Jet fans were hoping somehow, someway Eric Decker would be able to sweet-talk his ex-teammate Demaryius Thomas to rekindle their bromance with the Jets but those dreams have now officially died since the Denver Broncos decided to place the franchise tag on their star receiver. Thomas may be off the board but this does up the Jets chances of potentially signing one of the Broncos other quality free agent like Orlando Franklin or Julius Thomas.
The other big-name receiver, Dez Bryant, also had the franchise tag placed on him by the Dallas Cowboys. The top two receivers on the market will return to their current teams but the Green Bay Packers declined placing the tag on Randall Cobb as did the Philadelphia Eagles with Jeremy Maclin.
The Jets should, assuming they don’t re-sign with their teams before free agency actually begins, be interested with both players. Cobb will be highly sought after and he could very likely end up with around a $9 million salary. If the Eagles let Maclin hit the open market his price tag would probably be a little lower than Cobb and the Jets could make a serious run at him.
Justin Houston would have been one of the most coveted free agents had he been able to hit the open market but the Kansas City Chiefs wisely didn’t allow that to happen. Houston, one of the best pass-rushers in all of football, would have been able to cash in this year by pinning all his suitors against each other in a bidding war instead he’ll eventually have to cave and sign the one-year offer (he’s reportedly not thrilled with being tagged) and hope that the market for him is just as busy next year.
The New York Giants placed the franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul. The Jets weren’t going to be in the Pierre-Paul sweepstakes but the Giants tagging him does take a pass-rusher out of the free agent pool therefore increasing the demand for the likes of Jerry Hughes and Pernell McPhee.
The Miami Dolphins didn’t use the franchise tag but they did place the transition tag on tight end.
The Detroit Lions opted not to franchise tag Ndamukong Suh because his tag would have cost them $26.9 million against the cap because of the way the team restructured his contract over year’s past. While the thought of adding Suh to a line with Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson is downright terrifying he is going to command way too much money and with the Jets eventually having to give Wilkerson and Richardson a raise that would be a crazy amount of money tied up in just the defensive line. The Jets have much more pressing needs and would be better of re-signing Damon Harrison and spending all that extra money Suh would make to fill other needs.
In a bit of a surprise the New England Patriots used their franchise tag on kicker, Stephen Gostkowski, which leaves open the possibility that safety Devin McCourty will hit the open market on March 10. It still seems likely that the Patriots will attempt to sign McCourty before March 10 but if he hits the open market it’s going to be tough for them to keep him because everyone needs safeties like McCourty. The Jets would be extremely fortunate if McCourty not only left the Patriots but joined the Jets.
The Patriots also have to decide what to do with Darrelle Revis, they will surely release him before his roster bonus kicks in and the Patriots are on the hook for paying him $25 million next year. Obviously they would like Revis and McCourty back but are they willing to be the highest bidder for one, or both, of them?
If not, will the Jets?