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Free-Agent Setup: No New York Jets players warrant franchise tag

By The Sports Xchange
Free-Agent Setup: No New York Jets players warrant franchise tag
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) catches a four-yard Drew Brees pass in front of New York Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne (21) for a touchdown on December 17, 2017 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI | License Photo

The New York Jets are unlikely to use the franchise tag because none of their 15 soon-to-be unrestricted free agents is a high enough caliber player to warrant that type of money, even for just one season.

Linebacker Demario Davis is the best of the bunch and coming off a career year (135 tackles and five sacks), so the Jets will likely try to re-sign the 29-year-old to a short-term deal.

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The same can be said about 28-year-old cornerback Morris Claiborne, the best cover man currently on the roster, and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, though the 25-year-old reportedly turned down a two-year, $8 million offer from the Jets and will test the free-agent market.

Quarterback Josh McCown could be re-signed if the Jets miss out on a top free agent like Kirk Cousins. McCown, who will be 39 at the start of next season and coming off surgery to repair a broken left hand, could provide a bridge to the quarterback of the future on another one-year deal, if the Jets take a quarterback with the sixth pick in the draft.

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Other UFAs who could return for the right price include kicker Chandler Catanzaro, backup defensive tackle Mike Pennel and backup offensive lineman Jonotthan Harrison.

Unit-by-unit depth chart as of Super Bowl LII. Injured players listed as starters if that was their status when injured.

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*Asterisk indicates player ended 2017 season on injured reserve.

QUARTERBACKS (B): Starter -- *Josh McCown (UFA). Backups -- Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg.

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RUNNING BACKS (B): Starter -- Bilal Powell. Backups -- *Matt Forte, Elijah McGuire, FB Lawrence Thomas, Jahad Thomas, *Akeem Judd.

TIGHT ENDS (C): Starter -- Austin Seferian-Jenkins (UFA). Backups -- Neal Sterling, Eric Tomlinson, *Jordan Leggett, *Chris Gragg (UFA).

WIDE RECEIVERS (B): Starters -- Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, Chad Hansen. Backups -- ArDarius Stewart, JoJo Natson, Lucky Whitehead, *Quincy Enunwa, *Brisly Estime, *Charone Peake, *Devin Smith.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (C): Starters -- LT Kelvin Beachum, LG James Carpenter, C Wesley Johnson (UFA), RG *Brian Winters, RT Brandon Shell. Backups -- G Dakota Dozier (UFA), OL Brent Qvale, C Jonotthan Harrison (UFA), T Ben Ijalana.

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DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (C): Starters -- DE Leonard Williams, NT Steve McLendon, DE Muhammad Wilkerson. Backups -- DE Xavier Cooper, DE Kony Ealy (UFA), DE Deon Simon, DE *Ed Stinson, NT Mike Pennel (UFA).

LINEBACKERS (C): Starters -- OLB Josh Martin, ILB Darron Lee, ILB Demario Davis (UFA), OLB Jordan Jenkins. Backups -- OLB Freddie Bishop, OLB David Bass (UFA), OLB Obum Gwacham, OLB *Dylan Donahue, OLB *Lorenzo Mauldin, ILB Julian Stanford (UFA), ILB Bruce Carter (UFA).

DEFENSIVE BACKS (C): Starters -- CB Morris Claiborne (UFA), FS Marcus Maye, SS Jamal Adams, CB Buster Skrine. Backups -- CB Darryl Roberts, CB Juston Burris, CB Derrick Jones, CB Rashard Robinson, CB Jeremy Clark, CB *Xavier Coleman, CB *Bryson Keeton, FS Rontez Miles, SS Terrence Brooks (UFA), S *Doug Middleton.

SPECIAL TEAMS (B): K Chandler Catanzaro (UFA), P Lachlan Edwards, KOR/PR JoJo Natson, LS Thomas Hennessy.

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