Former Florida safety Marcus Maye has been nothing but productive since the New York Jets drafted him in the second round back in 2017. In his 54 games, he has 266 tackles, 22 passes defensed and six interceptions.
But the Jets already lost one star safety in former sixth overall pick Jamal Adams who demanded a trade when he couldn’t agree to terms with the team on an extension, a request that was eventually granted last offseason. It seems they may be about to use another.
With Maye’s rookie contract set to expire after last season, the Jets placed the franchise tag on him on March 9. The two sides have until July 15 to agree to an extension, or Maye will be owed $10.6 million in 2021, which would likely be his final season with the team.
ESPN’s Rich Cimini wrote about what a potential deal for Maye could look like. Here’s the kind of deal he thinks the Jets will be looking to hand out.
The Jets probably see it this way: Based on experience and production, Maye’s contract should be in line with that of Cleveland Browns safety John Johnson, who hit free agency in March and signed for three years, $33.75 million — $11.25 million per year. The contract includes a $20 million guarantee.
However, he thinks Maye will be looking for more than that, potentially a deal that puts him in line with the league’s elite safeties.
Chances are, Maye is looking for something in the neighborhood of $14 million per year, an APY that would put him in a tie for fifth among safeties. He can argue he’s entitled to that much because, by definition, a franchise tag is the average of the top five salaries at the position. The bar was raised recently by the Denver Broncos‘ Justin Simmons ($15.25 million APY), and it will go higher when Adams lands his extension from the Seattle Seahawks.
New York hoped that the hiring of new coach Robert Saleh would fix a lot of the cultural issues that led to Adams’ departure, and what happens with Maye could be a canary in the coal mine. If the two can’t agree on a long-term deal, it wouldn’t be a great sign for the direction of the franchise.
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