Re-signing CB Arthur Maulet (one year, undisclosed terms)
Maulet broke out in the second half of 2019 with a respectable finish to the season. He allowed 259 yards on 38 targets (6.8 per target), no touchdowns, and one interception. Adding him to the competition at outside cornerback on a low-risk deal makes plenty of sense. Grade: A
Signing G/C Josh Andrews (undisclosed terms)
Little is known about Andrews, who has never started an NFL game over six years in the league. He does have a connection with Joe Douglas, who was with the Eagles during Andrews’ latter two years with the team (2016-17). Andrews did record some nice tape in his lone extended appearance against the Steelers in 2019.
Hard to say anything definitive about this one. It’s a depth move at a position of need. Grade: B
Signing S Marqui Christian (undisclosed terms)
As great as the Jets are at safety (it is easily their best position group on the team), they could use some more depth there. Things have gotten rough when either Jamal Adams or Marcus Maye missed games due to injury over the past two years.
Christian is a nice addition for the role. He is a nickel/dime safety who does a respectable job in coverage, but it is a major liability against the run.
That’s perfect for the Jets’ needs. The passing game is where backup safeties like Darryl Roberts, Matthias Farley, and Doug Middleton have struggled. There are more than enough high-quality run defenders on Gregg Williams’ defense, and Christian hardly plays against the run anyway (79% of career snaps against the pass). He should be an upgrade in the passing game over the reserve safeties that have taken the field for the Jets in recent years. Grade: B+
Signing G Greg Van Roten (three years, undisclosed terms)
The Jets needed to land on their feet and find a tier-B option at guard after Joe Thuney and Graham Glasgow came off the board. Van Roten is a solid option. While he is shaky in the run game, Van Roten (a native Long Islander) put up excellent numbers in pass-protection for Carolina. He is a nice hold-the-fort option at either guard spot while the Jets draft-and-develop potential future starters in the later rounds. The hope is that Van Roten provides a substantial upgrade in pass-protection over Brian Winters. Winters allowed 21 pressures over 9 games in 2019. Van Roten allowed 17 over 11. Grade: B+
Signing G Alex Lewis (three years, $18.6 million, $6 million guaranteed)
Lewis had a respectable 2019 season after coming over via trade as one of Douglas’ first acquisitions. Pro Football Focus was down on him, ranking him in the 24th percentile of overall grade among guards, but I think that score underrates him. I see Lewis as an average starting guard – slightly above-average in the passing game, and slightly-below in the run game.
Like Van Roten, Lewis is about the best that the Jets could do in terms of finding somebody who can hold a guard spot down while they search for long-term answers. Who starts at which spot is up for debate – neither Lewis nor Van Roten has started at right guard in the NFL.
Lewis (35 of 64 possible regular season games played) and Van Roten (30 years old and missed five games with a toe injury to finish 2019) both have legitimate injury question marks, but if they can stay healthy, they have the potential to form an average guard duo. That would be a nice start for the Jets on this lengthy offensive line rebuild. Grade: B+
Signing C Connor McGovern (three years, $27 million, $18 million guaranteed)
Of all players the Jets have added thus far, McGovern is easily the surest bet to represent an upgrade. Both his film and his numbers suggest he is somewhere in the top 10-12 range among centers. With only 24 career starts under his belt at the position (only one full season, coming in 2019), he may even still have room to grow.
McGovern does a superb job in pass-protection, ranking in the 87th percentile among centers in PFF’s pass-blocking grade. He is also outstanding at limiting penalties. The North Dakota native went 1,013 snaps without being called for one penalty in 2019. That was the third-most snaps played by a center in one regular season without a penalty over the entire 2010s decade. He also had just two penalties over eight starts at center in 2018.
As of right now, we have no idea if the Jets are actually going to be substantially better at four of the five offensive line spots, but there is no doubt that they have made a drastic talent upgrade at center.
To boot, McGovern’s deal is extremely favorable. According to Over The Cap’s current rankings, McGovern’s contract would land him at 13th in average annual value and 12th in total guarantees among centers. Mix in his age (27 in April) and his durability (47 of 48 games played) with his talent level, and you get an affordable addition at a position of desperate need. Grade: A+
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