So I want to talk about the Jets, and of course its January and the only season to talk about yet again is the offseason. So here is how I’m going to do it, I’m going to go position by position and evaluate where we are, and where I think the team might go, based on who is potentially available in free agency, and where the team could go in the draft. This is by in large what I would do, but I’m going to try to get into the front office and coaching staffs heads a bit too.
It’s Zach Wilson.
Wait you probably want more than that. Yeah he’s the starter, regardless if you wanted him, regardless if you believe in him, he’s the Quarterback. It’s down in permanent marker, heck chisel it in stone, thats not changing this season barring an absolute disaster. Backup on the other hand, thats in pencil. White is the presumptive guy, but if there is a vet out there, who’s started games with success, fits the offence and is under 32, it would be White out. Everybody wants that guy though so we’ll see where the game of musical chairs end up.
This position for once feels pretty good. Michael Carter looks like a great piece, some see him as a 15 carry a game, 3rd down guy. I see him as a 20-25 carry guy who can be your main guy but paired with a bruiser for short yardage (seriously have people forgotten about Barry Sanders and Maurice Jones Drew, Carter is not tiny). I suspect it’s something in between for the front office but Regardless, he’s solid. The depth looks good with Ty Johnson, Austin Walter. Tevin Coleman could be gone or re-signed, its a toss up, I’d let him go but wouldn’t be upset if the coaches feel different. I think we’re safe to let Perine go. I’d find a good short yardage bruiser in free agency, and get someone on day 3 to compete with Walter and Johnson to round it out. Wouldn’t be surprised if they ignore initial free agency and draft someone between round 3-4 then circle back before camp to round things out. Oh and Bawden comes back at FB unless someone LaFleur falls in love with becomes available.
I’m not going to lie, I am incredibly confused about this one. I just have no real read on where the team wants to go. All I know is they love Moore, and Berrios. They are ok with Davis but that was not the season anyone hoped for, really want to see more. Mims…..sigh….we know where he stands barring a miracle. Everyone else, meh. What they are going to do is the question. Lots of potential free agents but the bulk of them are not becoming available. If they did I’d like Godwin because he’s a great route runner with great hands. I’d like Gallup for the same reason. I’d even like Chark because he is what you hoped Mims (again sigh..) would have been. I’d support a trade for Ridley if the price is right and he feels ready to play. Rumours are Cooper and Metcalf are going to be available but I doubt JD wants to pay the price they will require. They will try to improve the depth in free agency for sure. I’d prefer drafting, there are a lot of guys in the draft that fit the system like Burks, Wilson, Williams etc. Love a guy like Khalil Shakir later in the draft for a special team guy and upside receiver. I’d personally sign a B tier FA and draft a guy, because the more important position is coming next.
This is the biggest need by far on the offence. Yeah I know you can make an argument for o-line there and I’m going to get there in a minute but hear me out. All of the best offences have a feature pass catching tight end. They would become Zach’s outlet, we saw it many time this year that Zach was looking for that but didn’t have it. Once in a while sure Griffin, Kroft, Brown, Wesco, and Yeboah would be there but not with enough real ability and reliability. So where does the addition come from. Most are aiming square at Schultz, and he would improve things dramatically for sure. I’d be thrilled with him, it’s just money after all. However for how much he’ll cost, and with strong chances of regression from a change of system and aging I don’t think strategically he’s the best option. We need two tight ends and signing Schultz to big money and drafting a potential stud seems like a waste. I’d rather sign a B level guy like Tonyan, Engram, Howard, Everett and draft that blue chipper like McBride, Kollar or Ruckert. A good one two punch like that, bring back Griffin and let Yeboah and a newly converted Cager compete with him for the 3rd slot. Kroft is just too unreliable to count on.
