Jets Free Agency Report Card: Grading Joe Douglas' roster additions

Ralph Vacchiano
SNY

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Here's a player-by-player report card for the Jets' free agent signings so far:

OT George Fant (three years, $23.7 million, $13.7 million guaranteed)

Joe Douglas' first free-agent signing as Jets GM was a bit of a shocker, giving a huge pay day to Seattle's backup tackle. It's a gamble, for sure, but Fant is huge (6-foot-5, 322 pounds), powerful, and he has started 24 games over the last four seasons (He missed all of 2017 with a torn ACL).

 

Tackles are expensive and not many hit the market, so Douglas took a shot at one flying a bit under the radar, with a deal that is structured to really be a one-year, $9.25 million contract. He's penciled in as the Jets' left tackle, but could move to the right side.

Ideally, the Jets would want someone a little more proven protecting Sam Darnold blindside, but Douglas didn't want to spend on the big-ticket tackles (like Jack Conklin). He clearly thinks he uncovered a gem. We'll see if his bet pays off.

GRADE: B-

C Connor McGovern (three years, $27 million, $18 million guaranteed)

The key component of any offensive line is the center, and Douglas got the best one on a very thin market. The 6-foot-4, 306-pounder is a big upgrade over Jonotthan Harrison and is a strong, smart player who should bring the line together.

He could also play guard if the Jets need him to slide over for any reason. And he's durable, having missed only one game in the last three years.

GRADE: A

G Alex Lewis (three years, $18.6 million, $5.6 million guaranteed)

Lewis has been a favorite of Douglas since he traded for him back in August, and he made it clear he wanted to bring him back.

The bar was low, of course, but the 6-foot-6, 305-pound Lewis was the Jets' best offensive lineman last season. He'll be the starter at left guard again, and he'll look a lot better with more capable players around him. The Jets had hoped to go after Joe Thuney before he was franchised, and did make a bit of a run at Graham Glasgow, but even if they had landed one of those top guys, they probably still would've brought Lewis back. 

GRADE: B+

Video: How are the New York GMs doing in free agency so far?

CB Brian Poole (one year, $5 million)

Ideally, the Jets would've upgraded at this position, but they weren't willing to spend the big money on Byron Jones or James Bradberry. They were in on veteran Chris Harris right until the end, but even though his price was more reasonable, it was still too high.

So the Jets did a sensible thing bringing back Poole on his second straight, one-year, prove-it deal. He's a terrific slot corner and was the Jets best corner last season. Their corners in general are not good, and they still need help (though it's not clear where they'll find it). Bringing Poole back, though, was at least a good start.

GRADE: B-

CB Arthur Maulet (one year, terms not available)

Maulet was a restricted free agent, but the Jets chose not to tender him, then agreed to terms on a one-year contract, probably for something near the NFL minimum.

He's not a difference-maker at the position, but he's only 26 and a solid depth player who was good at times last season. The Jets need bodies at this position, and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams obviously liked what he's done.

GRADE: B-

LB Neville Hewitt (one year, $2 million)

He played decent last season in the absence of C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson. The Jets are expecting both of those players back, but until they're on the field, their health remains an unknown. That makes the 26-year-old Hewitt and good value signing for depth.

GRADE: B

C/G Josh Andrews (one year, terms undisclosed)

The 6-2, 298-pounder hasn't played a lot of football since he entered the NFL in 2014, but Douglas obviously saw something he liked when they were together in Philadelphia in 2018. And while this signing won't get anyone excited, it is important because the Jets need offensive line depth. They were ravaged by injuries last season and Douglas is taking a low-risk shot here on a guy he thinks can step in if needed.

GRADE: B-minus

G Greg Van Roten (three years, terms undisclosed)

The Jets waited the 6-3, 305-pound Long Islander out before signing him in the second wave of free agency. Their plan is to make him their starting right guard, very likely over Brian Winters who will surely either be cut or will take a pay cut to return as a backup. Van Roten, 30, was a two-year starter in Carolina before a toe injury cost him five games last season. He's a solid player who will be an upgrade over Winters, who was a shell of himself last year.

GRADE: B

S Marqui Christian (one year, approximately $2 million)

The Jets don't really need a safety, obviously, so he's mostly here for special teams and to back up in case of injury. Basically, he's presumably replacing Rontez Miles, who missed a bunch of last season with a hip injury. Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams coached the 25-year-old Christian as a rookie, so he knows what he can do. And he actually played a lot on defense last year, so he's certainly capable of filling in, if needed.

GRADE: B

CB Pierre Desir (one year, terms undisclosed)

After cutting both Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts, the Jets clearly needed starting corners -- and not just Poole for the slot. The 29-year-old Desir at least fills half of that need for the short-term.

He started 23 games the last two seasons in Indianapolis, so the 6-foot-1, 192-pounder has experience. He also wasn't bad last year, with 11 passes defensed and three interceptions in 12 games. Still, the Colts cut him one year into a three-year, $22.85 million deal.

GRADE: B

LB James Burgess (one year, terms undisclosed)

When the Jets' linebacking corps collapsed with injuries early last season, the Jets plucked him off their practice squad for depth. He ended up starting 10 games at inside linebacker and, after an erratic start, played pretty well. The Jets didn't tender him as a restricted free agent, and instead brought him back at reduced rate. He provides solid depth and experience, and has proven he can start when needed.

GRADE: B

LB Jordan Jenkins (one year, $5 million)

The Jets had a need for an edge rusher and it seemed pretty clear they weren't going to overspend for one in free agency. So it was strange that they were apparently low-balling the 25-year-old Jenkins, since he had eight sacks for them last year, 15 in the last two seasons, and has generally been one of their most disruptive players.

But Douglas' patience paid off because Jenkins' market never materialized and he came back and took what he once thought was an insulting offer from the Jets.

For Jenkins, it's a prove-it deal. For the Jets, it's a huge bargain on what should be a very motivated pass-rusher.

GRADE: A-

WR Breshad Perriman (one year, $8 million, $6 million guaranteed)

The Jets preferred a reunion with Robby Anderson, but instead they save a few million and get a guy who has the same dangerous speed. In fact, Perriman ran a 4.24 in the 40 at his Pro Day at Central Florida in 2015. That's the year the Baltimore Ravens made him the 26th overall pick in the draft. And oh, by the way, Douglas was a Ravens scout then.

Perriman has generally been a disappointment during his career, but he was a good third receiver in Tampa last year, and over the last five weeks of the season when the Bucs were dealing with injuries to their starting receivers, he stepped in with 25 catches for 506 yards and four touchdowns - including three straight 100-yard games to end the season. So he's certainly got the potential to be a very good starter for the Jets, at a low financial risk.

GRADE: B+

ILB Patrick Onwuasor (one year, terms undisclosed) 

Douglas loves his ex-Ravens, and the 27-year-old Onwuasor is a good one if he's here for depth. Presumably, the Jets plan to start Mosley and Williamson, but both are coming off injuries. And while the Jets did re-sign Neville Hewitt and James Burgess as backups, they obviously weren't comfortable with the idea of either one of them having to step in.

The 6-foot, 227-pound Onwuasor has made 32 starts in his four-year career, and he used to play alongside Mosley in Baltimore. So if he has to do it again, he's a step up from the depth players the Jets already have.

GRADE: B+

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