NY Jets: Playoff run hampers future of franchise
By Michael Pallas
The NY Jets went into today’s game with the Titans clearly in the driver’s seat for their own playoff destiny but it may cost them in the long-run.
After the locker room punch by IK Enemkpali over an alleged $600 debt, the Jets were forced to turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Even though the Jets had planned on using Geno Smith as their starter, Fitzpatrick played well in Smith’s absence, and the job was his.
Fitzpatrick has led this Jets team to an 8-5 start, and a sixth seed in the NFL Playoffs. Jets fans are clamoring for hope, and the last thing the Jets need is a playoff trip this season.
The NFL draft order is based on record, and given the Jets’ schedule, they probably will only lose one game the rest of the season, and that one is the game against the New England Patriots. The Pittsburgh Steelers will face the Denver Broncos next week, and that will probably be a loss for the Steelers. In that scenario, the Jets will earn the sixth seed via the tie breaker.
As it currently stands, the Jets have the ninth best record in the NFL, which would give them the 24th overall pick in the draft. Their needs in the draft will be plenty. Their needs, in order of importance, are a quarterback, rush linebacker (albeit QB and rush LB are probably equal in this draft), offensive tackle, tight end and running back.
The tight end spot can be found in the middle of day three, but LB and QB must be settled in the first two rounds. There in lies the problem. With the best LBs and QBs most likely taken by that spot, the Jets will have to settle for an offensive tackle. This also means, the Jets will have to settle for a lower-tier LB also.
This will leave the Jets with a gaping hole at QB. There aren’t very many options at QB late in the draft, and the free agent crop isn’t that good either.
The Jets have a championship-caliber defense, but that window won’t stay open forever. Their quarterback options will be very limited given their choice to stick with Fitzpatrick.
They could have (and probably should have) started Smith. If he showed improvement (regardless of record), then he could’ve been the QB of the future. A worse record with improvement by Smith could’ve allowed the Jets to fulfill their other needs in the draft. Now they are stuck in what I call “quarterback purgatory.”
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Another article on this site suggested that the Jets shouldn’t go after Johnny Manziel. If he shows a lot of improvement during these last few weeks and the Browns make him available, the Jets may really have no choice. They may also have to re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick, and then hope that Bryce Petty can show vast improvement next season.
Most of the time, a playoff run is fun from a fans perspective. A one-year wonder isn’t fun. Unfortunately, if the Jets don’t make a miraculous Super Bowl run, that’s what the Jets are in the midst of.