The Jets announced they have officially signed safety J.J. Wilcox, most recently of the Steelers. He played for the Cowboys prior to the Steelers. Wilcox made a last minute switch to join Gang Green, as he was nearly committed to signing with the San Francisco 49ers.
We have signed safety J.J. Wilcox and waived LB Freddie Bishop.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) June 6, 2018
Who is J.J. Wilcox?
Wilcox has a career statline of 165 tackles, 16 passes defended and 6 interceptions through five years. He struggled to find a role in Pittsburgh, where he only started one game. He’s played free safety, strong safety, and even some linebacker. He has a similar versatility to Kenny Vaccaro, who the Jets showed interest in.
How Will He Fit?
Many fans have questioned this signing and whether or not it will cost Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye playing time. Simple answer: not at all. Todd Bowles and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers love running packages with three safeties. Terrence Brooks played frequently alongside Adams and Maye. The Jets love putting Adams in the box, where he belongs. That leaves Maye and Brooks in the backfield.
For all the people questioning why the #Jets need another safety:
The Jets like running packages like these, where Jamal Adams gets to line up in the box (where he excels). Wilcox will battle with Terrence Brooks for this role. (Brooks is positioned in the bottom right). pic.twitter.com/MLrZB6Mjbu
— NYJFN (@nyjfansnation) June 6, 2018
Brooks and Wilcox will likely battle for playing time throughout the entire offseason. Brooks played well in 2017, intercepting two passes. He tied Morris Claiborne as team leader in interceptions. Wilcox will come into training camp in a few weeks with a job on the line.
News broke Wednesday that safety and special teams expert Rontez Miles tore his meniscus and will be sidelined for 3-4 months. Miles led the league in solo special teams tackles with 15 last year. He will be missed on kickoffs and punts. The Jets hope Wilcox can fill his shoes on the special teams unit.
#Jets S Rontez Miles underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus and is out 3-4 months, source said. He’s a possible Injured Reserve/to return candidate. A blow to depth.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 6, 2018
Signing a player of Wilcox’ caliber in June is normally worth it. 2018 featured a stagnant market at the safety position, and Wilcox remained unsigned until this week. The Jets found a key depth piece in Wilcox, especially after losing Rontez Miles. His salary is yet to be revealed, but expect it to be very low.
Wilcox is a versatile, do-it-all safety, and the Jets hope to find use in him. There is no need for concern regarding Adams’ and Maye’s reps at all. Wilcox will hope to beat out Terrence Brooks for the third safety slot. Time will tell who wins the battle.