One of the most interesting situations in all of football is with the New York Jets. I am not a Jets fan, but I support the team and have been intrigued with what they have ahead of them.
The New York Jets are riddled with money to spend. Name your player and the Jets can get him. On top of that, the Jets own the 6th overall pick in the NFL Draft and should be able to get an elite talent there as well.
With Todd Bowles, the Assistant Coach of the Year, taking over the head coach position for the Jets, it will be interesting to see how he handles his first major decisions.
It looks like the first domino will fall with Chris Johnson being cut. Everyday it seems like more whispers of Johnson getting released come out. Along with that, I can definitely see the Jets looking to either cut or re-negotiate Percy Harvin’s contract. I like Harvin as a player, but he is making too much money for a guy who is oft-injured. The Jets will owe the Seattle Seahawks a 4th round pick in this upcoming draft if Harvin is kept, but if he is released, the pick owed would be a 6th rounder.
Right off the bat, the Jets should pursue Antonio Cromartie. This is the perfect match. Cromartie was a fan favorite in New York and proved last year that he still has what it takes to be a starting cornerback in the NFL. Todd Bowles was his defensive coordinator last year in Arizona and Cromartie can re-join Bowles back in New York.
Wouldn’t it be something if Darrelle Revis and the New England Patriots were unable to work out a contract? This may become a reality. The New England Patriots would owe Revis around $20 million next year unless they can re-work his contract. With not too much cap space and other pressing needs like Devin McCourty, the Patriots may not be able to find a number that they can agree on with Revis. If Revis touches free agency the Jets need to go all out for him. No Jet fan was happy to see Revis leave. He is still the best cornerback in the NFL in my opinion. The Jets can easily afford to bring back the old cornerback duo of Revis and Cromartie.
Outside of cornerback, I can’t see the Jets making many big splashes. Obviously wide receiver continues to be a major need for the team, but I can’t see any difference maker hitting free agency. Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Randall Cobb and Jeremy Maclin will all be free agents, but there is a very slim chance of any of them actually hitting the open market. If any were to hit the market, I would definitely go all out for them. With roughly $45 million in cap space and the potential to gain around $60 million in cap space, the Jets can pick whatever they want.
Torrey Smith is an interesting name. I can’t see the Ravens wanting to give too much money to Smith. If someone came in and made things a little uncomfortable for the Ravens, I can see Smith going to a new team. With Eric Decker playing the role of the X receiver, Smith would be a really nice field stretching Y receiver for the Jets. A wide receiver trio of Decker, Smith and Kerley isn’t so bad at all.
The other need the Jets may look to fill in free agency is offensive line. With Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson being two elite players on the Jets o-line, they may want to beef up the unit with some help at Guard. Mike Iupati and Orlando Franklin are players who can come in and make an instant impact. These are big-time players with big game experience that can turn the Jets offensive line into one of the better units in the league.
The biggest piece of the offseason is the NFL Draft. I am a draft buff. I believe you build teams through the draft and not through free agency. I prefer talented players that you can take when they are young and mold them into the type of player you see fit for your team. Acquiring players is risky because there is a lot of nuance to the NFL game and players may perform differently or struggle to adapt in different schemes and atmospheres. When you draft a player, you have the freedom to build whatever you want.
The Jets have a lot of options in this draft. The first thing I will say is that the Jets should not select Jameis Winston. I do believe Winston is the best QB prospect in this draft, but I cannot see him succeeding in New York. This is already a risky player with off the field concerns, and if you throw him in the New York spotlight I think it would be detrimental.
The best case scenario for the Jets would be for Marcus Mariota to fall into their laps at the 6th pick. I say this because I think they should then trade that pick. Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles desperately want Mariota and everyone knows this. If Mariota is there for the Jets they should immediately call the Eagles and work out a trade. If the Jets would be able to take the Eagles 1st round pick, 2nd round pick and 2016 1st round pick for the 6th pick in the draft, it would be a home run. This would be a realistic price for a pick so high in the draft.
Quarterback is a major need for the Jets, but I am not sold on anyone in this draft. I highly doubt success for Winston in New York and I have doubts about Mariota’s game translating to the NFL. With his skinny frame I worry about him taking NFL hits. In the championship game Mariota took a hit from Joey Bosa that left him banged up. That was as close to an NFL hit Mariota could take and it shook him up.
Wide receiver is another major need for the Jets and if they were to acquire the Eagles 1st round pick, they should be able to find a major talent at wide receiver available for them. This draft is very deep at the wide receiver position. The Jets can choose from many different needs with three picks in the top 50.
If Mariota is not available for the Jets at the 6th pick, they should look at wide receiver or offensive line. There should be plenty of elite talent left for them at either position. Between guys like Amari Cooper, DeVante Parker and Kevin White at wide receiver and T.J. Clemmings, La’el Collins and Brandon Scherff at offensive line, the Jets will find a great talent.
If the Jets are looking for the quarterback of their future, I think Christian Hackenberg is their guy. Too bad Hackenberg will not be draft eligible until next year! For this reason, I think it would be wise for the Jets to try and gain some picks in next year’s draft in order to potentially trade up for the quarterback of their future. I do not think it would be wise to waste a pick on any of this year’s quarterbacks. Give Geno Smith another year or sign someone like Sam Bradford to a one-year “prove it” type of contract in order to make the most of the situation.
The Jets have the freedom to choose the direction of their team going forward. With tons of money to spend and some great positioning in the NFL Draft, some great talent should be added to the roster for next season. With Todd Bowles coaching the team they have an incredible coach. Things are looking up for the New York Jets and it will be interesting to see the choices that they make.