Joe Douglas’s approach to free agency is all part of the plan

by | Mar 19, 2020 | General | 0 comments

When the legal tampering period for NFL free agency started, many expected the New York Jets to be big spenders in free agency with new general manager Joe Douglas in his first free agency period. There was also the factor of Sam Darnold entering year 3 and the fact the team needed to improve the offensive line, the wide receiver core and other positions to compete in 2020. For Douglas, that wasn’t the approach he took.

Jets fans watched as guys like Jack Conklin, Amari Cooper, Kyle Van Noy, and Graham Glasgow, all players the Jets were linked to, go elsewhere. The Buffalo Bills signed Mario Addison and even acquired Minnesota Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs, and the Miami Dolphins have been the biggest spenders in the first wave of free agency signing Erik Flowers, Shaq Lawson, Bryon Jones, Jordan Howard, and Emmanuel Ogbah. The New England Patriots lost quarterback Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With that departure, the AFC East is more open than it’s been since 2001, but the signings by the Bills and Dolphins, along with Brady leaving, will never stop Douglas’s philosophy when it comes to free agency because he learned from the best.

In Baltimore, Douglas learned from Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, and Newsome wasn’t the biggest spender in free agency either. Every offseason, Newsome bided his time and wait for the market to come to him. Newsome followed the motto “right player, right price” and he stayed patient throughout the course of free agency. Newsome made his key moves for sure, signing Steve Smith, Vontae Leach, Ricky Williams, Willis McGahee, Derrick Mason, Daryl Smith, Elvis Dumervil, Tony Siragusa, Jacoby Jones, Bryant McKinney, Corey Redding, Sam Adams, trading for Anquan Boldin and more. They were wise, timely moves that helped the Ravens in their success, but not going crazy with big money. Newsome made his name through the draft and Douglas had a hand in drafting some of these players during his time in Baltimore from 2000-2014. Players such as Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Jamal Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Marshal Yanda, Joe Flacco, Haloti Ngata, Peter Boulware, Chris McCallister, Brandon Williams, C.J. Mosley, Todd Heap, Dennis Pitta, and to the present day with Mark Andrews, Orlando Brown, Ronnie Stanley, and Lamer Jackson.

Douglas knows he’s got to build the Jets roster through the draft, and the team already spent big in free agency last year under former general manager Mike Maccagnan signing Mosley, Le’Veon Bell, and Jamison Crowder. Despite that, Douglas was always going to stay patient and let the market come to him, and so far, he’s done just that. He’s brought back offensive guard Alex Lewis and signed offensive tackle George Fant and center Connor McGovern. Douglas has made it a point many times that the biggest goal this season was to improve the offensive line for quarterback, Sam Darnold. However, he was not going to rush to the table with big money, he was going to spend wisely, because that’s what he was taught.

Everyone knows teams don’t win championships in the offseason, and a lot of times the biggest spenders don’t end up with the best results. The Jets should know from last year after starting 1-7 before finishing 6-2 to go 7-9 after being big spenders. Many Jets fans may not like the approach from Douglas, especially with the AFC East being as wide open as it is with Brady now leaving the Patriots, but this is what Douglas learned for 15 years under Newsome, and he contributed a lot to their success in those 15 years when they won two Super Bowls. Douglas also contributed to the Philadelphia Eagles first Super Bowl in 2017 as vice president of player personnel. The motto for Newsome was “right player, right price”, and if Douglas follows that motto to the letter, the Jets will be a successful organization in the years to come.

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