To free up some more cap space, the Jets cut George Fant (9.25 million savings), Henry Anderson (8.2), Alex Lewis (5.4), and Ryan Griffin (1.7). This puts the Jets potential cap space at $107 Million due to their cap commitments and rollover from 2020.
In my previous mock off-seasons, my top free agent priority was OG Joe Thuney. That was before the Jets hired Saleh\LaFleur and will be moving to a Shanahan style offense which requires more athletic OLinemen as opposed to the big road grader types. So, now my top priority free agent becomes RT Taylor Moton and we sign him to a 5 yr $75 (50 guaranteed) million contract. At only 26 years old, Moton teams up with Becton to be our bookend tackles for the next 5 years. While George Fant is not a bad fit for the Shanahan offense, Moton is a perfect fit with his athleticism and size, and he has become one of the best RTs in the NFL.
To help sure up the interior of the offensive line, the Jets also sign C Corey Linsley to a 3 yr $28 (18 guaranteed) million contract. While Linsley might be seen as a must resign for the Packers, they are so far into cap hell and still have to resign multiple players, they just don’t have the funds to compete. I am sure that the LaFleur brothers will have a fist fight at the Thanksgiving dinner table because of this signing.
To continue the build around our new QB (see below), the Jets sign WR Allen Robinson to the identical contract as Keenan Allen got from the Chargers, 4 yr $80.1 (43 guaranteed) million. Robinson is a great fit for the Shanahan\LaFleur system and will become our #1 WR.
And now it is time for some of Saleh’s former players to follow him to the East Coast. The pied-piper brings in CB Jason Verrett 3 yr $17 (6 guaranteed) million, S Jaquiski Tartt 3 yr $15 (6 guaranteed) million, and DE Solomon Thomas 2 yr $10 (5 guaranteed) million on the defensive side. He (and LaFleur) bring in RB Jeff Wilson 3 yr $12 (4 guaranteed) million and WR Kendrick Bourne 3 yr $15.5 (8.5 guaranteed) million on the offensive side.
Brian Poole 3 yrs $16 (10 guaranteed) – he has proven himself
Neville Hewitt 2 yrs $7.8 (3 guaranteed) – need him in case Mosely has an issue
(Extension\Rework) Jamison Crowder 3 yrs $24 (12 guaranteed) – lowering his 2021 salary to 8
Marcus Maye 5 yrs - $45.5 (22 guaranteed) – best player on the team in 2020
Tarell Basham, Josh Andrews, Pat Elflein and Josh Adams 1 yr - $1.2 million
Jeff Smith 1 yr 750K
2021 NFL Draft:
Before the draft starts, the Jets make the franchise altering trade that they NEED to make. The Jets trade the #2 overall pick, their 2nd rounder #34, their 3rd rounder #66, the Seahawks #1 pick in 2022, and their own 2nd rounder in 2023 to the Houston Texans for QB Deshaun Watson. Two firsts (including one that is worth multiple additional firsts in a trade down), two seconds, and two thirds is as high as I am willing to go.
In addition, the Jets trade QB Sam Darnold to the Indianapolis Colts for their 2nd round pick #54 overall.
To recoup even more of the draft capital spent on the trade for Watson, the Jets also trade down in round 1 with the Packers. For the 23rd overall pick (Rashod Bateman), the Packers send the Jets their 1st (#31) and their 2nd (#63).
1st Round #31 (Packers pick): OG Wyatt Davis, OSU – Rationale – (6’4" 310) The best IOL in the entire draft, Davis has the athleticism to fit very well in the Shanahan offense. He is the immediate starter at RG for years to come.
2nd Round #54 (Colts pick): Edge Patrick Jones, Pitt – Rationale – (6’5" 260) One of the top 4-3 Ends in the draft. Plays well on the end against both the run and the pass.
2nd Round #63 (Packers pick): CB Kary Vincent Jr., LSU – Rationale – Will be one of, if not the fastest players in the draft. Has excellent ball skills. If it weren’t for his size 5’9" 170 lbs. (maybe), he would get drafted much higher. Most likely role in the NFL is as a slot corner.
3rd Round #86: (Seahawk’s pick): OT Walker Little, Stanford – Rationale – (6’7" 309) Adds much needed depth at OT for the Jets. Hasn’t played since September of 2019 due to a knee injury and covid-19 opt out. Was on a path to be a sure-fire 1st round selection so he is great value late in the 3rd.
4th Round #100: TE Kenny Yeboah, Ole Miss – Rationale – Big WR-type TE (6’5" 230) who will make a good red zone target. Has trouble as an inline blocker, so will not help much in the run game.
5th Round #132: S Caden Sterns, Texas – Rationale – Good size (6’0" 210), with excellent athleticism and coverage skills.
5th Round #140 (Giants pick): CB Ambry Thomas, Michigan – Rationale – Good skills as a press corner but will need to add some bulk to his 6’0" 180 lb frame.
6th Round #164: LB Ventrell Miller, Florida – Rationale – Similar size (6’0" 220) and college level talent compared to Dre Greenlaw who flourished under Saleh at the SAM LB position.
Priority UDFA signing: K Jose Borregales, Miami - Rationale – Graduate transfer from FIU to Miami. Extremely accurate with a very strong leg. Lou Groza award winner in 2020 after going 20/22 with a long of 57 yards.
2021 Depth Chart:
QB: Deshaun Watson, James Morgan, Mike White
RB: Jeff Wilson, LaMical Perrine, Ty Johnson, Josh Adams
WR1: Allen Robinson, Denzel Mims
WR2: Kendrick Bourne, Jeff Smith
WR3: Jamison Crowder, Braxton Berrios (KR\PR)
TE: Chris Herndon, Kenny Yeboah
LT: Mekhi Becton, Walker Little
LG: Connor McGovern, Pat Elflein
C: Corey Linsley, Josh Andrews
RG: Wyatt Davis, Greg Van Roten
RT: Taylor Moton, Chuma Edoga
SDE: John Franklin-Meyers, Jabari Zuniga
DT: Quinnen Williams, Nathan Shepherd
DT: Folorunso Fatukasi,
WDE: Solomon Thomas, Kyle Phillips
SAM: Tarell Basham, Bryce Huff
MIKE: CJ Mosely, Neville Hewitt
WILL: Patrick Jones, Ventrell Miller
CB1: Jason Verrett, Bless Austin
CB2: Bryce Hall, Ambry Thomas
Slot: Brian Poole, Kary Vincent Jr.
SS: Jaquiski Tartt, Elijah Campbell
FS: Marcus Maye, Ashtyn Davis, Caden Sterns
PK: Jose Borregales
P: Braden Mann
LS: Thomas Hennessey
Summary: Not only do the Jets get a top 5 QB in the league, but they are able to rebuild their offensive line into one that should be a top 10 unit in the league with Becton-McGovern-Linsley-Davis-Moton from left to right. While neither Wilson or Bourne are game breakers, they are good, young players that will bring over familiarity with the new offense. A WR group with Robinson, Mims, Crowder, and Bourne does provide Watson with some weapons although it does lack a true deep speed threat (maybe next year’s draft). The defense should be solid, but unspectacular with the exception of QWill. A strong return from Mosely or a breakout from Thomas can be the difference between a top 15 defense and a bottom 15 one. Tartt and Verrett along with the drafted talent help to sure up a secondary that was one of the worst in the NFL last year.