New York Jets: Franchise tags may dictate draft strategy

Dee Ford #55 of the Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Dee Ford #55 of the Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

As much as the New York Jets have to draft offensive line help, the franchise tags that have been applied may dictate the team’s early strategy.

The New York Jets and the rest of the league are preparing right now for the off-season to heat up. March 13 is the big day when free agency opens. Just before that we have the legal tampering period, and then the floodgates open.

After that comes the NFL draft and off we go. It’s an exciting time that is just on the horizon. And as we all know it’s an important one for our beloved Jets.

We’ve talked a great deal, and we will continue to talk about the strategy the team should take, both with free agency and the draft. Clearly it’s a fluid decision.

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Recently I have talked on these pages about making the offensive line priority one in the draft. “Protect the Investment” has been a mantra of mine.

The other major need, we all know, is edge pass rusher. It has been far too long since the Jets could get to the quarterback on a consistent basis.

Since John Abraham left the team, the Jets have been looking for that next guy.

Free agency has been the place everyone has been looking at to get this spot filled.

That strategy may have to change. Let’s look at why.

Fans were so excited about free agency. Demarcus Lawrence was available. Dee Ford was available. The Jets were going to sign Jadeveon Clowney, right?


I told everyone to hold their horses on this. I was called a “Debbie Downer”. Well take a look at the franchise tag tracker. What do you notice?

Every big named pass rusher that fans were interested in received the tag. Every single one. Demarcus Lawrence got it, right on down through Dee Ford and everyone in between.

These types of elite talents just don’t become available on the open market. They are too valuable to their original teams. It was never typical before and it is still not typical. These players don’t move. Period.

There are trade opportunities to explore, which we will in the coming days. But, do any of the players available on the market excite you? According to Rich Cimini of ESPN, the Jets were discussing Ezekiel Ansah, Preston Smith and Dante Fowler.

Ansah has only posted double-digit sacks twice and will turn 30 prior to the season. Fowler has been nowhere near his potential and that includes playing along the same line as Aaron Donald. Preston Smith has 24.5 sacks in four years. It’s nice but doesn’t jump off the page as the next dominant pass rusher.

Obviously, the pickings are very slim.

Next. Bradbury is worth a selection in the draft. dark

Looking at the draft it’s the opposite. Even if Nick Bosa and Josh Allen go 1-2, there are plenty of top pass rushers available. If Kyler Murray goes number one, they have a 50/50 shot at Nick Bosa.

The Jets must fix the offensive line. However, the early off-season may force the Jets to fix the edge pass rusher first when the draft comes along.