June 19, 2024

One of the most important offseasons in the history of the New York Jets is about to begin after the team’s first season under Aaron Rodgers swiftly collapsed. There’s no denying that team executives are under pressure, which makes general manager Joe Douglas’s summer decisions even more important.

In light of that, the following are the trade, cut, and signing that the Jets ought to make in the upcoming months.

TRADE: Address the offensive line while moving down in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Undoubtedly, improving at wide receiver and rebuilding the offensive line are New York’s two biggest summer needs—tasks that can be accomplished with the 2024 NFL Draft. Top receiving options, such lineman Joe Alt from Notre Dame, LSU’s Malik Nabers, and Washington’s Rome Odunze, might not be available at pick 10. If so, before choosing a lineman, New York ought to seriously think about dropping a few positions in the draft to acquire more draft money.

There could be a push for offensive linemen in the middle to late stages of April’s first round, with Tyler Guyton of Oklahoma and Taliese Fuaga of Oregon State emerging as particularly interesting tackle prospects. The interior offensive linemen are also not to be overlooked, as Duke’s Graham Barton and Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Johnson both provide dependable and adaptable play.

Guyton and Powers-Johnson seem like the best options for the Jets, who could trade down and get a mid-round pick to use toward a wide receiver. Over the previous four seasons, Guyton gave up just two sacks and 17 pressures, according to Pro Football Focus, while Powers-Johnson did not give up a single sack and only allowed four pressures in his three years of NCAA play.

CUT: Laken Tomlinson, left guard

While Tomlinson doesn’t exactly fit into that category, the organization should part ways with him if he doesn’t agree to a contract restructure. New York has a few obvious cut candidates this summer.

Even though the former first-round pick signed a three-year, $40 million contract with the Jets in 2022, he has started every game. However, he has performed considerably below expectations, especially this past season. Among guards in 2023, Tomlinson gave up the second-highest number of pressures (51), third-most QB hits (10) and fourth-most sacks (seven).

Even though removing Tomlinson after June 1 will save the team more money, it would be better to make the move sooner to utilize the extra salary space during free agency. By categorizing Tomlinson as a pre-June 1 cut, the Jets would save $8.1 million and incur a $10.7 million dead cap charge, per Over the Cap.

Curtis Samuel, a wide receiver, has signed.

The four-year, $44 million contract Allen Lazard signed last summer appears to be a disaster, so the Jets need to add at least one significant wide receiver this offseason. After trying to trade for Mike Evans in October of last year, they’ll probably look into his services once more, but it seems unlikely that the 30-year-old will depart Tampa Bay just yet.

Other than Evans, the Jets don’t have many risk-free, realistic high-end wideout choices to choose from. For this reason, the Jets might find it beneficial to spend in free agency to acquire a low-risk receiver like Samuel, who they could deploy in a variety of ways.

Over the previous two seasons, Samuel, 27, proved to be a useful asset for the pass-happy Commanders, accumulating 126 receptions for 1,269 yards and 10 touchdowns in all.

Samuel has been one of the NFL’s most versatile weapons since being chosen in 2017. During that time, he ranks second among wide receivers with 715 career running yards and seven touchdowns scored on the ground. Samuel doesn’t necessarily add much to the Jets, but he does have the kind of qualities that might go well with emerging star wide receiver Garrett Wilson.

One trade, cut, signing New York Jets should make

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