New York Jets: 4 internal free agents to keep and 4 to let walk away

Brian Poole, New York Jets. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Brian Poole, New York Jets. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) /
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New York Jets
Ryan Kalil, New York Jets. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

Number 1

Go – Ryan Kalil, C, UFA (35, $8.4M)

Was this choice even in doubt? It seemed like a coup when shortly after Douglas became the Jets general manager, he was able to talk Ryan Kalil out of retiring. The center position was easily Gang Green’s week spot going into 2019. Kalil could be the man to fill the Jets “donut” of an O-Line. After all, he was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro with Carolina.

Unfortunately for both him and the New York Jets, there was no magic left in his 34-year-old body. Running back Le’Veon Bell is very patient with the ball. He can shred a defense by running up the middle. In 2019, NYJ was deal last in yards-per-rushing attempt, between that tackles. Much of that falls on the center.

Kalil received a 55.5 rank from PFF, which according to them means he’s replaceable. What’s worse is Gang Green paid so much for him to be that bad. The Jets should use PFF’s evaluation and replace him. It’s imperative they get someone who Bell can run behind.

Stay – Brian Poole, CB, UFA (27, $3M)

After three good seasons in Atlanta, former undrafted free agent cornerback Brian Poole decided it was time to move on. He signed a one-year prove-it deal with the Jets last year and he proved he could play.

A case can be made that Poole was the Jets best corner last season. He played in 14 of 16 games (two were missed in early December while he was in concussion protocol), started 10 and put up good numbers.

After a bad 2019, the New York Jets will almost certainly cut ties with Trumaine Johnson. The eight-year NFL vet has only played in 17 games over his two seasons in New York. While the move will only save Gang Green $3M in 2020, it’s worth it to get Johnson off the team.

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In hindsight, the five-year, $72M contract he got from GM Mike Maccagnon in 2018, will go down as one of the worst free agent signings in team history.

Poole did a solid job after Johnson was placed on injured reserve in early November. His pass coverage was good, and he wasn’t shy in the run game either. The former Florida Gators star is not an elite lockdown cornerback. He won’t get that kind of money but he has proven himself to be an NFL starting-caliber player.

The Jets should give some of the money they save from dumping Johnson to Poole. At least one of their two corner positions will be manned competently. They can either draft or try their hand in free agency again to fill the other vacancy.

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