The motto here should be “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” We have AVT, McGovern and Fant. Optimist says Becton is fine and steps right back in at LT. Pessimists would say he’s never going to be healthy enough to be counted upon. Realistically its up to him. I saw this play out first hand as a Blue Jays fan (Sorry Yankees fans, I’m Canadian). Vlad Jr came into the league as a freak, someone who was just better than everyone he played against, with no effort. So when he got to the show he found out quick that wouldn’t be good enough. His competition was faster and stronger. It wasn’t going to be as easy, he would have to try harder. So he learned he needed to be in better condition, and work harder on his training and endurance. If you watched baseball last year, it paid off. That’s where Becton is, he failed himself this year. He could get away with taking plays off in college, giving 50%-75% effort some games. You can’t get away with that in the pros. He knows the work and dedication he has to put in to be successful, its on him now to do it. If he does we have a franchise LT, if he doesn’t we have a decent to good RT for the next few years until the injuries add up.
Regardless of the left side, this team needs a RG. If LDT doesn’t want to or can’t come back, then we have to sign one. Maybe Scherff but we would have all preferred that 2 years ago, still he should be fine for at least 3 seasons. I like the idea of Connor Williams or Austin Corbett but young guards like them don’t usually hit free agency. To prepare for the worst we need depth, who knows what Clarke is at this point, I don’t even want GVR as a backup. Feeney yand McDermott are ok enough as backups, Edoga needs to go or maybe switch to guard. Moses coming back would be great if he doesn’t mind being a backup.
The draft is key here, would love to see Evan Neal as he would be the ultimate prepare for the worst solution as a guy who can be the LT, RG or RT. If the Jags hire someone smart, or the Texans do the smart thing he will not be there at 4. If he is I run the pick up there as fast as I can. Option 2 is draft Linderbaum and slide McGovern to RG. Option 3 is a lower guard Prospect like Zion Johnson in the second round. There are lots of options here but I think the key is to operate like Becton isn’t even here, then if he does what he needs to the team will be that much stronger for it.
Well that was a lot Eh? It’s almost like this is a rebuilding team that has a lot of needs and just as many options available, but thats only part of the team, we still have a defence to worry about, and some questions about special teams.
Kicker & Punter:
Let’s get this out of the way really quick and get on to the good stuff. We’re ok, not good, not great just OK. Pinero is fine, he made his kicks. He scares me with anything over 40 yards but heck I’m fine keeping him just to kick extra points and always go for it on 4th as long as the team is on the right side of the 50 yard line. Would love to see a real boot replace him but we’ll have to see who shakes loose. If I had to pick a guy it’s Tyler Bass. Mann is….well….I don’t really know. Sometimes he looks amazing and sometimes much less so. I think he’s fairly safe but expect a vet to come to camp to compete with him and give him a kick in the rear.
The strongest group on the team? On paper sure, in practice, well underwhelming is a word you could use. Depth is an issue, beyond Q and JFM as the top tackles good, I’m ok with Rankins and Marshall, but don’t be surprised if an IDL is drafted in the back half of the draft again. Much as I like Foley, he doesn’t fit anymore, and it pains me but Shep has to go.
Edge is a different story, the depth is good but starters? It’s the hope of Carl Lawson and TBD. If lawson is healthy and as good we we hope great but, we need to give him a bookend. Will one of the big two be there at 4? If the Jags and Texans are smart, I think so but I’m not banking on either team doing that. Maybe we have to trade with the Texans to move up a spot. Lets see how the combine goes there are intriguing options outside of the big 2 like Engbare, Jackson or Bonitto. I also like Harrison a lot but he really needs to show up at the combine. Free agency would be good to add depth but not to find a starter. Depth wise I’m fine with Phillips and Huff. Zuniga….yeah I’ll talk about him another time. Everyone else is replaceable.
