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New York Jets offseason guide

by Eric Kirschenbaum

This entire off-season for the New York Jets hinges on one player, Kirk Cousins. Whether he signs in New York or elsewhere is going to define what the Jets will do this upcoming off-season. The Jets have a huge amount of cap space, but they also have a lot of wholes in their roster.

Information regarding cap space and market value taken out of spotrac.com, player rankings are taken out of NFL 1000 from bleacher report.

Cap space: $ 92,083,128

Must resign:

Morris Claiborne (between 7 and 9 million/year): Claiborne took a one year prove it deal and played well. He is a solid CB2 who showed he can remain healthy, keeping him is a no-brainer.

Josh McCown (7 million/year): Josh McCown had a career year in 2017, but he is clearly not the future. McCown can be a great backup to Cousins or a mentor for whoever ends up being the rookie quarterback picked in the Draft. (update: resigned at 10/year one year deal)

Demario Davis (6 million year): Demario Davis was one of the bright spots of the Jets defense and still has gas in the tank. A 2-year deal makes sense.

Austin Seferian Jenkins (5 million/year): ASJ proved that gambling on him was a good choice with almost no drops. The offense didn’t use him much, but he was solid, no need to go after anyone other than him at this point.

Kony Ealy (2.5 million/year): Ealy didn’t start many games but showed promise, he should come in cheap and be a decent option at DE.

Wesley Johnson (4 million/year at most): In this scenario the Jets are drafting a center in round 2, so they won’t overpay a center in the open market, but they need to have one on roster because Price is coming off an injury and they (Daniels is in play too) could be taken before the Jets have the opportunity to pick them in the second round. Johnson is cheap enough to be a backup (not much-guaranteed money in this contract) and good enough to start if they can’t land Price/Daniels.

Adjusted cap space: 56,000,000

Free agency targets:

Luxury players:

Priority #1: Kirk Cousins: Signing him would mean 5-year deal worth 150 million dollars, earning 40 million in his first year and averaging 30 million/year, breaking record in biggest contract and biggest money per year. Around 100 million guaranteed. (Update: signed with Minnesota)

(40 against the cap.)

Luxury need: Allen Robinson: Signing him would mean 5-year deal worth 68 million dollars, averaging 13.6 million/year (according to Spotrac’s market value chart). He is the only WR1 on the market and the only receiver we should target, it’s Robinson or nothing. (update: signed with Chicago)

(13.6 against the cap.)

Good complement for our committee: Carlos Hyde: Signing him would mean a contract averaging 5.8 million/ year according to spotrac market value. (Update Jets signed Crowell instead)

Tahir Whitehead: according to spotrac market value, a contract regarding Whitehead would cost on average 8.5 million /year.

(8.5 against the cap)

Looking for a CB1: Is a must to get one of these players, two if they can’t resign Claiborne.

Trumaine Johnson: ranked 15 out of 76 in NFL 1000 B/R. Signing him would mean a 3-year deal worth 40 million dollars, averaging 13.3 million/year (update: Jets signed him for 15/year)

(13.3 against the cap)

Bashaud Breeland: ranked 21 out of 76 in NFL 1000 B/R. 5 years $34,922,732 contract (according to spotrac market value), averaging 6.9 mil/year. I would be willing to pay him 9 million/ year. (Update: Signed with panthers)

(6.9 against the cap)

E.J Gaines: ranked 34 out of 76 in NFL 1000 B/R. 4 years $37,467,628 contract (according to spotrac market value), averaging 9.3 mil/year.

(9.3 against the cap)

Malcolm Butler: ranked 42 out of 76 in NFL 1000 B/R. Signing him according to spotrac’s market value would mean 13 mil/year, although him being 28, I wouldn’t give him more than a 3-year deal at that price.

(13 against the cap) (update: projected to sign with Tennesse)

Prince Amukamara: ranked 64 out of 76 in NFL 1000 B/R. After an awful season, signing him would cost no more than 5 million/year, and given he is 28 years old I wouldn’t give him more than a 3-year deal.

(5 against the cap)

Fixing the O-line: At least one guard, two at most. (only two guards under contract and one could be cut)

Andrew Norwell: 2 out of 83 in NFL 1000 B/R, according to spotrac Norwell would require 11.8 million/ year and a 5-year deal looks likely.

(11.8 against the cap)

Jack Mewhort: 27 out of 83 in NFL 1000 B/R, signing him will probably mean around 9 million/year.

(9 against the cap)

Josh Kline: 37 out of 83 in NFL 1000 B/R, according to spotrac market value, Kline would cost on average 10.2 million/ year.

(10.2 against the cap)

Jonathan Cooper: 38 out of 83 in NFL 1000 B/R, signing him would cost around of 8 million/ year.

(8 against the cap)

DJ Fluker: 57 out of 83 in NFL 1000 B/R, signing him will mean around 5.5 million/ year

(5.5 against the cap)

Justin Pugh: 42 out of 83 in NFL 1000 B/R, according to spotrac market value, Pugh will average 6.4 million/year and will likely receive a 4-year deal.

