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Strong Finish for Jets' Edge Rusher with Free Agency on Horizon

Undrafted DE cashes in on increased snaps, may cost New York big bucks to re-sign him

If it winds up being his final appearance as a New York Jet, defensive end Bryce Huff went out in style.

The undrafted edge rusher, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March, registered four quarterback hits as part of a dominant defensive team effort that resulted in a 17-3 road win over the New England Patriots. Huff sacked Patriots' passer Bailey Zappe twice in Week 18, cementing his team lead with 10.0 sacks this season.

One of the NFL's top edge rushers in terms of pressure rate over the past three seasons, Huff cashed in by setting a career high in sacks in 2023. His 21 quarterback hits also topped all Jets' defenders.

Huff set the tone early on Sunday, ending the Patriots' final possession of the first quarter by dropping Zappe on a 3rd-and-4 play. His third-down pressure forced an incompletion in the second quarter, bringing New England's punt team out again.

Huff and Co. limited the Patriots to 0.8 net yards per pass and only three first downs through the air. The defense-powered victory ended New England's 15-game win streak in the head-to-head series. Huff, who signed an UDFA deal with the Jets in 2020, was around to witness seven of those prior losses.

The 25-year-old Huff took advantage of increased opportunities during his "walk" year. After playing only 191 defensive snaps in 2022, the edge rusher saw his snaps more than double this season. Appearing in all 17 games, Huff participated in 480 plays for Gang Green's defense.

The perceived knock on Huff is his inability to successfully defend the run although his recent on-field performance has challenged that notion. Sixteen of Huff's 29 tackles were on rushes. 

Huff is unquestionably the biggest name amongst Jets' defensive free agents this offseason. If Carl Lawson received a contract with a $15 million average annual value three years ago, then the Jets may have to shell out even more to keep Huff in the fold.


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