- Marcus Maye is among the best free agent safeties
- The 2021 offseason could see the Jets safety get paid
- Which teams represent feasible landing spots?
It was former New York Jets safety Jamal Adams who made waves and headlines during the 2020 NFL offseason, demanding that the team pay him or trade him. It doesn’t look like anything quite that dramatic will happen with this year’s crop of safeties in free agency, but there are still a few really good players available this year. Adams’ former teammate with the Jets, fellow safety Marcus Maye, will be one of the most sought after defensive players in the coming weeks.
Maye’s value doesn’t really jump out at most fans in the most common statistical categories. His career high interception total in a season is just two. His career high in combined tackles is 88, which is a respectable number, but not remarkable. Where Maye’s value can really be felt is with his reliability year in and year out. He’s played over 1,000 snaps in three out of four NFL seasons, and leads the current crop of safeties in free agency in that category as well.
The former University of Florida star also ranked third in pass coverage in 2020 according to Pro Football Focus, and recorded 11 passes defensed last year. It seems like Maye might be ready to ascend into one of the better safeties in the game, but which teams are likely to go after Marcus Maye free agency?
With a projected $80 million in cap space at the time of this writing, the Jets have a treasure trove of funds to spend on whomever their heart desires.
As touched upon above, New York parted ways with one tremendously talented safety last year, and losing another one on the upswing of his career might leave their defense extremely barren.
…Yet refuse to take care of their best player, Captain, & team-voted MVP in his prime who had several All-Pro votes…and who played out his entire rookie deal and even changed positions on his contract year (after they got rid of last yrs All-Pro safety). ✌🏼
— Erik Burkhardt (@ErikBurkhardt) March 3, 2021
For those reasons, it seems like Maye is a decent bet to end up back with the only team he’s ever played for. He’s not going to provide the line of scrimmage presence like Adams, but his stock as a coverage player is rising. New head coach Robert Saleh is likely to provide better coaching than previous Jets defensive coordinators, which is another reason for Maye to consider re-signing.
Washington Football Team
Washington is not that far away from becoming a truly frightening defensive team. Their defensive line is already among the best in the league, anchored by recent draft picks Chase Young and Montez Sweat. Using their fourth most projected cap space heading into free agency, Washington could also snag a playmaker on the back-end.
It would be very difficult for opposing offenses to rush throws against a ferocious pass rush, with a player like Maye patrolling the middle of the field. It could be a situation where Maye could anticipate hot routes forced upon offenses by Young and Sweat.
It’s unlikely the team will spend big on a quarterback, so this Maye free agency landing spot makes a lot of sense for both sides.
Like Washington, it’s not like Indianapolis badly needs Maye’s services. Their defense was already one of the best in the league, and stands to remain one of the better units in the near future. But adding Maye to a team with an impressive group of linebackers and defensive linemen can make the Colts a problem at all three levels.
Incumbent safeties Malik Hooker and Tavon Wilson are free agents, and while the team will likely try to bring one or both players back, it might not stop them from considering an upgrade. Indianapolis has been in win-now mode for a couple of seasons, and will do what it takes to try to get over the hump in the AFC in 2021.