Jets face need on d-Line after free agent exits, Fletcher Cox miss

One position that is suddenly becoming a major need for the Jets is interior defensive line.

Wednesday was not a good day for the Jets at the position.

They saw two of their own free agents — Sheldon Rankins and Nathan Shepherd — sign with other teams and then struck out on their own bid for Eagles free agent Fletcher Cox.

Rankins signed with the Texans and Shepherd went to the Saints.

Cox would have been an intriguing addition to the Jets but he reportedly took less money than the Jets offered to stay with the Eagles.

Multiple reports said Cox took a one-year, $10 million to remain in Philadelphia even though the Jets offered more.

Fletcher Cox

The 32-year-old is a six-time Pro Bowler and would have given the Jets a nice piece to pair with All-Pro Quinnen Williams.

As it stands right now, the Jets only have Williams, Tanzel Smart, Isaiah Mack and Marquiss Spencer on the roster at defensive tackle. Solomon Thomas remains a free agent.

The Jets wanted to bring Rankins back but they may not have wanted to pay him what he got from the Texans — $10.5 million on a one-year contract.

Nathan Shepherd
Bill Kostroun for New York Post

Rankins spent the past two seasons with the Jets. He had 43 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble last year in 15 games.

Shepherd was the second longest-tenured player on the Jets.

The 2018 third-round pick was a solid backup for the Jets who had a nice year. The Saints gave him a three-year, $15 million deal with $10.18 million guaranteed, according to the NFL Network.

Sheldon Rankins
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

With Shepherd gone, the book is closed on the Jets’ 2018 draft, which was highlighted by the selection of Sam Darnold at No. 3 overall.

The Jets now have one player drafted by them before 2020 who remains on the roster — Quinnen Williams. Joe Douglas took over as GM after the 2019 draft.