In slew of rookie deals, New York Jets getting important work done ahead of camp

Seth Everett

Training camp is moving forward and this week, the New York Jets signed four draft picks to rookie contracts. This means those players can be in their first training camp that will be unlike any other in the NFL’s long history.

The Jets signed first-round draft pick Mekhi Becton to his rookie contract. They then signed three other draft picks including defensive end Jabari Zuniga out of Florida, quarterback James Morgan out of Florida International and punter Braden Mann out of Texas A&M. They all signed four-year deals.

The Jets have now signed eight of their nine picks to deal with. They only have one draft pick still unsigned, third-round selection safety Ashtyn Davis.

Tuesday the New York Jets were able to invite rookies both drafted and undrafted to the facility in Florham Park, New Jersey for the first of two COVID-19 tests this week. Presuming all goes well, then these players can get on the practice field for the first time since they heard their names called in the draft.

Zuniga is the eleventh Florida Gator on the Jets roster. He’s 6'3", 264 pounds and will get a chance to earn a spot on that defensive line. Quinnen Williams is in his second year and the Jets are hoping for Zuniga to step up and give the line a boost. Zuniga’s slotted contract is worth $4.73 million.

Perhaps the organization’s most surprising draft pick, Morgan was a fourth-round selection out of Florida International. He will immediately compete for a backup spot on the Jets roster behind incumbent Sam Darnold and former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco. He only spent two seasons at FIU after transferring from Bowling Green. Despite that, Morgan ranks second in FIU history in passing yardage with 5,312 yards and 40 touchdowns. Flacco is coming off a major neck injury and Darnold has missed three games in each of his first two seasons in the NFL so Morgan will have to battle for the number three spot on the depth chart but that could be an opportunity to see action. If there really aren’t any pre-season games, then Jets veteran David Fales may have the inside track on the quarterback position. Morgan’s slotted deal is for $4 million.

The Jets were in the market for a punter and Mann will come to camp as the team’s punter this season with a pretty good resume as the Ray Guy Award two seasons ago for the nation’s top punter. That season he set the NCAA record with 51.0 yards/punt and posted a 44.7 net average while placing 19 of 50 punts inside the 20-yard line and forcing 11 fair catches. His deal is for $3.47 million.

Getting these players under contract is important for the Jets. Becton is penciled in as a starter, while Zuniga is likely to get heavy reps this year. Mann appears to have the inside track to be the team’s punter.

Full training camp is scheduled to begin July 28.

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