(6.4 against the cap)

Free agency plan:

Signing Cousins: (not an option anymore)

– Kirk Cousins (40 against the cap). (MINNESOTA)

The 20 million remaining should be spent following one of these three options

– EJ Gaines (9.3 against the cap) and Jack Mewhort (around 9 against the cap) or Jonathan Cooper (around 8 against the cap)

– Bashaud Breeland (6.9 against the cap) and Andrew Norwell (11.8 against the cap) or Josh Kline (10.2 against the cap) or Jack Mewhort (around 9 against the cap)

– Trumaine Johnson (13.3 against the cap) or Malcolm Butler (13 against the cap) and DJ Fluker (5.5 against the cap)


Not signing Cousins:

– Allen Robinson (13.6 against the cap) (CHICAGO)

Trumaine Johnson (15 against the cap) or Malcolm Butler (13 against the cap) or EJ Gaines (9.3 against the cap)

– Andrew Norwell (11.8 against the cap) (signed Jacksonville)

– Carlos Hyde (5.8 against the cap), Crowell got signed instead 3 year deal, not reported the cap hit.

– Jonathan Cooper (around 8 against the cap) or Jack Mewhort (around 9 against the cap) and Josh Kline (10.2 against the cap)

– Tahir Whitehead ( 8.5 against the cap)

44 million spent + crowell


12 million left in cap remaining.


NFL Draft plan:



If Cousins doesn’t sign: I had a whole plan if Cousins did sign…

1: #6: Not a fan of moving up and wasting draft capital with so many holes on the roster, there are 4 qbs draftable with this pick, chances are one of them falls to us.

First option: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA:

Best QB in this class, if he falls to 6 we pick him, simple.

Second option: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma:

He closed the gap between him and Rosen if Rosen is taken and Mayfield is available, he is the most logical choice.

Third option: Sam Darnold, QB, USC:

I personally wouldn’t pick him this high, but the Jets can’t afford to pass him if both Mayfield and Rosen are taken, a revolution would take place.

Fourth option: Lamar Jackson, QB(!), Louisville:

People probably expected Josh Allen here, NYJ would be the worst possible spot for him, I’m higher on Jackson than most and I personally have him over Darnold so even if this pick would be considered reaching (because of media perception of him now), he won’t be there for us in the 2nd. Jackson will be a playmaker and will bring a spark long gone in New York. The history of players with his style of play and injuries is something to ponder, but he is a tough kid who hasn’t had any major injuries and is honestly faster than the linebackers chasing him. He is almost a guarantee to be here at #6.

2: #37:

First option: Billy Price, C, Ohio State:

Price is the best center in this draft which is a position of huge need for the Jets, they can’t afford to pass on him. Since Mangold left the o-line hasn’t been the same (any good) and it needs an anchor at center. Enter Billy Price.

Second option: James Daniels, C, Iowa:

If Billy Price is snagged before the Jets can get a hand on him then they should pick James Daniels, who is still a great center and the gap between him and Price isn’t too big.

2: #49:

Jaire Alexander CB, Louisville/ Carlton Davis CB, Auburn/ Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado/ Mike Hughes, CB, UCF

They need to pick a corner here, and thanks to this deep draft they can land a first round talent here in the second round. Jaire Alexander is my highest rated CB that I think would be available here, but they just need to pick their highest rated corner.

3: #72:

First option: Josh Sweat, EDGE, FSU:

Time to address the pass rush, Josh Sweat is a physical specimen, who has athletic similarities to Jadeveon Clowney minus the hype. Sweat brings versatility from DE to OLB and would be a great value pick here too.

Second option: Lorenzo Carter, OLB, Georgia:

If Sweat is gone by the time Jets pick here Lorenzo Carter is a great OLB who can do just about everything and has a nose for the ball.

Third option: Highest rated EDGE

The need for an EDGE guy is real in NYJ.

4: #107:

First option: Derrick Nnadi, DT, FSU:

Love this kid, he will be a beast and just imagine him filling the hole Wilkerson left, he has a great first step.

Second option: Best DE left

At DE there isn’t a good player that plays opposite of Leonard Williams, after the departure of Mohammed Wilkerson. (Duke Ejiofor, Rasheem Greene, Chad Thomas, Hercules Mata’afa…)

5: #157:

First option: best defensive end: If Nnadi was picked in the 4th the Jets should go best DE available.

Second option: best defensive tackle: If the Jets chose a DE in the 4th round the Jets should choose their highest DT remaining on their boards.

6: #179:

Highest tackle prospect left on the board.

7: #235:

Best player available





Projected depth chart:

Without Cousins:


  1. Rookie 1st rounder
  2. Josh McCown
  3. Christian Hackenberg


  1. Isaiah Crowell
  2. Bilal Powell
  3. Elijah Mcguire


  1. Jermaine Kearse
  2. Robby Anderson
  3. Quincy Enunwa
  4. Chad Hansen
  5. Ardarious Steward


  1. Austin Seferian Jenkins
  2. Jordan Leggett


  1. Kelvin Meachum
  2. Ijalana or Qvale


  1. Josh Kline
  2. James Carpenter


  1. Billy Price/ James Daniels
  2. Wesley Johnson


  1. Jack Mewhort/ Jonathan Cooper
  2. Brian Winters


  1. Brandon Shell
  2. Rookie late rounder


  1. Leonard Williams
  2. Kony Ealy
  3. Rookie


  1. Steve McLendon
  2. Rookie mid rounder

OLB: Order isn’t set

  1. Lorenzo Mauldin
  2. Jordan Jenkins
  3. Rookie


  1. Demario Davis
  2. Darron Lee


  1. Trumaine Johnson
  2. Morris Claiborne
  3. Rookie
  4. Buster Skrine


  1. Jamal Adams
  2. Marcus Maye
  3. Rontez Miles


You can check out my rankings and evaluations for the 2018 NFL Draft here: https://www.couchriderreport.net/author/erickirschenbaum/

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