by Rich Bystron
The Jets finally landed who they hope to be their franchise QB in Sam Darnold in last years draft. But while the offense seemed to be making strides, the team fell apart to the tune of a 4-12 record. The collapse ultimately led to the unceremonious exit of Head Coach Todd Bowles and replacing him with another coach recently fired within the same division, Adam Gase formally of the Miami Dolphins. The Jets undoubtedly have some studs on offense, notably Darnold. But is that enough to bring the Jets to the forefront of the AFC East?
The Jets entered the free agency period of the offseason with the 3rd most money to spend in free agency. But the addition of 4 players totaling almost 118 million guaranteed dollars that number has been significantly reduced. As of today (03-24-19) the Jets currently have $30,404,628 in cap space available.
Any time a team starts fresh with a Coach (Adam Gase), there is an implied timeline of adjustment. But the Jets didn’t feel like waiting to start adding to their team as soon as free agency started. The most notable addition is former Steelers All-Pro Le’Veon Bell. This was a huge splash and while dangerous, the Jets are hoping to add a serious weapon behind 2nd year QB Sam Darnold. While Bell is the marquee signing, it wasn’t even the most expensive. The Jets spent a whopping $118,000,000 guaranteed in Bell, CJ Mosley, Jamison Crowder, and Henry Anderson. But missing out on a lineman like Matt Paradis, simply because they were too busy waiting on Bell to make an official contract offer is going to hurt them. Their biggest loss, in my opinion, is All-Pro and Pro-Bowl return man Andre Roberts to division rival Buffalo. The upgrade in the offensive backfield is obvious, but their skill position players outside of that are lackluster at best.
The Jets own the 3rd pick in the 1st round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and unless a miracle happens and Nick Bosa falls to them at 3, I fully expect them to draft University of Kentucky stud defensive end/pass rusher Josh Allen with the 1st of their 6 picks. The Jets have a pick in all 7 rounds but the 2nd and 6th, which was traded last year to the Colts to trade up for QB Sam Darnold. The Jets may add a 7th round pick from the Colts if Henry Anderson fails his physical which is actually possible considering he is coming off a major throat injury. With the Jets in major need on the offensive line, I expect the picks after their 1st to heavily concentrate there.
The Jets are not in my unbiased opinion close to being legit AFC East contenders, and while many find Adam Gase an upgrade to Todd Bowles, it isn’t by much. Gase has had minimal success as Dolphins Head Coach and because of that, I found this hiring strange, to say the least. Their skip positions minus an aging back that sat out more than a whole season because of a contract issue are lacking at best. Crowder while showing occasional flashes in Washington is not the type of game-changing player that their offense needed and having the worst line in football last year with absolutely no upgrades does not hold well for Darnold or the Jets.