Two years ago when the New York Jets reshuffled their leadership by bringing in GM Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles, Jet fans were hoping this would be the turnover that would finally bring some stability and sanity to the organization.
The first season, it appeared the changes would take hold. Maccagnan brought in a slew of veteran free agents and then drafted DL Leonard Williams, the furthest thing from a “need” pick at the time, in the first round of the NFL Draft. To Maccagnan’s credit, he was right to choose Williams, who has developed into to Pro Bowl player.
The adults had finally taken over the room. The Jets improved to 10-6 in 2015 and it looked as if they had finally found the men who would lead them on the winning path. Then 2016 came and those veterans fell apart. Injuries and age prevailed up and the roster, insubordination and lethargy seeped into the locker room and the Jets fell to 5-11. Suddenly, the plan and the future were unclear.
This offseason, the Jets purged their roster of many of those veterans, stripping the roster of their most recognizable names. Gone are Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall and Nick Mangold. Sure, all three of those players are up in age, but Revis is rumored to be headed back to New England. Marshall was scooped up by the Giants, who are also said to be eyeing Mangold. Even their attempts at fiscal responsibility seem to be backfiring.
Looking at their roster, there are fewer familiar names and even less stars. Their free agent booty did nothing to stir a positive reaction. They signed LT Kelvin Beachum, CB Morris Claiborne, DT Mike Pennel, QB Josh McCown and K Chandler Catanzaro. Wow. How underwhelming is that?
This is New York. Even Jet fans are not going to buy this latest version of their team. With the subdued Bowles at the helm, the Jets have managed to become both boring and bad. That’s the worst combination for a sports franchise, especially in this city. At least when Rex Ryan was here he made it interesting.
What the Jets need is to make a splash in the NFL Draft. They have to get a marquee player and they need to do it now or it’s going to be a long, cold, lonely winter in Florham Park this year.
With the sixth overall pick, the Jets have to get themselves a ‘sexy’ player. Someone who will stoke some imagination into this dormant, lifeless team. Maccagnan says he likes to select the best available player, which is always the safe thing to do. But unless that player is going to bring hope to the starving throngs and put fannies in the seats, he’s squandering a golden opportunity and wasting everyone’s time.
My pick for the Jets with the sixth pick is North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky. If he is sitting there when they select, they need to take him. Yes, it’s a weak class this year, but Trubisky will give the Jets some hope for the future and something to hang their hats on. Someone to put on the cover of the yearbook.
But I feel they won’t do this. They have selected QBs in the past three drafts and are still unsettled at the position. They need to try again. The Jets were once a team that broke barriers. 42 years ago they threw a boatload of money at a kid from Alabama and went on to take over the football world. They haven’t been able to match that feat since.
It hasn’t been from a lack of trying. They’ve done just about everything over the years to try to win including bringing in Bill Parcells and Brett Favre. They still didn’t win, but they were relevant. All of these minor moves and also staying out of the spotlight is diminishing their brand.
They need to keep trying.