Over the next month and probably beyond, Joe Namath’s name will be mentioned among Jets’ fans and critics alike.
That’s because the Jets will draft their first franchise quarterback since Namath’s reign. They have had their share of reputed drafted saviors like Browning Nagle, Richard Todd, Geno Smith and others.
It can the zenith or the nadir in the careers of GM Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles.
Maccagnan risked the future of the franchise when he traded up to the third overall pick in the draft. It is not the fact that he dealt a pair of second-round picks this year and one next year, but he will select the quarterback for the next 10 years or so.
Two years ago, the Eagles and the Rams rolled the dice by moving up, and they hit the jackpot with Jared Goff and Carson Wentz respectively.
Maccagnan will pick the next Namath whether it is Josh Allen, Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield. All of them have their faults and idiosyncrasies that have cast a small share of doubt over each of them being a flawless, sure-fire choice.
The GM already has ingrained a sense of apprehension about him selecting a quarterback when he picked Christian Hackenberg with the No. 2 pick two years ago.
Remember when the Jets and their fans were all in over Sam Darnold before the season began, expecting them to win less than three games? Well, if Cleveland takes Saquon Barkley with the top pick, they may get their man.
Maccagnan did make a solid move when he brought back Josh McCown and signed another veteran as insurance, although Teddy Bridgewater being the right choice is yet to be seen.
He also has handed Bowles a truckload of free agents to fill various needs, and his shopping spree may not be over.
Among the most notable was the signing of Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson and the resigning of Morris Clayborne, solidifying the Jets’ secondary as one of the elites in the game.
Maccagnan continues to make the most of the $90 million in cap space available, providing Bowles with plenty of fresh faces and overall depth to the roster. However, with the two second-round picks gone, Maccagnan has to hit it right with his signings.
Then it will be up to Bowles to mix and match the roster to galvanize it together. Bowles has done a good job at that in the past, and he again will have a challenge this summer.
Jets’ fans circle April 26 on their calendar with a huge, red circle around it. It can be a dawning of another Namath or the resurfacing of another Nagle.