By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com
Everything appears to be in line for Marcus Maye.
With Jamal Adams gone, Maye becomes the silent leader of a promising Jets’ secondary, one that does need to take the next step. The safety, who made a splash with 77 tackles in 2017 as a second-round pick, is coming off his first injury-free season of his four-year career. His 2018 season was a constant stint on the disabled list.
Maye moves from complement to lead role. The 26-year-old is as stoic and reserved as former All-Pro and No. 1 pick Burgess Owens in the late 70’s, in spite of the spotlight burning brighter when linebacker CJ Mosley opted out.
It’s your secondary now, Marcus.
“Marcus is a leader in the back end,” said Jets secondary coach Dennard Wilson of his newfound leader on the team’s website. “He loves football, he’s willing to do anything and everything for the team to have success. I love coaching the young man, I love being around him, I love everything he stands for. I think going forward, you’ll see the best of him.”
Unlike Adams, Maye has deflection the attention. He has a modest 65 combined stops last season and has 11 career interceptions over three years.
“It was never about attention to me,” said Maye. “I just show up every day to work. I put my head down and do what I have to do. This year, I am just excited to play my role.”
His role could be an interesting one this season. Maye primarily played in the post last season, and did see some time in the box.
With the addition of Bradley McDougald in Adams trade and prized rookie Ashtyn Davis, Maye is open and confident about defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ creativity and flexibility.
“Jamal (Adams) got hurt for a few games last year, and I had to go down to the box,” said Maye. “I don’t mind playing either position. I feel I can do both well.
“We have tons of guys back there, and they are starting to pick up on it well. Davis is guy who came in with his eyes open and focused. He’s asked the right questions, and I’m anxious to see what he can do on the field.”
If Maye has a banner year, the Jets could find themselves in a similar situation with a contract squabble with Maye, who is an unrestricted free agent in 2021. He will earn approximately $2.9 million this season, and is on the lower end of the safety salary totem pole.
However, based on his personality and approach, don’t expect a dumpster fire.
“I just want to go out and play ball,” stressed Maye. “I just love playing football. My contract is stuff I can’t control, and I’ll let my agent handle it.”
That’s encouraging rhetoric and a complete reversal of the spin from his former teammate.
Take the lead, Marcus. He certainly will do it his way.