The New York Jets had a busy day in free agency on May 3 — starting with a Randall Cobb signing at wide receiver and concluding with an Al Woods deal at defensive tackle.
The two veterans shore up a couple of positions heading into the start of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and minicamp, and the Jets community was ecstatic about the Woods signing in particular.
“Al Woods was my No. 1 late free agency target for the Jets,” The Jet Press tweeted after the news. “Fills a massive need as an immediate starter at 1-tech DT. Honestly, a role they didn’t fill last year after Foley [Fatukasi] walked. Excellent signing for the Jets. Run defense just got a lot better.”
NFL insider Ari Meirov agreed that the former Seattle Seahawks run-stuffer is a “massive (literally) addition on the defensive line,” at a whopping 330 pounds according to Pro Football Reference. The transaction even prompted one fan to comment: “We really gonna win it all man.” Needless to say, the good vibes are flowing in Jets land.
NFL Insider Calls New Jet Al Woods ‘One of the Most Durable & Valuable DTs for the Last Several Years’
Woods’ stats won’t jump off the page — 28 career tackles for a loss, nine career sacks — but there’s a reason why he’s been in the league for 12 seasons and has appeared in over 150 games (starting 78).
Bleacher Report OL and DL scouting expert Brandon Thorn explained why on April 4 after Ian Rapoport called Woods “one of the most durable and valuable DTs for the last several years.”
“Have heard a similar sentiment from a few OL over the years about having to block Al Woods for 60 minutes,” Thorn relayed, adding: “It sucks.”
He went on in a separate tweet: “This really comes from the physical grind it is facing Woods. He’s legit enormous, even on an NFL field, ox strong and has a violent play style. Body blows add up..”
That sounds like the perfect mauler and space-eater to line up next to rising game wrecker Quinnen Williams, as well as Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers and a collection of young and hungry edge rushers. This D-line didn’t just get stronger, it got a whole lot scarier too.
ESPN’s Rich Cimini projected the current Jets defensive line rotation with Woods entering the scene.
Lawson, Williams, Woods and JFM were the starters in this prediction, with 2023 first rounder Will McDonald IV, Quinton Jefferson, Solomon Thomas and 2022 first rounder Jermaine Johnson II as the backups. Even the third wave is stacked, with Micheal Clemons and Bryce Huff headlining and Tanzel Smart and Isaiah Mack filling in behind them. Time to feast.
New Jets WR Randall Cobb Makes Things Official
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter noted that a Cobb signing was “expected” on the morning of May 3, but the veteran wideout made things official later in the day. The Jets social media team posted a video of his pen-to-paper moment, with a message from the long-time Green Bay Packer.
“What’s up Jets nation, this is Randall Cobb here. Excited to be in New York. Ready to sign. Let’s go Jets.” He voiced to fans.
Cobb has caught 534 completions from Aaron Rodgers in the NFL, including in the playoffs, according to Schefter and ESPN’s @EpKap. That is “the second most to any player in [Rodgers’] career behind Davante Adams and his 687,” so you could say there is some built-in chemistry there.
In 2022, Cobb caught 34 passes off 50 targets with the Packers, racking up 417 yards and 19 first downs (one touchdown). He has never contributed less than 375 yards in a single season.