Tampering becomes legal tomorrow, and the floodgates of free agency will begin to open.
While agents and front offices do most of the talking, sometimes players can be wooed in one direction or another by familiar faces across the country. There’s no doubting that free agents will touch base with some of their former teammates across the league, collecting intel on which places might not be best for them and which places might be an ideal fit. At the same time, players already signed to teams might do some recruiting of their own.
With this in mind, I decided to see if there were any connections between the current New York Jets and some of the top names on the free agent market.
The following connections include players currently signed to the Jets in addition to players who finished 2018 with the Jets and are now free agents. Players marked with an asterisk are currently under contract with the Jets, but have never appeared for them in a regular season game.
Le’Veon Bell - Kelvin Beachum (Steelers, 2013-15), Steve McLendon (Steelers, 2013-15)
I found an interesting bit on the Bell and Beachum connection. From 2013-15, with Beachum as his left tackle, Bell averaged 5.7 yards per carry on rushes directed left end or left tackle.
That was the best mark in the league among the 24 running backs with at least 100 carries in those directions over that span.
Golden Tate - Brandon Copeland (Lions, 2015-16)
Adam Humphries - Jordan Leggett (Clemson, 2013-14), Charone Peake (Clemson, 2011-14)
Humphries, Leggett, and Peake combined for eight receiving touchdowns over the two seasons they all played together at Clemson, from 2013-14.
Jamison Crowder - Thomas Hennessy (Duke, 2012-14)
Tyrell Williams - Jeremiah Attaochu (Chargers, 2015-17)
Matt Paradis - De’Angelo Henderson (Broncos, 2017)
This pairing is one of the few on the list that features two players who actually shared the field together in the NFL. Henderson carried the ball a total of seven times for the Broncos in 2017, all of those carries behind the blocking of Paradis.
Rodger Saffold - Trumaine Johnson (Rams, 2012-17)
The six seasons shared as Rams between Saffold and Johnson is the most any two players on this list have previously played together.
Za’Darius Smith - Avery Williamson (Kentucky, 2013)
Preston Smith - Brandon Bryant* (Mississippi State, 2014)
Ronald Darby - Destiny Vaeao* (Eagles, 2017-18)
Vaeao and Darby are the only pair of defensive players on this list to share an NFL field together. Over the past two seasons, they were frequently on the field for the Eagles at the same time.
Bryce Callahan - Jordan Morgan* (Bears, 2017-18)
Trey Flowers - Harvey Langi* (Patriots, 2017-18)
Dante Fowler - Marcus Maye (Florida, 2013-14), Jonotthan Harrison (Florida, 2013)
Anthony Barr - None
There are no connections for Barr with current Jets, but he did play with Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota, who spent a few months with the Jets last season before being traded to New Orleans. He also was a teammate of Sheldon Richardson in 2018.
Tevin Coleman - Andre Roberts (Falcons, 2017)
Coleman and Roberts shared a small handful of snaps for Atlanta in 2017.
Trent Brown - Marcus Maye (Florida, 2013-14), Jonotthan Harrison (Florida, 2013), Harvey Langi* (Patriots, 2018)
C.J. Mosley - James Carpenter (Alabama, 2010)
Kwon Alexander - Jamal Adams (LSU, 2014), Rashard Robinson (LSU, 2013-14)
Here is a look at all of those connections listed above.
Let me know if you notice any connections that I missed, or if there is another free agent whose Jets connections you would like me to look into.