Many people – whether they are fans of a certain team or not tend to “think” they know the best ways to make their teams better for the next season. How to go about glaring needs on the roster, which players they should target for those glaring needs, how to attack their draft, so on and so forth. Hey, I’m not one to judge your thoughts and how you would go about your team – but there is a reason why we’re sitting here and not in the big seat that calls the actual shots.
I’m going to throw my hat into the ring here and give you guys a breakdown of what I believe would be the ideal offseason for our beloved Jets. You don’t have to agree with me, and some of you won’t – but that’s what this is all about. Sharing in that passion for a team that we are just dying to see be great, if you can open my eyes to other avenues this team should go down… I’m all for it.
Priority #1: Sign Quarterback Kirk Cousins. At all costs.
Well I started this post before the Redskins decided to get all crazy and trade a third round pick and Kendall Fuller to the Kansas City Chiefs for Alex Smith. So here I am re -writing my Kirk take because let’s just say it needed to be tweaked a little bit. Now that Washington has essentially moved on from “Captain Kirk” the Jets will be given a tremendous opportunity to make a strong push to sign him. The Jets have been searching for their next franchise quarterback since honestly – Joe Namath. It is definitely pathetic but that all can change if we go out there and get our guy. Kirk will demand a pretty heavy salary, looking at 29 to 30 million a year with about 100 million guaranteed – that’s a no joke contract that quite honestly will be surpassed with the likes of Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers next year. To me this move is a no brainer, this is why we have 100 million in cap space, this isn’t a corner or a receiver were talking about – this is a quarterback that is entering his prime at the age of 30. The question is are the Jets going to be big players for him? Are they seriously interested or are we all just blowing this out of proportion? But let’s just say we do make this happen and we move forward for the next 5-6 years with him leading our offense, we are finally setting our franchise up with a “leader” who can be built around and win games with. Oh yeah, that 6th overall draft pick that we have this year… again, will be used to add another playmaker to the roster or cornerstone offensive lineman. With several quarterbacks expected to go in the top 5 we will be given a golden opportunity to have Bradley Chubb of NC State or Saquon Barkley of Penn State fall into our laps, my money is on Chubb – but we’ll see. So step 1 New York Jets, go get your franchise quarterback and begin to build this roster around him with playmakers on offense and a young stout defense.
Priority #2: Once Kirk is signed, continue to ATTACK free agency.
Kirk Cousins has signed, he’s had his introductory press conference, he’s held up his jersey and taken pictures with Christopher Johnson, Mike Maccagnan, Todd Bowles and Woody Johnson via facetime. Now let’s get him a dynamic playmaker out of the slot who would love to come play in New York and be closer to his best bud Odell – Jarvis Landry. Landry is not feeling the love in Miami like Kirk wasn’t feeling the love in Washington, so lets make these two gentleman feel loved. From what I’ve read Landry is seeking 15-17 million per year and I have no problem giving that to a pro bowl caliber receiver. Say we do this and boy I hope they do – we will have a wide receiver room consisting of Jarvis Landry, Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, Jermaine Kearse, Chad Hansen and ArDarius Stewart. That is by far the best receiving group I’ve seen on the Jets in years if not ever. That approach is what needs to be done to turn this team around and continue to push us in the right direction. Landry possess the physical traits and playmaking ability I love to see in any player, especially a receiver. Watching him over the past few seasons the emotion and physicality he brings to the field is something any team should value. Bringing that leader mentality to this offense along with Kirk would add a some juice to an offense that has been missing it for quite some time. So we’ve given Kirk a nice new toy to throw to and put points on the board with, now lets add a piece to the offensive line that struggled more often than not last year. Wesley Johnson was abysmal and did not fill Nick Mangold’s shoes like we had hoped he would and honestly – that’s okay. Why is that okay? this is okay because if a team needs to fill a void at the center position this year then this free agency is the best crop of centers on the market in awhile. Between Ryan Jensen, Weston Richburg and even Spencer Long (Kirk’s center in Washington) the Jets will have plenty of options to go with when trying to fill that center position. I’ve seen several reports on twitter saying the Jets are going to make a push for Richburg when free agency period opens, I like that move – I think Richburg is a solid center who won’t be too pricey. Whether it actually ends up being Richburg or we swing for the fences again for Jensen – bringing in a legitimate starting center will bolster this offensive line, starting alongside James Carpenter and Brian Winters/Quenton Nelson. Finally, with whatever we have left over bringing in a veteran pass rusher or cornerback would be a huge addition to a defense that is only a few key pieces away from being what they once were. I personally don’t see DeMarcus Lawrence shaking free from Dallas, he’s just too good to let go- but stranger things have happened. I fully expect Ziggy Ansah formerly of the Lions and Trent Murphy of the Redskins to be available and either one should absolutely be pursued, but other teams will be in the mix as well. As for the corners that are on the market the only ones I’d pursue are Malcolm Butler and Trumaine Johnson (obviously) as well as Aaron Colvin from Jacksonville and Bashaud Breeland from Washington. Bringing in one of these guys and possibly Mo Claiborne on a 1 or 2 year deal will allow Buster Skrine to kick back into the slot where he is most comfortable and most efficient – if he is not released. On the defensive side of the ball cornerback and edge rusher are the two positions that I would pursue and prioritize signing, then followed up with depth picks in the draft that can develop over the next year or two.
