We have officially entered the dead period of the NFL season where offseason practices have concluded and most players go on vacation before the start of training camp. While the New York Jets are one of the teams to cancel a part of their program altogether, that doesn’t mean they don’t have things to accomplish during this period of relative quiet.
In fact, unlike most teams, the Jets have some essential items to check off before the start of training camp in late July. Failure to get even one of these things accomplished could very well alter how the team does during the regular season.
Here are three things the team needs to accomplish during the next month to put them on the right track for the start of camp.
1. Extend Quinnen Williams…finally
It’s the big ticket item now that Aaron Rodgers is a member of the New York Jets. Williams wants to be paid like the second-best interior defensive linemen and for good reason. The First-Team All-Pro tackle recorded double-digit sacks last season and is widely considered the best of his position outside of Aaron Donald.
The fact that a deal has not been agreed to is alarming in itself. The Jets have plenty of ways to manipulate the cap to better serve them to bring back Williams on the deal he wants. The longer the team waits to get a deal done, the harder, and more pressure they will be under once camp draws closer.
New York needs to get a deal done…and fast.
2. Restructure Aaron Rodgers’ contract
Here’s another key part of the Jets’ offseason checklist that they need to figure out quickly. Bringing Rodgers to New York was a major win for the franchise, but keeping him here for the next two years, while building a championship team around him is the next part of the goal.
Rodgers may carry a simple cap hit of just over $1 million in 2023, but that number balloons to over $100 million next season, if a contract restructures isn’t worked out in the near future. That would effectively hurt the Jets’ chances of adding key pieces they need for next season, as well as starting to sign current starters to contract extensions.
In short, if they don’t get Rodgers’ deal altered, the Jets could very well be in cap hell next season.
3. Bring in an additional third safety
We have not received an update on the type of injury that Chuck Clark sustained, only that it is potentially season-ending. New York reacted quickly by bringing in Adrian Amos but that signing isn’t enough.
The Jets had one of the worst overall groups of safeties in the NFL last season, ranked just 28th according to Pro Football Focus. Having Jordan Whitehead and Amos as their starters won’t be enough either. Ashtyn Davis and Tony Adams are serviceable backups, but if New York wants to be considered true contenders, and their defense to be the best in the league, improving their depth in the back end is incredibly important.
Top names still available in free agency include John Johnson, Marcus Allen, and even former Jets safety, LeMarcus Joyner.
Bringing Joyner back would be an interesting question for New York to answer, but it’s clear that they need to address the safety position more than they’ve already done so to this point.