One month ago, Jets general manager Joe Douglas said re-signing safety Marcus Maye was going to be one of the priorities of the offseason.
If the safety ends up walking in free agency, however, where might he sign for the 2021 season?
Walking through the NFL's top 50 free agents this week, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler said the best fit for Maye would be the Philadelphia Eagles.
"Maye reunites with his position coach in New York, Dennard Wilson, who was hired by the Eagles this offseason," Fowler wrote. "Also watch out for Dallas, which also needs safety help and made Dan Quinn, Maye's college coordinator at Florida, its defensive coordinator. At least six teams will be in the safety market."
Six different teams, and maybe more, gives Maye plenty of options to choose from. Remember, he's never been in another organization since the Florida product was drafted by the Jets in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft.
Maye, who turns 28 in March, blossomed in 2020 as a leader of New York's defense both on and off the field. Taking on a bigger role following the departure of safety Jamal Adams the summer before the season began, Maye played in all 16 games and didn't miss a single snap on defense. He finished the campaign with the second-most tackles on the team (88) while leading New York with 11 passes defended. He had two interceptions and two sacks as well.
When former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams made an ill-advised blitz call at the end of New York's loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, Maye didn't hesitate to publicly criticize his coach. Williams was fired the very next day.
Would Maye want to leave? He certainly made it seem like he'd like to stay with the Jets for his fifth season.
"Obviously I love it here, I'm comfortable here," Maye told reporters following New York's regular season finale. "That decision is not up to me, I can only control what I can control."
Re-signing with the Jets would give Maye an opportunity to work with new head coach Robert Saleh, new defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich and the rest of New York's fresh coaching staff. The Jets' secondary is sure to take a step forward as well considering the likes of Ashtyn Davis and Bryce Hall will be entering their second season in the league with plenty of experience under their belts.
Perhaps a contender can woo Maye elsewhere. If he wants to be a part of what the Jets are building, however, New York should have no problem bringing him back for next season and beyond.
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