Priority #2: Open up the draft: Be smart, keep building the roster.
Okay now remember we have signed Cousins as well made several other moves to fill some immediate needs on the roster. Now we won’t have to mortgage the future to move up for a QB or hope and pray one falls to us. Personally I’d stay at 6 – like we have the past two times we’ve had this pick and let the board fall how it may. Going into this draft we have three selections in the top 50: RD 1 – 6th, RD 2 – 37th & 49th, ideally we’d like to hit on all three of these picks. In round 1 IF either Chubb or Barkley are not on the board – call me crazy, but I’d love to grab Quenton Nelson from Notre Dame. I totally get people who believe taking a guard at 6 is a little crazy and possibly a reach but when its a prospect like Nelson – you take him. The guy is drawing vast comparisons to Zack Martin from Dallas, another Notre Dame product – and some believe he could be even better. Say we sign a Jensen or Richburg solidifying the center position, throwing in Nelson to go along with one of them will improve this line as a whole. Which guard would I cut loose to make this move happen? Brian Winters – Winters has been below average with his play over the past two seasons (PFF #70 guard in 2017) and seems to be a little injury prone to me. I’m a big fan of Carpenter believe it or not and I think he was affected by the lack of skill he had to his right with Wesley Johnson – which could also be a factor with Winters as well. As for Chubb and Barkley those by far are the two obvious choices to draft if one is there at 6. I don’t believe Barkley will be there, as the Giants at 2 or Cleveland at 4 seem like the favorites and most likely landing spots for a running back with his potential. As for Chubb, just like Jamal Adams and Leonard Williams – I can see the potential for him sliding down the board a little higher than Barkley. Say a QB needy team jumps into the top 5.. say to 3 (the Colts selection), then Cleveland takes Barkley at 4, then Denver takes a QB at 5 (If they don’t sign a veteran after missing out on Kirk). All of a sudden Chubb is sitting there at 6 and the Jets should and will run to the podium with absolutely zero hesitation. As for rounds 2 and 3 I personally feel the value is better at this point in the draft then in the 1st round. A lot of the players who will be selected in the middle to end of round 1 will be of better value in the top to middle of round 2. At that spot we should strongly consider – Courtland Sutton, Sony Michel, Derrius Guice and Arden Key. Some of these guys will easily be reached for at the end of the 1st but if they are there in the top half of round 2, we would benefit from grabbing one of them. As for the back end of 2 and early 3 I like Mike Hughes, Tarvarus McFadden or Deon Cain – but at this point in the offseason who the hell knows what will be there in the 3rd damn round.
Just think of how different this roster can and will look over the next 2 months, which will consist of free agency period beginning on March 14th and the NFL Draft that starts on April 28th. We hopefully will walk away from this offseason with a very rich franchise quarterback and a re-tooled offense & defense. There is no telling what this team can do if they take a combination of smart & aggressive into this offseason. We might have finished last year 5-11 and quite frankly exhausted from watching this season – but 2018 will be a different team with a different story. So this is my “ideal” offseason, counting down the days for it to finally arrive – I hope some of my potential moves are realistically in the teams future. Keep the faith Jets fans, we’re all in this together.
- Written by Michael Barry; creator of @Homeofthejets1