Calais Campbell spurns Jets to sign 1-year deal with improved Falcons

Jets spurned by Calais Campbell in free agency
New York Jets quarterback Joe Flacco (19) is hit by Baltimore Ravens’ Calais Campbell (93) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J.
AP Photo/Adam Hunger

Not every veteran free agent is apparently looking to join forces with Aaron Rodgers and the New York Jets. 

Former All-Pro defensive end Calais Campbell signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons Tuesday night – just days before the pass rusher was scheduled to visit the Jets in Florham Park. 

Campbell has had a long history of dominant pass-rushing skills. In 15 seasons, Campbell has recorded 99 sacks and has played for three different teams. The former Cardinal and Raven was scheduled to visit the Jets after the league meetings concluded on Thursday. 

“The Jets made a strong offer as well. It really came down to where I felt like I could have the biggest impact both on & off the field.” Campbell said in a statement to Josina Anderson on Wednesday morning.

What made Campbell such an intriguing option for a team like the Jets is his position flexibility. Campbell has played the interior defensive end in a 3-4 defense with Baltimore and has shown a penchant for winning against guards on the interior – a key measurement when judging defensive tackles in a 4-3 scheme. New York had a need at defensive tackle with Sheldon Rankins and Nathan Shepherd leaving during free agency. 

Only Solomon Thomas and Quinnen Williams are currently on the roster at defensive tackle.

Campbell now joins a Falcons defense that has spent heavily at key positions. Safety Jessie Bates, defensive tackle David Onyemata, cornerback Mike Hughes, linebacker Kaden Elliss, and linebacker Tae Davis are all high-priced names that Atlanta has secured over the first few weeks of free agency. 

New York still has plenty of options in free agency that they could look to target as the calendar turns to April. Linval Joseph, Shelby Harris and others remain available on the market with even top young players like Jeffery Simmons available on the trade market. 

That doesn’t take away from the fact though that the best available pass rusher decided against even meeting with the team before signing with another up-and-coming roster. 

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