Ranking Jets’ top 10 additions in 2023 NFL offseason, including Aaron Rodgers trade

As far as the New York Jets are concerned, the 2023 NFL offseason will forever be remembered for the Aaron Rodgers trade. It’s likely the biggest acquisition in franchise history, one that’s catapulted the Jets into the Super Bowl conversation this season.

But trading for Rodgers was not their only noteworthy move. The Jets surrounded Rodgers with more offensive talent and made other savvy additions, fortifying what was already a talented up-and-coming roster.

Let’s examine and rank the Jets’ top additions in the 2023 NFL offseason.

10. Chuck Clark acquired from Baltimore Ravens

Safety was the weakest link on a talented Jets defense in 2022. So, the Jets traded for Clark, the well-respected veteran who’s in the last season of his contract. Clark provides a major upgrade over Lamarcus Joyner in the run game and tackling. Pro Football Focus gave Clark a 76.9 grade against the run and 87.3 tackling grade last season, far superior to Joyner (62.1 and 54.2 respectively). Joyner missed 14.5 percent of attempted tackles, more than double Clark’s rate. Clark, who had an NFL career-high 101 tackles in 2022, did not have an interception last season but held receivers to 8.8 yards per catch and allowed only two touchdowns.

9. Jets select Will McDonald IV in first round of NFL Draft

McDonald is an edge rusher who joins a loaded position group on the Jets roster. His addition adds competition and further depth behind starters Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers. McDonald will join 2022 draft picks Jermaine Johnson and Micheal Clemons and pass rushing specialist Bryce Huff to make New York six deep at defensive end. Though his impact will be greater in 2024 when Lawson and Huff hit free agency, McDonald might be the best finisher on the team, so the 2023 first-round pick will get his reps this season.

https://t.co/xmWc9x0p18 pic.twitter.com/P78Deo1vGK

— New York Jets (@nyjets) May 6, 2023

8. Billy Turner signed as free agent

Injuries decimated the Jets offensive line last season, so they made it a priority to add as much quality depth as possible this offseason. Turner is a 10-year veteran, who will compete to start at right tackle. In a perfect world, Mekhi Becton will be healthy and form bookends at tackle with Duane Brown. That would leave Turner as a solid backup option. The 31-year-old is a nice fit considering he played for Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett in Green Bay and Denver.

7. Israel Abanikanda selected in fifth round of NFL Draft

Though the Jets selected Abanikanda in the fifth round, He could play a big role right away. The running back will get a long look in camp since Breece Hall is coming back from knee surgery and Michael Carter is trying to bounce back from a disappointing season. Abanikanda is similar to Hall in that he’s a home run threat, an explosive back who rushed for more than 1,400 yards and scored 20 touchdowns at Pitt last season. He’s also in the mix to help replace Braxton Berrios in the return game.

6. Quinton Jefferson, Al Woods signed as free agents

These two veteran defensive tackles get paired because together they will replace Sheldon Rankins and Nathan Shephard, who departed in free agency. Jefferson and Woods complement each other well and should fit in nicely next to Quinnen Williams. Jefferson is an excellent pass rusher and Woods excels against the run. That makes each a nice fit in the Jets scheme where there’s a heavy rotation among linemen during games.

5. Jets sign Thomas Morstead as free agent

Signing Morstead was an underrated move by the Jets. The veteran punter will replace Braden Mann, who was inconsistent and did not live up to high expectations in three seasons with New York. Morstead has averaged 46.5 yards per punt in 14 NFL seasons and helped the New Orleans Saints win Super Bowl XLIV in 2010. Last season with the Miami Dolphins, the 37-year-old dropped 45.9 percent of his punts inside the 20 and had only two touchbacks (3.3 percent), far better numbers than Mann.

4. Joe Tippmann selected in second round of NFL Draft

Jets general manager Joe Douglas is in love with Tippmann’s mullet, but he’s also taken with the massive (6-foot-6, 311 pounds) center’s power, athleticism and smarts. So talented and advanced is the 22-year-old that he’s a good bet to unseat veteran Connor McGovern and start right away. This was a major position of need for the Jets and they found a long-term answer in Tippmann, who could join Nick Mangold, Kevin Mawae, Joe Fields and John Schmidt on the short list of great centers in franchise history.

hey @JoeTippmann! pic.twitter.com/5yUScMo9Jk

— New York Jets (@nyjets) May 4, 2023

3. Mecole Hardman signed as free agent

Hackett must be thrilled the Jets signed Hardman. The offensive coordinator is going to have lots of fun dialing up plays and formations to get the ball in the speedster’s hands. Bubble screens, jet sweeps and deep routes were Hardman’s bread and butter with the Kansas City Chiefs the past four seasons. But the 25-year-old wants to show he can thrive throughout the route tree. He’s going to see plenty of 1-on-1 coverage since New York also has Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard and Corey Davis at the wide receiver position, and could have a breakout season. Hardman is a two-time Super Bowl champion, though he missed the big game last season with a core muscle injury that required surgery. He’s healthy now and could be an explosive addition to the Jets offense and kick return game.

2. Allen Lazard signed as free agent

Whether Rodgers was going to be the quarterback or not, the Jets were thrilled to sign Lazard. That he was a favorite of Rodgers in Green Bay is a bonus. Lazard gives the Jets length (6-foot-5, 227 pounds) at the receiver position and a player who’s gotten better every season in the League. Of his 60 catches in 2022, 51 were either a first down or touchdown. Lazard is solid in the intermediate passing game and can get deep, plus he’s a threat near the goal line with his height. He’s also an outstanding run blocker. And at 27, he’s entering his prime years.

Derby vibes @AaronRodgers12 x @AllenLazard pic.twitter.com/VvKitq2DdK

— New York Jets (@nyjets) May 7, 2023

1. Aaron Rodgers acquired from Green Bay Packers

Two weeks into his Jets tenure and four months before their first game, Rodgers has already transformed his new team. Turner said Rodgers is “so [freaking] happy” to be with the Jets. Saleh talked about the fire in Rodgers’ eyes. New York’s entire offseason revolved around landing Rodgers and now it’s full steam ahead with the plan to end a 12-year playoff drought and, hopefully, reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 1969. That’s a lot to put on the 39-year-old’s shoulders, but Rodgers is embracing this opportunity and seems rejuvenated. Keep in mind, he’s only two years removed from consecutive League MVP honors, so Rodgers can still play. The Jets are back on the map in the NFL and it’s all because of their aggressive and patient play to acquire the future Hall of Famer.

The post Ranking Jets’ top 10 additions in 2023 NFL offseason, including Aaron Rodgers trade appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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