Mike Maccagnan received a lot of praise after the 2015 NFL season for making smart moves in the offseason that turned a team that won 4 games the previous season, into a 10 win team. This offseason, Maccagnan has been heavily criticized after the team regressed to a 5-win team with essentially the same roster they had the previous season. Heading in to this season, New York is expected to be one of the worst teams in the league, which surprisingly should be a good thing for the online football odds for 2018 Jets season.
So, why is being one of the worst teams in 2017 expected to help the team in 2018? It’s quite simple.
The beauty of the disastrous 2016 season is that it helped Maccagnan recognize some of his mistakes (giving in to Fitzgerald’s contract demand even though history suggested his 2015 season was a fluke), and also helped him get rid of some of the bad contracts and locker room cancers (Brandon Marshall).
Going into the 2017 offseason, the Jets are expected to have over $80 million in cap space, which doesn’t include the extra cap space they will have after cutting players in the offseason.
With the amount of cap space the Jets will have, they can be major players in free agency. Since the Jets are expected to be one of the worst teams in the league next year, they are likely going to have one of the top picks in the draft, which they can use to get a franchise player that is ready to contribute immediately.
Here are some of the things the Jets can do with their cap space and top pick.
Get a Disruptive Pass Rusher
One thing the Jets haven’t had in past decade is a pass rusher that can bring pressure on the opposing quarterback on every down. Dylan Donahue and Lorenzo Mauldin are not Von Miller, and at best are a temporary fix to the situation. In the offseason, the Jets can target dangerous defensive ends like Ezekiel Ansah or Shaq Barrett, who are likely going to be free agents that year.
This is another position the Jets need an upgrade in. New York can either go for a feature back in free agency or the draft. They can also find someone to split the carries with Bilal Powell. Players like Carlos Hyde and LeVeon Bell could be available in free agency, as well as Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman and Cleveland’s Isaiah Crowell.
With the team releasing Darrell Revis, the team doesn’t have a shutdown corner on the roster. In truth, the team didn’t have one last season either because Revis had his worst season as a pro, and was torched on a weekly basis.
New York will likely target Trumaine Johnson, who will be highly coveted next year, and players like Morris Claiborne, who will be cheap because of his injury history. Malcolm Butler is another potential target for the Jets.
The one position the Jets have whiffed on often in recent years is the quarterback position. High draft picks like Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith have been shown the door due to their poor play, and incumbent Christian Hackenberg is likely going to follow his predecessors soon. If USC quarterback, a potential number one pick, declares for the draft, the Jets should pray he falls into their laps or make a trade for the top pick in the draft.
The 2017 season will be a tough one for Jets fans to watch. However, things should be looking up for the team in 2018 unless Mike Maccagnan and his staff find a way to mess things up.