The franchise tag kept Marcus Maye in New York for 2021. It might be the only way he sticks around in 2022.
Maye spoke with reporters Saturday in what was the first time he'd met with media members since the Jets placed the tag on him in March, and he didn't sound too committed to the Jets beyond his tagged season.
"I've got 17 weeks to be the best that I can be -- and once we get to that point [next offseason], we'll cross that line again," Maye said, via NJ.com.
The Jets and Maye failed to come to terms on a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline, meaning he'll play the 2021 season under the tag. It's set to pay him $10.6 million, enough to tie him for the ninth-highest average salary per year among NFL safeties.
Maye believes he's "right there" with the top safeties in the NFL and deserves to be paid as such. He was asked if he felt Jets general manager Joe Douglas negotiated fairly or otherwise during offseason negotiations, and didn't give the most reassuring response.
"Somewhere in the middle," Maye said. "But from my end, I wasn't happy and I wasn't satisfied."
Maye isn't quite hoping to pack his bags for a new destination as soon as possible but sounds as if he is focused on receiving his maximum value. At 28 years old, he's perfectly positioned to cash in now, as long as the Jets are willing to foot the bill.
Maye has a collection of notes on how to handle a contract dispute, having been "right there with" Jamal Adams for the entire saga related to his employment status. That drama ended when the Jets traded Adams to Seattle, granting him his freedom and securing draft picks in return.
Would Maye like to see a similar outcome for his situation? Or would he prefer to bridge the gap with the Jets and stay in New York for the long haul?
"Wherever I'm welcome," he said. "I was drafted here, so I would love to be here."
We'll likely revisit this issue again during the 2022 offseason, if not sooner.
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