Head coach Robert Saleh said the the team would have a judicious approach to free agency, which likely takes them out of the market for the top players with expiring contracts. General manager Joe Douglas, however, said that the team still has financial flexibility while it navigates the free-agent waters, which includes 19 of the Jets unrestricted free agents.
Below is a snapshot of who could be available on offense, except quarterback, when the new League Year starts on March 15 at 4 p.m. Eastern.
The Jets have several free agents along the offensive line including starters C Connor McGovern, G Nate Herbig and T George Fant. The Jets, however, have four players on the mend and under contract for 2023 -- Duane Brown (shoulder), Mekhi Becton (knee), Alijah Vera-Tucker (triceps) and Max Mitchell (blood clots). Here are a couple players with expiring contracts on other teams who could be in play for the Green & White.
Ethan Pocic (Browns) – Pocic started 13 games this past season for Cleveland after spending the first five years of his NFL career in Seattle. Pocic allowed 8 pressures on 428 pass-blocking snaps, good for the seventh-lowest pressure rate allowed in the NFL (1.87 percent), per TruMedia. Pocic, Garrett Bradbury (Vikings) and Bradley Bozeman (Panthers) headline the center group.
Andre Dillard (Eagles)– Douglas was in Philadelphia when the Eagles drafted Dillard, who would add depth and experience to the Jets' line. He's started 9 games in three seasons and appeared in 43.
Orlando Brown (Chiefs) – Brown, coming off a Super Bowl-winning season protecting Patrick Mahomes' blindside, will likely be out of the Jets' price range. Brown has started 75 games since 2018 and has made each of the last four Pro Bowls.
Nick Gates (Giants)– Gates offers center-guard versatility, which is the bill Dan Feeney, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent, fit for the Jets the last two seasons. Gates, who signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2019, appeared in 10 games (8 starts) in 2022 and has started 29 games in four seasons.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Almost all the Jets starters return at wide receiver and tight end. WRs Corey Davis, Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore are under contract and so are TEs Tyler Conklin and C.J. Uzomah.
Allen Lazard (Packers) – Lazard is a big-bodied receiver and a good run blocker, who played under Jets new OC Nathaniel Hackett. He was the No. 6 run blocker among wide receivers who took at least 300 snaps in 2020, according to PFF. The Iowa State product is coming off a career high 60 receptions and 788 yards. He also had 6 touchdowns last season.
Mecole Hardman (Chiefs) – If the Jets want to add elite speed and versatility, Hardman fits the bill. Hardman's 4.33 40-yard dash at the 2019 Combine was tied for the second fastest among wide receivers. He also offers special teams value and has 2 return touchdowns in his career (one punt, one kick). He's coming off a pelvic injury and was limited to 8 games in 2022.
Josh Oliver (Ravens) – The tight end market is led by Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki, who each played under the franchise tag last season and with the way the Jets' TE room is structured, they figure to land elsewhere. Oliver is known for his run blocking. His 74 run blocking grade on PFF ranked No. 2 among all tight ends who took at least 20% of the snaps. Another blocking option is Marcedes Lewis, who ranked No. 7. He played under Hackett in Green Bay from 2019-21.
The Jets have many talented horses in the stable, headlined by the return of second-year player Breece Hall. Douglas said the goal is to have Hall, who is recovering from a torn ACL, ready for the season opener in September. Michael Carter and Zonovan "Bam" Knight are under contract and return after carrying the load after Hall's injury.
D'Ernest Johnson (Browns) – Johnson has averaged 5.2 yards per carry in his four-year career but has eclipsed more than 35 carries once. In 2021 he had 100 carries for 534 yards and 3 scores. There's a lot of tread remaining on the tire and his best ball could be in front of him.
Latavius Murray (Broncos) – Murray, 33, would add a veteran presence in the room and ran for 703 yards and five scores in 2022 for Hackett's Broncos. The Jets could look to add a bigger back to take some of the load off Hall, especially early in the season. Other veterans on the market include Damien Harris, Raheem Mostert, Marlon Mack and Kenyan Drake.