The Jets’ latest addition adds to a strength rather than address a weakness.
The team agreed to a deal with defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins on Sunday, a source confirmed. The NFL network reported it was a two-year contract worth up to $ 17 million.
Rankins spent the past five seasons with the Saints, who selected him No. 12 overall in 2016 from Louisville. The 6-foot-2, 305-pound player started 33 games in New Orleans, but only one in the past two years. Injuries have been a problem for Rankins. He was on injured reserve in both 2019 and 2020 with injuries to his ankle and knee.
The Jets must bet that Rankins, who turns 27 next month, will now be able to stay healthy. He’s known as a strong running defender, but he doesn’t generate much passing pressure. PFF credits him with 43 total pressures in 738 snapshots in the last two years. The site ranked him 65th out of 125 inside defensive lineman. He has 17½ sacks and 44 tackles to lose in his career. His best season was in 2018 when he had eight sacks and 12 TFL.
The defensive line is one of the Jets’ few strengths. They have a burgeoning star there in Quinnen Williams, as well as Folorunso Fatukasi and John Franklin-Myers, who have shown promise. However, new coach Robert Saleh’s defense with the 49ers had a lot of good defensive linemen, so the Jets saw an opportunity to help Saleh at the position with Rankins.