ESPN’s Bill Barnwell has spent the last few weeks offering five suggestions for every NFL team. He finally got around to giving Mike Maccagnan and the Jets five ideas. You can click here for the full article that includes his reasoning.
1. Pick up the fifth-year option on Leonard Williams.
This one is a no-brainer. First round picks sign four year rookie contracts, but after three years their team has the chance to exercise a option for an extra season. The fifth year option provides an increase in salary, but it is typically less than a top player could get as a free agent. Williams has been steadily excellent during his three years in the NFL, and Barnwell notes there are reasons to expect his sack numbers to go up.
Barnwell also dismisses the idea of giving Williams an extension for another year, but I think there’s a lot of logic behind getting something done now. It comes down to whether Williams is willing to play ball. Would he be willing to leave money on the table to get long-term financial security two years before he would otherwise hit the market? If the answer is yes, this is a good time to explore a new deal. Williams has done great work on and off the field.
2. Cut Muhammad Wilkerson.
This is also a no-brainer. Let us never speak of that disaster of a contract again.
3. Go after Kirk Cousins
This is the hot topic of discussion for the Jets’ offseason. We have already seen plenty of debate, and Barnwell thinks the Jets should be aggressive. It is, however, worth noting that the contract structure he suggests, which would amount to a $48 million 2018 cap hit and a $22.5 million 2019 cap hit, might not actually be legal. Multiple recent published articles have stated the cap value in year two of a deal would have to be at least 50% of the cap hit in year one.
4. Bring back Demario Davis.
After Davis’ surprise 2017, I think almost everybody would like him back on a fair deal. Let’s just not get too crazy with the money.
5. Draft pass-rushing help.
Barnwell cites the Jets’ low pressure rate last season, which fits the eyeball test. He also states, “The departure of Wilkerson won’t help matters.” I suppose Mr. Barnwell has never heard of addition by subtraction.
Jokes aside, the Jets have gone over a decade without having a reliable edge rusher. Mike Maccagnan has picked an edge guy in all three of his Draft classes, but none has developed into a high end pass rusher, the type that could transform a defense and help Williams raise his sack totals. After quarterback, this might be a top priority.
That fact that none of those five suggestions even mentions the team’s glaring needs at critical spots like the offensive line and cornerback shows how much work must be done and how far this is from being a Playoff team at the moment.