Mosley is still the guy but he will probably not be here beyond next season. So what else do we have, a bunch of projects and Quincy Williams. Quincy is either depth or starter, epending if you’re an optimist or pessimist. Coach loves him so he has every opportunity to stick, it’s up to him to do it. Sherwood and Nasrildeen are a mystery still. Lots of potential but with the injuries last year was kind of a loss. They have the skills to be the Weak side and Mike respectively so let’s see how they develop. We do not have a strong side that 1 year gamble on Davis crapped out. I think this is where Quincy comes in This group has talent but it’s unproven. Would love to see Dean but Linebacker is a luxury pick, it’s not a major impact position so you don’t spend high draft picks on it and he’s not the option we take at 4 or 10. Chenal and Muma I like as second and 3rd rounds options.We have to hope coaching changes bring scheme changes and we see guys hit free agency. Vanden Esch, Bentley and White are all guys I like, even if some of them have been nicked up at times. They might go for lower prices. There is no way they spend premium Money or draft capital, at least not this year. That’s a final piece kind of thing. I expect them to run back the same group and add some low cost depth or bring in a starter if the money is right.
I know its going to sound crazy but, I think this group is surprisingly ok. Could it use some help? Yes definitely but the foundation is there for sure, they just seem to be lacking that one guy based on last season. So what’s the solution? Fix the pass rush and get better safeties. Yeah I think thats the real fix, Hall is a starting corner, I think he gets more interceptions if the pash rush gets to the QB and puts them under more pressure to get the ball out quick. Hall has great instincts to get to the ball, but this season it was to prevent a catch not intercept a rushed throw. That’s just my theory though. I think Echols is ok as a 2 but not ideal. That’s where you need a guy, I don’t think they need to draft one, but they could, just not at 4 or 10. Drafting a corner there is a luxury, its for when you don’t have needs at other more important skill positions. I know this is going to sound nuts but this is the time to sign a free agent. Yeah we’ve seen this story, sign a FA corner over 28 and they are never worth it. True, in a man system thats a recipe for disaster, exactly what Johnson and Desir were. We don’t run a man system though, we run zone. Zone skills don’t degrade like man skills do, so with good saftey play an older corner can thrive in a zone system (see Richard Sherman). So signing a Gilmore for a couple of years would make a ton of sense. I’d be fine with Kyle Fuller too. J.C. Jackson would be nice to dream on, but odds of him shaking loose are slim, and the Jets being the highest offer even more so. Depth is fantastic with Carter II, Echols, and Guidry. Dunn still something to see what happens. Also I’d toy with the idea of moving Ashtyn Davis to corner. I could see taking more late round swings in the secondary this year but 2023 seems like the better time to grab a first round corner, ideally when were picking in the middle of the draft.
Like the great very big deal Chris Nimbley, I love safeties so it’s my favourite position for the close. I think we all know that this was a huge problem this year, the two starters were down for basically the whole season and they were just game to game basically. I wish they had moved Pinnock to. safety right away instead of trying him at corner. From day one I thought he was a safety, but he’s still a bit of an unknown there to say he’s earned a starting spot. I love Ashtyn Davis, his athleticism is nuts. Boy is he still crazy raw though, missing significant time in year 1 and 2 hampered his development. He’s got great coverage skills but thats about it, maybe he should be switched to corner. This year is huge for him, he has to play every game and be ready at the start of camp. If he does not show improvement in his tackling, pursuit and run support skills, he’s done. That’s basically all we have, the rest is just depth, maybe Will Parks and Elijah Riley are something but I wouldn’t plan on it. So sign a free agent, heck sign two. There are lots of good options that could be there. Honey Badger, Williams, sign Maye for a year, try Joyner again, see if Neal shakes loose (could be that Will LB option agin too.) This is an unusually a loaded free agent class and the Jets should be shopping. As far as the draft goes, drafting a safety high in the draft is a trap for stupid GM’s. There is no way you have that bad of a record and only need an impact safety to turn it around. There are guys I like later Brisker, Cline, Pitre, Smoke Monday (fantastic name) and Bubba Holden (also fantastic name) that could be drafted after we address other needs.
So thats how I see things sitting now. A lot of it is foggy, I’ll revisit this again once free agency actually starts and we know who actually is a free agent. Then this will become a free agency review/mock draft leading up to the draft. It’s going to be an interesting and hopefully fast moving free agency this year, this is definitely the off season to push the chips in and really reload the talent on the roster.