FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — While the Jets have generated headlines for showing several big-name players the exits, they made several moves Thursday aimed at preventing four of their younger players from leaving.
The Jets signed free agent offensive tackle Ben Ijalana to a two-year, $11 million contract, NFL Network reported. They also re-signed linebacker/special teams standout Josh Martin to a two-year, $4.3 million deal, according to SNY. And the team announced it has tendered restricted free agent cornerback Marcus Williams and center Wesley Johnson at the second-round level.
New York also reportedly released running back Khiry Robinson, who was injured throughout the 2016 season.
Ijalana, 27, a former second-round draft pick by the Indianapolis Colts, started 13 games at left and right tackle for the Jets last season. The 6-foot-3, 319-pound lineman was New York’s starting left tackle after Ryan Clady went down with a shoulder injury. The Jets declined to pick up Clady’s option this offseason.
Martin, 25, who was undrafted coming out of Columbia, started his career in Kansas City in 2013 before spending one year in Tampa Bay in 2015. He saw action in 15 games last season and recorded a half sack. His greatest contribution, however, has been on special teams. Patriots coach Bill Belichick called Martin one of the top players in the league covering kickoffs.
The Jets had until 4 p.m. Thursday to tender Williams and Johnson, which guarantee those players at least one-year, $2.746 million contracts. If another team wants to sign either player, the Jets would have the option of matching the offer or receiving a second-round draft pick from that team.
Both Williams and Johnson were once castoffs by other teams and figure to have significant roles with the Jets in 2017 after New York parted ways with cornerback Darrelle Revis and center Nick Mangold.
Williams, 25, was originally signed by the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent in 2014, but was cut in September of that season and signed by the Jets a day later. The 5-foot-11, 196-pound defensive back has played in 34 games, starting 15, and intercepted nine passes, including six in 2015.
Johnson, 26, a fifth-round pick by the Steelers in 2014, was claimed off waivers by the Jets early that regular season. The 6-foot-5, 297-pounder has played in 25 games the past two seasons with the Jets, starting nine, including eight last season after Mangold suffered a sprained ankle that cut his season short.