The Jets have quite the conundrum on their hands for the 2018 off-season. They are projected to have nearly $100 million in cap room this season, and have a list of players with expiring contracts. Some players are a higher priority than others. Here’s the list of players with expiring contracts, with an explanation of who to keep, and who to sweep.
Demario Davis, Linebacker:
Davis had a career year in his return to the Jets. He led the team with 135 tackles, and in sacks with five. His deal expires this season, and is a must re-sign for the Jets.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tight End:
Seferian-Jenkins gave the Jets production from the tight end position for the first time in years. He provided height and size for quarterback Josh McCown to rely on, and will definitely help whoever joins the quarterback room next season, whether it be a rookie or a free agent signing. He racked up 375 yards and three touchdowns.
Kony Ealy, Defensive End:
Ealy was claimed off waivers by the Jets in the preseason and ended up being among the most productive defenders on the team. He excelled in passes defended with nine, an astonishing number for a defensive end. Assuming Wilkerson will be off the team, he could be in for a breakout year in 2018.
Morris Claiborne, Cornerback:
Claiborne, another 2017 signing, balled out this year. Going up against number one receivers throughout most of the season, he held his own and played well. Re-signing Claiborne could be risky due to his health concerns, but I’d expect him back in 2018.
Josh McCown, Quarterback:
McCown exceeded expectations and had a career year. He may not be the future, but a rookie QB could use a guy like McCown to help learn the system and other aspects of the game. I’d expect a one-year deal for McCown. If McCown retires, don’t be shocked if he becomes the QB coach for the Jets.
David Bass, Defensive End:
Bass was signed by the Jets during September after his release from the Seattle Seahawks. He earned playing time and had a solid season, sacking the quarterback 3.5 times, which was tied for the second most on the Jets. Expect him back on a low-salary deal.
Muhammad Wilkerson, Defensive End:
We’ve all heard this a million times, but Wilkerson needs to go. Unfortunately, laziness killed what once was a good player. A 2018 return would stun the world.
Matt Forte, Running Back:
Forte isn’t a bad player, but his age is getting to him. He’s slowed down, and now it’s time for Powell and McGuire to take the workload off the old man’s shoulders.
Wesley Johnson, Center:
The Jets released Nick Mangold and Johnson was his replacement. Boy oh boy was that a bad move. Watch the games, and you see that he’s below par. A new center is needed.
Dakota Dozier, Guard:
The holding machine himself. He backed up Brian Winters and James Carpenter, and did a pretty bad job. A new guard may come to replace Winters, and Winters would likely back him up.