Day 1 Recap: Jets Dropping Cash on the Barrel

Not even a full day into free agency, the Jets have been busy. As it stands on Tuesday morning, depending on how backloaded these contracts are, the Jets have roughly $40 million remaining in cap space. This of course doesn't take into account space required for their rookies. The Jets can break glass in case of emergency and restructure or cut Kelvin Beachum and Brian Winters for upwards of another $14.5 million, but that seems extreme at this point.

The point here, is that the Jets still have a good amount of room to work even with the bombshell contract they just handed to CJ Mosley. The Jets have played it cool for Le'Veon Bell leaking their interest in second tier runners but if they want to sign the former Pittsburgh running back, today is moving day. Bell indicated last night he is agonizing over the decision he has ahead of him, which might mean he needs more convincing ... that could mean money or it could also mean a seeing a better supporting cast on the line put in place.

It's easy to go outspend teams as the Jets just did with CJ Mosley. With roughly more than half their cap space wiped off the books in under 18 hours, the Jets need now to discipline stretching their dollars.

One thing is clear, the Jets understand that hesitation in the first 48 hours of free agency is death and so they are dropping cash on the barrel. For all my second-guessing of Maccagnan's choices, he clearly sees the way forward is to bend his resources quickly in support of the highly promising career arc of Sam Darnold.

LG Kelechi Osemele (Trade)
In swapping down from 140 to 196, the Jets took on Osemele's contract. Osemele was a Pro Bowler in 2016 and 2017 before a down year in 2018. A less system change not suited to him, babysitting a rookie, injuries and a terrible Oakland team all contributed to that 2018 campaign. It's a logical 11 million dollar bet against the cap that he still has gas in the tank and can be an upside hold-the-fort player for the Jets for the next year or two.

CB Darryl Roberts (Re-signed)
This is a solid lunchpail move for the Jets. Roberts showed stability in his time backing up Marcus Maye and Trumaine Johnson due to injury. With Morris Claiborne and Buster Skrine not returning, Roberts could see more time as a nickel or dime package player. No complaints on this move, but no praise either.

WR Jamison Crowder (Free Agent)
Last year Jermaine Kearse logged 60.2% of snaps out of the slot and averaged an abysmal 4.2 yards per target and 8.8 per catch. On 71.5% of snaps from the slot, Crowder checked in with a 7.9 yards per target and a 13.6 yards per catch. I'm pleased that the Jets chose to pay Crowder roughly 10 million than the same money to Cole Beasley or Adam Humphries. Adam Gase is very used to featuring slot receivers; just look at the volume of targets funneled to Albert Wilson (29% of snaps in 2018) and Jarvis Landry (56% and 47 in '16 & '17) over the last few seasons. While Crowder struggled last year with injury and without Kirk Cousins under center, his 2017 season was an example of how efficient Crowder can be. Crowder cements the offense's intent around how they are going to deploy their wideouts. Expect Enunwa to cement his role as the team's flanker, Robby Anderson will continue his work as the team's stretch receiver and Crowder will share targets over in the middle with Chris Herndon.

WR Josh Bellamy (Free Agent)
It's a minor complaint, but I don't like this move. Why spend this much money on a core special teamer not named Andre Roberts?

DE/OLB Anthony Barr (Free Agent)
Coming into the league, Barr was expected to be used as a pass-rushing edge player. During his time in Minnesota, Ball was used instead as an off-ball linebacker en route to four Pro Bowls. While Mike Zimmer is one of the last coaches who would surprise me by stubbornly using players out of position, it does warrant some concern around just what role Barr can play for the Jets. In the end, he's a very solid linebacker with pass-rush upside who could be displaced over time depending on who the Jets draft. In short, by signing Barr the Jets bettered their defense but didn't do anything to impede the versatility of their 2019 Draft strategy.

ILB CJ Mosley (Free Agent)
If paying CJ Mosley $17MM APY isn't a clear signal to how much faith the team has lost in Darron Lee over the last 12 months I don't know what is. I have admired Mosley's play from afar and think he will quickly make an on-field and locker room impact. Whether Lee or Avery Williamson become the sidecar to the Jets newest linebacker, the clear message is that this is now Mosley's group. While I love the impact that players like Mosley and Barr can bring to this corps, it does feel like I just got whiplash when I study the cap implications of their LBs. The other consideration here is that the Jets are going to have to come up with a plan to systemically address their corners even more aggressively than before because now they have a much bigger group of linebackers than they did two days ago and that could lead to breakdowns against "11" personnel. In a league trending more and more towards nickel base packages this is going to put more strain on the Jets corners and require even more coverage heroics from their safeties.