The NFL's free agency and trading period begins in two weeks, on Wednesday, March 16. That means the Jets and 31 other teams must decide not only which players they will try to sign as unrestricted and restricted free agents from other teams but also which of their own players they will try to retain and which they will watch wade into the free agency pool.
This year the Jets have 17 players from their 2021 roster who can become UFAs, plus three more who can become RFAs. NFL teams in a given offseason will re-sign anywhere from a quarter to a half of their own free agents.
Which of the Jets' free agents will stay and which will go? No predictions here, but below are each of the players on the Jets' UFA and RFA lists heading toward mid-March, along with a line or two about why the Green & White may want to retain their services and why other teams might be interested in signing those players themselves.
Joe Flacco — Former Super Bowl MVP, now a 15th-year pro.... Started only one game last year, 24-17 home loss to Miami in which he went 24-of-39 for 291 yards, two TDs, no INTs and a 101.5 passer rating.
Mike White (RFA) — Highlight of limited exposure was first pro start and win over playoff-bound Bengals. ... Completed 37 of 45 for 405 yards and 3 TDs and became first NFL QB in 10 years to throw for 400 yards in pro starting debut.
Nick Bawden — In only offensive touch of the season vs. Miami, FB caught a 20-yard from Flacco on second-and-9 in the second quarter. ... Played in Jets' third-largest percentage of ST plays (67%) over the last nine games.
Tevin Coleman — Averaged 4.2 yards/carry. ... Had an off receiving year but is still averaging 9.95 yards/catch out of the backfield in first seven pro seasons. ... Pitched in with first KO returns of his career, averaging 28.8 yards on 11 returns.
Braxton Berrios — Emerged to lead NFL with 30.4 yards/return on kickoffs and was second with 13.4 yards/return on punts (minimum 15 returns). ... One of only four Jets all-time with at least one TD rushing, one receiving and one returning kicks in same season.
Keelan Cole — Had most starts (11) and played most offensive snaps (557) among Jets wideouts. ... Had seven catches of 20-plus yards, including 40-yard TD catch-and-run in season finale at Buffalo. ... Also drew team-high 92 yards on four penalties against opposing DBs.
Jamison Crowder — Steady vet secured 51 catches to lead Jets. ... In fact, he led Jets in receptions in each of his three seasons and his 188 total receptions are most by a Jet in three consecutive seasons since Jerricho Cotchery's 210 in 2007-09.
Tyler Kroft — Injuries, COVID limited him to 9 games. ... Snared go-ahead 13-yard TD pass from White with 3:45 to play in win over Cincy. ... Also had three other receptions of 20-yards plus out of 16 catches on the season.
Take a look at the Jets players slated to become unrestricted or restricted free agents when the NFL's free agency period begins on March 16.
G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif — Arrived in trade from KC for Game 9 vs. Bills. ... Over last eight weeks of season, with LDT at RG for most of the snaps, Jets were second in NFL with 5.19 yards/carry.
OL Dan Feeney — After tying for league lead with 1,173 offensive snaps in '20, showed his team approach as an interior line backup for Jets. ... Started last three games and played all 165 snaps, splitting time at LG and C.
T Conor McDermott — Came off IR for Game 10 and started career-high three games, two at LT, one at TE. ... As tight end, he snagged Zach Wilson's 1-yard TD pass on fourth-and-goal with 9:16 to play to help secure win over Jaguars.
T Morgan Moses — Stepped in at RT midway through Game 1 when LT Mekhi Becton was injured and almost never came out. ... Continued ironman streak from Washington days and has now played in all 113 RS games over past seven seasons, with 112 starts.
Folorunso Fatukasi — Was a fired-up contributor to the defense with starts in first 13 games, 15 in all, and 558 defensive snaps. ... Top D-lineman and third on team with 10.5 tackles for loss/no gain. ... Posted career-high 46 tackles.
Nathan Shepherd — Fourth-year DL was a reliable cog in Jets' DL rotation, playing career-high 495 defensive snaps over all 17 games. ... Found himself around opposing signalcallers late in the year with five QB hits over final six games.
Kyle Phillips (RFA) — Bad ankle injury from 2020 kept him out of '21 until Game 10 vs. Miami. ... Contributed to DL rotation in seven of last eight games. ... Got his first sack since 2019 when he took down Saints' 'Taysom Hill in Game 13.
Jarrad Davis — UFA from Detroit fought injury early, COVID late. ... Still got in 208 defensive snaps and five starts during nine-game midseason stretch. ... Finished action for the year with season-high eight tackles in win over Jaguars.
Marcus Maye — Key Jet returned for his fifth season coming off strong 2020 that earned him Curtis Martin Team MVP award. ... Was franchise-tagged in March. ... In Game 8 at Indy, suffered season-ending Achilles injury. ... Notched 46 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack, two PDs in six games.
Lamarcus Joyner — Eighth-year pro was set to celebrate return from CB to S as first-year Jet. ... Joyner/Maye starting duo lasted nine snaps in Carolina opener before Lamarcus suffered torn elbow tendon and was gone for the year.
Will Parks — Another S pressed into immediate service due to injuries at position. ... Got start, played 63 defensive snaps and contributed four tackles and PD in Game 15 win over Jaguars.
K Eddy Piñeiro (RFA) — Jets third K of the season who could be in the battle for 2022 opening-day starting K. ... Eddy P converted all eight of his field goals in the last five games to become only the second K in franchise history to start his Jets career 8-for-8 on FG tries.