It’s report card time, grading the New York Jets signings in 2017 free agency so far.
The New York Jets have been shopping in the bargain basement as far as 2017 NFL free agency is concerned and that’s a very smart thing to do. They must rebuild their roster with youth and upside via the NFL Draft while sprinkling in some smart free agent signings along the way.
Just how smart have the Jets been so far? Let’s take a look at New York’s free agency report card to date:
Josh McCown, QB: The veteran signal-caller is going to be 38 years old once training camp begins. So what does a rebuilding team need with an old codger at quarterback? The main reason should be to mentor young quarterbacks Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg but head coach Todd Bowles said that McCown will get an opportunity to win the starting job. He is signed to just a one-year, $6 million contract (plus incentives) so there is no long-term commitment. He’d be best served to mentor Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who I feel the Jets should draft later this month in the NFL Draft. Grade: C-.
Kelvin Beachum, LT: The Jets cut Ryan Clady and Breno Giacomini during the off-season so this was an obvious “need” acquisition. At one time the five-year veteran was one of the better left tackles in the league but the 27-year-old Beachum was hampered by a sore knee last year with Jacksonville but still played in 15 games. It appears he is still dealing with the effects of a torn ACL suffered in 2015 with Pittsburgh. Gang Green inked the SMU product to a three-year, $24 million pact ($12 million guaranteed) so they better be right about him. Grade: C.
Morris Claiborne, CB: Staying healthy has been a major issue for the former number six overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Now entering his sixth season, Claiborne has already missed 33 contests due to various injuries. The positive news is that he was playing very well for the Dallas Cowboys last year before suffering a season-ending groin injury in week seven. The LSU product has recorded four interceptions, 26 passes defended, four fumble recoveries and a forced fumble in 47 career games. His deal is for one-year, $5 million so that’s a fine bargain for someone of Claiborne’s talent. The Jets are just keeping their fingers crossed that he can stay healthy in 2017. Grade: B-.
Chandler Catanzaro, K: New York would have been better served keeping Nick Folk. Catanzaro suffered through a rough 2016 season, missing four PATs and connecting on just 75 percent of his field goal attempts. A puzzling move. Grade: D+.
Quinton Patton, WR: Patton had a career-high 37 receptions for 408 yards for San Francisco last year and is known for having good hands with limited speed. He adds depth to Gang Green’s wide receiver corps and he’ll be fighting for the No. 3 wide receiver role under new offensive coordinator John Morton, his former receivers coach with the 49ers. Grade: C.
Mike Pennel, NT: A former undrafted free agent, Pennel joins New York from Green Bay to add depth along the defensive line. He played three seasons with the Pack, but missed eight games last year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. There is a good chance Pennel won’t even be on the opening day roster in September. Grade: D-
Jonotthan Harrison, C: The 6-4, 300-pounder was signed to back up starting center Wesley Johnson. The former Indianapolis Colt has started 23 games in his three-year career including time at left guard, left tackle, right guard and right tackle. Harrison is very versatile, but don’t forget that the Colts had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL in 2016. Grade: C-.