After a disappointing end to an otherwise successful 2015 campaign, it is time for the New York Jets to look ahead to next season. The team could possibly look different, as 23 players on the roster are now free agents. It is widely known that not everyone is going to return, and not everyone will be invited to return. Let’s take a look at how the internal free agents should be handled.
Players who must be re-signed
Muhammad Wilkerson – This has been talked about since last season. The Jets need to find a way to come up with a contract with Big Mo. The broken leg he suffered will be fully healed in time for next season, and you cannot ignore a player who has 12 sacks on the line. A fair offer would be in the 5 years 65 million range. Make no mistake, if this cannot happen the Jets will slap the franchise tag on him, so he is not going anywhere.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Fitz was nothing short of amazing for Gang Green this season. Sure it’s easy to remember the 3 interceptions he threw in the 4th quarter in the finale against Buffalo, but the truth is threw for more touchdowns this season (31) than any quarterback in franchise history. He also had the second most yards (3905) falling 98 yards short of Joe Namath’s record. He has developed a great chemistry with the wide receivers, and needs to come back to head the team next season.
Bring back if the price is right
Demario Davis – Davis has been durable if anything playing in all 16 games in all 4 of his NFL seasons. He has been very hit or miss, especially in pass coverage. He plays disciplined football, which is evident by only having 2 accepted penalties against him for 25 yards. He is also still young and a short contract to see if he can grow that is team friendly should be thrown his way.
Bilal Powell – Powell was a huge part of the offense during the Jets 5 game-winning streak and was sorely missed in the season finale. Bilal caught 47 passes in just 11 games this season. He is a fantastic complementary back who catches the ball well out of the backfield. As long as he is not looking for a pay increase, the Jets would be foolish not to bring him back.
Damon Harrison – Snacks has been fantastic up the middle for the Jets for the last 3 years, and is a big reason for the success the Jets have had against the run. Only knock against him is his lack of putting pressure on the quarterback. He has started every game for the last 3 years. If he is willing to sign a team friendly deal, the Jets shouldn’t hesitate in offering him a contract.
Other players to bring back if the price is right – Antonio Allen, Calvin Pace, Chris Owusu, Erin Henderson, Leger Douzable
Let them walk
Chris Ivory – Ivory has played well for the Jets. At times, he runs like he is mad at the grass refusing to go down. However, he is often injured and is rumored to be chasing around 5 million per season. Now before the ‘you’re crazy’ messages start flowing if you can get Matt Forte for somewhere between 6-7 million per year, is Ivory really worth around five?
Ryan Quigley – Very inconstant with his kicking and his leg power is nothing to write home about. There is no reason to pay his sort of production over the league minimum.
Kenbrell Thompkins – He seems to have trouble catching the ball. He has had multiple drops and when he does make a catch, it does not look easy. Although it was tough, he had a good chance to extend the Jets season and blew it. That may just be the sour speaking……
Other players that should walk – Steven Ridley, Kellen Davis, Randy Bullock, Willie Colon