The New York Jets crushed the first 24 hours of NFL free agency, acquiring a star a position new coach Adam Gase loves (Jamison Crowder, slot receiver), a terrific run-defending linebacker (CJ Mosley), and a powerful edge rusher (Anthony Barr).
Rebuilding the Jets defense was paramount, and we wrote extensively about it two weeks ago. It’s fun for fans to talk about Le’Veon Bell because he’s a fantasy football machine, but if you want to win Super Bowls, you need to win in the trenches, and the Jets didn’t do that last year. As that earlier piece highlighted, they didn’t pressure the QB, and they couldn’t stop the run (21st according to Football Outsiders).
Mosley was one of the six best run-defense linebacker since 2014 according to Pro Football grades, and he’ll slide into the spot that Darron Lee – a 1st round pick in 2016 – didn’t perform with any distinction. One wonders how much this has to do with what Gregg Williams plans to do defensively. An aggressive blitzer, Williams historically has run a 4-3, but the Jets were built in a 3-4.
The Barr addition makes total sense if they plan on putting him back in his natural position of edge rusher. It’s where he excelled at UCLA and early in his career in Minnesota. His best pro season was 2015, but he’d regressed a bit since, but he returned to dominating from the edge in 2018, although he didn’t do it as often (just 46 times). It’ll be interesting to see how Williams uses Barr on the blitz this season. Alongside Leonard Williams? As a bookend?
On offense, the Jets got the best slot receiver in the market in Jamison Crowder, and expect Gase to use him a ton in the offense. Last year, Danny Amendola led the Dolphins in targets and receptions. Gase also used Jakeem Grant all over the place before he was injured.
Crowder should open the field for speedy Robby Anderson.
You never want to get too excited this early in the offseason, but we’ve seen franchises spend in free agency with a rookie QB in place. The Seahawks. The Bears. The Rams. The Cowboys.
Now, it’s the Jets turn.