As Jets host Mike Williams, Jadeveon Clowney for visits, what else awaits in free agency?

For a moment, it seemed like the New York Jets weren’t going to make a significant free agency splash. It didn’t feel like they were getting in the pool at all.

Then, general manager Joe Douglas did a cannonball on Friday night, when the Jets and Tyron Smith agreed to a reported one-year deal worth up to $20 million, with $6.5 million guaranteed. Smith is not only the best offensive lineman in this free agency class, but probably the best one to actually hit free agency in a long time. Typically, offensive linemen of Smith’s caliber never reach the open market. And while there is an obvious reason why Smith was available — a significant injury history — it was a risk worth taking for a Jets team desperate to fix its offensive line and make it at least a competent group in 2024.

And while more moves may come on the offensive line, the Jets are now locked into a starting five that, on paper, looks significantly better than it did in 2023. From left to right: Smith, John Simpson, Joe Tippmann, Alijah Vera-Tucker and Morgan Moses.

Smith will be the crown jewel of the Jets’ offseason regardless of what happens next. There is still plenty of work to be done, but it’s inarguable that the Jets offense is better today than it was before the offseason began.

Now that the first wave of free agency has passed — and with the Jets set to host a couple of notable free agents this week — let’s set the table for their offseason: What they have done, where they stand and what is still coming.



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Cap space

As of Sunday, Over the Cap had the Jets with $20.9 million in cap space, though that was without yet factoring in contracts for Smith, Simpson, Thomas Morstead, Solomon Thomas or Leki Fotu.

Some notable contract updates, though:

• Tyrod Taylor’s contract was reported as worth “up to” $18 million. That made it sound more expensive than the reality. It’s effectively a two-year, $12 million deal, with $8.5 million guaranteed. Taylor can get “up to” $18 million based on some unknown incentives likely tied to playing time in the event he has to step in for Aaron Rodgers. His cap hit in 2024 is $2.8 million and $6.8 million in 2025, with a dead-money charge of $2.4 million in 2026. The Jets will have the oldest QB room in the NFL between Rodgers (who turn 41 in December) and Taylor (who turns 35 in August).

• C.J. Mosley signed an extension, effectively chopping the money he was owed in half in exchange for more guarantees and an added year. He would have incurred a $21.5 million cap hit, but that drops to $7.24 million with his new two-year, $17.25 million deal ($13.25 million guaranteed). He also carries a $7.65 million dead-cap charge in 2026.

• Cornerback Isaiah Oliver signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal, with $2.16 million guaranteed. That effectively locks him into a roster spot in 2024. He’ll add depth at cornerback and safety.

• Some other notable deals: safety Chuck Clark (one year, $1.83 million, $705,000 guaranteed), tight end Kenny Yeboah (one year, $1.425 million, $225,000 guaranteed) and guard Jake Hanson (one year, $1.1 million, $45,000 guaranteed). Clark is the only roster lock in this group.

In-house free agency notes

Safety Ashtyn Davis: Jets coaches are operating under the assumption the 27-year-old won’t return as he tries to find an opportunity to start elsewhere. If that market doesn’t materialize, the Jets would welcome him back.

Special-teamer Justin Hardee: He’s a crucial piece of the special teams unit but is exploring his market. It would be tough to lose both Davis and Hardee on special teams.

Offensive tackle Mekhi Becton: He’s visiting the Bengals and won’t be returning to the Jets.

Cornerback Bryce Hall and safety Jordan Whitehead: Signed with the Buccaneers.

Defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson: Signed with the Browns. The Jets had a chance to bring him back but didn’t match Cleveland’s offer of one year, $3.6 million.

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A Jets-Jadeveon Clowney marriage makes sense, if the price is right. (Tommy Gilligan / USA Today)

Notable visits

The Jets are hosting two of the most notable free agents still available in Florham Park this week: Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams and Ravens edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney. The Panthers hosted Clowney already and will host Williams this week, too.

Williams will visit the Jets on Monday.

Both are highly intriguing targets for different reasons — at the right price. As with Smith, there is some high-risk, high-reward potential for Williams. When healthy, the 29-year-old is one of the NFL’s best down-the-field weapons and had started to develop into a more complete receiver before suffering a torn ACL early last season. He’s the perfect complement for Garrett Wilson — The Athletic’s Daniel Popper wrote that Williams was “once almost purely a go-ball and down-the-field threat” but that he’d started “impacting the game over the middle of the field more often on slants and digs and crossers.”

I asked Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger, who has accurately predicted many contracts this offseason, how much Williams might garner as a free agent. His guess: One year, $8 million, with incentives for more. That feels like a contract the Jets would be open to.

As for Clowney: A marriage with the Jets makes a lot of sense if Clowney isn’t asking for too much money coming off one of the best seasons of his career. The Jets need to replace Bryce Huff’s production and it’s asking a lot of Will McDonald to take over after barely playing as a rookie. Clowney played on a one-year, $2.5 million deal in Baltimore last year and rewarded the Ravens with 9 1/2 sacks, 19 QB hits and two forced fumbles along with his highest pressure rate, highest pass-rush win rate and most total pressures (71). He’s considered useful against the run too. PFF projects a one-year, $9 million deal.



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Remaining needs

Wide receiver: I expect the Jets to sign at least one veteran wide receiver before the NFL Draft. Williams and Odell Beckham Jr. seem like the most likely higher-end targets. Tyler Boyd is still a possibility. Less-exciting options: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Josh Reynolds and Michael Thomas, who are all still available. It feels more likely now (post-Smith) that the Jets draft a wide receiver or tight end at No. 10, though an offensive tackle shouldn’t be ruled out.

Offensive line depth: The Jets can’t go into the season with Carter Warren as the best backup option behind Smith. Some intriguing veteran tackles are available who shouldn’t be too pricey, like Josh Jones, Donovan Smith, Yosh Nijman, Cam Fleming or maybe even David Bakhtiari. They can also address the need in the draft.

Backup running back: This isn’t considered a strong running back draft class. Some useful veterans still available include Alexander Mattison, J.K. Dobbins, D’Onta Foreman, Rashaad Penny and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Safety: Clark and Tony Adams can be a serviceable pairing but the Jets could stand to add another safety, even if that just means re-signing Davis.

Edge rusher: Clowney is the most intriguing potential target. Some lower-cost options include Derek Barnett, Kyle Van Noy and Bud Dupree.

(Top photo of Mike Williams: Trevor Ruszkowski / USA Today)

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