NEW YORK — The New York Jets agreed to terms with former New Orleans Saints special teams standout Justin Hardee on a three-year contract and re-signed running back Josh Adams.
The moves were the latest in free agency for the Jets, who also reached agreements on contracts Monday with defensive end Carl Lawson, wide receiver Corey Davis and linebacker Jarrad Davis, according to people with direct knowledge of the deals.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because teams couldn’t make deals official until the NFL’s new league year began Wednesday. New York has 18 players who are unrestricted free agents, including wide receiver Breshad Perriman, cornerback Brian Poole and linebackers Jordan Jenkins, Neville Hewitt and Tarell Basham. The Jets also used the franchise tag on safety Marcus Maye.
The agreement with Hardee was made Tuesday night, and the Jets announced the re-signing of Adams on Wednesday — a few hours before he was scheduled to become a restricted free agent.
Hardee played four seasons with New Orleans, making his mark as a special teams ace — including as a gunner on the Saints’ punt team. He’s listed as a cornerback, but played just one snap on defense last season. Rather, he gives coordinator Brant Boyer, who was retained by new coach Robert Saleh, a proven performer on a special teams unit that struggled mightily last season.
Hardee was a wide receiver at Illinois and was signed by Houston as an undrafted free agent in 2017. He was among the Texans’ final cuts that summer and was signed to New Orleans’ practice squad.
Adams has been with the Jets the past two seasons after beginning his NFL career with Philadelphia. He ran for 157 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries last year. Adams also caught six passes for 29 yards.
The 24-year-old Adams rejoins a Jets backfield that also includes La’Mical Perine, Ty Johnson and Pete Guerriero. The 37-year-old Frank Gore, New York’s leading rusher last season, is not expected to return. The NFL’s No. 3 career rusher is contemplating whether he’ll retire or try to play a 17th season.