This past offseason, the Jets got off pretty easy in terms of re-signing players. They re-signed Josh McCown, Morris Claiborne, Mike Pennel, Terrence Brooks, David Bass, and other key depth pieces. They let Demario Davis and Austin Seferian-Jenkins walk, keeping conservative with their money. 2019 will be an entirely different story.
The Jets have 50 players with expiring contracts as of July 23rd. Most are just depth pieces and training camp tryouts, but the Jets have nearly a dozen key players with expiring contracts. Here are some of the most notable players:
The Entire Receiving Corps
The Jets have 13 receivers under contract in 2018. Only four of them will be under contract in 2019. Those four being ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen, Charone Peake and Terrell Sinkfield. The most notable receivers not under contract after this season are Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse and Terrelle Pryor.
The Jets will have to drop quite the penny on this group of receivers. Anderson is coming off a 973 yard season. Kearse is coming off of a career year as well, posting his first 800+ yard season. Pryor and Enunwa both showed extreme potential back in 2016. If they want to keep this underrated core together, it may be expensive.
The 2019 free agency market in terms of wide receivers is slim, highlighted by Golden Tate. Other than Tate, the Jets receivers will be top targets for teams looking for receivers. This is bad news for Mike Maccagnan. We’ve seen receivers get overpaid in slim markets in the past, and the trend could continue.
Fortunately for the Jets, Anderson will be restricted in free agency, coming off of a rookie contract. This meaning the Jets can match whatever contract he is offered by any team, keeping him around. However, Anderson’s legal issues could keep the Jets from offering him a long-term deal. Mike Maccagnan will be given a tough decision whether to trust Anderson or let him walk.
The Jets worked on their cornerback room in the 2018 offseason, and the work will likely continue in 2019. Morris Claiborne and Buster Skrine, the teams’ second and third cornerbacks are both on expiring contracts this coming season. Along with these two are Darryl Roberts and Xavier Coleman.
Skrine signed with the Jets back in 2015, where he was given a hefty contract. This contract was questionable, considering Skrine’s subpar play over the last few years. This contract is finally coming to a close, and the Jets should be grateful. Coach Todd Bowles is a fan of Skrine’s game, so he could definitely be in store for another deal this offseason. Hopefully he’ll be willing to take a pay cut, otherwise it could be a problem.
Claiborne signed another one-year deal with the Jets this past offseason, making it two years in a row. Claiborne played particularly well while shadowing number one receivers, and should benefit from the addition of Trumaine Johnson. The Jets are playing conservative with Claiborne, primarily due to his injury concerns. They have no interest in giving Claiborne a long-term deal, but eventually they may have to.
Key Interior Pieces
Two of the Jets leaders, Steve McLendon and James Carpenter, are on the final year of their deals. Both have been consistent, solid players for the Jets throughout the past few years. Both are veteran leaders on their respective sides of the ball.
McClendon has been a cornerstone for the Jets run defense. He is one of the most underrated interior run-stuffers in the league. Although he is aging, the Jets would be wise to give him another deal. He should be cheap, and requires no long-term commitment.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) January 6, 2018
Carpenter has been a cornerstone on the offensive line ever since the Jets acquired him in the 2015 offseason. He is consistent, injury-free, and a solid player overall. If cheap, the Jets would be wise to bring him back for another year or two.
The Jets are projected to have the most cap space in the NFL going into the 2019 free agency, and they will be forced to use it. Let’s hope they start negotiating with these players early on this year, something they failed to do in 2017. The 2019 offseason might be yet another franchise-changing offseason for Gang Green.