lot of odd moves that actually put organizations deeper into a hole that really make it hard to get out of, especially when jobs are on the line. You just see some very odd decision making, and you can tell there’s panic. I think Joe and I feel very comfortable about our process. Every offseason is very, very important.” 

The Jets have holes all over their roster, so Douglas can go in many different directions in free agency and can fill other holes through trades or the draft. 

Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas Getty Images

Some positions to keep an eye on are: offensive line, tight end, cornerback, safety and linebacker. Douglas has improved the offensive line during his time with the Jets, but it is not a finished product. Interior offensive line free agents Ryan Jensen, Laken Tomlinson and Brandon Scherff could be Douglas targets. At safety, top free agent Marcus Williams of the Saints may be too pricey for the Jets. They probably will look for more value. 

The Jets liked what they saw from their young cornerbacks last season, but they know they need a true No. 1 corner. Sources said they are not expected to be in the mix for top corner J.C. Jackson from the Patriots, but could they chase Buccaneers free agent Carlton Davis? 

Falcons free agent linebacker Foyesade Oluokun could be a fit for the Jets, too, if the price is right. He led the NFL in tackles last season and Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich worked with him in Atlanta. 

Douglas has many difficult decisions ahead of him. But he knows he can’t afford another season in which the Jets are eliminated by Halloween. The quest to improve the roster will take another huge step this week.

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1 minute ago, 65 Toss Power Trap said:

Yep. It's one thing if they can pick and choose, a whole other thing if they won't be in the running.

Exactly why I'm so pissed they didn't get Cooper. Why on earth would Allen Robinson come here now? He's really the only outside WR1 available now 

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I tend to keep the mindset that JD’s FA moves thus far have been reminiscent of the Tanny-Mangini 2006-2007 FA off seasons: you’ll get serviceable stop-gap starting veterans and depth players such as Matt Chatham, Kimo VanOlfhausen, Kenyon Coleman, Anthony Clement, Tom Dwight, etc. 

Then low draft pick trades or swaps for players such as the Kevin Barlows and Thomas Jones’ to address a position of need due the inability to adequately address it, and possibly pay the premium for it, during free agency  

Thus why it’s all the more imperative that JD KILL IT in picking starting players in the draft with his picks. The ‘06-‘07 drafts yielded: D’Brick, Mangold, Brad Smith, Eric Smith (meh), Leon Washington, Drew Coleman, Darelle Revis, & David Harris. 

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6 minutes ago, RoadFan said:

This.

A bad team in a location with high taxes is not ideal for a player…

100% these top tier free agents are always a pipe dream 

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Look at the list of free agents ranked best to worse and flip the paper. If you do that, you’ll have a list similar to Douglas’.

We’re hitting that 2nd wave and 3rd wave of FAs. That’s where the bargains are found.

Looking Upside Down GIF by ABC Network

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8 minutes ago, GreenFish said:

Look at the list of free agents tanked best to worse and flip the paper. If you do that, you’ll have a list similar to Douglas’.

We’re hitting that 2nd wave and 3rd wave of FAs. That’s where the bargains are found.

Looking Upside Down GIF by ABC Network

Yes it’s worked out so well in the past.

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8 hours ago, 92ShaunEllis92 said:

I tend to keep the mindset that JD’s FA moves thus far have been reminiscent of the Tanny-Mangini 2006-2007 FA off seasons: you’ll get serviceable stop-gap starting veterans and depth players such as Matt Chatham, Kimo VanOlfhausen, Kenyon Coleman, Anthony Clement, Tom Dwight, etc. 

Then low draft pick trades or swaps for players such as the Kevin Barlows and Thomas Jones’ to address a position of need due the inability to adequately address it, and possibly pay the premium for it, during free agency  

Thus why it’s all the more imperative that JD KILL IT in picking starting players in the draft with his picks. The ‘06-‘07 drafts yielded: D’Brick, Mangold, Brad Smith, Eric Smith (meh), Leon Washington, Drew Coleman, Darelle Revis, & David Harris. 

JD can’t draft though

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4 hours ago, BurnleyJet said:

He was setting the fans up with Conner Hughes, “Kerb your enthusiasm”, tweet.

The Jets aren’t signing anyone of note he’s already eyeing the broken cookies at the bottom of the jar.

This 

This is why I hate this f***** sleeping, lying, Scrooge, greasy finger, SOB, GM, Joe Douglas

you are about to break your hand selected QB you idiot tool GM!!!!

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Why didn't you guys, just post all this crap in the FIRE JD thread... We need another thread of verbal diarrhea. If you're not going to be good with JD and Saleh's plan to try and get this team to be relevant year after year instead of just one year. then stop being JETS fans. Simple as that.

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These guys have no idea what the Jets are thinking.  Last week all we heard was how aggressive the Jets are going to be-which was a guess by the reporters.  
Now, they don’t show interest in Cooper, so they’re only going after Jags. 
 

JD has done a pretty good job of keeping things quiet on what he’s thinking.   Other than ZW, nothing JD’s done in his off-seasons have been easily predictable.  

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10 hours ago, SR24 said:

They're putting this narrative out now because they can't attract top tier free agents 

If they believe that, which I don’t, it’s even more of a reason why you give up one of the 5th rounders we have for Cooper.  
 

Sorry, I don’t buy this one.  

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I don’t want the Jets to spend to the top of the cap. I want them to continue to be fiscally responsible unless/until Zach takes a major step forward and starts looking like a franchise QB. Then they can spend like a horny drunken sailor with a coke problem. This year, keep some cash in reserve and maybe make that trade that nets you a 2023 first rounder. Pushing it forward until the QB situation is solid seems wise to me. 

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Not sure why some get worked up about F/A.

This team hasn't made the playoffs in over a decade.  NY is a tough market to play in, and the state has higher taxes.  That does not bode well for JD or whichever GM you have.  The only way to get guys here is to severely overpay, and then we wonder why you get the Trumaine Johnson signings.  

This team has to build in the draft first, and find some success.  When the team starts competing, players will want to come here if they think they have a chance to win.  The only guys you can get here on day one of F/A are the ones looking to make a big payday, and then sit back and collect the cheques.  Didn't work so well for us in the past.  

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