Jets general manager Joe Douglas held his annual press conference from the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday.
The biggest news he made was confirming the team will pick up Quinnen Williams’ fifth year option.
Joe Douglas says the Jets will pick up Quinnen Williams’ 5th year option.— DJ Bien-Aime (@Djbienaime) March 2, 2022
If you are unfamiliar with rookie contracts, first round picks receive four year deals with a team option for the fifth year. There is a catch. The team must decide whether to exercise that option between the player’s third and fourth seasons.
There are changes to the fifth year option from the new collective bargaining agreement signed two years ago. Previously the price of the fifth year option was based on the player’s Draft position. Top ten picks had a more expensive option than players picked eleven through thirty-two.
Now the price of the option is based on performance metric such as playing time and Pro Bowls made. Here the Jets save some money. Williams’ injury history has led him to miss playing time benchmarks, and he has never made a Pro Bowl. This means his fifth year option costs around $10.2 million according to Over the Cap.
The new rules are to the detriment of teams whose Draft picks have been outstanding. Much of the cost savings goes out the window due to the performance metrics. For the Jets with a good but not great player like Williams, the new format gives them a relative bargain for another year.
Aside from the Williams news, Douglas’ press conference seemed full of the generic, cliched GM talk you would expect from a Combine press conference.
"With four picks in the Top 40, we have a real opportunity to add four dynamic difference makers to this team." pic.twitter.com/RwomWtGUUx— New York Jets (@nyjets) March 2, 2022
Douglas with the obligatory GM line: "We're always open for business." RE: possibility of trading back from 4 and 10. #Jets— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) March 2, 2022
Douglas on Wilson: Showed more confidence, better ball protection over last few games. Showed "lot of grit, lot of poise," especially with revolving-door lineup. #Jets— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) March 2, 2022
Douglas spoke after Robert Saleh. The Jets head coach is not attending the Combine in person, but he did hold an earlier media availability on Wednesday. Saleh offered a few other insights.
For the you-don't-take-a-safety at 4 or 10 crowd: Saleh says it "depends on how good" the safety is. Says he'd never overlook a "unicorn" player at any position. #Jets— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) March 2, 2022
In the NFL there is always a balance in team building because positions are not equal. Some provide more impact than others. Still, a great player at any position can make a big impact. When we talk about positional value, I think a lot of it comes down to the quantity of game changers at each spot. There aren’t as many safeties who make an impact as there are edge rushers or cornerbacks, but there still are some who genuinely can lift an entire unit. I think the approach of looking for “unicorns” is not a bad one on paper.
Saleh also offered a bit of insight into the team’s roster building approach.
Saleh says improving the 32nd-ranked defense is at "the front of our minds" because a better defense, in turn, will help make Wilson a better QB. Basically says everything they do this offseason is to help Wilson. #Jets— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) March 2, 2022
While we typically think about building around a quarterback in terms of improving the offensive line and pass catchers, this isn’t a bad point. Putting quarterbacks into good situations can matter a lot. Passers who don’t need to play catch up and force passes in an attempt to make big plays tend to do better than those with defenses that allow a ton of points.