A breakdown of the first week of free agency for the New York Jets:
Most significant signing: After two years of big-name hunting (Darrelle Revis, Matt Forte, et al), general manager Mike Maccagnan downshifted. His biggest prize is left tackle Kelvin Beachum, hardly worthy of a back page in the New York tabloids. Beachum, coming off a disappointing year with the Jacksonville Jaguars, will replace the injured and departed Ryan Clady. Did they upgrade the position? Yes, slightly. The Jets are hoping Beachum can revert to the player he was before blowing out his ACL in October 2015. He's only 27, so there's still time to make it happen. His contract includes a $12 million guarantee, which essentially means a two-year commitment.
Most significant loss: The good thing about having a talent-deficient roster is you can't get fleeced in free agency. The Jets had only one must-keep free agent -- guard Brian Winters -- and they wrapped up his contract (four years, $29 million) in January. The decision to release Revis, Nick Mangold and Brandon Marshall will hurt the team in the short term, but the moves had to be made. The Jets are trying to get younger, building with an eye beyond 2017. Revis, Mangold and Marshall -- all over 30 -- could be one-and-done and were eating up $32 million in cap space. It was time to say goodbye to three once-great players.
Player they should have signed: One of the top cornerbacks, A.J. Bouye or Stephon Gilmore, would have boosted their woeful secondary, but the Jets didn't value them as much as other teams. Generally speaking, they believe it's a weak free-agent market. While that might be true, there's one player who would've helped: Brian Hoyer, who would have been the ideal bridge quarterback. The Jets actually offered more money than the San Francisco 49ers, but it wasn't enough to keep him from reuniting with Kyle Shanahan, one of his previous coordinators. That leads us into our next issue ...
What’s next: They still don't have a starting quarterback, which is kind of an important thing. The Jets have been linked with almost every available quarterback, most notably Jay Cutler. They're looking for a one-year rental who can bridge the gap to Christian Hackenberg or Bryce Petty. Did someone say Sam Darnold in 2018? The sentiment among some fans is they want the Jets to tank so they can draft the USC star. Quarterbacks aside, they're showing strong interest in linebacker Dont'a Hightower, arguably the top player still on the free-agent board. He'd be an upgrade over the aging David Harris, but you have to wonder if the price tag (at least $10 million per year) is worth it.
Overall grade: C-plus. Team officials refuse to say they're rebuilding, but that's exactly what's going on -- and that's OK. The Jets need to replenish their roster through the draft, so it's wise not to compromise their future by overspending in free agency. That said, their two signings -- Beachum and kicker Chandler Catanzaro -- are questionable because both players are coming off down years. They still have needs at cornerback, tight end and safety.