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Jets Look to Add More Talent as NFL's Negotiating Window Opens

GM Joe Douglas: 'We Know Exactly What We Have to Do'

New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas speaks during a press conference at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday, Feb. 28 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Kevin Sabitus/NFL)

At noon on Monday, the NFL's negotiating window will open as the Jets and league's 31 other clubs will be permitted to enter contract negotiations with agents of players who are about to become unrestricted free agents. Then 52 hours later, on Wednesday at 4 p.m., the 2024 league year and free agency will begin.

Equipped with a roster that has both multiple cornerstone pieces and clear needs, Jets GM Joe Douglas is ready to attack a critical offseason and the first step is free agency.

"I like the position were in," Douglas said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "There's a lot of talent coming back to this team – we have to add more to it. We know exactly what we have to do moving forward."

With 21 unrestricted free agents, the Jets will likely be addressing several positions including backup QB, wide receiver, defensive tackle and safety. But after starting 13 different offensive line combinations in a 7-10 season that saw Aaron Rodgers go down with a torn Achilles tendon after 4 snaps, the offensive line will be emphasized.

"I feel like there's some guys that could come in and be the right type of fit for us," Douglas said with free agency and the draft on the horizon in late April. "In terms of intelligence, toughness, reliability, there's some good candidates out there that can come in and help us."

Multiple players who would have been coveted by teams on the open market have already been scratched off the board as WR Mike Evans (Tampa Bay), G Kevin Dotson (LA Rams) and G Ezra Cleveland (Jacksonville) re-signed , while WR Tee Higgins (Cincinnati) received the franchise tag. According to, the Jets are approximately $27.5 million under the salary cap. There are multiple tiers in free agency and Douglas has been rewarded for patience in the past.

"What he has done well with, is that second wave," said New York Post beat writer Brian Costello of Douglas. "For example, D.J. Reed. That is his best signing by far in my opinion, and that came after signing Tyler Conklin, which I thought was a really great signing. So, to me, I could see him looking at the guard market and watching how things happen Day 1 and then pouncing on the guard market."

The Jets' UFA likely in most demand will be Bryce Huff. An undrafted free agent out of Memphis in 2020, Huff's career-high 10 sacks led the Green & White in 2023. Douglas, who elected not to use the franchise tag on the explosive edge, would like Huff to return, but said the pass rusher deserves the opportunity to see where he is in the open market.

There are additional decisions to be made defensively, specifically at defensive tackle and safety where Quinton Jefferson, Solomon Thomas, Al Woods; and Jordan Whitehead, Ashtyn Davis and Chuck Clark all have expiring contracts.

"The Jets believe the secondary is predicated on the corners being high-end talents, the pass rush will get home and the speed at linebacker being unbelievable," said NBC Sports' Connor Rodgers. "All that stuff helps out the safeties big time on the back end. I would bring back Chuck Clark because I thought he was going to be a great piece when he got here, and Tony Adams is a starter. You want three starter-caliber safeties."

But everything starts up front for the Jets this offseason. With Rodgers recently reiterating that he'd like to play multiple years, the Jets need to protect the four-time NFL MVP as he looks to return to form.

"There is no doubt that they need to go out there and get some type of fortification of the offensive line," said PFF's Trevor Sikkema. "It can't just all be in the draft. You have to get guys that won't just be reserve guys, they will be starters and contribute. The needs, to me, stay the same. Can you get offensive linemen and is there wide receiver that makes sense and can fill a need? Maybe getting some of the more subtle playmakers like a Darnell Mooney [Chicago] or Josh Reynolds [Detroit]."

The Jets are in win-now mode and want to take advantage of Rodgers' window. But they will have to balance short- and long-term planning because some of their young studs aren't far away from second contracts.

"Money-wise, the Jets are fine," said ESPN's Field Yates. "Aaron Rodgers restructuring his contract last season helped them in a significant way and they have got some resources to work with in terms of manipulating some current contracts on the books. The big thing for the Jets is that we are one year away from Sauce [Gardner] and Garrett [Wilson] both becoming extension eligible. It is easy for us and fans on the outside to have all these dream scenario free agents, but it is all a puzzle."

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