Best free collateral for NY jets to target in free agency

Which NFL Free Agents Can Fill Lamarcus Joyner’s Free Safety Role In Defense Of The New York Jets?

The New York Jets will likely have a new free launch security in 2023. Their 2022 starter, Lamarcus Joyner, has had a very rough season and is on the verge of becoming a free agent.

New York could look to the free-agent market to find a replacement for Joyner.

Before we take a look at some of the best options New York can target in free agency, let’s talk about one crucial factor to keep in mind when scanning the free agent market: schema fit.

How well a free agent fits into the potential team’s mold is a key variable to consider when determining whether they’re worth targeting. Yes, players and teams can adapt to make things work, but it’s generally a good idea for front offices to focus on finding players who have skills that fit seamlessly into their team’s system. The less bending required on both sides, the better.

With that in mind, I wanted to analyze the free agent safety market to see which players have the best chance of being considered by Joe Douglas as a good system to replace Joyner at Free Safety.

By analyzing Joyner’s involvement in Jeff Ulbrich and Robert Saleh’s defensive system last season, we can get a guide to the type of player the Jets will be looking for to fill Joyner’s role.

Here’s a look at where Joyner lined up on his defensive snaps in 2022, as recorded by Pro Football Focus:

  • Free Collateral: 73.3 (6th highest among 73 qualifying collateral)
  • Crate: 14.0% (64th)
  • Place: 10.4% (56th)
  • Lead: 2.1% (48th)
  • Outside CB: 0.2% (70th)

I created a formula that analyzed the snap distribution of all qualifying safeties in the NFL and showed how similar their usage was to Joyner’s. This will give us an idea of ​​which players are best suited to stepping into the free security role in defending Ulbrich and Saleh’s jets.

Here are the free-agent safeties whose deployments most closely matched Lamarcus Joyner’s during the 2022 season. Keep an eye out for these players who are on the Jets’ radar. (I did the same drill last year and any Jets that signed Jordan Whitehead made it onto the list, so we might be bumping into something here.)

8. Nick Scott, Los Angeles Rams

  • Free Security: 64.5% (Joyner: 73.3%)
  • Boxing: 23.6% (Joyner: 14.0%)
  • 1st place: 11.3% (Joyner: 10.4%)
  • Edge: 0.1% (Joyner: 2.1%)
  • Outside CB: 0.4% (Joyner: 0.2%)
  • Lamarcus Joyner Similarity Index: 0.214 (20th of 73 qualifiers)

Nick Scott, who was selected in the seventh round in 2019, was a backup and special teamer for three seasons before finally getting a chance to start in 2022. Scott played in all 17 games, starting 16 of them and amassing 86 tackles, 5 passes defended. 2 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. He was accused of allowing 3 touchdowns.

An interesting aspect of Scott’s game is his discipline. He was never called for a defensive penalty over 1,607 career snaps on defense.

Scott will be 28 years old in May.

7. Duron Harmon, Las Vegas Raiders

  • Free Security: 67.8% (Joyner: 73.3%)
  • Box: 22.0% (Joyner: 14.0%)
  • Slot: 5.9% (Joyner: 10.4%)
  • Edge: 3.1% (Joyner: 2.1%)
  • Outside CB: 1.3% (Joyner: 0.2%)
  • Lamarcus Joyner Similarity Index: 0.202 (18th of 73 qualifiers)

Duron Harmon is best known for his seven years in New England from 2013 to 2019, during which he won three Super Bowls. Since then he has been commuting back and forth between Detroit, Atlanta and Las Vegas.

Harmon turns 32 on Jan. 24, but revealed in 2022 that he may still have some gas in the tank. Harmon played all 17 games (16 starts) and allowed no touchdowns in cover while racking up two interceptions. His stamina is a plus, having not missed a game since the opening week of his 2013 rookie season.

Of the eight Raiders defensive backs who played at least 160 coverage snaps in 2022, Harmon was the only one who didn’t concede a touchdown. The veteran appeared to be a rare bright spot in the Raiders’ brutal secondary.

6. Marcus Epps, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Free Security: 64.6% (Joyner: 73.3%)
  • Box: 23.0% (Joyner: 14.0%)
  • 1st place: 10.8% (Joyner: 10.4%)
  • Edge: 0.8% (Joyner: 2.1%)
  • Outside CB: 0.8% (Joyner: 0.2%)
  • Lamarcus Joyner Similarity Index: 0.200 (17th of 73 qualifiers)

Like Nick Scott, Marcus Epps was a third-day pick in 2019 and spent three seasons as a backup and special teamer before getting his chance to start in 2022.

Epps started all 17 games for the Eagles. It was a shaky campaign. He allowed 5 touchdowns without recording an interception. Overall, Epps allowed 441 yards on throws in his cover, ranking third among safeties.

Epps turns 27 on January 27.

