It has been eight long seasons since the New York Jets have played football in January, but they expect that to change after the offseason they have just had, which included replacing the general manager, the head coach and two of the three main coordinators.
The Jets also bought themselves a franchise running back, signed some wide receiver targets and some offensive line help so that second-year quarterback Sam Darnold will have everything he needs to begin proving his first-round worth.
Also add to that the beefed-up defense that was signed and drafted in and it isn’t difficult to see the improvements made to the Jets, so we examine these moves and draft picks as well as take a look at the odds and predictions of the Jets’ 2019 season.
After starting the 2018 season with a rookie quarterback, Sam Darnold, the New York Jets went 3-3 and there was some hope that this kid from USC could change things around in the Meadowlands.
But that was not to be as the team went on a 1-9 downslide for the rest of the season, with only one of their four wins being against a team that was heading to the postseason, the Indianapolis Colts in Week 6.
You know your franchise did NOT have a good season when, like the 2018 Jets, they:
After four postseason-less seasons under the leadership of head coach Todd Bowles with win/loss records that were getting worse instead of improving, Jets co-owner Christopher Johnson finally decided to go in a different direction.
Adam Gase was brought in to save the day, the same head coach who had just been fired by the Miami Dolphins after leading them for three seasons and a 23-25 regular season record and one playoff appearance (a Wild Card loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2016).
Some say Gase then had general manager Mike Macagnan fired (along with the offensive – Jeremy Bates – and defensive – Kacy Rodgers – coordinators), but Johnson insists the Macagnan decision was all his.
Now, Gase is the interim GM and Dowell Loggains is the offensive coordinator while Gregg Williams is in charge of the defense.
The 2019 New York Jets had a couple of things working against them this offseason, one of those being very little salary cap room and the other being the number of draft picks they had, which was just six after they traded up last season to get Darnold at number three overall.
That lack of money was a concern to Gase, who even made and eventually backtracked on some unpopular comments about their expensive new running back Le’Veon Bell, and was one of the main reasons attributed to the release of Macagnan.
The other questionable strategy move of Macagnan was to draft nose tackle Quinnen Williams instead of the top edge rusher in the draft, Josh Allen, who could have been the missing piece of their front seven.
After sitting out a season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who refused to give Le’Veon Bell the money he felt he deserved for being a dual-threat running and catching back, the Steelers finally released him in the offseason and that’s when Bell and his agent went shopping for suitors.
There weren’t as many teams looking for a Bell-type weapon as he’d hoped, especially given the price he was asking, but finally the Jets offered Bell $52.5 million over four years that includes $27 million guaranteed, which was less than what the Steelers had offered but included $2 million more in guaranteed money.
For all the details of the dramatic Bell signing, check out our earlier coverage in the article: Le’Veon Bell Settles For Jets and Less Money Improving Their Super Bowl Odds
The Jets had claimed Jason Myers off waivers last August and signed him for a one-season deal worth $700,000, and he proceeded to break the Jets’ franchise record for made field goals in one game (7) and became one of the first team Pro Bowlers since 2016.
The Jets could not afford to keep Myers, who ended up signing a four-year, $15.45 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks, with $7 million of that guaranteed.
Instead, New York has signed free agent place-kicker Chandler Catanzaro for a one-year, $2.3 million deal with $600,000 of that guaranteed.
Place-kicker Jason Myers, who took a four-year, $15.45 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks with $7 million of that guaranteed.
Kick returner / wide receiver Andre Roberts, who signed a two-year deal with the Buffalo Bills worth $4.6 million, with $3 million of that guaranteed.
Cornerback Buster Skrine, who agreed to a three-year deal with the Chicago Bears worth $16.5 million, with $8.5 million of that guaranteed.
Running back Le’Veon Bell, who signed a four-year deal worth $52.5 million, with $27 million of that guaranteed.
Middle linebacker C.J. Mosely, who agreed to a five-year contract worth $85 million, with $51 million of that guaranteed.
Wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who signed a three-year, $28.5 million contract, with $17 million of that guaranteed.
Offense: Big wide receiver
Defense: Perimeter cornerback, edge rusher
The Jets ended up with 6 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, and they were:
Over the last decade, the New York Jets have been to the playoffs twice, 2009 & 2010, both times under head coach Rex Ryan, and both times losing in the AFC Championship game.
The first AFC Championship loss in 2009 was against the Indianapolis Colts, 17-30, and the second one in 2010 was against the Pittsburgh Steelers, 19-24.
The Jets won the only time they have ever been to the Super Bowl, which was in 1968 in Super Bowl III when, with Broadway Joe Namath under center and predicting a win, they beat the Indianapolis Colts 16-7 and took home the Lombardi Trophy, with the game and league MVP awards going to Namath.
Neither Namath, the oddsmakers or any football experts are guaranteeing a Jets Super Bowl win – in fact, they are expecting them to come up behind the New England Patriot in the AFC East once again.
At least that’s better than their last-place finish in 2018, but it means that they will have to earn their playoff berth by becoming an AFC Wild Card team, and there are a lot of other more likely candidates for that honor.
There are twenty other NFL franchises with the same or better odds than the New York Jets of winning the Super Bowl this season, and nine other AFC teams more likely to even get there, so the pressure for Darnold and Bell and company to exceed expectations and best case scenarios is huge.
In Week 2, the Jets will play the much talked about Cleveland Browns (Baker Mayfield and OBJ ring a bell?) on Monday, September 16 at 8:15 pm.
This game was purposely scheduled during this 100-year celebration of the NFL in order to honor the very first Monday Night Football (MNF) matchup ever.
It took place on September 21, 1970, at Cleveland Stadium where Namath and his Jets lost to Bill Nelsen and his Browns by a score of 21-31.
Is Darnold the real deal that just needed a few more targets to throw at, or is the Jets team around him still too shaky to win consistently?
Does Bell still have it, the quickness and toughness, the soft hands and ability to run after the catch or did sitting out an entire NFL season take its toll on him?
Can a team with all new leadership gel quickly together into winners, or will there be an automatic learning curve for the 2019 Jets?
It would take a lot of best-case scenarios coming through for this newly constructed Jets team to be an immediate dominating force, but more likely they will spend this season creating and understanding their playbook and learning how to work together as a team.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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