Jet price denial delays free agent deals


A disgruntled New York Jets fan reacts to what she saw on the football field.

The New York Jets have been willy-nilly with their free agent spending in the past and it got them in trouble.

However, since General Manager Joe Douglas took over, those days of overspending are over. It’s apparently the delay in several contract negotiations according to an insider this offseason.

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Connor Hughes of The Athletic dropped a great nugget in his latest column on mailbags.

Before training camp, the Jets threw the tires on several free agents with visits and handed out several contract offers.

Hughes says the Jets “have flirted and remain interested” in veteran linebacker Kwon Alexander. The only thing holding things back right now is that the team is unwilling to go “above their price”.

That means the ball is in Alexander’s court and the same goes for veteran offensive tackle Riley Reiff.

“Douglas is not prepared to pay more than he thinks a player is worth – even at this stage of the offseason. The problem with this tactic is that if the money is even, it is unlikely that a player picks the Jets — a team still in the midst of rebuilding — over a team with playoff potential.

This strategy cost Jets defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi who also received a contract from the team, but it wasn’t good enough and he decided to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers that offseason instead.

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After all these years of overspending, it’s time the Jets had a key decision maker who was willing to draw a line in the sand.

Douglas refused to pay the iron price of being the Jets. Historically speaking, the greens and whites have been forced to pay extra fees for free agents to pick them over others due to their losing streak.

While that saved a ton of money since taking charge, in the same vein, they lost several key free agents in the process.

This strategy might look fantastic if Reiff and Alexander come back to him after scouring the free agent market to sign the minimum deals they’ve been offered. However, if other NFL teams offer greener pastures, the Jets could be caught with their pants down at the wedding reception.

Linebacker and offensive tackle are two problem areas for Jets with worrying depth levels at every position.

The more important of the two is clearly offensive tackle as it relates directly to protecting their young quarterback Zach Wilson.

Although Alexander is also crucially important in his own way on the defensive side of the ball when injured.

Douglas has made offers to both players and firmly believes these will materialize before training camp. If they do, the Jets will be fantastic at both places. If they can’t agree, these will be two big areas to watch on the waiver wire during downsizing over the next few weeks.

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Christy J. Olson