by Mario Granata
After a promising 'rookie' season for Bowles in New York that saw the Jets go 10-6, they have posted back-to-back 5-11 seasons and in the Big Apple that is sometimes enough to get a coach fired. What is the next best thing? Firing the Offensive Coordinator. John Morton is out and former Quarterbacks Coach Jeremy Bates is in. Bates' most notable quarterback has been Jay Cutler, whom he worked with in Denver and Chicago, so the challenge he faces now is molding Teddy Bridgewater.
Head Coach: Todd Bowles (20-28)
Offensive Coordinator: New Jeremy Bates
Defensive Coordinator : Kacy Rodgers (3-4)
General Manager: Mike Maccagnan
The Jets are 36 million under the cap currently so they could make some more moves before the April 26th NFL Draft, and have already made some moves already. With no player on the roster having over a 10 million cap hit for 2018, the Jets look to be in a rebuilding phase and will try to get talent through free agency since they unloaded multiple draft picks to trade up to the 3rd overall pick this year. Could a quarterback be in the cards for the Jets? Time will tell.
With the return of McCown and the signing of Bridgewater, they have also added Trumaine Johnson, Isaiah Crowell, and Terrelle Pryor along with bringing back Morris Claiborne. With the signings of Pryor, McCown, and Crowell, Maccagnan hopes to capture the spark that these three had when they went 1-15 for the 2016 Cleveland Browns. Alrighty then.
Many of the big name free agents that the Jets had have either been released or have sought greener pastures. Muhammad Wilkerson looks to anchor the Green Bay Packers line while Austin Seferian-Jenkins hopes that Blake Bortles can find him at least 50 times this season. Maybe he will even catch a few of those passes, provided Bortles remembers how to throw.
A name that has been thrown around a bit was Ndamukong Suh, who could be a fine replacement for the departed Wilkerson, but comes with just as much baggage and given the previous contract that Suh requested from the Dolphins, this could be the last signing before the Draft that the Jets would have.
The Jets gave up a ton to move up 3 spots to the 3rd overall pick, and with a price tag that high, usually a franchise quarterback follows. With Bowles being a defensive minded coach and a new offensive coordinator who was only an OC once before (2010 Seattle) do the Jets look to find their franchise guy this year in a quarterback-heavy draft?
Mike Maccagnan has made some questionable moves this offseason and during his tenure with the Jets to suggest otherwise. The Jets, in total, have already spent 25 million at the quarterback position and need some help on their defensive side of the ball as well. Now, while I am not a proponent of drafting a defensive player in the Top-5, let alone trading, essentially, 4 players to get him, this could be the path that Maccagnan is taking. From 2000-2014, he was a scout with the Houston Texans, a team that saw Mario Williams signed a week before the draft, and who also drafted JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney during his tenure. When you look at the division and the quarterbacks that the Jets are going to have to stop, a defensive presence could make some noise in the East.
Bradley Chubb, who has measurables comparable to Mario Williams (who also went to NC State) could be the guy that Maccagnan is targeting if it's not a quarterback.
In all likelihood, the Jets will be taking a quarterback in the 2018 Draft and with all the signing pointing to Sam Darnold going to the Browns, the Jets will have their pick of Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen or Josh Allen.
If connections are anything in the NFL, Bridgewater (who attended Louisville) could serve as a mentor to Lamar Jackson if the Jets want to go that route, but I don't feel that Bridgewater is at that point in his career yet.
The Jets will have to play the waiting game as their 'big brother' the New York Giants will pick right in front of them at #2.