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NY Jets: No Patience, No Glory

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

We discussed yesterday how the Jets have signed a bunch of replacement level players to midlevel deals.  Today I want to discuss the timing of these deals.

On the first day of free agency the Jets signed dime cornerback Marcus Williams, mediocre tackle Ben Ijalana, special teams linebacker Josh Martin, backup level center Wesley Johnson and scrap heap pickup edge defender Corey Lemonier.  Even if you like all those deals, why would you get them done on day one?

Is there a burgeoning market out there for perhaps the fourth best cornerback from the team with the worst set of cornerbacks in the NFL last year?  Are other teams salivating at the prospect of stealing away an edge defender who has three sacks and 46 tackles in four years in the NFL?  Are there teams dying to get their hands on Wes Johnson?

The Jets have one of the worst rosters in the NFL.  It is difficult to believe  there is great demand for backup level players from a terrible roster.  These are the kinds of players, even if you want them back, you tell them to test the market, then get back to you if they have an offer so you might have an opportunity to match.  If some other team blows the Jets out of the water for a player like Williams you say thanks for the memories and good luck, no great loss.  If the far more likely scenario develops that no other team places a whole lot of value on Jets scrubs then you have all the leverage to negotiate a much more team friendly deal for the player.

Something to keep in mind is that, in the unlikely event another team is willing to substantially beat the deals the Jets gave out here, these players might qualify the Jets for compensatory draft picks, something that the Jets really need.  By locking them up on day one the unlikely prospect of them getting offers large enough to score a compensatory pick is lost.

Day one of free agency is traditionally for nabbing the biggest, splashiest free agent signings.  The Jets sat out that part, and given the circumstances that wasn't a bad decision.  However, by rushing to sign scrubs the Jets failed to capitalize on the possibilities only patience would provide. Patience might have netted the Jets much more favorable deals with these players.  In the alternative, if these players were lost to other teams patience might have netted the Jets sorely needed compensatory picks.  Instead the Jets opted for the worst of both worlds: no chance to let the market tell the players they aren't worth what the Jets have signed them for, and no chance for compensatory picks.

It is difficult to believe there was going to be a hot market for these players. Now we will never know.  A better run franchise with more patience would have let the market breathe, see how things played out, and either gotten more favorable deals or the possibility of compensatory picks.  But then a better run franchise would not have missed the playoffs six straight years and counting.