The 2020 Jets hope to kick off the new decade by snapping a nine-year playoff drought.
There was plenty of roster turnover this offseason, but the question remains: Does new necessarily mean better?
Tom Brady’s departure ostensibly gives hope to the rest of the AFC East, but will the Jets be the team to finally knock the Patriots off their perch as division rulers?
I’ll be revealing my Top 20 players on the roster every weekday for the next four weeks in the run-up to training camp.
This list is made up of the players who I believe will make the most impact for Adam Gase’s team this season. The ranking isn’t simply based on a player’s resume. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
So, we’re peering into our crystal ball and taking some leaps of faith. There’s some quality young talent on Gang Green’s roster. Some of those guys are poised to take their games to the next level.
Get ready for some surprises.
2019 ranking: 12
Age at the start of the season: 27
2020 salary cap charge: $2.09 million
Contract status: Final year of four-year, $6.55 million rookie deal
2019 Season in Review: Maye had a solid bounce-back season after an injury-plagued 2018 that held him to six games before he landed on Injured Reserve. The ball-hawking safety played deep centerfield in Gregg Williams’ scheme.
Maye finished with 65 combined tackles and a career-high seven passes defensed. The former second-round pick had a pair of late-game pass break-ups against the Cowboys and Steelers to help secure wins.
He allowed a reception once every 71.6 snaps in coverage, according to jetsxfactor.com. Only five of 67 qualifying safeties had a stingier rate.
2020 Outlook: Gang Green’s decision to use a third-round pick on Cal safety Ashytn Davis prompted questions about Maye’s long-term future with the club. The Daily News reported in May that the Jets had engaged in trade discussions involving Maye for the better part of a year, including in the run-up to the draft.
General manager Joe Douglas fielded inquiries and engaged in talks, but chose to keep Maye. (Gase wanted to trade Maye after he was hired last year before being convinced to keep the player, according to sources).
Davis’ arrival will likely signal the end of Maye’s tenure with the Jets. Whether Maye is dealt at the trade deadline or walks in free agency is TBD, but it’s hard to imagine the safety sticking around beyond 2020 unless he signs a team-friendly extension.
Douglas has made it clear that he wants to give All-Pro Jamal Adams an extension. Whether Adams gets a new deal this offseason or next, it wouldn’t make much sense to dole out big-money deals to two safeties. The Jets insist publicly and privately that they won’t trade Adams. (Trading Adams could impact Maye’s future).
So, if Adams stays, Maye likely goes unless he’s willing to take 50 cents on the dollar in a new contract.
Would it make more sense for Douglas to trade Maye at the deadline if the Jets were out of playoff contention to get 2021 draft-pick compensation? Would a team even be willing to dole out draft capital knowing that Maye is an unrestricted free agent after the season? How is Davis transitioning to the next level?
If Maye signs elsewhere next offseason, the Jets would likely receive a 2022 compensatory pick. That appears to be the most likely outcome.
In the meantime, Maye will be plenty motivated to play well this season before looking hitting the open market.
Next on the Countdown: A underrated player who keeps improving.
No. 20: P Braden Mann
No. 19: DL Foley Fatukasi
No. 18: WR Denzel Mims
No. 17: DL Kyle Phillips
No. 16: DL Steve McLendon
No. 15: DL Henry Anderson
No. 14: CB Pierre Desir
No. 13: CB Brian Poole
No. 12: WR Breshad Perriman
No. 11: C Connor McGovern