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.
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.
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.
*Asterisk indicates player ended 2017 season on injured reserve.
QUARTERBACKS (B): Starter -- *Josh McCown (UFA). Backups -- Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg.
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.
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.