How did Jets’ offseason signings perform during first half of season?

Jordan Whitehead Jets celebrates INT vs Steelers, white jersey black pants
Jordan Whitehead Jets celebrates INT vs Steelers, white jersey black pants

The Jets have obviously exceeded expectations as they made it to the bye week with a 6-3 record, but their offseason acquisitions have had mixed results so far.

Let’s recap how every free agency signing performed in the first half of the season...

G Laken Tomlinson

Tomlinson was the most expensive of the Jets’ offseason signings as he inked a three-year, $40 million contract. However, he had an inconsistent start to the season. It probably hasn’t helped that the plan at the left tackle position kept changing, but Duane Brown’s return has at least brought some stability to the left side.

In pass protection, Tomlinson hasn’t given up a hit or sack all season, but he’s still allowed more interior pressure than the Jets would ideally like. He has also played with more consistency in the running game over the past few weeks, although this needs to continue if he’s to justify the financial outlay.

TE C.J. Uzomah

The Jets probably expected Uzomah to be a much bigger part of their passing game than he has been so far. After catching 49 passes and five touchdowns last season with the Cincinnati Bengals, Uzomah has just 10 catches for 82 yards and no touchdowns.

The constant moving parts on the offensive line, coupled with a mostly conservative offensive approach, have led to Uzomah playing more of a role as a blocker in the first half of the year. The team loves his character and leadership, though, and he has the potential to make bigger statistical contributions in the second half.

Aug 28, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets guard Laken Tomlinson (78) looks on during an injury time out during the first half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.
Aug 28, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets guard Laken Tomlinson (78) looks on during an injury time out during the first half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

TE Tyler Conklin

Conklin apparently wasn’t the Jets’ first choice to pair with Uzomah because reports indicated they originally tried to sign Evan Engram instead. However, Conklin has had some good production in the first half of the season with 33 catches, 316 yards and three scores. A lot of this production has come in garbage time, but his recent performance against the New England Patriots (six catches, 79 yards, two scores) was a sign that his chemistry with Zach Wilson is developing.

CB D.J. Reed

Reed has so far been the most successful offseason signing for the Jets this year. Having signed a three-year, $33 million deal, Reed has lived up to this with consistent play on the outside and is a big part of why the Jets’ pass defense has improved from 29th to 5th in terms of net yards per attempt.

In the first nine games, Reed hasn’t given up a touchdown. And, although he’s only intercepted one pass, he’s holding opposing quarterbacks to a QB rating of below 60 when they throw at him. The Jets could feasibly see both starting cornerbacks earning Pro Bowl recognition if their strong play continues.

K Greg Zuerlein

The Jets’ new placekicker has missed three field goals and an extra point so far this season, so he hasn’t been flawless. However, his overall performance has been solid, and he came up big with the game-winning kicks against the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills.

Zuerlein’s big leg has been on display with four successful kicks from beyond 50 yards so far, including a 57-yarder that tied the franchise record for the longest field goal.

Sep 18, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper (2) catches a pass in front of New York Jets cornerback D.J. Reed (4) during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Sep 18, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper (2) catches a pass in front of New York Jets cornerback D.J. Reed (4) during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium.

S Jordan Whitehead

Whitehead is another player who had some struggles early in the season. He was beaten for a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens, missed four tackles against the Browns and allowed Tyler Boyd to bounce off him for a long touchdown in the loss to the Bengals. Since that time, however, he’s settled in nicely.

While not known for his coverage abilities, Whitehead has two interceptions and six passes defensed already – and should probably have at least two more interceptions, having dropped a couple. As expected, he’s helped boost the team’s run defense, which has seen them improve from 30th against the run to ninth at the midway point of the season.

DE Jacob Martin

Martin was recently traded to the Denver Broncos, relieving a bit of a logjam at the defensive end position. While he was with the team, Martin played his part as a rotational pass rusher well as he had 1.5 sacks and four quarterback hits in eight games. However, with the development of rookies Jermaine Johnson and Micheal Clemons, he became a surplus.

DT Solomon Thomas

Thomas has played his part in the interior defensive line rotations so far this year and might need to play an increased role over the next month or so due to Sheldon Rankins’ injury. He hasn’t generated much statistical production yet with no sacks, hits or tackles for loss, but has still been playing a valuable role as he’s been on the field for over 200 snaps.