As we head towards the new league year which begins next month, we've been looking at some pending roster decisions for the Jets in 2020.
Today, let's consider their five exclusive rights free agents. An exclusive rights free agent (ERFA) is someone whose contract expired at the end of the previous season but they have less than three accrued seasons. The team retains each player's rights and can sign them to a tender at the minimum salary level to retain the player. Other teams cannot sign the player unless the team opts not to tender them and they become an unrestricted free agent.
It's usually a no-brainer because the salary isn't guaranteed, but sometimes a player no longer in the team's plans will not be tendered so that they can seek a job elsewhere. Last year, the Jets had nine players in this category and tendered all nine of them. Bronson Kaufusi and Frankie Luvu were the only two to make any real contributions during the regular season, though.
Luvu is an ERFA again this year, along with BJ Bello, Leo Koloamatangi, Sam Ficken and Bennett Jackson. Let's look at each one in turn.
Koloamatangi is the only one of these five not to see any action last season and he is in fact still waiting to make his NFL debut, but was obviously stashed on the roster for a reason. He can play any of the three interior line positions so may be thrown into the mix along with a couple of the futures signings.
Jackson understands Koloamatangi's plight better than anyone because the 28-year old only made his NFL debut in 2019, five years after entering the league. He ultimately played two games with the Jets, making one special teams tackle, but only saw action on defense while he was with the Ravens earlier in the year.
Ficken was the Jets' kicker for all but the first game and it felt like the Jets gave him a lot of rope having already made a number of changes at the position. Although he hit a game-winner against Miami, Ficken missed 11 kicks in total and the team has already signed Brett Maher to a futures deal so he might be the most likely of the five to not be tendered.
Bello flew under the radar in 2019, mostly because - like Jackson - he didn't see any action on defense. However, he made some good contributions with five special teams tackles in just eight games. Harvey Langi led the Jets with eight, but he played every game. Bello, who also added a touchdown on a blocked punt, should definitely be retained.
Luvu was the only one of the five to see action on either offense or defense during the season, but played a lot less than he did as a rookie. He ended the season with 12 tackles and a sack having posted three sacks and over twice as many tackles in his rookie year. He did show improvements on special teams though, so would be another useful player to retain.
In all likelihood, the Jets will tender all five and bring them back for the minimum, but we'll have to wait and see. Who do you think is worth keeping from this list?