With plenty of cap space available, there’s one question that comes to mind when it comes to 2019 NFL Free Agency and the New York Jets: Do free agents want to play in New York?
Las Vegas is the land of gambling, and you can bet on anything. They even have odds on where top free agent Le’Veon Bell will land. The New York Jets top the list. According to Odds Shark, the most recent odds are +300 that the Jets land Bell.
For Jets fans, that would be a nice late Christmas present to land Bell. Having a player like him in the fold will help the growth of Sam Darnold immensely. Before jumping all over that bet, or assuming that it’s basically a shoe-in to land the star running back, let’s ask one question. How desirable are the Jets to free agents?
For Bell, it appears to be not just about money. Otherwise, he probably would’ve signed with the Steelers for his paycheck on the franchise tag this season. Let’s take a look at recent free agent history.
We don’t have to look that far in the past either. According to Will Brinson of CBS Sports, Kirk Cousins had an offer from the Jets that looks like no one could turn down.
Cousins has a $90 million, fully-guaranteed offer in hand from New York, just four hours into the process. He doesn’t even necessarily want more either, and makes it clear that the $90 million might be bait for the Vikings, who he clearly sees as a better option for him than New York.
Cousins used the Jets as leverage to get what he wanted from the Minnesota Vikings. While the Cousins situation may be different than many situations in 2019, and it’s impossible to get in the heads of all the free agents, that may be a bad sign. Having the cap space to spend is meaningless if: 1. no one wants to play for the team, and/or 2. if players are just going to use that to leverage other teams to get what they want.
In the end, it’s going to come down to one thing. Do players want to play for the Jets or not? That’s the only thing that matter for the rebuild to go in the right direction. If not, nothing else matters.