The Off-Season Outlook is a team-by-team series that will look at all 32 NFL teams and give a quick snapshot of everything fantasy relevant position as we enter the off-season. All salary cap estimates are taken from sportrac.com which I can’t vouch for enough. They are my one stop shop for all things contracts and cap space related. Feel free to send any feedback to @robbyjeffries on Twitter.
Team: New York Jets
Cap Space: $80,769,261 (4th most)
Round 1 Draft Picks: 6th Overall Pick
Fantasy Relevant Impending Free Agents:
Josh McCown, QB
Quincy Enunwa, WR (RFA)
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE
There will be few teams that will look more different from 2017 to 2018 than the Jets will. With potential changes to all their offensive skill positions, New York can go a lot of different ways in terms of off-season moves this spring. One thing is for sure, they have quite a bit of cap space and will likely get even more once they make the probable cap saving cuts to Muhammad Wilkerson and Matt Forte. Both GM Mike Maccagnan and Head Coach Todd Bowles had their contracts extended through 2020 giving the organization some stability to continue under as they will likely enter a new era with their next quarterback, whether that be Kirk Cousins or another veteran or if they choose to build through the draft. Let’s check out the individual positions.
QB: Josh McCown played well for the Jets in 2017, but McCown will also turn 39 in July and is not in New York’s long-term plans. It is likely that the Jets will be a part of the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes, but I think ultimately Cousins will go elsewhere. McCown could certainly be re-signed to mentor a younger QB if New York takes that direction in the 2018 draft. The Jets will be looking hard at Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Josh Allen (Wyoming), and Lamar Jackson (Louisville) as potential future signal callers. Mayfield has been wowing people for awhile now with his play on the field, and if he can convince the Jets that his off-the-field antics are a thing of the past, I have the Jets taking him with their 6th overall pick and have McCown re-sign as a mentor and capable backup.
RB: The running trio of Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, and Elijah McGuire made up the running back stable for the Jets in 2018. Forte is likely to be a cut candidate as he enters the twilight of his career and Powell might not be far behind him at age 29 and in the final year of his contract as well. McGuire showed a few flashes this season, but the Jets are likely to bring in another back in the draft. Kerryon Johnson (Auburn) or Sony Michal (Georgia) could be perfect third round steals to improve the Jets running game in 2018. If either are available in the 3rd and the Jets have pulled the trigger already, I expect them to pounce.
WR: New York found a hidden gem in Robby Anderson, who had a great six week stretch midseason catching for 525 yards and six touchdowns. Unfortunately, he was arrested for the second time in eight months in January and his future is in doubt. The Jets don’t have much known talent at the position with just Jermaine Kearse and Quincy Enunwa (RFA) behind Anderson. Whoever their QB is next season, he will need weapons and I expect the Jets to be active in finding a WR1. The market isn’t that deep for WR1’s so there will be a true bidding war for the few out there, but the Jets should be able to get the top slot guy on the market, Jarvis Landry. Landry will command around $13 million per season but the Jets are one of the few teams that can afford that price tag and still make their necessary off-season moves.
TE: The Jets have enough holes on offense without letting Austin Seferian-Jenkins get away in the off-season. One year sober as of late-January, ASJ has the opportunity to cash in on a long-term contract and I think he will stay with the team that gave him a shot after his second DUI. New York will probably have to pay around $6.5-$7.5 million to keep ASJ in the Big Apple, but they will have the money this off-season and then some. Seferian-Jenkins might be one of the “vets” on offense as the rest of the offense could be new faces.
2018 Lineup Prediction:
QB – Baker Mayfield
RB – Kerryon Johnson/Elijah McGuire
WR – Jarvis Landry
WR – Jermaine Kearse
WR – Quincy Enunwa
TE – Austin Seferian-Jenkins