In this series we will look at some of the worst teams in the league and figure out a way to turn them around in the next couple of years to make them contenders in the NFL.
The Jets took a big step back from 2015 to 2016. They were a team that looked like they could make a run at the playoffs at the beginning of 2016, but most of their older players regressed and looked bad. Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t nearly as good as he was in 2015, Darrelle Revis is not the shutdown cornerback that he once was, and the Jets had one of the oldest rosters in the NFL. They need to turn the roster and get some fresh good talent to lead this team if they want to be back in playoff contention.
Todd Bowles has been given another season, probably because of the team’s success in 2015, but the team needs to show progress next season or they should consider moving on. That doesn’t mean that they should be back in playoff contention or else, given the state of the roster, but they need at least eight wins to show that the Jets are headed in the right direction. That is possible, but there are some major moves that need to be made in order to do that.
If the three quarterbacks are gone by the time that the Jets select at six, then they should look to improve their defense with the best player available. In this scenario, Jamal Adams, Malik Hooker or Marshon Lattimore should be available and would provide a necessary boost to the Jets poor secondary. They are moving on from Revis, as they should, given his personal situation and the fact that he isn’t nearly the player that he once was. Teams are not afraid to throw his way anymore and there isn’t a lot that he can do to help the Jets. They do the same with their second round pick as well, not necessarily a defensive back, but the best player available, regardless of position. This draft is loaded with defensive talent and the Jets could turn things around quickly with the strength of their defense. The one thing that the Jets shouldn’t do if they can’t get one of the top three quarterbacks with the number six pick is draft a project quarterback. They have done that for each of the last two years in the draft and now they don’t have a quarterback that is capable of starting sixteen games in the NFL. If they can just draft the best players available, then they have a chance to be back in contention within the next few seasons.
The final thing that the Jets should try to do is to trade Sheldon Richardson. He is a talented player, but there is a log jam along the defensive line and Richardson should be able to help a team. One possibility would be to trade him and the Jets second round pick, pick number 39, to get back into the first round. Dallas and Green Bay would both make sense as they could use a little bit of depth along their defensive lines and it would give the Jets a better player than they would get in the second round. He could also be a piece if they decided to trade for someone like Jay Cutler or AJ McCarron to give them an option at quarterback.
It is a long road for the Jets to be relevant again, but if they are smart, then they should be good again in two seasons. They can’t just add old talent for multiple years and hope everything will be ok. They need to build in the draft and make smart signings that don’t hinder them from resigning their own players or adding key pieces in the future.