5. Kareem Jackson, Denver Broncos

  • Free Security: 67.5% (Joyner: 73.3%)
  • Box: 17.2% (Joyner: 14.0%)
  • 1st place: 14.4% (Joyner: 10.4%)
  • Edge: 0.4% (Joyner: 2.1%)
  • Outside CB: 0.4% (Joyner: 0.2%)
  • Lamarcus Joyner Similarity Index: 0.150 (13th of 73 qualifications)

The 20th overall pick of the 2010 draft is still kicking. Kareem Jackson started in all 17 games for the Broncos in 2022, his 13th NFL season.

However, Jackson’s best days are behind him. In 2022, Jackson allowed 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions on shots his way. He also ranked fourth among the safeties with 19 missed tackles. On the plus side, Jackson did a good job of keeping it all in front as he finished sixth-best out of 73 qualified safeties with just 8.6 yards per reception.

Jackson will be 35 in April. However, he has remained consistent, missing just five games in the last six seasons.

4. Juan Thornhill, Chiefs of Kansas City

  • Free Security: 67.3% (Joyner: 73.3%)
  • Box: 13.9% (Joyner: 14.0%)
  • Slot: 15.0% (Joyner: 10.4%)
  • Edge: 3.2% (Joyner: 2.1%)
  • Outside CB: 0.7% (Joyner: 0.2%)
  • Lamarcus Joyner Similarity Index: 0.122 (12th of 73 qualifiers)

Juan Thornhill, a second-round pick in 2019, has been a staple of the Chiefs’ secondary school since day one, starting all 16 games in his rookie year.

In 2022, Thornhill posted career bests in tackles (71) and passes defended (9) while tying his career best for interceptions (3), but his reporting overall was boom-or-bust. Thornhill allowed 4 touchdowns and committed 3 pass interference penalties.

Thornhill will be 28 in October.

3. Devin McCourty, New England Patriots

  • Free Security: 71.5% (Joyner: 73.3%)
  • Crate: 18.6% (Joyner: 14.0%)
  • Place: 8.8% (Joyner: 10.4%)
  • Edge: 0.3% (Joyner: 2.1%)
  • Outside CB: 0.8% (Joyner: 0.2%)
  • Lamarcus Joyner Similarity Index: 0.104 (9th of 73 qualifications)

Jets fans know Devin McCourty all too well. McCourty caught 7 interceptions against the Jets in his 13 seasons in New England. Only three players in history have accumulated more picks against the Jets.

In 2022, McCourty allowed 3 touchdowns in his coverage while amassing 4 interceptions. He was a solid tackler, missing just 4 tackles all season.

It was McCourty’s second strong season in a row. In 2021, he allowed 0 touchdowns and 3 interceptions while missing just 6 tackles. McCourty also didn’t commit a single penalty in either season.

McCourty will be 36 in August.

2.Jessie Bates, Cincinnati Bengals

  • Free Security: 70.5% (Joyner: 73.3%)
  • Crate: 16.7% (Joyner: 14.0%)
  • Place: 8.8% (Joyner: 10.4%)
  • Edge: 2.9% (Joyner: 2.1%)
  • Outside CB: 1.2% (Joyner: 0.2%)
  • Lamarcus Joyner Similarity Index: 0.089 (6th of 73 qualifiers)

Jessie Bates may be outside the Jets’ price range as the Bengals’ young star is expected to be the most sought-after safety in the free-agent market. Bates is still only 25 (he turns 26 in February) and is one of the league’s top ball hawks when it comes to safety. He received second-team All-Pro honors back in 2020.

Bates has 14 career interceptions and ranks ninth on safety as of 2018. He just caught a career high of 4 interceptions in 2022. Bates conceded 3 touchdowns but he only missed 7 tackles and committed no penalties.

Teams looking to add Bates must be wary of his volatile nature. Bates has alternated between great and bad seasons since his rookie year — his 2022, 2020 and 2018 seasons were excellent, but his 2019 and 2021 seasons weren’t up to scratch.

1. Tashaun Gipson, San Francisco 49ers

  • Free Security: 72.8% (Joyner: 73.3%)
  • Box: 12.4% (Joyner: 14.0%)
  • 1st place: 10.55% (Joyner: 10.4%)
  • Edge: 3.3% (Joyner: 2.1%)
  • Outside CB: 1.1% (Joyner: 0.2%)
  • Lamarcus Joyner Similarity Index: 0.043 (1st of 73 qualifiers)

It’s perhaps no surprise that a San Francisco 49ers player ranks first on this list. Robert Saleh is leaning heavily on his former team, while the 49ers’ defense continues to function much like it did under Saleh. San Francisco’s defensive coordinator is DeMeco Ryans, who served as a defensive assistant for all four of Saleh’s seasons as the 49ers’ defensive coordinator.

Tashaun Gipson, an undrafted free agent in 2012, is in his 11th NFL season and making his debut in San Francisco. Gipson enjoyed a renaissance season with the 49ers. Beginning all 17 games, Gipson allowed 0 touchdowns, called 5 interceptions, committed 0 penalties and missed just 1 tackle over 1,036 defensive snaps.

Even as early as 2022, Gipson’s touchdown-to-interception ratio was 9 to 12 in his last five seasons. It seems he still has a lot to offer even as his 33rd birthday approaches in August.

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