Some more questions, and some more answers, in the latest edition of my SNY Jets mailbag:
If the reports are true that Logan Ryan is signing with the Jets, do you think their secondary can be a top 5 unit this season? - @SpriggsyFresh
First, let me tell you about what I've reported and what I know about Ryan and the Jets: They have had some interest in him for a while, but they needed his asking price to go way down. I assume by now it has. I know the Jets have spoken to his agent. But they haven't made a formal offer and as far as I can tell, nothing is imminent.
So he might sign with them. And he might not. Ryan and his reps are sure going out of their way to make it seem like he's going to sign with the Jets. Some might interpret that as a way to drive up his market, or perhaps motivate some other interested teams to make an offer sooner than later.
Regardless, the 29-year-old Ryan would be a nice piece for the Jets' defense, especially if he can play as well as he did last season. But I don't know that he's enough to put them into the Top 5. He's good, but I don't think he's that kind of difference-maker. Remember, he's been sitting on the open market for two months with no takers. Even his own team didn't want to pay enough to bring him back.
The Jets' secondary just isn't great. The safeties are good with Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. But at corner they've got Pierre Desir and Arthur Maulet? Ryan is an upgrade, but that's still a shaky cornerback corps. I don't know how you'd measure them, but I wouldn't put them on the verge of being in the Top 5.
Are the Jets interested in Stephen Gostkowski? I can't imagine they would go into the season with Ficken. -- @CBucco19
Well, Gostkowski is 36, had been shaky the last few years, and missed much of last year with a hip injury, which doesn't sound like a good injury for a 36-year-old kicker. So no, I don't think they're interested in Gostkowski.
I do think they'll keep an eye on the kicker market, though. They like Sam Ficken, but obviously weren't thrilled with the job he did last season (19-of-27 field goals, 70.4 percent). That's why they brought in former Cowboys kicker Brett Maher, and the two of them will likely battle it out all summer (or whenever training camp happens).
And if neither of them grab hold of the job, they'll keep their eyes on the kicker market and see what veterans are still available. Sure, they might bring in Gostkowski for a tryout to check on his hip, or maybe Ryan Succop to check on his knee. But Ficken and Maher will likely get the first shots at the job.
Do you think the Jets prioritize signing Larry Warford, and (that) this line will go from worst last year and average now to above average if they sign him? They can't value Winters that highly, can they? -- @Bigdogz1318
I don't think they "prioritize" signing him and I don't think the addition of the 28-year-old, three-time Pro Bowl guard would suddenly make them "above average."
Though I'm sure GM Joe Douglas has looked into it, there are a couple of things working against Warford. One is he reportedly wants a contract worth $7 million per season, and spending big doesn't seem to be in Douglas' plans. Another is Douglas already has the line he wants. He brought back Alex Lewis at guard and signed Greg Van Roten. Would he have wanted Warford over either of them? Maybe. Probably not at that price, though.
Douglas believes that he can build a line without spending a ton, and there's a lot of evidence to suggest he may be right. A good offensive line needs chemistry and time to play together to gel. It can't just be bunch of former all-pros. Douglas really likes what he's built with Lewis, Van Roten, Connor McGovern at center and George Fant and rookie Mekhi Becton at tackle. I don't get the sense he wants to tamper with that.
Is Warford better than Lewis or Van Roten? Probably. Would he dramatically improve the line they have? I couldn't say. I think if Douglas thought so, or believed he'd be worth the money, he would have already been signed.
If the Jets only have the money to sign one more additional free agent, should they use it to sign an OL, CB or edge rusher? -- @JETSFAN139
It's not really about having the money, it's about wanting to spend it and seeing a player they believe is worth it. The Jets have about $14 million in available cap space, and can make a few easy moves to push that number well into the $20 million range.
But sure, I'll play. If money wasn't an issue, the one additional free agent the Jets should sign is an edge rusher. And more specifically, it should be Jadeveon Clowney.
That's pretty easy because he's the best available free agent at any position, and they obviously need help at edge rusher. Warford would be nice, but I think they feel set at offensive line. There isn't an available receiver worth big money. Same for a cornerback -- at least none that can make a difference.
But Clowney can be an impact player. I think they're right for not signing him to a big money deal. I'd be concerned about his knee and I don't think you can pay $20 million to a guy coming off a three-sack season. But he's a talented player who could really help the defense if money didn't matter, or if his price somehow magically dropped to under $10 million for one year.
Since the Jets have been a dysfunctional franchise for so long, making top free agents willing to take less money to sign elsewhere, do you think that not paying Jamal Adams will exacerbate that and make potential future draft picks pull an Eli and refuse to play for them? -- @smokysdaddy
I don't think I completely agree with your premise. The Jets have spent a lot of money on free agents in recent years and I don't know of any that refused to take their money or took less money to go elsewhere because they believed the Jets to be "dysfunctional." I'm sure some who had options looked at the rebuilding state of the Jets and chose to go elsewhere, but that happens to every franchise when they're down.
Regardless, they haven't actually refused to pay Adams. By NFL rules, this is the first offseason the Jets and Adams could discuss a contract extension, and Douglas made it clear he would do just that after the draft. They have indicated a desire to pay him, though possibly not yet. Deals as large as the one he is seeking are complicated. It takes time, it takes cap room, and this year, it's even more complicated because revenues (and next year's cap) may take a huge hit if games are cancelled or played without fans.
Anyway, I wouldn't worry about them not paying Adams just yet. He's signed now through 2021 so there's time. As for a draft pick "pulling an Eli," I really wouldn't worry about that either. It has happened twice in the last 40 years, and draft picks don't exactly have leverage to do that successfully. Many believe it wouldn't have worked for John Elway or Eli Manning if the teams that drafted them stayed strong.
But even if a player did somehow have leverage -- like an ability to make money in another sport -- can you honestly imagine a player turning down the chance to play in the New York market and everything that comes with that? I can't.