Source: Jets deliberately taking measured approach with free agents

Rex Ryan and John Idzik
John Idzik, left, is trying to stick to a number with free agents and not go over it, according to a source.
Credit: Getty Images

Despite being linked to multiple big names in free agency this offseason, the Jets haven’t whiffed on as many potential targets as one might think a team executive tells Metro New York.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the team executive tells Metro that while the Jets have engaged in talks with a number of high-profile free agent targets, they “refuse to budge from their salary cap disciplines.”

The source said the Jets evaluate a player on the field and will assign a dollar range they are comfortable with for negotiations. They “will stick to that number, even if it means letting the player walk.”

He called general manager John Idzik “calm and collected and unwilling to mortgage the future for a big splash now.”

The Jets have spent the offseason making a number of under-the-radar moves, including signing kicker Nick Folk, linebackers Calvin Pace and Nick Bellore and cornerbacks Ellis Lankster and Darrin Walls to new contracts. In addition, they signed tackle Breno Giacomini to a free agent deal. The big splash signing was wide receiver Eric Decker.

Last offseason, the Jets were limited in their ability to poach free agent talent on the open market due to a tight salary cap situation. This was the result of investment in marquee free agents over previous years, including wide receiver Santonio Holmes and cornerback Antonio Cromartie – both of whom were cut this offseason to create more salary cap space. The source said the Jets showing restraint this offseason doesn’t mean an unwillingness to spend, it just means “that they don’t want to be handcuffed under the cap like last year.”

“It doesn’t mean that we missed on all our targets. We didn’t,” the source said. “It just means that the targets didn’t make sense with what John wants to do, and that is build depth and competition on both sides of the ball — not just a few stars.

“Fans shouldn’t look at it as if the team missed on free agents. We just aren’t going to overpay and ignore other areas of need. We did well with players like Antwan Barnes and Chris Ivory last year, plus we have all of our [draft] picks. The team isn’t done, there is still quality out there. There will be more signings. And this team is poised to be flexible and active through the summer if and when other teams make camp cuts.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.



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