Things are getting ugly between the Jets and their safety in contract negotiations. Sound familiar?
A year after a contract standoff with Jamal Adams led to his trade to the Seahawks, the Jets are under fire from the agent for Marcus Maye, who is scheduled to hit free agency on March 17. Jets general manager Joe Douglas said in January that re-signing Maye is a priority, but it has not happened, and now free agency is getting close. Many people around the league believe the Jets will use the franchise tag on Maye by Tuesday’s deadline. That would pay him around $11 million for 2021, but not give him long-term security.
Erik Burkhardt, the agent for Maye, took to Twitter on Tuesday night to express his displeasure with the Jets. Burkhardt responded to a tweet from ESPN reporter Field Yates about the Jets possibly having $80 million in cap space and five first-round picks over the next three drafts, which should allow them to chase any player they choose by free agency or a trade.
Burkhardt replied: “… 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 year’s All-Pro safety).”
Burkhardt punctuated his tweet with a peace sign emoji.
Maye is the top free agent the Jets have. It is unknown what Maye is seeking to be paid or what the Jets are offering.
As Burkhardt referenced, Maye was the team’s MVP in 2020. He had a strong year bouncing between strong safety and his normal position of free safety. Maye had two interceptions, 11 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two sacks.
Maye also emerged as a leader and showed that after the team’s brutal loss to the Raiders in December. Maye placed the blame on defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for calling an all-out blitz that allowed Derek Carr to connect with Henry Ruggs for the game-winning touchdown. Williams was fired the next day and Maye was praised by people in the organization for standing up for undrafted rookie cornerback Lamar Jackson, who got beat by Ruggs on the play.
If the Jets do place the franchise tag on Maye, which seems like the most likely outcome, the two sides have until July 15 to negotiate a long-term contract or Maye would play this season on the tag. The team drafted Maye in the second round of the 2017 Draft, pairing him with Adams, their first-round pick. Now, Maye finds himself in a similar place to Adams last year with the team not giving him the contract he desires.