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Jets Free Agency: Good, Bad, and Unknown

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Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

We are deep into NFL free agency. While there still are moves to be made, let's take a look at some of the good things and bad things about free agency for the Jets,

Good

I know many would consider this a bad thing, but I think it is good that the Jets were not big players in free agency. For better or worse, Mike Maccagnan essentially built the 2015 and 2016 Jets last spring with his signings. The team has far greater financial flexibility next year. The only way the Jets could have spent big was to restructure a lot of contracts and put big guaranteed money onto the future cap. That would not have been wise because there were not one or two players out there who would have put the Jets over the top. This was a year where maintaining future flexibility was important.

The Jets have lost two players of significance thus far, Damon Harrison and Chris Ivory. Both were adequately replaced. Steve McLendon is a good veteran nose tackle. In the backfield, the Jets addressed the loss of Ivory by adding Matt Forte and Khiry Robinson. Considering Forte's better rounded game and the upgrade Robinson should provide over Stevan Ridley, a strong case can be made that the Jets have actually upgraded the running back position.

Bad

I don't want to go overboard because I do like the new backfield the Jets have. With that said, I could have done without contracts that essentially lock the team into a second year for Forte and Bilal Powell. Forte is 30 years old. Backs his age can be a dicey proposition. Powell had a really effective stretch late in the season, but his 701 yards from scrimmage was the second highest total in his career, an unimpressive mark.  Giving him a second year means really buying into a five game stretch.

It also would have been nice to see some sort of targeted spending on the offensive line. How essential was landing Jarvis Jenkins? Was there no similar player out there for offensive line depth?

Unknown

What makes this offseason difficult to judge is the unknown status of the two most important free agents, Muhammad Wilkerson and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Wilkerson is technically no longer a free agent since the Jets slapped the franchise tag on him, but his future on the team is very much in doubt. Can the Jets work out a trade for something resembling equal value? Will they make a bigger push to lock him up?

For Fitzpatrick the matter is only slightly simpler. The Jets have been unwilling to move their offer. Fitzpatrick has not found an offer he likes yet. In the short run, he is the best quarterback for the Jets. It would not be wise to pay him like a long-term solution at quarterback, though, because he is not one.

These two situations will have a lot to do with how good or bad the offseason ultimately looks.