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Jets GM Joe Douglas: 'We Have Great Flexibility to Go Any Direction' in the NFL Draft 

Adds That He Expects Aaron Rodgers to Be Back for a Portion of OTAs

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)

After corralling three new starting offensive linemen over the past month -- Tyron Smith, John Simpson and Morgan Moses -- Jets' general manager Joe Douglas said during his Monday press conference that he's not done yet.

"I don't feel good about any room," he said. "I want to improve every room any time I can do it."

Douglas complimented team captain C.J. Mosley for his willingness to restructure his contract, which provided additional space under the salary cap to help the Jets to sign Smith and Simpson in free agency, in addition to wide receiver Mike Williams, cornerback Isaiah Oliver, backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, defensive linemen Leki Fotu and Javon Kinlaw in addition to re-signing a handful of the Jets' own free agents.

"C.J.'s the captain, he's a selfless leader and when he speaks or has actions – it means a lot," Douglas said. "To do what he did for the team, it just shows what a special person and player he is. A lot of what we were able to do this offseason is because of C.J."

Smith (33 years old) and Moses (also 33) are veteran players who have each dealt with injuries during their careers, while Williams is rehabbing from an ACL injury that cost him much of last season. Likewise, safety Chuck Clark, who the Jets acquired in a trade last year, is coming back from a season-ending knee injury sustained in OTAs.

"There were a lot of discussions with medical staff, coaches, pro scouts to weigh all that in," Douglas said. "When making decisions like that, the contracts are structured in a way that if the player is on the field and performing, he's going to be well compensated. Contracts are structured in a way that is beneficial for the player if he performs at a high level."

Douglas said that the club's quick and comprehensive moves in free agency have given the Green & White tantalizing flexibility, especially when it comes to the 2024 NFL Draft late next month in Detroit. At present, the Jets have the No. 10 overall selection.

"I think this is an unbelievable O-line class and at quite a few positions," Douglas said. "We now have great flexibility to go in any direction that is best for us. It opens the door to a lot of possibilities at No. 10."

He added: "We're still early in our process, there's still the pro days going on. We'll get with the coaches early in April to hammer out the draft board. I'm open to anyone who can make an impact."

Though some mock drafts have the Jets adding a tight end, Douglas said he feels good about the current room, which includes Tyler Conklin, Jeremy Ruckert, the recently re-signed Kenny Yeboah and second-year man Zack Kuntz, who Douglas called "a physical phenom, he's 6-7 and runs like a gazelle. I feel we have four in the room who are legit tight ends."

While Douglas talked about the influx on the O-line, head coach Robert Saleh said that holdovers, like second-year man Carter Warren and Max Mitchell, would provide valuable depth.

"Carter missed all of the OTAs and camp with an injury but earned valuable time especially for a rookie who steps right in," Saleh said. "I thought he did an admirable job, not perfect. If he stays healthy, gets stronger and gets a jump [on the season], I see a lot of promise. There's hope that with a strong offseason he can do something."

While QB Aaron Rodgers remains in California as he continues his work rehabbing after he tore his Achilles tendon in the season opener, Douglas said he expects the four-time NFL MVP to be with the team for at least a part of OTAs.

"I expect Aaron to be back for a portion of OTAs," he said. "I haven't had a conversation with him, but I know Aaron's excited to be back among the guys."

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